Rule 1 - The Game, Player Conduct and the Rules

Purpose of Rule: Rule 1 introduces these central principles of the game for the player:

1.1 The Game of Golf

Golf is played in a roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee. of 18 (or fewer) holes on a courseCourse: The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee: by striking a ball with a club.

Each hole starts with a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. from the teeing areaTeeing Area: The area the player must play from in starting the hole he or she is playing. and ends when the ball is holedHoled: When a ball is at rest in the hole after a stroke and the entire ball is below the surface of the putting green. on the putting greenPutting Green: The area on the hole the player is playing that: (or when the Rules otherwise say the hole is completed).

For each strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball., the player:

But there are exceptions where the Rules allow the player to alter conditions on the courseCourse: The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee: and require or allow the player to play the ball from a different place than where it lies.

1.2 Standards of Player Conduct

a. Conduct Expected of All Players

All players are expected to play in the spirit of the game by:

There is no penalty under the Rules for failing to act in this way, except that the CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course. may disqualify a player for acting contrary to the spirit of the game if it finds that the player has committed serious misconduct.

Penalties other than disqualification may be imposed for player misconduct only if those penalties are adopted as part of a Code of Conduct under Rule 1.2b.

b. Code of Conduct

The CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course. may set its own standards of player conduct in a Code of Conduct adopted as a Local Rule.

See Committee Procedures, Section 5H  (explaining the standards of player conduct that may be adopted).

1.3 Playing by the Rules

a. Meaning of “Rules”; Terms of the Competition

The “Rules” means:

Players are also responsible for complying with all “Terms of the Competition” adopted by the CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course. (such as entry requirements, the form and dates of play, the number of roundsRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee. and the number and order of holes in a roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.).

See Committee Procedures, Section 5C and Section 8  (Local Rules and full set of authorized Model Local Rules);  Section 5A  (Terms of the Competition).

b. Applying the Rules

(1) Player Responsibility for Applying the Rules. Players are responsible for applying the Rules to themselves:

(2) Accepting Player’s “Reasonable Judgment” in Determining a Location When Applying the Rules.

c. Penalties

(1) Actions Giving Rise to Penalties. A penalty applies when a breach of a Rule results from a player’s own actions or the actions of his or her caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways: (see Rule 10.3c).

A penalty also applies when:

(2) Levels of Penalties. Penalties are meant to cancel out any potential advantage to the player. There are three main penalty levels:

(3) No Discretion to Vary Penalties. Penalties need to be applied only as provided in the Rules:

In match playMatch Play: A form of play where a player or side plays directly against an opponent or opposing side in a head-to-head match of one or more rounds:, the player and opponentOpponent: The person a player competes against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. may agree how to decide a Rules issue so long as they do not deliberately agree to apply the Rules in the wrong way (see Rule 20.1b(1)).

(4) Applying Penalties to Multiple Breaches of the Rules. If a player breaches multiple Rules or the same Rule multiple times before an intervening event happens (such as making a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. or becoming aware of the breach), the penalty that applies depends on what the player did:

But any penalty strokes a player gets for taking penalty relief (such as a one-stroke penalty under Rules 17.1, 18.1 and 19.2) are always applied in addition to any other penalties.