Rule 2 - The Course

Purpose of Rule: Rule 2 introduces the basic things every player should know about the course:

It is important to know the area of the course where the ball lies and the status of any interfering objects and conditions, because they often affect the player’s options for playing the ball or taking relief.

2.1  Course Boundaries and Out of Bounds

Golf is played on a courseCourse: The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee: whose boundaries are set by the CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course.. Areas not on the courseCourse: The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee: are out of boundsOut of Bounds: All areas outside the boundary edge of the course as defined by the Committee. All areas inside that edge are in bounds..

2.2  Defined Areas of the Course

There are five areas of the courseAreas of the Course: The five defined areas that make up the course:.

a. The General Area

The general areaGeneral Area: The area of the course that covers all of the courseexcept for the other four defined areas: (1) the teeing area the player must play from in starting the hole he or she is playing, (2) all penalty areas, (3) all bunkers, and (4) the putting green of the hole the player is playing. covers the entire courseCourse: The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee: except for the four specific areas of the courseAreas of the Course: The five defined areas that make up the course: described in Rule 2.2b.

It is called the “general area” because:

b. The Four Specific Areas

Certain Rules apply specifically to the four areas of the courseAreas of the Course: The five defined areas that make up the course: that are not in the general areaGeneral Area: The area of the course that covers all of the courseexcept for the other four defined areas: (1) the teeing area the player must play from in starting the hole he or she is playing, (2) all penalty areas, (3) all bunkers, and (4) the putting green of the hole the player is playing.:

c. Determining Area of Course Where Ball Lies

The area of the courseAreas of the Course: The five defined areas that make up the course: where a player’s ball lies affects the Rules that apply in playing the ball or taking relief.

A ball is always treated as lying in only one area of the courseAreas of the Course: The five defined areas that make up the course::

2.3  Objects or Conditions That Can Interfere with Play

Certain Rules may give free relief (relief with no penalty) from interference by certain defined objects or conditions, such as:

But there is no free relief from boundary objectsBoundary Object: Artificial objects defining or showing out of bounds, such as walls, fences, stakes and railings, from which free relief is not allowed. or integral objectsIntegral Object: An artificial object defined by the Committee as part of the challenge of playing the course from which free relief is not allowed. that interfere with play.

2.4 No Play Zones

A no play zoneNo Play Zone: A part of the course where the Committee has prohibited play. A no play zone must be defined as part of either an abnormal course condition or a penalty area. is a defined part of an abnormal course conditionAbnormal Course Condition: Any of these four defined conditions: (see Rule 16.1f) or a penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if the player’s ball comes to rest there. (see Rule 17.1e) where play is not allowed.

A player must take relief when:

See Committee Procedures, Section 5H(1)  (a Code of Conduct may tell players to stay out of a no play zoneNo Play Zone: A part of the course where the Committee has prohibited play. A no play zone must be defined as part of either an abnormal course condition or a penalty area. entirely).