Rule 5 - Playing the Round

Purpose of Rule: Rule 5 covers how to play a round – such as where and when a player may practise on the course before or during a round, when a round starts and ends and what happens when play has to stop or resume. Players are expected to:

When it is a player’s turn to play, it is recommended that he or she make the stroke in no more than 40 seconds, and usually more quickly than that.

5.1 Meaning of Round

A “roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee. ” is 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course..

When a roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee. ends in a tie and play will go on until there is a winner:

A player is playing his or her roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee. from when it starts until it ends (see Rule 5.3), except while play is stopped under Rule 5.7a.

When a Rule refers to actions taken “during a roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.,” that does not include while play is stopped under Rule 5.7a unless the Rule says otherwise.

5.2  Practising on Course Before or Between Rounds

For purposes of this Rule:

a. Match Play

A player may practise on the courseCourse: The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee: before a roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee. or between roundsRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee. of a 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: competition.

b. Stroke Play

On the day of a stroke-playStroke Play: A form of play where a player or side competes against all other players or sides in the competition. competition:

See Committee Procedures, Section 8; Model Local Rule I-1  (in either form of play, the CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course. may adopt a Local Rule prohibiting, restricting or allowing practice on the courseCourse: The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee: before or between roundsRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.).

Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.2:

5.3  Starting and Ending Round

a. When to Start Round

A player’s roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee. starts when the player makes a strokeRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee. to start his or her first hole (see Rule 6.1a).

The player must start at (and not before) his or her starting time:

If the starting time is delayed for any reason (such as weather, slow play of other groups or the need for a ruling by a refereeReferee: An official named by the Committee to decide questions of fact and apply the Rules.), there is no breach of this Rule if the player is present and ready to play when the player’s group is able to start.

Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.3a: Disqualification, except in these three cases:

b. When Round Ends

A player’s roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee. ends:

See Rules 21.1e, 21.2e, 21.3e  and 23.3b (when a roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee. starts and ends in other forms of stroke playStroke Play: A form of play where a player or side competes against all other players or sides in the competition. and in Four-BallFour-Ball: A form of play where sides of two partners compete, with each player playing his or her own ball. A side’s score for a hole is the lower score of the two partners on that hole.).

5.4 Playing in Groups

a. Match Play

During a roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee., the player and opponentOpponent: The person a player competes against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. must play each hole in the same group.

b. Stroke Play

During a roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee., the player must remain in the group set by the CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course., unless the CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course. approves a change either before or after it happens.

Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.4: Disqualification.

5.5  Practising During Round or While Play Is Stopped

a. No Practice Strokes While Playing Hole

While playing a hole, a player must not make a practice strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. at any ball on or off the courseCourse: The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee:.

These are not practice strokesStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.:

b. Restriction on Practice Strokes Between Two Holes

Between two holes, a player must not make a practice strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball..

Exception – Where Player Allowed to Practise Putting or Chipping: The player may practise putting or chipping on or near:

But such practice strokesStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. must not be made from a bunkerBunker: A specially prepared area of sand, which is often a hollow from which turf or soil was removed. and must not unreasonably delay play (see Rule 5.6a).

See Committee Procedures, Section 8; Model Local Rule I-2  (the CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course. may adopt a Local Rule prohibiting practise putting or chipping on or near the putting greenPutting Green: The area on the hole the player is playing that: of the hole just completed).

c. Practice While Play Is Suspended or Otherwise Stopped

While play is suspended or otherwise stopped under Rule 5.7a, a player must not make a practice strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. except:

If a match is stopped by agreement of the players and will not be resumed on the same day, the players may practise on the courseCourse: The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee: without restriction before the match is resumed.

Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.5: General PenaltyGeneral Penalty: Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play..

If the breach happens between two holes, the penalty applies to the next hole.

5.6  Unreasonable Delay; Prompt Pace of Play

a. Unreasonable Delay of Play

A player must not unreasonably delay play, either when playing a hole or between two holes.

A player may be allowed a short delay for certain reasons, such as:

Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.6a:

If the player unreasonably delays play between two holes, the penalty applies to the next hole.

b. Prompt Pace of Play

A roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee. of golf is meant to be played at a prompt pace.

Each player should recognize that his or her pace of play is likely to affect how long it will take other players to play their roundsRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee., including both those in the player’s own group and those in following groups.

Players are encouraged to allow faster groups to play through.

(1) Pace of Play Recommendations. The player should play at a prompt pace throughout the roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee., including the time taken to:

A player should prepare in advance for the next strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. and be ready to play when it is his or her turn.

When it is the player’s turn to play:

(2) Playing Out of Turn to Help Pace of Play. Depending on the form of play, there are times when players may play out of turn to help the pace of play:

(3) Committee Pace of Play Policy. To encourage and enforce prompt play, the CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course. should adopt a Local Rule setting a Pace of Play Policy.

This Policy may set a maximum time to complete a roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee., a hole or series of holes and a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball., and it may set penalties for not following the Policy.

See Committee Procedures, Section 5G  (recommendations on contents of Pace of Play Policy).

5.7  Stopping Play; Resuming Play

a. When Players May or Must Stop Play

During a roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee., a player must not stop play except in these cases:

Leaving the courseCourse: The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee: is not, by itself, stopping play. A player’s delay of play is covered by Rule 5.6a, not by this Rule.

If a player stops play for any reason not allowed under this Rule or fails to report to the CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course. when required to do so, the player is disqualified.

b. What Players Must Do When Committee Suspends Play

There are two types of CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course. suspensions of play, each with different requirements for when players must stop play.

(1) Immediate Suspension (Such as When There Is Imminent Danger). If the CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course. declares an immediate suspension of play, all players must stop play at once and must not make another strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. until the CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course. resumes play.

The CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course. should use a distinct method of telling players about an immediate suspension.

(2) Normal Suspension (Such as for Darkness or Unplayable Course). If the CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course. suspends play for normal reasons, what happens next depends on where each playing group is:

Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.7b: Disqualification.

Exception – No Penalty If Committee Decides That Failure to Stop Was Justified: There is no breach of this Rule and no penalty if the CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course. decides that circumstances justified the player’s failure to stop play when required to do so.

See Committee Procedures, Section 8; Model Local Rule J-1 (recommended ways for CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course. to indicate immediate and normal suspensions to players).

c. What Players Must Do When Play Resumes

(1) Where to Resume Play. A player must resume play from where he or she stopped play on a hole or, if between two holes, at the next teeing areaTeeing Area: The area the player must play from in starting the hole he or she is playing., even if play is resumed on a later day.

(2) When to Resume Play. The player must be present at the location identified in (1) and ready to play:

If the ability to resume play is delayed for any reason (such as when players in the group ahead need to play first and move out of the way), there is no breach of this Rule if the player is present and ready to play when the player’s group is able to resume play.

Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.7c: Disqualification.

Exceptions to Disqualification for Failure to Resume on Time: Exceptions 1, 2 and 3 in Rule 5.3a and the Exception to Rule 5.7b apply here as well.

d. Lifting Ball When Play Stops; Replacing and Substituting Ball When Play Resumes

(1) Lifting Ball When Play Stops or Before Play Resumes. When stopping play of a hole under this Rule, the player may markMark: To show the spot where a ball is at rest by either: the spot of his or her ball and lift the ball (see Rule 14.1).

Either before or when play is resumed:

In either case:

(2) What to Do If Ball or Ball-Marker Is Moved While Play Stopped. If the player’s ball or ball-markerBall-Marker: An artificial object when used to mark the spot of a ball to be lifted, such as a tee, a coin, an object made to be a ball-marker or another small piece of equipment. is moved in any way before play resumes (including by natural forcesNatural Forces: The effects of nature such as wind, water or when something happens for no apparent reason because of the effects of gravity.), the player must either:

If the player’s conditions affecting the strokeConditions Affecting the Stroke: The lie of the player’s ball at rest, the area of intended stance, the area of intended swing, the line of play and the relief area where the player will drop or place a ball. were worsened while play was stopped, see Rule 8.1d.

Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong PlaceWrong Place: Any place on the course other than where the player is required or allowed to play his or her ball under the Rules. in Breach of Rule 5.7d: General PenaltyGeneral Penalty: Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play. Under Rule 14.7a.

If multiple Rule breaches result from a single act or related acts, see Rule 1.3c(4).