Rule 5 - Playing the Round
Purpose of Rule: Rule 5 covers how to play a round – such as where and when you may practise on the course before or during your round, when your round starts and ends and what happens when play has to stop or resume. You are expected to:
Start each round on time, and
Play continuously and at a prompt pace during each hole until your round is completed.
When it is your turn to play, it is recommended that you make the stroke in no more than 40 seconds, and usually more quickly than that.
5.1 Meaning of Round
A “round ” is 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.
For more information on the meaning of a round and how the Rules apply when play is stopped or when a round ends in a tie.
5.2 Practising on Course Before or Between Rounds
“Practising on the course” means playing a ball from anywhere or testing the surface of the putting green of any hole by rolling a ball or rubbing the surface.
a. Match Play
You may practise on the course before a round or between rounds of a match-play competition.
b. Stroke Play
On the day of a stroke-play competition:
You must not practise on the course before a round, except that you may practise putting or chipping on or near your first teeing area and practise on any practice area.
You may practise on the course after completing play of your final round for that day.
Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.2:
Penalty for first breach: General Penalty (applied to your first hole).
Penalty for second breach: Disqualification.
5.3 Starting and Ending Round
a. When to Start Round
You must start at (and not before or after) your starting time.
Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.3a: Disqualification, except in these three cases:
Exception 1 – You Arrive at Starting Point, Ready to Play, No More Than Five Minutes Late: The general penalty is applied to your first hole.
Exception 2 – You Start No More Than Five Minutes Early: The general penalty is applied to your first hole.
Exception 3 – Committee Decides that Exceptional Circumstances Prevented You from Starting on Time: There is no breach of this Rule and no penalty.
b. When Round Ends
For information on when your round ends.
5.4 Playing in Groups
You must play each hole with your opponent in match play or in the same group as set by the Committee in stroke play.
Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.4: Disqualification.
5.5 Practising During Round or While Play Is Stopped
While playing a hole and between two holes, you must not make a practice stroke.
Exception – Between holes you may practise putting or chipping on or near the putting green of the hole you just completed and any practice green, and the teeing area of your next hole. But such practice strokes must not be made from a bunker and must not unreasonably delay play.
Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.5: General Penalty. If the breach happens between two holes, the penalty applies to your next hole.
For information on practice while play is suspended or otherwise stopped.
5.6 Unreasonable Delay; Prompt Pace of Play
a. Unreasonable Delay of Play
You must not unreasonably delay play, either when playing a hole or between two holes.
Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.6a:
Penalty for first breach: One penalty stroke.
Penalty for second breach: General Penalty.
Penalty for third breach: Disqualification.
If you unreasonably delay play between two holes, the penalty applies to the next hole.
b. Prompt Pace of Play
A round of golf is meant to be played at a prompt pace.
Your pace of play is likely to affect how long it will take other players to play their rounds, including both those in your group and those in following groups. You are encouraged to allow faster groups to play through.
Pace of Play Recommendations. You should play at a prompt pace throughout the round, including the time taken to:
Prepare for and make each stroke,
Move from one place to another between strokes, and
Move to the next teeing area after completing a hole.
You should prepare in advance for your next stroke and be ready to play when it is your turn.
When it is your turn to play:
It is recommended that you make the stroke in no more than 40 seconds after you are (or should be) able to play without interference or distraction, and
You should usually be able to play more quickly than that and are encouraged to do so.
Playing Out of Turn to Help Pace of Play. In stroke play, play “ready golf” in a safe and responsible way.
In match play, you and your opponent may agree that one of you will play out of turn to save time.
5.7 Stopping Play; Resuming Play
a. When You May or Must Stop Play
During a round, you must not stop play except in these cases:
The Committee suspends play.
You believe there is danger from lightning, in which case you must report to the Committee.
In match play, you and your opponent may agree to stop play for any reason, except if doing so delays the competition.
If you stop play for any reason not allowed under this Rule or fail to report to the Committee when required, you are disqualified.
b. What You Must Do When Committee Suspends Play
Immediate Suspension (Such as When There Is Imminent Danger). If the Committee declares an immediate suspension of play, you must stop play at once and must not make another stroke until the Committee resumes play.
Normal Suspension (Such as for Darkness or Unplayable Course). If all players in your group are between two holes, you must stop play and must not make a stroke to begin another hole until the Committee resumes play.
If any player in your group has started a hole, the group may choose either to stop play or to play out the hole. Once your group completes the hole or stops before completing the hole, you must not make another stroke until the Committee resumes play.
Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.7b: Disqualification.
c. What You Must Do When Play Resumes
You must resume play at the time set by the Committee and from where you stopped play on a hole or, if between two holes, at your next teeing area, even if play is resumed on a later day.
Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.7c: Disqualification.
d. Lifting Your Ball When Play Stops; Replacing and Substituting Your Ball When Play Resumes
When stopping play of a hole under this Rule, you may mark and lift your ball.
Either before or when play is resumed:
You must replace the original ball or another ball on the original spot (which if not known must be estimated).
If your ball was not lifted when play was stopped, you may play the ball as it lies, or may mark and lift the ball and replace that ball or another ball on the original spot.
Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Rule 5.7d: General Penalty.