Lesson Tee

Rules & Etiquette

Below are a few basics that all golfers should follow.

Golf club rules

The maximum number of clubs that you are allowed to carry is fourteen. There is nothing to say that you can't have two drivers or two different types of putter, just that the total number of clubs is limited to fourteen.

Order of play

The player who tees off first has the "honors". In other words, the player who scored the lowest score on the previous hole. If it is the first hole, you can decide amongst yourselves or toss a coin. On the fairway or green, the player who is furthest from the green or hole goes first.

Touching a ball in play

When the ball is in play (after teeing off), you are not allowed to touch or move the ball until it is holed out. The exceptions being; on the green you can mark your ball to clean it before putting; when taking a drop, you have to lift your ball; or you have hit the ball out of bounds and you remove the ball. When on the fairway or especially in the rough or amongst trees, you can remove loose twigs and leaves from around your ball but the ball must not move when doing so.

Teeing Off

When teeing off, you have to place the ball between the two markers and never in front of them. You can stand outside of the teeing area to hit a ball that is inside, but you can't move the markers if they are in your way. When addressing the ball on the tee and the ball falls off, you may replace it without a penalty.

On the green

On the green, you can remove any loose objects from your line of putt. When it is your turn to putt, you must wait until the previous player's ball has stopped moving.

The Flagstick

You will be penalized if you hit the flag stick with your ball while putting from on the green, but not from off the green. So be sure to have someone "tend" the flag for you if you are on the green and are having difficulty seeing the hole.

Out of bounds

Out of bounds will be marked with white stakes. If you hit your ball out of bounds (or you think you have) always hit a second ball from the same spot where you hit initially (i.e. if you hit it OB off the tee, then hit a second tee shot). This second ball is called a provisional. It is best to announce to your playing partners that you are hitting a provisional. When you hit a ball out of bounds your only option is to play a second ball from where you hit initially. You are not permitted to "drop" from where your ball went out of bounds.

Damaged Balls

Golfers can change out their golf ball during a round but it must have a visible cut, crack or is out of shape. However, you cannot change your ball if you have mud on it until you have completed the hole. Before you pick up your ball to change it for another, remember to announce your intention to the player in the group who has your scorecard and announce that you are playing a new ball.

Taking a Free Drop

You are able to take a free drop if there is standing water, if your golf ball is on a cart path, in ground under repair (it is marked with white paint in a circle shape and usually has a sign), water sprinkler heads and yardage markers that are not removable. To take your free drop, take your normal stance with your golf club at your nearest point of relief. Where you have found your nearest point of relief with your golf club, now place a tee and then take your longest club and measure from the tee the length of the club, no closer to the hole and place a second tee in the ground. At this time if you need to clean your ball off you are allowed to do so. To replace your ball, first face the flag or the green you are currently playing and drop the ball between the two tees in the ground. For further details please see Rule 20-2 in the RCGA Rules of Golf.