Rule 1

Definitions

 

Course

The "course’’ is the whole area within any boundaries established by the Committee (see Rule 33-2).

Rule or Rules

The term "Rule’’ includes:

a. The Rules of Golf and their interpretations as contained in "Decisions on the Rules of Golf";

b. Any Conditions of Competition established by the Committee under Rule 33-1 and Appendix I;

c. Any Local Rules established by the Committee under Rule 33-8a and Appendix I; and

d. The specifications on clubs and the ball in Appendices II and III.

Stipulated Round

The "stipulated round’’ consists of playing the holes of the course in their correct sequence unless otherwise authorized by the Committee. The number of holes in a stipulated round is 18 unless a smaller number is authorized by the Committee. As to extension of stipulated round in match play, see Rule 2-3.

Rule 1. The Game

1-1. General

The Game of Golf consists of playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules.

1-2. Exerting Influence on Ball

A player or caddie must not take any action to influence the position or the movement of a ball except in accordance with the Rules.

(Removal of movable obstruction — see Rule 24-1.)

Penalty for Breach of Rule 1-2:

Match play — Loss of hole; Stroke play — Two strokes.

Note: In the case of a serious breach of Rule 1-2, the Committee may impose a penalty of disqualification.

1-3. Agreement to Waive Rules

Players must not agree to exclude the operation of any Rule or to waive any penalty incurred.

Penalty for Breach of Rule 1-3:

Match play — Disqualification of both sides;

Stroke play — Disqualification of competitors concerned.

(Agreeing to play out of turn in stroke play — see Rule 10-2c.)

1-4. Points Not Covered by Rules

If any point in dispute is not covered by the Rules, the decision should be made in accordance with equity.

Key Decisions

1-1/2 Player Unaware He Has Holed Out Puts Another Ball into Play

Q. A player, unable to find his ball, puts another ball into play. He then discovers that his original ball is in the hole. What is the ruling?

A. The score with the original ball counts. The play of the hole was completed when the player holed that ball.

1-2/4 Player Jumps Close to Hole to Cause Ball to Drop

Q. A ball overhangs the lip of the hole. The player jumps close to the hole in the hope of jarring the earth and causing the ball to fall into the hole, which it does. Is this permissible?

A. No.

If the ball was still moving when the player jumped, the player took action to influence the movement of the ball in breach of Rule 1-2. In match play, he lost the hole. In stroke play, he incurred a penalty of two strokes, and the ball was holed.

If the ball was at rest when the player jumped, it should be assumed that the player caused the ball to move, and he incurred a penalty of one stroke in both match and stroke play under Rule 18-2a and was required to replace the ball.

If it is not possible to determine whether the ball was still moving, it should be presumed to be moving unless it was deemed to be at rest under Rule 16-2.

1-3/2 Agreement to Concede Short Putts

Q. In a match, the two players agree in advance to concede all putts within a specified length. Is this contrary to Rule 1-3?

A. Yes. The players agreed to exclude the operation of Rule 1-1 and should be disqualified under Rule 1-3. Under Rule 2-4, the only stroke which may be conceded is the "next stroke" and it cannot be conceded in advance.

1-4/10 Dangerous Situation; Rattlesnake or Bees Interfere with Play

Q. A player’s ball comes to rest in a situation dangerous to the player, e.g., near a live rattlesnake or a bees’ nest. Does the player have any options in addition to playing the ball as it lies or, if applicable, proceeding under Rule 26 or 28?

A. Yes. It is unreasonable to expect the player to play from such a dangerous situation and unfair to require the player to incur a penalty under Rule 26 (Water Hazards) or Rule 28 (Ball Unplayable).

In equity (Rule 1-4), as an additional option the player should be permitted, without penalty, to drop a ball on the nearest spot not nearer the hole which is not dangerous.

If the ball lay in a hazard, it should be dropped, if possible, in the same hazard and, if not, in a similar nearby hazard, but in either case not nearer the hole. If it is not possible for the player to drop the ball in a hazard, he may drop it, under penalty of one stroke, outside the hazard, keeping the point where the original ball lay between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped.

If it is clearly unreasonable for the player to play a stroke because of interference by anything other than the dangerous situation he may not take relief as prescribed above, but he is not precluded from proceeding under Rule 26 or 28.

Danger from Fire Ants — See 33-8/22.

1-4/12 Player Breaches Rules More Than Once Prior to Stroke; Whether Multiple Penalties Applied

Prior to making a stroke, there may be circumstances where a player breaches a Rule more than once, or breaches different Rules and it would seem that a penalty should be applied to each separate breach. However, in the majority of cases and based on equity (Rule 1-4), it would not be appropriate to apply multiple penalties.

For the purpose of applying the principles in this Decision, Rules 4-3a, 4-3b, 4-3c, 13-4a, 13-4b, 13-4c, 14-2a, 14-2b, 17-3a, 17-3b, 17-3c, 18-2a and 18-2b should be considered as separate Rules.

Below are the specific principles to be applied when determining whether multiple penalties are appropriate when more than one breach has occurred prior to a player making a stroke:

1. SINGLE ACT RESULTS IN ONE RULE BEING BREACHED MORE THAN ONCE — SINGLE PENALTY APPLIED

Example: In stroke play, a competitor’s ball on the putting green strikes a fellow-competitor’s ball in breach of Rule 19-5 and then strikes another fellow-competitor’s ball, also in breach of Rule 19-5. The ruling would be a single two-stroke penalty (see Decision 19-5/3).

2. SINGLE ACT RESULTS IN TWO RULES BEING BREACHED — SINGLE PENALTY APPLIED

Example: In stroke play, a competitor is considering putting his ball from a bunker and rakes a footprint in the bunker on his line of play. Both Rule 13-2 and Rule 13-4a have been breached. The ruling would be a single two-stroke penalty.

3. MULTIPLE OCCURRENCES OF THE SAME OR SIMILAR ACTS RESULT IN ONE RULE BEING BREACHED MORE THAN ONCE — SINGLE PENALTY APPLIED

Example 1: In stroke play, a competitor takes several practice swings in a hazard, touching the ground each time. The ruling would be a single two-stroke penalty (see Decision 13-4/3).

Example 2: In stroke play, a player removes sand on his line of play through the green and presses down a replaced divot which is also on his line of play. The ruling would be a single two-stroke penalty.

4. DIFFERENT ACTS RESULT IN TWO RULES BEING BREACHED, BUT BREACH OF SECOND RULE IS A DIRECT CONSEQUENCE OF THE INITIAL BREACH — SINGLE PENALTY APPLIED

Example: In stroke play, a competitor’s ball moves prior to address and while it is in motion it is accidentally stopped by the competitor’s club in breach of Rule 19-2b. The competitor then moves the club and, therefore, moves his ball, normally a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a. This would result in a single two-stroke penalty under Rule 19-2b (see Decision 19-2/1.5).

5. DIFFERENT ACTS RESULT IN TWO RULES BEING BREACHED — MULTIPLE PENALTIES APPLIED

Example: In stroke play, a competitor (1) lifts his ball in play and (2) substitutes another ball, both acts without authority, and plays the substituted ball. The ruling would be a one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2a (lifting the ball in play) and a further penalty of two strokes under Rule 15-2 and the applicable Rule (substitution without correction), giving a total penalty of three strokes (see Decision 15/6.5).

6. DIFFERENT ACTS RESULT IN ONE RULE BEING BREACHED MORE THAN ONCE — MULTIPLE PENALTIES APPLIED

Example: In stroke play, a competitor (1) purposely steps on another player’s line of putt with the intention of improving the line, and then (2) purposely stops his own ball in motion after it began moving without apparent cause before address. The ruling would be two separate penalties, each of two strokes, for breaches of Rule 1-2, giving a total penalty of four strokes.

The following chart summarizes the principles of this Decision:

8-2a/3 Player Places Mark to Indicate Distance for Pitch Shot

Q. A player who has a pitch shot places a club on the ground off his line of play to indicate the distance he would like his ball to carry and leaves the club there during the stroke. What is the ruling?

A. In view of the purpose of Rule 8-2a, in equity (Rule 1-4), the player incurs the general penalty of loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play.

19-1/4 Ball Played from Putting Green Deliberately Deflected or Stopped by Spectator

Q. A player plays a stroke from the putting green and, while the ball is still in motion, a spectator deliberately deflects or stops it. What is the ruling?

A. The Committee must act in equity — see Note under Rule 19-1. The stroke should be canceled, the ball replaced and the stroke replayed, without penalty.

 

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