The R&A has unveiled an Online Rules Academy – a free web-based course designed to help the golfing community improve their knowledge and grasp of the Rules of Golf.

R&A Working for Golf ambassadors Padraig Harrington and Suzann Pettersen guide users through the virtual course, which includes video, images and diagrams of rules situations.

The Rules Academy shows users, through a tee-to-green approach, what they need to know at each point – from where to tee your ball and how to take relief to holing out and completing a scorecard.

The programme also includes revision questions after each section and and covers golfing essentials, such as sportsmanship, integrity and respect.

Upon completion, participants can take a Level 1 rules exam and, if successful, they will receive a certificate signed by their guiding player.

“The Rules Academy is a great idea for helping golfers to improve their knowledge of the Rules of Golf in a quick and easy way,” said Harrington.

“A short online course will make the rules and how they are applies much less daunting and the gam more enjoyable as a result.”

Pettersen, an 11-time LPGA Champion, added: “Learning more about the rules can help you get more out of the game, so I would urge people to get online and take the course.”

The Acadamy – which should take no more than three hours – is free to view, with the end-of-programme exam costing £10.

Funds raised from the exams will go towards the R&A’s Working for Golf programme, which supports the development of the game on a global scale.

David Rickman, the R&A’s Executive Director for Rules of Golf and Equipment Standards, said:

“The course will guide people as to how the game is meant to be played and the rules that apply in particular situations.

“I’m delighted that we can now offer the online Rules Academy to those that want to master the basic rules and etiquette of this great game.”