5 Golf Rules You NEED To Know

Jeremy Ellwood explains the 5 Rules of Golf you need to know, including those around a provisional ball, unplayable lie and what you can and can’t do in bunkers.

Related: New golf rules 2019 – all you need to know

Here are the 5 golf rules you NEED to know…

1. The Scorecard – Rule 6-6 and others

A few things on the scorecard – firstly, you don’t record your own score. The marker records your score and at the end, if the marker makes a mistake and you don’t spot it before you sign – tough luck.

If you sign for a score lower than what you took, you will be disqualified.

All you have to do on a scorecard is write the gross score on each hole. You don’t have to add up stableford points or anything like that, ALL you have to do is record and sign for the correct gross scores per hole.

You must get your scorecard posted in good time. That doesn’t mean after a few beers in the clubhouse, that is against the rules.

2. Unplayable ball – Rule 28

You, as the player, are the sole judge as to whether your ball is unplayable. You could, if you wanted, declare your ball unplayable from the middle of the fairway but obviously you don’t want to do that.

If it’s unplayable you have three options. Firstly, you can go back to where you played from under penalty of one stroke. The second option is to drop within two club lengths from your ball but no nearer to the hole. Your third option is to drop the ball back as far as you like as long as you drop in line with your original ball position and the flag.

3. Provisional – Rule 27-2

The idea is that if you hit your ball somewhere you may not find it, as long as it’s not in a water hazard, you can hit a provisional to save you from walking back. You HAVE to declare your provisional ball as a provisional before you hit it. If you find your original ball then your provisional ball is immediately out of play. You cannot play your provisional if you find your ball. The point of a provisional is to save time. If you’re in any doubt, hit a provisional and remember to declare it.

4. Definitions – Nearest point of relief

The nearest point of relief doesn’t mean ‘nicest’ point of relief. Sometimes the nearest point of relief may be in a bush so it is better playing your ball from where it lies like a cart path.

5. Various bunker rules

Some key things you can and can’t do in bunkers:

Obviously you cannot ground your club in the sand, the only time you can hit the sand is at impact. If you do ground your club then you will be penalised.

Loose impediments in bunkers cannot be touched. Natural things like pine cones, twigs and leaves cannot be moved. Man-made objects like sweet wrappers and paper cups can be moved.

Stones are classed as loose impediments so you cannot touch them, UNLESS there is a local rule in place. Fortunately, some golf clubs, perhaps even most clubs, have a local rule in place allowing you to move stones.