9 Awesome Golf Rules That Will Easily Surprise You

Here are 9 Golf rules that you might didn't know about! Some PGA stars make an appearance in this article as well!

I have been following tournament golf for years and read the USGA rule book many times. Here are 9 golf rules that will easily surprise you.

Golf is a cruel mistress, and her rules are no exceptions. To master the game, you need to know its rules. I set out to help you.

Playing the wrong ball

Don’t play a ball from a competitor! Sounds easy enough, right?

If you are like me, you enjoy playing in a large group, and things can get hectic!

The beer on the 9th didn’t help, and neither the Pros are excluded from this mistake!

Playing the wrong ball results in a 2 stroke penalty. In Matchplay, the penalty can get you disqualified from the tournament!

As seen on TV

Who: Paul Lawrie & Carl Mason
Tournament: Farmfoods European Legends Links Championship
Year: 2019
Penalty: Disqualified from the tournament

Read more about USGA Rule 6.3 C here

14 Clubs in the bag

Don’t forget to take out that second driver you’re testing out!

Don’t have more than 14 clubs in your bag. Yes, the new Driver looks excellent, but please take out the old one – or learn to put with it and toss out the putter!

It’s easy to fall guilty to this rule. I often have a club in the bag that I’m testing and forget to take it out for a match!

The penalty for this is 2 strokes per hole and no more than 4 strokes in total. Did you think Pros don’t make this mistake?

As seen on TV

Who: Ian Woosnam
Tournament: British Open
Year: 2001
Penalty: 2 strokes

Read more about USGA rule 4.1 here

Can’t find your ball

Nobody likes to loose balls. You’ll have 3 minutes to find it!

Who doesn’t enjoy a nice walk in the woods? The guy who sliced his drive into the trees most likely.

Boundaries are marked on the scorecard and with white stakes on the golf course. If you hit a ball Out of Bounds (OB), you can re-play it from your original position. You call this a provisional, and it costs you 1 stroke.

If you find your ball within 3 minutes, you can play it without penalty.

As seen on TV

Too many to count

Read more about USGA Rule 18.1 here

Seeking Advice / Giving Advice

Wait, a little to the left, no, too much! OK, go!

Golf is a social sport. Explaining to a competitor why he hooked that ball during a tournament will earn you a penalty—a deserved one.

You are not allowed to ask for advice, nor to give advice to your competition. Allowed is factual information such as distance, flag position, and position of the hazards.

You’ll get a one-stroke penalty for each hole you couldn’t control your …

Read more about USGA rule 10 here

Tee off within the tee box

It’s tempting to tee off the ball a little closer to the hole. Especially on that very long par 3!

Tee your ball up between and behind the designated markers on the tee-box. 

Failing to do so will cost you 2 stroke penalty, and you need to play another ball from the teeing area! You are disqualified from the tournament if you don’t correct your mistake!

Read more about USGA rule 6.1 here

Correct Score Count

Keep score correctly! You risk getting disqualified from the tournament!

For some, golf isn’t challenging enough. The rules of golf say that you are responsible for keeping your own score and your opponent’s score. This applies only to Matchplay.

Exchange your scorecards after the round, compare them and sign your name if everything looks fine. If you fail to do so, you’ll get disqualified from the Strokeplay & Matchplay formats tournament.

Again, the beer on the 4th, 9th, and 15th can’t help that task. In my defense, pros are not excluded from this mistake.

As seen on TV

Who: Padraig Harrington
Tournament: Benson and Hedges International Open
Year: 2000
Penalty: Disqualified

Read more about USGA Rule 3 here

One Ball Rule

Did you know that you cannot change the ball (brand & make) from one hole to another? Yeah, me neither.

I doubt the people who invented this rule have to buy their own Pro V’s…

The purpose is to prevent utilizing different characteristics of balls on each shot.

To be fair, this rule is only used in competitions that are limited to skilled players. If enforced, you’ll get a 2 stroke penalty for that. If you fail to use the same ball for the remainder of the round, you get disqualified!

As seen on TV

Who: Phil Mickelson
Tournament: U.S Open
Year: 2018
Penalty: 2 strokes

Read more about USGA Rule G4 here

Bunker Rules

I don’t always hit my sand wedge 200 yards. But when I do, it’s from the green-side bunker.

Bunkers! Or how I call them, Beach holidays. We hate to love them. The golf police have prepared an impressive catalog of rules that leave us plenty of opportunities to pick up some strokes here.

Don’t touch the sand with anything but your feet. Including;

  • Your Club
  • Your Hands
  • The Rake

You are still allowed to Remove loose impediments and movable obstructions.

Failure to do so will each result in a 2 stroke penalty.

As seen on TV

Who: Patrick Reed
Tournament: Hero World Challenge
Year: 2019
Penalty: 2 strokes

Read more about USGA Rule 12 here

Fixing Greens

It’s simple, if you see a divot, fix it!

Fixing divots is essential. Of course, you do it. And you fix other’s divots as well. You’re a real lover of the game!

Be sure to not fix any imperfections of the green as well. That will score you a 2 stroke penalty!

Imperfections include;

  • Animal Damage
  • Aeration
  • Surface Imperfections
  • Natural Wear

This is not a reason to stop fixing your divots. The golf gods will reward you for doing so!

Read more about USGA Rule 13 here

What to do next

Impress your playing partners with your new knowledge during your next round of golf! Impress them even more by reading these 9 Golf Swing Tips For Beginners To Help You Score Better.

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