The seven Rules of Golf you may not know exist

Rules of Golf

While we’re in a rules frenzy ahead of the 2019 decrees coming in, Steve Carroll looks at the regulations – old and new – that might have passed you by

5. The lowest gross score takes the honour

Someone’s trying to tell you that the three Stableford points they scored on the last hole gives them the right to hit the first shot on the next tee. You can now send them away with a flea in their ear.

Now, in the 2019 rules, it doesn’t matter how many points you rack up, it’s the lowest gross score that takes the honour. Rule 6.4b states that: “The player in the group with the lowest gross score at a hole has the honour at the next teeing area” and adds “the honour is based on gross scores, even in a handicap competition”.

It shouldn’t matter, though. If it’s not matchplay, you should all be playing Ready Golf anyway. Just tee it up and get on with it.

6. You can practise on the course between holes

When you are playing a hole and between two holes, you can’t take a practice stroke.

But Rule 5.5b also says that “between holes you may practise putting or chipping on or near the putting green of the hole you’ve just completed and any practice green (Rule 13.1e), and the teeing area of your next hole”.

Don’t repeat that bunker shot, though, and don’t hold up the group behind or you might find yourself in the line of fire (Rule 5.6a).

Nor should you make the mistake of thinking you can pop out before a medal and get a few holes in. You can’t practise on the course before a round on the day of a strokeplay competition. You can do it, though, in a matchplay competition.

7. You’re allowed to borrow a ball from someone else

rules of golf

Caddie Steve Williams tells a great story about how he freaked out when he almost ran out of balls as Tiger Woods was smashing up the field at the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach.

The GOAT won by 15 in the end but Williams was almost running to the pro shop towards the end of the second round as Tiger teed it up at the 18th.

Why? Because it was the last ball in his bag. Williams hadn’t noticed he was light on equipment and was in full panic mode as Woods prepared to take on the formidable last.

He need not have worried. Rule 4.2 states that a “player may get a conforming ball to play from anyone else, including another player on the course”.

Make sure to check out the competition conditions, though. They may require, for example, that you only use the same type of ball throughout your round.

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