Author: Jones Harington
Did you know that if you hit the ball out of bounds you have to play it from the same place again with a penalty? This is referred to as a stroke and distance penalty and it is one of the rules of golf. There are many rules most amateurs don’t play by or understand, but this article will help you play by the proper rules more.
First, most golfers don’t play hazards correctly. There is no such rule as “line of flight”. If your ball goes into a hazard marked with yellow stakes, you only get three options. You can play it as it lies in the hazard, you can play it from the spot you originally hit it from, or you can take the ball back as far as you want keeping the spot it crossed the hazard between you and the pin.
A hazard marked with red stakes or lines will give you two additional options. You can use all of the three options above or you can drop the ball within two club lengths of where the ball crossed the hazard no closer to the hole. You can also use what is called equi-distance, opposite margin. This means, you take the ball to the other side of the hazard, no closer to the hole. It works a little bit like a mirror and is only used in specific circumstances.
Amateurs play that the ball can be dropped anywhere along the line of its flight into the hazard and this is illegal. Don’t play by that rule anymore and call your golf partners on it if they don’t play by the right rules.
The second rule amateurs break constantly is playing the ball as it lies. You don’t get to kick it out from behind a tree or rock. The rules of golf state you play the ball as it lies and if you move the ball, you must take a penalty and replace it where it lies. Now, you can declare the ball unplayable, which gives you the ability to drop it two club lengths from where it is and take a penalty stroke.
Finally, another rule broken all the time, which causes issues when tournament play comes around, is finishing every hole. You MUST hole out on every hole. You don’t get to pick up just because you get close to the hole. Yes, some will give putts simply because they want to keep it moving along, but the rules state that you must hole out on every hole. Make a habit of this and your short putting will get much better.
There are many other rules that all amateurs should follow. If you don’t understand the rules of golf, then take the time to do a bit of research and at least learn the basic rules of golf. This will help you play a more honest game and you will know that your scores are honest and real.
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