Golf Game Rules For Beginners – Basic Golf Rules That You Should Know Before Playing

Golf Game Rules For Beginners – Basic Golf Rules That You Should Know Before Playing

These are basic golf rules that are designed to help the beginner golf player so that they have an idea about how to play golf following the basic rules. 

In this article, you will come to know about the key elements of golf and its rules to start a game so that you can start playing without wasting your time on understanding the basic golf rules. 

In this post, we have summarized the golf rules in an easy to understand language so that you left confused after reading the golf rules. 

Fact: Do you know that official Golf Rules take up to 100 pages booklet to cover all the rules and was first published by The R&A and USGA

Basic Rules Of Golf For Beginner

basic rules of golf

This is the summary of the rules that give a little idea how to play golf as a beginner, however, there are many things that a beginner golf player should know.

You can ask more regarding this to the experienced golf player; he or she may give you a better understanding of golf and its rules. 

So now, let’s quickly learn some basic rules of golf and how to start golf as a beginner player.

Rule 1 – Golf Game Standards

  • As you began playing, start your golf course as you know it, hit the ball as it is lying, and do not move it more.
  • You are required to follow all the golf rules. You are not supposed to change and ignore any of the rules. Play the game with your all honesty; no tricks are accepted in the game. 

Rule 2 – Course

  • In golf, the course is divided into five parts, first teeing area, from where the game began; Penalty area; Bunkers; Putting green area, where you finish hole; and last General Playing area, whole golf course area. 
  • You may also find No Play Zone area in the course, and it is an area where no one is allowed to play due to the environmentally sensitive area. This course area is designated by different golf courses according to their preference. It is not the same for every golf course. 

Rule 3 – Competition

  • For a stroke play match, the player with the lowest number of strokes wins the match. You try to hit the ball in the best possible manner before you start for the next. 
  • For match play, there is a separate contest for every hole. In this, you win the match if there are more holes up then left to play. For instance, if you have made three-up holes and two holes are left, then you won the match by “three and two,” and your competitor will lose if he or she didn’t. 
  • Remember, you cannot play both stroke play and match play at the same time. 
  • Make sure to remember your tee and always present there to start your game; otherwise, it will be unprofessional. 
  • Make sure to use a correct handicap; otherwise, you won’t come to know the correct scores.

Rule 4 – Player’s Equipment

  • You are allowed to carry more than fourteen golf clubs. 
  • Types of equipment that are made to provide you assistance during the play are strictly prohibited from using, and you will be disqualified. 

Rule 5 – Playing Round

  • For stroke play, try to score for each hole correctly and also sign your card for each before you return to any. 
  • Do not delay the play; also, keep yourself with your group on the front side. No matter what, keep up with the game unless it is lightning. You may become ill, and officials will tell you to stop. 
  • You cannot hit for a practice shot while playing for the hole. Generally, practicing during the match is not allowed; you practice before the event or match starts but not during the match. Sometimes golf committees may change the rules, so make sure to keep yourself updated. 

Rule 6 – Play For The Hole

  • Start your game by playing from the tee area, and play until you put green in the hole unless the play formats tell you to cease your play earlier. 
  • Make sure to tee your ball in the middle of the tee markers or just little behind the markers. 
  • You are allowed to change the ball during a match for a hole, exceptionally only when rules allow you. In case your ball damages or its shape gets changed, you can change the ball with the consent of others. 
  • You are required to play with your ball. So make a mark on the ball to identify it so that it may not mix with the other player balls.
  • In case you do not know with whom you are playing and especially you forget yours, then you will lose in the match play or incur the two-stroke penalty during stroke play. 

Rule 7 – Ball Search

  • You need to search for your own ball, but remember, do not do this deliberately and make others to know where it is lying. 
  • To identify your ball, make sure to mark it uniquely before you began to lift. If you accidentally move the ball during this process, you will not be charged with a penalty. 

Rule 8 – Play Course In The Way You Find It

  • You have to hit the ball in the position you find, as you are only responsible for hitting the ball at that position.
  • You may move the ball by obstructions and impediments.
  • Also, make sure not to position markers to indicate the line where you are playing.

Rule 9 – Play Ball Where It Lies

  • If you find your ball at rest and move, and you even don’t know how it moves, you should play your ball from the new ball resting place. If you find that you or someone else moves the ball in any way, you have to replace the ball and then play. 
  • If you find that the place where the ball lies is impossible to play, then there is a relief form available which you can fill and play the ball from another position without any penalty. 

Rule 10 – Make Stroke, Caddies, And Advice

  • You need to strike the ball with the club’s head fairly. You do not use any assistance or any equipment to aid your stroke. You are also not allowed to use the “anchoring point” in front of your body to make a stroke. 
  • You cannot hit the ball if it is moving, unless if the ball is in water
  • You cannot give any advice to your opponent player except your own partner. Similarly, you cannot ask any advice from your opponent or any other except your partner. 
  • Caddie will point out the line from where you can strike the ball before you start playing. You cannot stand on the playline when you are about to take your stance. 

Rule 11 – If Ball Hit In Motion

  • In case the ball is hit by any person, you or any other equipment accidentally, then there is no penalty for that, and you can play the ball in the position it is lying. This does not include stopping the ball deliberately. 

Rule 12 – Bunkers

  • The bunker is an already prepared area where there is sand.
  • Before you start playing, you can easily move with impediments, but you are not allowed to touch sand near and around the ball. 

Rule 13 – Putting Green

  • It is an exclusive prepared area near the flagstick. 
  • You can clean or brush the area if there are leaves or any other impediments, but you are not allowed to touch the putting line. 
  • You are also allowed to make repairs on your ball marks, and marks appear due to spikes, old holes, or repair shoes before you start playing. 
  • You can make a mark on your ball with a coin size icon or any other mark before you pick the ball to clean or move away from the other player’s way.
  • When you are putting, the flagstick can be removed or can be left in that place; it is your choice. 
  • If you find the ball you hit overhang on the edge of the hole, you are supposed to wait for ten seconds until it drops inside the hole. If it falls inside the hole taking more than ten seconds, you are added with a penalty stroke in your scores. 

Rule 14 – Ball Marking, Replacing, Lifting, & Dropping

dropping, replacing golf rules for beginners
  • Before you lift the ball, make sure to make a mark on it first. The original ball should be replaced unless the rules allow you to substitute it. 
  • In case the original position is altered, you can replace the ball to the nearest point of a lie, or you can recreate the lie in case of a bunker.
  • If the ball has been dropped, you can then use any type of ball, even an original one by dropping it from your knee height to the relief area. 
  • In case you make any mistake while replacing, substituting, or dropping the ball, you can lift the ball again and drop it in the right place before you begin to strike. 
  • In case you play a stroke from the wrong place, you can continue to play the game, but don’t forget to give yourself a general penalty. You should then play from the correct position, or either you will be disqualified. 

Rule 15 – Free Relief

  • You get free relief in case of movable obstructions. Cans, bottles, rakes, etc. are considered as movable obstructions and shelters, sprinkler heads, cart paths, etc. are considered as immovable obstructions. 
  • Loose impediments are those objects that are fixed and not growing like twigs, leaves, stones, fallen tree branches, and insects. 
  • You are allowed to move these movable obstructions and loose impediments freely anywhere on your golf course. Make sure not to move the ball while removing these obstructions and impediments. 
  • If you find the movable obstruction anywhere on the course you can remove them easily, in case of the ball moves while removing these movable obstructions, there is no penalty charge and you can replace the ball freely. 

Rule 16 – Free Relief For Abnormal Conditions And Movable Items

  • You get relief if there is an animal hole on course, immovable obstruction, temporary water, or repairs taking place on the ground. 
  • Interference then exists in case they touch any such area, or they interfere with the intended stance or on the area for the intended swing. 
  • You can drop the ball away if there is an immovable obstruction interfering between your stance or swing. You need to find the point nearest to the earlier one from where you can play your swing or stance without any interference. You need to drop the ball by the length of the club on the point. 

Note: Remember, it is better not to pick the ball before you find the nearest point to get the relief. 

Rule 17 – Penalty Areas

  • Margins of the penalty area are recognized by yellow or red stakes and lines. 
  • In case your ball is lying inside the penalty area, you have to play the ball where it is lying without moving it. 
  • If you are not able to find the ball and do not want to play the ball, you should take a penalty stroke. You can also do it in the following way: 1. you can drop the ball and play it from the last position you played, 2. You can drop the ball behind that area on the straight line towards the hole, keep the ball on the place where it crossed from the last time, 3. If the ball was in the red area, you could drop your ball with the two club length where the ball has crossed the margin, but not nearer the hole. 

Rule 18 – Ball Lost, Provisional, Out of Bounds

  • In case your ball is lost or goes out of the bound, you then need to add a penalty stroke in order to score. You need to play with another ball from the place you played the last stroke. 
  • A ball is considered as lost if it is not found unless the three minutes after you start to search for the ball, and you put another ball to play. 
  • If you find that your ball is lost or go beyond the bounds, you can play or continue your game with the provisional ball from the same place you were playing for the very first. You also need to inform the competitor or opponent while you are playing for the provisional ball. If you are not able to find the lost ball, you need to count your strokes first as well as with the provisional ball. You also need to add a penalty stroke and continue your play with a provisional ball. In case you find your bound ball, you can continue your game again with the first ball and pick up your provisional ball. 

Rule 19 – Unplayable Ball

  • You are allowed to declare the ball unplayable for anywhere on the golf course except for the penalty area. You have to add the penalty stroke and need to do these following steps 1. You need to go back to the position from where you start the last time and play your stroke from that place. 2. You can go back in a straight line on a distance as far as you like but between the place from the unplayable ball and hole and the place you drop your ball, 3. Now you have to measure the distance with the two-club lengths, the place where the unplayable ball is lying, drop the ball at that place, and start playing from that area.
  • In case you declare the ball as unplayable inside the bunker, then you have to drop the ball within the bunker or if you want outside of the bunker for the cost of two strikes. 

Rule 20 – Resolving Rules For Issues During Game

  • In case there are no official rules available for playing in the course, instead of making a delay in the game, you can do 1. For a match play game, you can play a match with the consent of your opponent about how to proceed with the game, and you can agree to start playing the game with the official ruling letter and continue the game with the undecided issue, 2. For stroke play games, there are no such agreements and consent works. You can raise your issue with the course committee before you begin handing the scorecard. 
  • In case you and your opponent are uncertain about how to proceed with the game, you then complete your game by using two balls for the hole. You can count the stroke for which is better for your game. You can only play stroke play golf in such a case. 

Rule 21, 22, 23, & 24 – Other Formats To Play

  • Three Ball & Four Ball: In this form of play, each player gets a chance to play their own ball. In this game format, a player can also play alone in case there is no partner. Partners are also free to play the game form in accordance with their wishes. 
  • Stableford: In this format, stroke play is done by using the point score system instead of calculating all the strokes. In this form, it is not required to hole out for each hole. 
  • Threesomes and Foursomes: In this format, partners are playing games alternatively for one ball. In case you play without your turn, you lose a chance to place the ball in the hole in match play or get a two penalty stroke for stroke play. 


These above are the basic rules of golf that are highly helpful to beginner players for sure. You will get a better idea about how to begin this golf game. 

On the basis of this golf game summary rules, you can further discuss with the experienced player so that he or she is interested in telling you furthermore. 

A newbie should also understand some basic rules before they begin to play the game. You should know what are the game formats in a golf game and how the scoring is done. 

I am sure this article will give a better understanding of how to start a game with this basic set of golf rules. 

Please show your response by filling your remarks in the comment section. It is highly appreciated. 

If you find anything confusing, I will try to improve and help you out. 

Start your golf love with these basic golf rules designed for a beginner player.


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