Welcome to The Complete Beginner’s Introduction to Golf! This guide was written with
the absolute ‘newbie’ in mind. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about golf and how to play
it, you’ll find a great, ‘big picture’ overview here.
I’ve tried to organize everything in logical sections to address the most common questions a
beginner might have about the game, including:
Section I: Why Play?
Section II: Golf Etiquette
Section III: How the Game is Played: Types of Golf
Section IV: Types of Golf Clubs
Section V: Using Clubs: A Matter of Distance
I’ve also included a Glossary of Terms at the very end of this guide to help you familiarize
yourself with the golf ‘lingo’ you’ll need to understand when you take up the game in earnest
and start learning the rules.
Before we jump in, though, I’d like to take a moment to share with you some important advice
about ‘mindset’ when it comes to this game. These are factors which can affect both your skill
as a player, as well as your enjoyment of the game.
Point One: Golf Requires Physical and Mental Fitness
To play well at golf, especially when it comes to lowering your ‘handicap’, you need to
combine your mental focus and concentration with physical fitness.
Because golf requires that your body and mind work together. You can visualize making the
perfect swing on or off the course – and visualization helps – but it won’t be enough unless
you’ve got the strength and flexibility to pull it off.
Of course, almost anyone can play golf regardless of age and, to some degree, level of
physical fitness. The point, however, is that playing really well requires you to get in shape
much as you would for any other sport.

This isn’t to say that you have to do any strenuous cardiovascular exercise, but you should
definitely work to strengthen and stretch the muscles in your arms, legs and back.
Point Two: Golf Requires Commitment
Like any sport, golf requires you to put in plenty of practice time. You’ve got to learn how to
swing a ‘driver’ for distance shots, and how to control putters, irons and wedges over shorter
Along with your time commitment comes a commitment of money. All of that equipment, even
when purchased used, does not come cheaply. The last thing you want is a $500 set of clubs
gathering dust in your closet.
So, if you don’t think you’ll have much time to devote to golf, then I highly recommend renting
the bulk of your equipment. As a beginner, you only need a few practice clubs around the
house anyways.
I know, new gear is often one of the funnest aspects of picking up any sport, but trust me on
this one! Give yourself time to learn the game and gauge your commitment to it before you
invest in all of the equipment.
Without Further Ado…
Those are the two main disclaimers I want you to keep in mind. The rest is up to you. I’d like
to welcome you to the world of golf! Let’s go ahead and get started.
Why Play?
Why play golf? Hopefully, you’ll play it because you have a lot of fun doing so. However,
there are some other benefits to the sport you might not have thought of at first glance.
First, golf can be a great way to network and form friendships. The pace of the game lends
itself to conversation and friendly rivalry. A lot of business people and professionals who play
golf use the time spent on the course as an informal ‘meeting’, trading ideas and making
Second, learning golf can help you become a better athlete all-around, even if you mostly
prefer faster-paced ‘contact’ sports. Why? Because to play golf well, you actually have to be
in good shape both mentally and physically.
A good execution of swing technique requires you to judge distance accurately, correlate that
distance with the amount of force to apply, then integrate your brain’s visualization with your
body’s action! That’s a skill you can use in any sport.

Golf Etiquette
The rules of etiquette in golf center around issues of:
 Safety
 Consideration for other players
 Pace of play
What could possibly go wrong on a golf course, you ask? All sorts of things! The primary risk
for any golfer is the risk of getting hit by something – be it a stray golf ball or the club of
another player.
So, rule #1 is: look before you swing!
It doesn’t matter if your taking your ‘official’ turn or just doing a practice swing. Always look to
make sure that:
1. No one is standing near you who may be hit by the club.
2. There are no rock, twigs, etc that might strike you or someone else
if your club sweeps them up.
3. There’s no one close on the green in front of you who could potentially be hit by
your ball.
As for general, common sense guidelines: be mindful of ground abnormalities as you’re
walking the green, and make sure you’ve got any emergency necessities you might need like
a cell phone, medications, water, etc.
Respect for other players is one of the hallmarks of golf. When it is someone’s turn to play,
they are said to have the “honor”.
Whoever has the honor is allowed to make their play before any fellow-competitor swings or
tees the ball. In other words, if it isn’t your turn, the considerate thing to do is stand quiety at a
distance while your fellow player tees up and takes his shot.
Additionally, ‘honor’ applies to any player or group of players who happen to be in front of you
on the course. You should not play until they are out of range.

Although golf is considered a ‘leisurely’ game, the Rules state that all players should play
“without undue delay.” This doesn’t mean you have to rush your shot, but the Rules have
some specific instruction as to the time spent walking the green and looking for balls.
First, if your ball is lost outside a water hazard or out of bounds, you should play a provisional
ball rather than waste time searching for the lost ball.
Second, when you are searching for a ball, you should signal the players behind you to move
ahead on the green. If you happen to find your ball shortly thereafter, you must wait for those
players to move out of range.
Third, you must leave the putting green immediately after completing the play of hole.
As far as other guidelines concerning a player’s priority on the course, when no other special
rules exist, the following is recommended:
1. Two-ball matches take precedence over three- and four-ball matches.
2. Single players have no standing and should yield the way to all other forms of matches.
3. Any match playing a whole round (18 holes) is entitled to pass a match playing a shorter
How the Game Is Played: Types of Golf
Golf appears deceptively simple to outsiders. ‘Where’s the challenge,’ you might ask, ‘in
knocking a ball around with a club?’ Ah, but it’s so much more than that!
We can get an inkling of the true challenge of the sport by looking at the “official definition” set
out in “The Rules of Golf” published by the United States Golf Association:
“The Game of Golf consists in playing a ball from the teeing ground into the hole
by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules”
The key phrase here is “in accordance with the Rules.” If golf were merely a matter of ‘holing’
a ball within the least amount of strokes (aka, swings of the club), there’d be no challenge.
But that’s not all there is to it. There are special rules in place for the order of play, for scoring
and for dealing with the various obstacles and hazards of the course that make the game
much more exciting and challenging than it would be otherwise.

So, yes – at heart, your goal is to get the ball into all 18 holes in as few strokes as possible;
but to say that’s all there is to it is to ignore all of the variables that make this ancient sport
one of the most popular of sports worldwide.
Let’s shed some light on this now by looking at the different types of golf you can play.
Match Play
In match play, you can play against one other person or as team against team. The goal in
match play is to ‘win’ more holes than you have left to play. In order to ‘win’ a hole, you must
sink the ball into it in fewer strokes than your competitor.
“A match is won by the side which is leading by a number of holes
greater than the number of holes remaining to be played.”
So, for example, let’s say you’re on the ninth hole and it takes you 4 strokes to sink the ball,
but 5 strokes for your competitor to sink it. In that case, you win the ninth hole.
Further, let’s say you’ve both played 15 holes so far, leaving 3 left to play. Your competitor has
won 10 holes, and you’ve won 5. In golf, this is not stated as a score of “10 to 5.” Instead, it
phrased in terms of “up or down”, relative to the total.
You would be considered “down by 5”, while your competitor would be “up by 5”.
To clarify this a bit more, let’s look at the definitions of some of the most common, ‘final’
match-play scores:
1-up: After a full 18 holes, the winner finished with one more hole than
the runner up. In order for this to work mathematically, some of the holes
must be scored as “halved” or “tied”.
2 and 1 (or “3 and 2”, “4 and 3”, etc): This type of score indicates that the
winner got an early lead, and won the match before all 18 holes were played.
Three-ball is a type of match play involving three competitors who compete against one
another, and each plays his own ball.
Technically, you have six separate matches going on at once because there are two distinct
matches per person, e.g.:
John –> In a match against Linda and Robert
Linda –> In a match against John and Robert
Robert –> In a match against John and Linda

In a best-ball match, one player plays against the ‘better ball’ of two players, or against the
best-ball of three players. Sound confusing? It’s actually a type of team ‘stroke-play’ where
the score for each team is determined by player with the lowest stroke count on that side.
For example, let’s say that your team consists of 3 players (A, B and C) and you each play the
hole in succession like so:
Player A: 4 strokes
Player B: 5 strokes
Player C: 3 strokes
The ‘best-ball’ in this case is that of Player C, and your team’s score for that hole is deemed to
be ‘3 strokes’. Your competitor now has to “match” or “beat” your side by sinking the ball in 3
strokes or less, otherwise he’ll end up adding to his total number of strokes for the round,
which is how the game will be decided.
This is essentially the same thing as a best-ball match play competition, except you play for
holes instead of total strokes. There are 2 people per ‘side’ or ‘team’.
The scoring would work as in the following example:
Team ‘A’
Player 1: 6 strokes
Player 2: 4 strokes
Team ‘B’
Player 1: 5 strokes
Player 2: 7 strokes
Team A’s lowest score is 4 strokes, and Team B’s is 5 strokes. Since this is a match-play, the
hole goes to the side that sank the ball in the fewest strokes. Team A would then win the hole.

Stroke Play
In stroke play, you win by playing all 18 holes in the fewest strokes. It sounds suspiciously like
match play, but it’s not — so, what’s the difference?
Consider the following scenario: let’s say that you’ve completed 5 holes in 10 strokes, and
your competitor has completed 5 holes in 20 strokes.
If this were a match play game, you’d be in the lead because it took you only 2 strokes per
hole to sink the ball compared to your competitor’s 4 strokes. Your competitor could still win,
though, since you are both up by 5 and have 8 holes left to play.
However, in stroke play, your position here would be much stronger. Let’s say that it took you
16 strokes to complete the remaining 8 holes, while your competitor got straight “holes-inone”
the rest of the way.
If you tally up the total strokes, you still win:
You: 10 + 16 = 26 strokes
Competitor: 20 + 8 = 28 strokes
Also, keep in mind that you move on from each hole in a match play once the winner is
determined. If you were to sink the ball in one stroke, your competitor in a match play would
have to cede that hole to you the moment his first stroke missed the hole.
Not the case in stroke play, though. You and your competitor both keep swinging to sink your
own balls before moving on.
Bogey, Par and Stableford Competitions
Each of the above is a type of stroke play, but with some special ‘twists’. The competitors play
against a fixed score at each hole.
Players are allowed a maximum of 14 clubs with which to play, and must ‘keep up the pace’ of
the game. Any delay or slow-play results in having one hole deducted from your overall score.
Bogey and Par
The reckoning of scores in bogey and par competitions is similar to match-play. The winner is
the player who finishes in the fewest strokes across the aggregate of all holes.
Each hole is assigned a gross number of strokes, and the competitor must shoot a net score
that is equal to or less than the gross, fixed score.

Stableford Competitions
In a Stableford competition, points are awarded in relation to a fixed score at each hole:
1. More than one over fixed score or no score returned — 0 points
2. One over fixed score — 1 point
3. Fixed score — 2 points
4. One under fixed score — 3 points
5. Two under fixed score — 4 points
6. Three under fixed score — 5 points
7. Four under fixed score — 6 points
So, let’s say that the fixed score at a hole is ‘5 strokes’, and you hole the ball in 4 strokes. This
would be reckoned as “one under fixed score”, and you’d earn 3 points.
The winner of this type of competition is the competitor who scores the highest number of

Types of Golf Clubs
There are 4 main types of golf clubs you should get familiar with:
 Woods
 Irons
 Wedges
 Putters
Every complete set of clubs should include at least one of these types of clubs and, usually,
you’ll want to have more than one of each type. Each type of club serves a purpose based on
where you are on the green, and what type of shot you’re trying to make.
The woods are the ‘drivers’ (or ‘fairway woods’) used for long shots. They range in ‘loft’ from
1-11, with the 3- and 5- woods being the common choice for most average players.
Irons are considered as ‘pitching wedges’. They range in ‘loft’ from 1-9. These are further
classified as ‘long irons’ (1-4), ‘mid irons’ (5 and 6) and ‘short irons’ (7-9). Although the 9-iron
is well-known even among non-golfers, it’s the 3-iron that’s most often used as a pitching
The wedges include the “gap wedge”, “sand wedge” and “lob wedge”. They’re typically used
for situations, such as in a hazard or obstruction, where you need the ball to arc high in order
to clear the hazard.
Putters come in a variety of shapes. Some are ‘bladed’, similar to irons, while others have a
flat, thin head which lays perpendicular to the club’s shaft.
As the name suggests, these clubs are used to ‘putt’ the ball to the hole over relatively short

Using Clubs: A Matter of Distance
For most beginners, the first question is always: “How do I know which club to use and
when?” Although some subtle factors can come into play, the overriding criteria comes down
to the distance of the shot your hoping to make.
In other words, once you know how far you need the ball to go, you choose the club that will
hit it that distance.
What you have to pay attention to on an individual level, though, is how far a club will hit the
ball for you, based on your strength and skill level. The average man can complete a
successful swing using, say, a 1-wood driver (the longest of the woods).
However, a petite woman or an elderly player might opt for a 3-wood or 5-wood for the same
shot because the length of the club is more comfortable. So long as you can make up for the
power difference on the shot, you should be able to get the ball pretty close to where you
want it to go.
There’s really no exact standard when it comes to how far a given club will hit a ball, but we
can delineate some average measurements. The bulk of your irons will drive a ball between
100-250 yards. Your pitching wedges will average +/- 100 yards. If you happen to be at sealevel,
you’ll want to reduce those estimates by about 10%.
The absolute best way to find out which club you need to use, though, is to go out onto the
course and start hitting golf balls! Try out each type of club and see how far you can make it
go, because it is your strength and your technique that will have the most impact.
I hope you’ve enjoyed The Complete Beginner’s Introduction to Golf. Where do you go
from here? The first thing I would recommend is to locate some beginner’s groups in your
area. You might be able to find some informal classes through a local university, health club,
church, YMCA, etc.
The reason for this is simple: it’s easier and more affordable to get ‘real world’ instruction from
fellow golfers when you first start out. Formal golf lessons can be pretty expensive, and I
wouldn’t recommend them until you’ve had time to play some practice rounds in an informal
environment, judging for yourself whether golf is a sport you’d like to take up in earnest.
Second, I recommend taking advantage of the wealth of information available to you on the
Internet. There are numerous web sites that offer free ‘how to’ information, as well as paid
instruction in the form of books and videos. The last I checked, there’s even a few companies
selling software that helps you with your golf swing!

If you’d like to get your own copy of “The Rules of Golf: And the Rules of Amateur Status”, visit
http://www.usga.org or write to the United States Golf Association at:
United States Golf Association
Liberty Corner Road
P.O. Box 708
Far Hills, NJ 07931
When it’s time to start looking for your own set of golf clubs, I high recommend buying them
used. You can find some great deals on Ebay, as well as other online retailers that specialize
in used clubs.
Just make sure you’ve had a chance to test the clubs you are interested in before purchasing
them. Most sporting goods stores will let you try out different clubs and help you determine
which ones are a good fit.
Before we go, I’d like to leave you with one of my all-time favorite golf jokes: “The True Rules
of Golf”
The True Rules Of Golf
• Non chalant putts count the same as chalant putts.
• The shortest distance beween any two points on a golf course is a
straight line that passes directly through the center of a very large tree.
• There are two kinds of bounces: unfair bounces, and bounces just the
way you meant to play it.
• You can hit a 2-acre fairway 10% of the time, and a 2-inch branch 90% of
the time.
• Every time a golfer makes a birdie, he must subsequently make two triple
bogeys to restore the fundamental equilibrium of the universe.
• If you want to hit a 7-iron as far as Tiger Woods does, simply try to lay up
just short of a water hazard.
• To calculate the speed of a player’s downswing, multiply the speed of his
backswing by his handicap. Example: backswing 20 mph, handicap 15,
downswing 600 mph.

Hope you enjoyed the laughs. Don’t forget to check out the glossary of terms and definitions
included at the end of this report.
Here’s wishing you the best of luck on your golf adventures. Have fun!
Golf Terms and Definitions
Below is a fairly complete list of golf terms and their definitions. You’ll want to familiarize
yourself with these so that you can understand the Rules of Golf.
Abnormal Ground Conditions
An “abnormal ground condition” is any casual water, ground water, ground under repair or
hole, cast or runway on the course made by a burrowing animal, a reptile or bird.
Addressing the Ball
A player has “addressed the ball” when he has taken his stance and has also grounded his
club, except that in a hazard a player has addressed the ball when he has taken his stance.
“Advice” is any counsel or suggestion which could influence a player in determining his play,
the choice of a club or the method of making a stroke. Information on the Rules or on matters
of public information, such as the position of hazards or the flagstick on the putting green is
not advice.
Ball Deemed to Move
See “Move or Moved.”
Ball Holed
See “Holed.”
Ball Lost
See “Lost Ball.”
Ball in Play
A ball in “in play” as soon as the player has made a stroke on the teeing ground. It remains in
play until holed out, except when it is lost, out of bounds or lifted, or another ball has been
substituted whether or not such substitution is permitted; a ball so substituted becomes a ball
in play.

a “bunker” is a hazard consisting of a prepared area of ground, often a hollow, from which turf
or soil has been removed and replaced with sand or the like. Grass-covered ground bordering
or within a bunker is not part of the bunker. The margin of a bunker extends vertically
downward, but not upward. A ball is in a bunker when it lies in or any part part of it touches
the bunker.
Burrowing Animals
A “burrowing animal” is an animal that makes a hole for habitation or shelter, such as a rabbit,
mole, ground hog, gopher or salamander.
Note: A hole made by a non-burrowing animal, such as a dog, is not an abnormal ground
condition unless marked or declared as ground under repair.
A “caddie” is one who carries or handles a player’s clubs during play and otherwise assists
him in accordance with the Rules.
When one caddie is employed by more than one player, he is always deemed to be the
caddie of the player whose ball is involved, and equipment carried by him is deemed to be
that player’s equipment, except when the caddie acts upon specific directions of another
player, in which case he is considered to be that other player’s caddie.
Casual Water
“Casual water” is any temporary accumulation of water on the course which is visible before
or after the player takes his stance and is not in a water hazard. Snow and natural ice, other
than frost, are either casual water or loose impediments, at the option of the player.
Manufactured ice is an obstruction. Dew and frost are not casual water. A ball is in casual
water when it lies in or any part of it touches the casual water.
The “Committee” is the committee in charge of the competition or, if the matter does not arise
in a competition, the committee in charge of the course.
A “competitor” is a player in stroke competition. A “fellow-competitor” is any person with whom
the competitor plays. Neither is a partner of the other.
In stroke play foursome and four-ball competitions, where the context so admits, the word
“competitor” or “fellow-competitor” includes his partner.

The “course” is the whole area within which play is permitted.
“Equipment” is anything used, worn or carried by or for the player except any ball he has
played at the hole being played and any small object, such as a coin or a tee, when used to
mark the position of a ball or the extent of an area in which a ball is to be dropped.
Equipment includes a golf cart, whether or not motorized. If such a cart is shared by two ore
more players, the cart and everything in it are deemed to be equipment of the player whose
ball is involved except that, when the cart is being moved by one of the players sharing it, the
cart and everything in it are deemed to be that player’s equipment.
Note: A ball played at the hole being played is equipment when it has been lifted and not put
back into play.
See “Competitor.”
The “flagstick” is a movable straight indicator, with or without bunting or other material
attached, centered in the hole to show its position. It shall be circular in cross-section.
A “forecaddie” is one who is employed by the Committee to indicate to players the position of
balls during play. He is an outside agency.
Ground Under Repair
“Ground under repair” is any part of the course so marked by order of the Committee or so
declared by its authorized representative. It includes material piled for removal and a hole
made by a greenkeeper, even if not so marked.
All ground and any grass, bush, tree or other growing thing within the ground under repair is
part of the ground under repair. The margin of ground under repair extends vertically downward,
but not upward. Stakes and lines defining ground under repair are in such ground. Such
stakes are obstructions. A ball is in ground under repair when it lies in or any part of it touches
the ground under repair.
Note 1: Grass cuttings and other material left on the course which have been abandoned and
are not intended to be removed are not ground under repair unless so marked.

Note 2: The Committee may make a Local Rule prohibiting play from ground under repair or
an environmentally-sensitive area which has been defined ground under repair.
A “hazard” any bunker or water hazard.
The “hole” shall be 4-1/2 inches (108 mm) in diameter and at least 4 inches (100 mm) deep. If
a lining is used, it shall be sunk at least 1 inch (25 mm) below the putting green surface
unless the nature of the soil make it impracticable to do so; its outer diameter shall not exceed
4-1/2 inches (108 mm).
A ball is “holed” when it is at rest within the circumference of the hole and all of it is below the
level of the lip of the hole.
The player who is to play first from the teeing ground is said to have the “honor.”
Lateral Water Hazard
A “lateral water hazard” is a water hazard or that part of a water hazard so situated that it is
not possible or is deemed by the Committee to be impracticable to drop a ball behind the
water hazard in accordance with Rule 26-1b.
That part of a water hazard to be played as a lateral water hazard should be distinctively
marked. A ball is in a lateral water hazard when it lies in or any part of it touches the lateral
water hazard.
Note 1: Lateral water hazards should be defined by red stakes or lines.
Note 2: The Committee may make a Local Ruling prohibiting play from an environmentallysensitive
area which has been defined as a lateral water hazard.
Note 3: The Committee may define a lateral water hazard as a water hazard.
Line of Play
The “line of play” is the direction which the player wishes his ball to take after a stroke, plus a
reasonable distance on either side of the intended direction. The line of play extends vertically
upward from the ground, but does not extend beyond the hole.

Line of Putt
The “line of putt” is the line which the player wishes his ball to take after a stroke on the
putting green. Except with respect to Rule 16-1e, the line of putt includes a reasonable
distance on either side of the intended line. The line of putt does not extend beyond the hole.
Loose Impediments
“Loose impediments” are natural objects such as stones, leaves, twigs, branches and the like,
dung, worms and insects and casts or heaps made by them, provided they are not fixed or
growing, are not solidly embedded and do not adhere to the ball.
Sand and loose soil are loose impediments on the putting green, but not elsewhere.
Snow and natural ice, other than frost, are either casual water or loose impediments, at the
option of the player. Manufactured ice is an obstruction. Dew and frost are not loose
Loose Ball
A ball is “lost” if:
a. It is not found or identified as his by the player within five minutes after the player’s side or
his or their caddies have begun to search for it; or
b. The player has put another ball into play under the Rules, even though he may not have
searched for the original ball; or
c. The player has played any stroke with a provisional ball from the place where the original
ball is likely to be or from a point nearer the hole than that place, whereupon the provisional
ball becomes the ball in play.
Time spent in playing the wrong ball is not counted in the five-minute period allowed for
A “marker” is one who is appointed by the Committee to record a competitor’s score in stroke
play. He may be a fellow-competitor. He is not a referee.
See “Sides and Matches”

Move or Moved
A ball is deemed to have “moved” if it leaves its position and comes to rest in any other place.
Nearest Point of Relief
The “nearest point of relief” is the reference point for taking relief without penalty from
interference by an immovable obstruction, an abnormal ground condition or a wrong putting
It is the point on the course nearest to where the ball lies, which is not nearer the hole and at
which, if the ball were so positioned, no interference (as defined) would exist.
Note: The player should determine his nearest point of relief by using the club with which he
expects to play in his next stroke to simulate the address position and swing for such stroke.
An “observer” is one who is appointed by the Committee to assist a referee to decide
questions of fact and to report to him any breach of a Rule. An observer should not attend the
flagstick, stand at or mark the position of the hole, or lift the ball or mark its position.
An “obstruction” is anything artificial, including the artificial surfaces and sides of roads and
paths and manufactured ice, except:
a. Objects defining out of bounds, such as walls, fences, stakes and railings;
b. Any part of an immovable artificial object which is out of bounds; and
c. Any construction declared by the Committee to be an integral part of the course.
An obstruction is a movable obstruction if it may be moved without unreasonable effort,
without unduly delaying play and without causing damage. Otherwise, it is an immovable
Note: The Committee may make a Local Rule declaring a movable obstruction to be an
immovable obstruction.
Out of Bounds
“Out of bounds” is beyond the boundaries of the course or any part of the course so marked
by the Committee.
When out of bounds is defined by reference to stakes or a fence or as beyond stakes or a
fence, the out of bounds line is determined by the nearest inside points of the stakes or fence

posts at ground level excluding angled supports.
Objects defining out of bounds such as walls, fences, stakes and railings, are not obstructions
and are deemed to be fixed.
When out of bounds is defined by a line on the ground, the line itself is out of bounds.
The out of bounds line extends vertically upward and downward.
A ball is out of bounds when all of it lies out of bounds.
A player may stand out of bounds to play a ball lying within bounds.
Outside Agency
An “outside agency” is any agency not part of the match or, in stroke play, not part of the
competitor’s side, and includes a referee, a marker, an observer and a forecaddie. Neither
wind nor water is an outside agency.
A “partner” is a player associated with another player on the same side. In a threesome,
foursome, best-ball or four-ball match, where the context so admits, the word “player” includes
his partner or partners.
Penalty Stroke
A “penalty stroke” is one added to the score of a player or side under certain Rules. In a
threesome or foursome, penalty strokes do not affect the order of play.
Provisional Ball
A “provisional ball” is a ball played under Rule 27-2 for a ball which may be lost outside a
water hazard or may be out of bounds.
Putting Green
The “putting green” is all ground of the hole being played which is specially prepared for
putting or otherwise defined as such by the Committee. A ball is on the putting green when
any part of it touches the putting green.
A “referee” is one who is appointed by the Committee to accompany players to decide
questions of fact and apply the Rules. He shall act on any branch of a Rule which he
observes or is reported to him.
A referee should not attend the flagstick, stand at or mark the position of the hole, or lift the
ball or mark its position.

Rub of the Green
A “rub of the green” occurs when a ball in motion is accidentally deflected or stopped by any
outside agency.
Rule or Rules
The term “Rule” includes:
a. The Rules of Golf;
b. Any Local Rules made by the Committee under Rule 33-8a and Appendix I; and
c. The specifications on clubs and the ball in Appendices II and III.
Sides and Matches
Side: A player, or two or more players who are partners.
Single: A match in which one plays against another.
Threesome: A match in which one plays against two, and each side plays one ball.
Foursome: A match in which two play against two, and each side plays one ball.
Three-Ball: A match-play competition in which three play against one another, each playing
hiw own ball. Each player is playing two distinct matches.
Best-Ball: A match in which one plays against the better ball of two or the best ball of three
Four-Ball: A match in which two play their better ball against the better ball of two other
Taking the “stance” consists in a player placing his feet in position for and preparatory to
making a stroke.
Stipulated Round
The “stipulated round” consists of playing the holes of the course in their correct sequence
unless otherwise authorized by the Committee. The number of holes in a stipulated round is
18 unless a smaller number is authorized by the Committee. As to extension of stipulated
round in match play, see Rule 2-3.

A “stroke” is the forward movement of the club made with the intention of fairly striking at and
moving the ball, but if a player checks his downswing voluntarily before the clubhead reaches
the ball he is deemed not to have made a stroke.
Teeing Ground
The “teeing ground” is the starting place for the hole to be played. It is a rectangular area two
club-lengths in depth, the front and sides of which are defined by the outside limits of two teemarkers.
A ball is outside the teeing ground when all of it lies outside the teeing ground.
Through the Green
“Through the green” is the whole area of the course except:
a. The teeing ground and putting green of the hole being played; and
b. All hazards on the course.
Water Hazard
A “water hazard” is any sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface drainage ditch or other open
water course (whether or not containing water) and anything of a similar nature.
All ground or water within the margin of a water hazard is part of the water hazard. The
margin of a water hazard extends vertically upward and downward. Stakes and lines defining
the margins of water hazards are in the hazards. Such stakes are obstructions. A ball is in a
water hazard when it lies in or any part of it touches the water hazard.
Note 1: Water hazards (other than lateral water hazards) should be defined by yellow stakes
or lines.
Note 2: The Committee may make a Local Rule prohibiting play from an environmentallysensitive
area which has been defined as a water hazard.
Wrong Ball
A “wrong ball” is any ball other than the player’s:
a. Ball in play,
b. Provisional ball, or
c. Second ball played under Rule 3-3 or Rule 20-7b in stroke play.

Note: Ball in play includes a ball substituted for the ball in play whether or not such
substitution is permitted.
Wrong Putting Green
A “wrong putting green” is any putting green other than that of the hole being played. Unless
otherwise prescribed by the Committee, this term includes a practice putting green or
pitching-green on the course.
Now Where Do I Play
In order to find a golf course that suits your needs you may want to bookmark
Almost all golf courses in the US are listed. You can search by city or by state. The search
results give you the price, location, size, and more about each golf course.
Enjoy the Game
Thank you for reading this guide. You are now ready to play the game.
To your golfing success,
Learn-Golf Info

“Golf Equipment”


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