Rules Study Guide

 Curriculum for 16+

*If your 16+, review the content below to be prepared for your Rules Quiz! 


Duties of a marker

  • A marker is the person keeping your score during the round of golf.
  • As a marker, you are responsible for recording your playing partner’s score and confirming this score after each hole.

Turning in your scorecard

  • At the conclusion of a tournament round, each player is responsible for turning in his or her scorecard to the scoring committee table. As a player, you are responsible for the hole by hole scores on the card. If a score lower than the actual number is recorded, the player is disqualified. If a score higher than the actual number is recorded, the higher number stands. There is no penalty to a player when the total score of the round is added incorrectly; this is the job of the scoring committee.

The Putting Green (Rules 16 and 17)

  • You may mark, lift and clean your ball on the putting green; always replace it on the exact spot (Rule 16-1b).
  • You may repair ball marks and old hole plugs, but not any other damage, such as spike marks (Rule 16-1c)
  • When making a stroke on the putting green, you should ensure that the flagstick is removed or attended. The flagstick may also be removed or attended when the ball lies off the putting green (Rule 17). If you putt your ball from on the putting green and the ball hits the flagstick while it is on the ground or in the hole there is a penalty of two strokes.

What players can and can’t do when their ball is in a hazard

Moving loose impediments

  • If a player’s ball is in a hazard (including a bunker) the player is allowed to move the loose impediments to identify the ball. HOWEVER, if the ball is moved from its original position in the process, the player must take a one stroke penalty and replace the ball to its original position.

Grounding clubs

  • A player has “addressed the ball” when they have taken their stance and has also grounded their club, except that in a hazard a player has addressed the ball when they have taken their stance.
  • The player incurs a two stroke penalty if the club is grounded in a hazard.

Practice (Where and when it’s allowed)

  • Before or Between Rounds
    • Match Play. On any day of a match-play competition, a player may practice on the competition course before a round.
    • Stroke Play. Before a round or play-off on any day of a stroke-play competition, a competitor must not practice on the competition course or test the surface of any putting green on the course by rolling a ball or roughening or scraping the surface. When two or more rounds of a stroke-play competition are to be played over consecutive days, a competitor must not practice between those rounds on any competition course remaining to be played, or test the surface of any putting green on such course by rolling a ball or roughening or scraping the surface.
  • During Round
    • A player must not make a practice stroke during play of a hole.
    • Between the play of two holes a player must not make a practice stroke, except that he may practice putting or chipping on or near:
      • a. the putting green of the hole last played,
      • b. any practice putting green, or
      • the teeing ground of the next hole to be played in the round, provided a practice stroke is not made from a hazard and does not unduly delay play (Rule 6-7).
      • Strokes made in continuing the play of a hole, the result of which has been decided, are not practice strokes.
  • Exception:
    • When play has been suspended by the tournament officials, a player may, prior to resumption of play, practice
      • as provided in this Rule,
      • anywhere other than on the competition course and
      • as otherwise permitted by the tournament officials.


  • What we can and can’t ask
    • Advice – “Advice” is any counsel or suggestion that could influence a player in determining their 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.
    • Sharing distance with another player is considered public information and is not considered advice. This can be by viewing the distance on a fairway marker or by using a distance measuring device.

Equipment and the Rules

  • Distance measuring devices, headphones and alignment rods
    • Distance measuring devices can only be allowed in tournament play if the tournament committee allows such via a Local Rule. Otherwise, distance measuring devices are in violation of Rule 14-3.
    • Headphones and other earplugs to eliminate noise or other distractions are not permitted during a round.
    • Alignment rods can be used during the set-up of a shot, but must be removed before a stroke is taken.