Have you ever tried to explain the rules of golf to a bemused friend nodding their head without really understanding the meaning behind the bird names you are using? We are going to introduce you to golf course basics in 10 simple and easy to understand rules for all.

When a novice is faced with a golf tournament, this can trigger an avalanche of questions: “Why is he playing with a tee?” “Why is he putting his ball in that place?” “How does he know it’s his ball?” “How do you play behind a tree?”…
To make it clearer, we are giving you a selection of 10 basic rules to understand golf.


1. How do you keep score on a Golf Course? 

At the start of a hole, you’ll find essential playing information such as the distance to the hole and number of shots to play to be par for the hole. To keep each player’s score, you have to take into account the number of strokes played by everyone to hole the ball. At the end of each hole, the players indicate the number of strokes played on their scorecard. To win, you have to play the least number of strokes.

Rules of Golf


2. Where should you position yourself in the Teeing Ground? 

A. What colour must you choose to tee off from?

You are now at the teeing ground, you have carefully selected your club according to the distance to be hit. But to your surprise, there are 4 tee positions to choose from? Which should you choose?

This will depend on your level of skill and your playing experience:

– The red tees are for new female golfers and those improving their skill.

– The blue tees are for female players with a good level of skill and competitors.

– Yellow tees are for new golfers and those developing their skill.

– The white tees are for players with a good level of skill and competitors.

If it’s tempting to measure yourself against the best players with your first hits, bear in mind that it’s more enjoyable to choose a mark that suits your actual level of skill.

B. Using a Tee

In your new golfer’s equipment, we recommend you take a tee. Ok great, but how do you use it? Firstly, you must know that the hole’s teeing ground is the only place on the golf course where this little accessory is authorised. It’s out of the question to use it for each shot in the middle of the fairway or in the rough!

C. How to Behave at Address

You generally don’t play by yourself. Given that concentration and safety are two key ingredients to playing golf, there is a code of conduct to follow when teeing off with another player. Firstly, you must fall completely silent to allow him to fully concentrate, avoiding to move too much or casting a shadow over his ball. Ideally, you should position yourself side on from the player on the teeing ground, at several club lengths and observe the trajectory his ball takes and where it lands. This can help you save precious playing minutes.

Rules of Golf


3. What is the Order of Play?

A. The farthest from the hole must Play First

An important rule on the golf course is the order of play. For obvious safety reasons, it always the farthest from the hole that plays first. Never move in front of a player preparing his stroke. Patiently wait for him to play before positioning yourself next to your ball.

B. My Behaviour on the Course

Being hit on the head by a golf ball can cause serious injury. Don’t take any unnecessary risks! To do so, properly follow the safety rules of the golf course where you are, and constantly be aware of your environment before playing and moving around the fairway.

Rules f Golf


4. How to Recognise your Ball?

90% of balls played with on a golf course are white, which doesn’t help them stand out in the middle of the fairway. There are very simple ways to avoid playing your playing partner’s ball by mistake. Firstly, at the start, remember the number displayed on your ball. To make it more visible, you can draw a distinctive sign on your ball with a specific felt pen. Another solution can be to not to play with white balls but opt for coloured balls. Orange, yellow or pink balls will not only be different from your playing partner’s balls but also easier to spot on the course.

To get more information about ball choice, don’t hesitate to read this article on the subject : Which type of ball should you choose?

Rules of Golf


5. What must I do if my Ball is out of Bounds?

Wallop, the shot has gone….far too much to the right! Your ball is out of bounds. How do you carry on playing? Nothing could be easier.Stay where you are and play another ball, under penalty of one stroke. If you are unsure, play a provisional ball. If your ball is in actual fact out of bounds, you’ll, therefore, be playing your 4th stroke. If your original ball is within bounds, pick up your provisional ball and play your second stroke with the original ball.

Rules of Golf


6. What should I do if my Ball is Unplayable?

Your ball has landed behind a tree or in a hole. It is considered as unplayable. The more daring will try their luck but if you don’t dare, don’t panic! Under penalty of one stroke, 3 options are open to you:

– Drop the ball at two club lengths from where the ball is currently lying, without however being nearer to the hole.

– Drop the ball in a straight line that separates you from the hole, without ever coming nearer. This can get you out of a hole or clear you of a bush for example.

– As is the case for an out of the bound ball, you can also replay from where the previous stroke was played.


7. What should I do if my Ball is in the Bunker?

As your mind wanders off dreaming of taking a holiday, your ball may drift and gently make its bed in the sand of a bunker. Once again, keep calm.

– If your ball is playable, try to get it out of this bunker! Please note, your club mustn’t come into contact with the sand as you make an attempted shot.

– If it is unplayable, refer to point number 6 to carry on.

Once you exit the bunker, remember to rake your tracks so the sand is smooth and clean for the next player!


8. Splash.. How do I Replay?

As you try a master stroke over the water hazard, your luck runs out and your ball attempts a swim stroke. Two solutions for getting out of the bath:

A. Lateral Stakes (Red)

If the hazard is on the side of the course and is surrounded by red stakes, you can naturally reposition yourself, under penalty of one stroke. There are 3 solutions:

– Play where your last shot was played

– Drop the ball in line between hazard point of entry and hole, without ever coming nearer to it.

– Drop ball at two club lengths of ball entry into a hazard.

B. Front Stakes (Yellow)

If the water hazard is centrally located and fully marked out by yellow stakes, you can replay under penalty of one stroke. In this case, you only have two solutions to be able to move on. You can either drop your ball in line between hazard point of entry and hole, without ever coming nearer to it or simply play where your last shot was played.


9. How to Complete your Hole?

Well done, you’ve now made it to the green, and you are on the home straight to the hole.

A. How must you Behave on the Green?

The green is the most sensitive part of the course, so you must accordingly treat it with care. To do so, you must know the basic rules:

– Never place your bag or pull your trolley on the green

– Always repair the divot, in other words, the impact left by your ball on landing on the green. You must do so with a divot repair tool (put in link to Inesis Divot Repair)

– Don’t walk in the putting line of other players. The putting line corresponds to the trajectory of the ball and the hole.

– Remove the flag if all the players are on the green.

– Once the hole is finished, reposition flag and quickly leave the green to allow the following parties to get access to the holy grail.

B. How to Finish my Hole?

The hole is finished when I’ve holed the ball, either by putting, either with a majestic approach shot, in the hole of the green indicated by the flag. Once all the balls have been holed, leave the green and update your scorecard.

Rules of Golf


10. Who starts at the Next Hole?

Congratulations, you’ve just completed hole number 1! But which player will start hole No 2?
It’s quite simple, the honours go to the winner of the previous hole.

Any questions? If you need any further explanations please feel free to leave comments below!


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