A List of Top Ten Common Golf Rules

Golf is a game with a lot of rules. This is not a bad thing - in fact, it is necessary to manage the wide range of things that can happen during a round of golf. No matter what happens with any of your shots during a round, be sure that there is a rule in the book which tells you how to proceed. Of course, with so many rules to remember, it is understandable if you can’t quite keep a grasp on them all while trying to play good golf at the same time.

The following list includes ten common golf rules which you should understand before heading out for a round. There are certainly more than these ten rules to get to know, but these will get you started.

  1. No mulligans. While some people take them anyway, you are only allowed to try and hit each shot once.
  2. White stakes are out of bounds. If your golf ball ends up on the wrong side of the white stakes, you will need to replay the shot from the previous location. You can’t play a ball from out of bounds back onto the course.
  3. Red stakes are lateral hazards. If you pass red stakes and end up in a pond or other natural area, you can take a drop with a penalty of one stroke. In many cases, you are permitted to play from within red stakes if possible.
  4. Only clean your ball on the green. Unless special rules are in effect, you are only allowed to mark and clean your ball once it rests on the putting green.
  5. Fourteen clubs is the limit. Having more than fourteen clubs in your bag results in penalty strokes being added to your score.
  6. Low score plays first. This isn’t a rule, but more of common etiquette - if you have the low score on the previous hole, you play first off the next tee.
  7. Don’t touch the sand. When in a bunker, you can’t touch the sand with your club until you are actually hitting the ball.
  8. Pin out when putting. If you are putting from on the putting green, and you hit the flagstick that has been left in the hole, a penalty is incurred. Always take the flag out when putting.
  9. Double-hit is a penalty. If you happen to double-hit a shot (most common when chipping), you will need to add a stroke to your score.
  10. Every shot counts! Some golfers have a habit of ‘forgetting’ a shot or two along the way. Make sure you count every stroke all around the course.