Rules and Etiquette of Golf


A large part of the golf game consists of the right ‘spirit of game’ consisting of the etiquette or rules of conduct. The etiquette is not rules of the game and there is no penalty for their violation. Nevertheless, they are extremely important because golf does not know a referee and is based on the integrity of the golfer. Special attention should be given to the following etiquette:

Consider other players

Provide a smooth playing pace and leave faster golfers behind as soon as there is room. Take care of the golf course by raking the bunkers, putting back divots and repairing pitch marks on the green. Before you start a round of golf, it is advisable to start a round of golf before you start.

See the local rules of the golf course

Brand your golf ball so you can recognize it more easily when someone is playing with the same brand of golf ball,

count the number of golf clubs in your golf bag, as you may not take more than 14 golf clubs with you.

During a round of golf

It is not allowed to get or give advice from/to anyone other than your partner or caddie. Information about golf rules, distances on the golf course and the position of bunkers, flags, etc. are allowed.

You are not allowed to hit practice balls during a hole but you are allowed to make chips and putts on the green of the previous hole.

It is not allowed to use special equipment unless specifically allowed by the golf rules.

Play ready golf

Always make sure you play the round of golf at a sufficient pace. Ready golf’ ensures a good flow on the golf course and little interference from each other. You have to make sure that you do not fall too far behind on your previous flight. If there is more than one hole between your group, if the group in front of you and the flight behind you are bothered by your slower game, let this group behind you go ahead, regardless of the number of players in this group. Leaving a group behind you can also take place at an earlier time if it turns out that they are playing significantly faster.

Ready golf means that you are ready to play when it is your turn. This means that you walk up to your own golf ball and consider how you are going to make your next move while the others play. Once you get to the green, it’s handy to put the golf bag in one spot towards the next hole. After completing a hole, you should leave the green soon and only then note the scores.

In case of a lost ball outside a water obstacle or in the area outside the court, it is wise to play a provisional ball in advance. Give a signal to the group behind you to continue walking if it appears that the golf ball does not seem to be found quickly. This way you will not keep the group behind you too long.

At the end of the round

At strokeplay; make sure that the scorecard is completely filled in (including your and your marker’s signature) and hand in the scorecard to the tournament committee as soon as possible. 

In case of match play; make sure the result is passed on.

Here are some rules you should always remember when playing:

Exit from exit point

The tee-off point is the starting point of the hole to be played. It is a rectangular strip, two stick lengths deep, the front and sides of which are determined by marking the outer sides of two. A golf ball is outside the pitch when it is completely outside it. If you strike outside this area:

Strokeplay: you get two strokes and you have to correct the error by stalling from the correct position. Do you not correct the error? Then you will be disqualified.

Match play: there is no penalty, but your opponent may demand that you take the center pass again, provided they ask you to do so immediately. In this case, the previous center pass does not count.

Playing ball

If you think that a golf ball is yours, but you cannot identify it correctly right away, you may mark the position of the golf ball and pick it up and clean it as far as possible to identify it. You do not have to report the ball being picked up. If the golf ball turns out not to be yours, place it back in its original position.

Play the golf ball as it lies. You may not improve the conditions that affect your stroke by:

  • Moving or breaking any growing or stuck natural object, fixed obstacle, integral part of the golf course, out-of-bounds marker or the tee marker (if you are playing from the teeing point) 
  • Move a loose natural object or obstacle to one side to take up a position
  • Alter the surface of the ground
  • Compress or remove sand or loose earth or dew, ripe or water to remove.

If your ball is in a bunker or in an obstacle, you may:

  • Touch the ground or water without testing or improving the conditions,
  • Move loose natural objects and loose obstacles.

If you play the wrong golf ball

Strokeplay: you get two strokes and you have to correct the mistake by playing the right ball.

Matchplay: You lose the hole.

On the green

On the green you may:

  • Mark, pick up and clean your ball (always put it back in exactly the same spot),
  • Repairing damages like pitchmarks, old hole plugs and spikemarks.

When you strike the green, you may choose to leave the flagpole in the hole.

Still ball moved 

In the following situations, you must add a penalty and return the golf ball to its original position:

  • You move your ball
  • You intentionally touch the ball
  • You pick up the ball when you’re not allowed to

If you accidentally move the golf ball while looking for it or when it is on the green, you will not receive a penalty.

If the golf ball is moved by an external influence or forces of nature, you should place the golf ball in its original spot without penalty.

There is no penalty if a golf ball on the green is accidentally moved by the player or another player. The ball must be returned to its original position or you mark it with a marker.

If a golf ball moves on the green by forces of nature, it depends on whether the ball has been picked up and placed back or not to determine how to continue playing.

  1. The ball has already been picked up and put back: the ball must be put back in its original position. 
  2. Ball has not yet been recorded and returned: You play the ball from the new location.

These are only some of the rules and  Etiquette that you should remember when playing golf. If you follow these rules and don’t cross the line, you should be fine.