Rule 1. Safety
This subject is usually over-emphasized. No player should feel inhibited about playing his or her ball into other players ahead of him or her on the course. However, after the ball has landed, it is common courtesy to call "Fore" or "Five" or whatever comes to mind. "Look Out!" is quite acceptable. "Sorry" is also authorized but not necessarily recommended.
Rule 2. Consideration for Other Players
When a player is addressing the ball or making a stroke, the general atmosphere of camaraderie is enhanced when other players stand close behind and talk to each other, make disparaging remarks concerning that
players ability, burp, or break wind loudly.
When on the green, with other players waiting, BGA members should display a casual air by throwing down three or four extra balls and slowly putt all of them into the cup. Golf is not a game to be hurried. Therefore,
never allow another group to play through.
Rule 3. Care of the Course
Holes in sand bunkers should be stomped flat (if the player is wearing street shoes) or smeared around this way and that (if the player is
wearing hiking or other treaded boots). Bare feet should not be used, as this leaves unsightly prints in the sand. A rake should never be used. Rakes are for grass and leaves, not sand.
Golf carts will not harm the green if driven slowly. It should be possible to maneuver a cart to within a foot of the hole without leaving
any traces in the turf. Remember, a golf course is built to be user-friendly.
Courtesy, of course, demands that golf carts be moved from the so-called line of putt when another golfer is about to putt.
When playing alone and when a flag must be removed from the hole for a successful shot, the hole position can still be ascertained by removing the flag and spiking it into the green a foot or so behind the hole. No permanent damage to the green should result.
Divots only need be replaced if it is apparent that one is being observed by other (possibly hostile) players or (possibly hostile) greens keepers.
Rule 4. Addressing the Ball
There are many ways to address the ball. Two of the most popular of these are, "You (Adjective) (Noun)!" and "(Verb) You!" Both should be delivered loudly. Members may use their imaginations where supplying the
requisite nouns, adjectives, and verbs. There are no penalties for originality. You may then hit the ball.
Rule 5. Advice
Advice is any counsel or suggestion which could influence a player in determining his play, the choice of club, or method of making a stroke. Most often used are the following (issued as loudly as possible):
a. "Hit the ball, Dammit!"
b. "Not a five-iron, Dammit!"
c. "Just hit the ball, Dammit!"
d. "Pick it up, Dammit!"
e. "Leave your driver in the bag!"
f. "Your sandwedge, NOT your putter!"
This advice is usually free, unless the player is visiting a professional which is (a) expensive and (b) not permitted by the USBGA.
Rule 6. Casual Water:
Casual water is any temporary accumulation of water on a course which is visible before or after a player takes his stance. Such stance should be feet apart and braced, the player facing a hedge or tree. Ladies should
make their own arrangements.
Rule 7. Ball in Play
A ball is "in play" only when it is moving unless a player is sure he has not been observed inadvertently making a bad hit. The ball can be given a good lie, in such a circumstance, by adjusting with the foot.
Rule 8. Caddie
In order that certain adjustments (like the one described previously) may be made unobserved, caddies are to be avoided at all costs. Caddies are:
a.. Unnecessary in these days of golf carts.
b. Intrusive upon a player's methods.
c. Obnoxious in finding balls "out of bounds" or with "unplayable lies".
The BGA discourages their use.
Rule 9. Ground Under Repair
Generally to be played as Ground Not Under Repair
Rule 10. Honors
Most usually describes the side entitled to play first from the teeing ground. BGA members need not pay attention.
Rule 11. Loose Impediments
Large dogs or cattle. Also loose twigs, large trees or anything obscuring the hole from your line of sight. A chain saw in the golf bag can handle most problem objects.
Rule 12, Lost Ball
A ball is "lost" if:
a. You have decided the terrain does not warrant screwing with. If the ball is actually found in such terrain it can be quietly booted into the next county and another put down without penalty in more hospitable surroundings.
b. The ball is actually lost, in which case the same solution applies.
A ball which falls into a temporary or portable toilet shall be deemed irretrievably lost. A new ball may be dropped twelve toilet lengths
closer to the pin, without penalty.
A ball shall be deemed "lost" if it is not found or identified within five minutes after a search for the ball has begun. It is sometimes
profitable for a player to assist another player in the search for his or her ball. If the assisting player should find the ball first, that player may find it possible to pocket the ball without attracting undue attention, and continue the search until the five minute time expires.
The first player will then have to put down another ball for a one-stroke penalty and play can resume.
If a ball in flight leaves the golf course and, upon landing, strikes a vehicle or person in a public area or thoroughfare, the ball can be
deemed lost, and play should be shifted immediately, without penalty, to an area as far as possible from the spot where the ball was hit. Thus, needless complications and confrontations can be avoided. Unpleasantries can ruin concentration. If however, through inattention or slowness, the player becomes embroiled in such a situation, the BGA advises that the member should provide "the offended party" a name, address, and phone number which matches that on a business card obtained from a casual acquaintance. Such a set of cards should be acquired from various
sources and carried at all times. Then at the completion of the exchange, the appropriate card can be presented to "the offended party" with the polite declaration, "My card."
The BGA believes that litigation has no place in the game of golf. Any maneuver employed to protect the reputation of the game and its adherents is to be applauded.
Rule 13: Found Ball
A "found ball" in an attractive lie is yours if properly identified. When asked by the finder, "What were you hitting?" a BGA member should respond, "What did you find?" When answered, the BGA member should
reply, "Yep, that's mine!"
Rule 14. Ball Unplayable
The player is the sole judge of whether his or her ball is unplayable and may declare the ball unplayable at any place on the course. He or she may then play a ball from a position as near as possible to the spot from
which the original ball was played without penalty. "As near as possible" will depend upon who is observing the player. If unobserved, "as near as possible" may be interpreted as meaning anything the player wishes it to mean.
Rule 15. Obstructions
Any artificial object which interferes with your play. Play around without penalty.
Rule 16. Out of Bounds
There is no Out of Bounds.
Rule 17. Partner
The player a player plays with. Such partners should be chosen carefully to avoid penalty strokes.
Rule 18. Penalty Strokes
These are added to your score if your partner is a jerk.
Rule 19: PAR
Par is the score a so-called "expert" golfer would be expected to make for a given hole. Par means errorless play, without flukes, under
ordinary weather conditions, allowing for two strokes on the putting green. The BGA rejects this as an elitist definition which may force BGA members to attempt emulation of ego-driven over-achievers with whom they would never normally or willingly associate.
Therefore... Par, the BGA defines, as being whatever you say it is. To quote the noted golfing writer and authority, Dan Jenkins, "Who's going to enforce it? The par police?"
Rule 20. Putting Green
A ball on the putting green may be lifted and cleaned and then placed back within a handspan closer to the hole, if nobody is observing.
Before putting, a player may test the surface for slope and speed by rolling a ball across the green towards another player with the inquiry "Is this yours?" When the ball has been returned, acknowledge your
mistake and continue with the game.
As with the drive, other players may offer encouragement to the putting player with loud talk and noisy wind-breaking. Typical remarks would be, "Do you have any nude pictures of your wife?" and "Do you want to see some?" Ladies should change the gender in these remarks to avoid
When the ball has ceased rolling and is balanced on the edge of the hole, the correct maneuver is to feign disgust and jump up and down heavily in apparent rage. Usually this will successfully complete the putt.
The flag stick may be removed while putting and placed on the green nearby. It is a thoughtful gesture to leave it in that position on
departing the green so that the next group will not have to remove it themselves.
Rule 21. Water Hazard
Also called a ball magnet. Scientific tests by the BGA laboratories show conclusively that large bodies of water, or indeed, even moderate-sized pools and ditches containing water, can exert an arresting influence on a ball in flight, causing the ball to be drawn into the water itself. Other than establishing that such attraction exists, researchers remain unable to isolate or identify the force involved. The BGA, therefore, recommends that while such confusion exists, all players who lose balls in this manner may resume play with a provisional ball, on the other side of the water hazard, without penalty.
Four guys were out on the golf course. As one of them was teeing off at the 10th hole, which was next to the highway, they saw a funeral precession go by. Instead of teeing off, the guy removed his cap and placed it on his chest until the funeral had passed. At this point, the other three said, "You know, that was the most touching thing I've ever seen." And the guy answers, "Well, I was married to her for 15 years. It was the least I could do!"
A guy stood over his tee shot for what seemed an eternity, looking up, looking down, measuring the distance, figuring the wind direction and speed. He was driving his partner nuts. Finally his exasperated partner says, "What's taking so long? Hit the blasted ball!"
The guy answers, "My wife is up there watching me from the clubhouse. I want to make this a perfect shot."
"Forget it, man," said his partner, "you don't stand a snowball's chance in hell of hitting her from here!"
One fine day, Jim and Bob are out golfing. Jim slices his ball deep into a wooded ravine. He grabs his 8-iron and proceeds down the embankment into the ravine in search of his ball.
The brush is quite thick, but Jim searches diligently and suddenly he spots something shiny. As he gets closer, he realizes that the shiny object is in fact an 8-iron in the hands of a skeleton lying near an old golf ball.
Jim calls out to his golfing partner in an agitated voice, "Hey Bob, come here, I got trouble down here."
Bob comes running over to the edge of the ravine and calls out, "What's the matter Jim?"
Jim shouts back, "Throw me my 7-iron! You can't get out of here with an 8-iron."