The rules of golf are one of the interesting features of the game of golf.  Players are expected to know the rules and follow them in an effort to maintain the integrity of the game.   Anyone who follows golf on television has seen instances where knowing the rules have benefited players and the lack of rules knowledge has proven difficult for players.  What is unique about golf is the respect that the best players have for the rules.  They realize that rules insure a fair competition and adherence to rules a demonstrate a sense of equity and honesty that is desireable in the game of golf and in life skills.

Golf is a lot of fun and the Rules of Golf although necessary can sometimes be complicated.  There are very few people that have memorized all of the Rules of Golf so we encourage everyone to carry a Rules of Golf Book in your golf bag. The Rules of Golf are jointly approved and reviewed by both the United States Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Association and every four years the two organizations meet and create revisions. The next revision will take place on Jan. 1, 2012.

Resources for rules

Austin PAR Group

If you are interested in learning more about the Rules of Golf in a local community of Rules Officials, Austin has the perfect group for you PAR.
The PAR Group is an organization designed to promote knowledge of the Rules of Golf and coordinate the activities of Golf Rules Officials in the Central Texas area.   Six of our members are or have been members of USGA Regional Affairs or Tournament Committees.   Two members are former Texas Golf Association board members.  The group hosts regular meetings to discuss current rules issues and are available to golf clubs or associations to offer rules education seminars.  The PAR Group is responsible for organizing and running three USGA qualifiers, including a local qualifier for the US Open, and sectional qualifiers for the US Womens Amateur and the US Mid Amateur.  They also provide officials for many other tournaments ranging from junior events to open events involving both adult amateurs and professionals.   If you are interested in joining the organization or in learning more, please  visit  and click on the Contact Me tab.

Other Resources

History of the Rules of Golf website

Website for the Texas Golf Association (TGA) the Texas affiliate of the USGA.

Some Detail about Rules

The Rules of Golf are very precise and the most important thing is being aware of the differences in the following word use throughout the rulebook:

  • May = Optional
  • Should = Recommended
  • Must = Instruction (and penalty if not carried out)
  • a ball = you may substitute another ball (e.g., Rules 26, 27 and 28)
  • the ball = you may not substitute another ball (e.g., Rules 24-2 and 25-1)

Understand the Definitions

Below we have listed the defined terms that form the foundation on which the Rules of Play are written. Understanding these definitions will certain help better understanding the Rules of Golf.

  • Abnornal Ground Conditions
  • Addressing the Ball
  • Advice
  • Ball Deemed to Move
  • Ball Holed
  • Ball Lost
  • Ball in Play
  • Best Ball
  • Bunker
  • Burrowing Animal
  • Caddie
  • Casual Water
  • Committee
  • Competitor
  • Course
  • Equipment
  • Fellow-Competitor
  • Flagstick
  • Forecaddie
  • Forms of Match Play
  • Forms of Stroke Play
  • Four-Ball
  • Foursome
  • Ground Under Repair
  • Hazards
  • Hole
  • Holed
  • Honor
  • Lateral Water Hazard
  • Line of Play
  • Line of Putt
  • Loose Impediments
  • Lost Ball
  • Marker
  • Move or Moved
  • Nearest Point of Relief
  • Observer
  • Obstructions
  • Out of Bounds
  • Outside Agency
  • Partner
  • Penalty Stroke
  • Provisional Ball
  • Putting Green
  • Referee
  • Rub of the Green
  • Rule or Rules
  • Side
  • Single
  • Stance
  • Stipulated Round
  • Stroke
  • Substituted Ball
  • Tee
  • Teeing Ground
  • Three-Ball
  • Threesome
  • Through the Green
  • Water Hazard
  • Wrong Ball
  • Wrong Putting Green

2011 Tournament Schedule for PARS group

  • Feb 28-Mar 1St Edward’s Women’s Invitational @ Greyrock
  • Mar 7-8St Edward’s Men’s Invitational @ Greyrock
  • Apr 4-5Morris Williams Invitational @ UT GC
  • Apr 16-17Austin Open @ Greyrock
  • Apr 22-24SCAC Conference Tournament @ Horseshoe Bay
  • May 16US Open Local Qualifier @ Austin Country Club
  • Jun 6-9TLJT Match Play @ Cimarron Hills
  • Jun 16-19Texas State Amateur @ Austin Country Club
  • July 11US Womens Amateur Sectional Qualifier
  • July 21-24Texas State Mid Amateur Match Play @ Escondido
  • July 26-28TLJT State Junior @ Horseshoe Bay
  • Aug 8-9Hannon Junior Invitational @ Austin Country Club
  • Aug 24US Mid Amateur Sectional Qualifier @ The Hills CC
  • Aug 29Texas State Mid-Amateur Qualifier @ UT GC
  • Sept 19-20Hannon Cup @ UT GC
  • Oct 7-9Harvey Penick Invitational @ Austin Country Club
  • Oct 30-Nov 1Betsy Rawls Invitational @ UT GC

















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