The game of golf consists of playing a ball from a teeing ground into the hole in a stroke or a number of sequential strokes.

Players and their caddies may not use any influence on the ball to obtain a better lie, except in accordance with the rules. If a ball is moved with the intention of improving the player's lie a penalty would result. In match play, the penalty would be loss of hole. In stroke play, the player would incur a two-stroke penalty. If a player refuses to abide by this rule he/she would be disqualified.

In match play, the score is determined on a hole-by-hole basis. Players do not compete against the field; they compete in pairs with the winner from each 'match' advancing. A player wins a hole if his ball is holed in the fewest number of strokes. A player is "dormie'' when he is as many holes ahead as there are holes remaining to be played.

A player may concede a hole or the match at any time prior to the conclusion of the hole or the match. The penalty for a breach of a rule in match play is loss of hole.

In stroke play, the player who completes the round or rounds in the fewest strokes is deemed the winner. Failing to hole out on a hole, and not correcting the mistake before beginning the next hole, is grounds for disqualification. As a general rule, if a competitor refuses to comply with a rule affecting the rights of another competitor, he shall be disqualified.

If there is ever a doubt of procedure during stroke play a competitor may, without penalty, play a second ball. Before taking action the player needs to announce to fellow competitors that he has decided to play second ball and specify which ball. If the player does not do so, the score with the original ball, the first ball put into play, shall count. A second ball played under this rule is not considered a provisional ball.

Rule 4 CLUBS
Players' clubs need to conform to provisions set forth by the United States Golf Association.

If a player's club is damaged during the normal course of play, the club in its damaged state without undue delay can be used, repaired or replaced. If the club is replaced, the replacement cannot be borrowed from another player. If a player's club is damaged during the round, by anything other than normal course of play, the club shall not be used or replaced during the round. The penalty for breach is disqualification.

Players are allowed to carry 14 clubs. If a player starts the round with less than 14 clubs, they can add clubs during the round, providing they do not surpass the allotted number or obtain clubs from any other player. If a player is found with extra club(s) the following will apply: In match play, one hole shall be deducted for each hole at which the player had an extra club, with a maximum deduction of two holes. In stroke play, two strokes are deducted for each hole, with the maximum of four strokes per round. If a player continues to use too many clubs they will be disqualified.

A player's ball must be on the United States Golf Association's list of conforming golf balls. Players may not alter the ball's playing characteristics in any way. Doing so will result in disqualification.

A ball is unfit for play if it's visibly cut, cracked or out of shape. If a player believes the ball has become unfit during play he may lift the ball without penalty to determine whether it's unfit, but before lifting the ball, the player must announce his intentions to opponents. He may then lift and examine the ball without cleaning it and give opponents an opportunity to examine the ball. Failing to comply with this procedure shall result in a one-stroke penalty. A ball is not unfit solely because mud or other materials adhere to it, it's scratched or its paint is damaged.

If it is determined that the ball has become unfit for play, the player may substitute another ball, placing it on the spot where the original ball lay. If a ball breaks into pieces as a result of a stroke, the stroke shall be cancelled and the player shall play a ball without penalty.

A marker records a competitor's score in stroke play. The marker may be a fellow competitor. A player can have one caddie at a time. The player is responsible for playing the correct ball. All balls should bear an identification mark to ensure the correct ball is played.

The procedure for scoring is as follows: The score should be checked after each hole and then recorded. After completion of the round the marker needs to sign the card and hand it to the competitor. The competitor should check his score for each hole and settle any problems. They must sign the card themselves and return it to the Committee. Failure to follow these guidelines will result in disqualification.

Players must abide by the pre-determined pace of play. A player shall not discontinue play unless he are ill, play has been suspended or a rules decision is in progress. Players may not stop playing due to inclement weather. If play is suspended, a player may lift his ball after properly marking it.

The course is considered the whole area within which play is permitted. During match play, a player may practice on the competition course before a round. During stroke play, a competitor may not practice on the competition course.

During the round a player shall not practice during play, with the exception of practice putting or chipping on or near the putting green of the hole last played, any practice putting green or the teeing ground of the next hole to be played in the round.

In the course of a round, a player shall not give advice to another player in the competition except his partner, and shall not solicit advice from another party except from a partner or caddie. Advice includes any information that would influence the choice of play.

Except on the putting green, a player is not permitted to place a mark that will assist in indicating the line of play for a shot. On the putting green, a player is permitted to have the line of play pointed out before, but not during, the stroke, and the putting surface shall not be touched in doing it. No mark may be placed indicating a line for putting.

A player shall number among the strokes taken any penalty strokes. In stroke play, a player shall inform his or her marker when a penalty is incurred. In match play, a player is required to inform his or her opponent when a penalty is incurred. A player is entitled to be informed of the number of strokes taken by an opponent at any point during the match. Any failure in properly and truthfully informing an opponent of the number of strokes taken shall result in the loss of the hole.

The honor of playing first from a teeing ground shall be determined by the order of a draw. In match play, the order determined by the draw shall be maintained until a hole is won, in which case the winner of the hole shall have the honor of first play at the next hole. In stroke play, the order determined by the draw shall be maintained until a player records a lower score than a partner, in which case the player who recorded the low score shall have the honor of first play at the next hole. In all subsequent cases, best scores on the previous hole determine order of play off the tee. Provisional balls are to be played off the tee after all partners play a first stroke.

When balls are in play in instances other than on the teeing ground, the ball farthest from the hole shall be played first. If balls are at an equal distance from the hole, lot shall determine the order of play.

A player is not permitted to move a tee-marker. Within the limits of the teeing ground, a ball may be placed on a tee, the surface of the teeing ground or any irregularity in the surface therein. A ball placed outside the boundaries of the teeing ground may not be played, but a player is permitted to stand outside the teeing ground to play a ball within it. In stroke play, an infraction of this rule results in a two-stroke penalty, and the player is required to re-play the ball within the tee ground.

If a ball falls off a tee during a player's address, it may be replaced without penalty. But a ball that falls off a tee during a stroke counts as a stroke.

In searching for a ball, a player may touch, bend or remove any impediment only to the extent necessary in locating and identifying it, and provided that the circumstances in which the ball lies is not improved. A ball moved in the process of a search shall be replaced and no penalty is incurred.

Each player shall place a mark of identification on his or her ball. A player is permitted, upon announcing an intention to an opponent or marker, to lift and clean a ball for the purpose of identification. If the ball is identified as belonging to a player, it shall be replaced.

A ball must be played as it lies except when a specific rule allows for redress.

A player is not permitted to improve the position or lie of the ball, the area of stance or swing, the line of play or the area upon which a ball is to be dropped by bending or breaking anything fixed or growing.

A player is allowed to place his feet firmly in making a stance, but he shall not build a stance.

A ball must be struck with the head, back or toe of the club and must not be pushed.

A player is not permitted to receive protection or assistance from the elements while striking the ball. A player can't allow a caddie or partner to stand in an extension of the line of play behind the ball while making a stroke.

A player is not permitted to use artificial devices that would assist in making a stroke, measuring distance or determining conditions that might affect play unless otherwise deemed regulatory.

A ball struck more than once by the club during a single stroke shall count as a stroke plus a penalty stroke.

A ball shall not be played while it is moving before the commencement of a stroke except when in water.

A player must use the same ball from start to finish of a hole unless a Rule permits substitution. When an unauthorized substitution is made and played, the new ball becomes the ball in play if not corrected and the player loses the hole in match play or incurs a two-stroke penalty in stroke play.

When a wrong ball is played, the player incurs a two-stroke penalty, unless it was played from a water hazard. A player must correct the mistake by playing the correct ball. If a player fails to correct a wrong ball, the player is disqualified. Strokes played with a wrong ball do not count in a player's score.

If a wrong ball played belongs to another competitor, its owner shall place a ball in the position from which it was improperly played.

A player's line of putt must not be touched except when removing loose impediments or movable obstructions, addressing the ball, measuring, lifting the ball, pressing a marker or repairing ball marks and hole plugs.

A ball can be lifted and cleaned, and subsequently replaced to the position from which it was lifted.

When a player's ball overhangs the hole, the player is allowed time to reach the hole without reasonable delay and an additional 10 seconds to ascertain whether the ball is at rest before it is declared at rest.

A player's line of putt must not be touched except when removing loose impediments or movable obstructions, addressing the ball, measuring, lifting the ball, pressing a marker or repairing ball marks and hole plugs.

A ball can be lifted and cleaned, and subsequently replaced to the position from which it was lifted.

When a player's ball overhangs the hole, the player is allowed time to reach the hole without reasonable delay and an additional 10 seconds to ascertain whether the ball is at rest before it is declared at rest.

Before and during the stroke, the flagstick may be attended, removed or held up to indicate the position of the hole. A flagstick may be attended at the request of the player before he plays a stroke.

The player's ball shall not strike the flagstick when attended, removed or held by the player or any other party, the player's caddie, his partner or his partner's caddie when attending the flagstick, or another person attending the flagstick or the flagstick in the hole when the ball has been played from the putting green.

If the ball comes to rest against the flagstick when it is in the hole, the player or another person authorized by the player may move or remove the flagstick. If the ball falls into the hole, the player shall be deemed to have holed out with the last stroke; otherwise, the ball, if moved, shall be replaced on the lip of the hole, without penalty.

If a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency -- i.e. any agency not part of the match or, in stroke play, not part of the competitor's side, and includes a referee, an observer, a marker and a forecaddie -- the player shall not incur a penalty and the ball shall be replaced before the player plays another stroke.

If a ball in motion is accidentally interfered with by any outside agency, it is a rub of the green, no penalty is given and the ball shall be played as it lies, except if it comes to rest on or is deflected or stopped by a moving or animate outside agency. If such a situation does occur, the ball can be dropped or re-played.

When a player lifts a ball, or anyone authorized by the player does, in any location in which it is in play, the ball must be marked. The ball must be replaced in the location from which it was moved.

In the event that a ball must be dropped under the Rules, the player must stand straight, hold the ball at shoulder height and at arm's length, and drop it. If the dropped ball touches the player, another golfer, a caddie or equipment, the ball shall be re-dropped.

If a ball dropped or placed in the wrong location is played, the player, in stroke play, shall incur the penalty dictated by the applicable Rule and play out the hole. In match play, the player loses the hole.

A ball lying on the putting green can be cleaned when lifted. In other locations, a ball can be cleaned when lifted except when it is being determined whether the ball is fit for play, when it is being checked for identification or when it had been interfering or assisting play.

A player is permitted to lift his or her ball if the player considers that the ball might assist another player, or to request another player's ball be lifted if it might interfere with play. This cannot be done while another ball is in motion.

Any loose impediment may be removed without penalty in the vicinity of a ball in play, but not in motion, except when both the impediment and ball lie in or touch the same hazard.

Loose impediments are natural objects. Sand and loose soil are considered loose impediments only on the putting green.

Players may get relief from movable obstructions. If the ball does not lie in or on the obstruction, it can be removed. If the ball moves, it shall be replaced, and no penalty is assessed. If the ball does lie in or on the obstruction, the ball may be lifted without penalty, the obstruction removed, and the ball subsequently dropped as near as possible to the spot where it was previously located.

A player may obtain relief from an immovable obstruction when a ball lies in or on the obstruction, or so near it that the obstruction hinders the player's ability to play the ball.

A player may obtain relief from interference due to abnormal ground conditions, which includes casual water, ground that is under repair or alterations on the course made by animals, when a ball lies in or touches it.

When a player's ball becomes embedded in its own pitch-mark in the ground of a closely-mown area, it may be lifted, cleaned and dropped, without penalty, as close as possible to the location of the ball but not nearer the hole.

When a ball is on the wrong putting green, a player is granted a free drop within one club length of the nearest point of relief, and not nearer the hole, on a part of the course, which avoids interference.

A water hazard is any body of water on the course. If a player's ball encounters a water hazard, they may choose to play the ball as it lies without penalty. Players may also opt to take a one-stroke penalty and play the ball as close as possible to the spot where the original ball was last played, or they may choose to drop the ball behind the water hazard, maintaining the point at which the ball last crossed the hazard between the hole and the drop area.

A lateral hazard offers the same three options. In addition, a player may drop two club lengths from where the ball last cross the hazard not nearer the hole under a penalty of one stroke. The player may also go to a point on the opposite side of the hazard at a point equidistant to where the ball crossed the hazard and drop two club lengths away, again under penalty of one stroke.

A ball is considered lost if a player cannot find or identify the ball within five minutes of searching. If a ball is thought lost, a player may put another ball into play without searching for the original or play a stroke from the vicinity of the original ball.

If a ball is lost or is out of bounds a provisional ball may be played under penalty of one stroke. The replacement ball must be placed as close as possible to the spot from which the original ball was last played. A player must inform his opponent or partner and continue play.

The provisional ball will become the ball in play, unless the original ball is found.

A player may declare his ball unplayable anywhere on the course except in a water hazard. If a ball is deemed unplayable, a player may, under penalty of one stroke play the ball as close as possible to where the original ball was last played, drop the ball within two club-lengths of the original spot or drop the ball behind the original spot.

If the unplayable ball is in a bunker, players may proceed as stated above. If a drop is taken, it must be taken in the bunker.

A threesome occurs when one player competes against two players, and each side plays one ball. A foursome is when two players compete against two players and each side plays one ball.

In a threesome or a foursome, the partners shall play alternately from the teeing grounds and alternately during the play of each hole. Penalty strokes do not affect the order of play. If a player plays when his partner should have played, his side shall lose the hole.

If the partners play in incorrect order the team is penalized two strokes.

In three-ball, three players compete in two matches. If the player's ball is touched or moved by an opponent, the opponent takes a penalty stroke. If a player's ball is accidentally defelcted or stopped, no penalty is incurred. The player can play the ball as it lies or cancel the stroke and play a ball close to the original spot. In his match with the other opponent, the ball is played as it lies.

A best-ball match has one person play the better of two balls or the best ball of three players. In a four-ball match, two play their better ball against the better ball of two other players. The following rules apply to best-ball and four-ball match play: All partners need not be present to begin play. A late partner may join a match between holes. Partners can play in any order. If a player plays the wrong ball (except in a hazard), he is disqualified for that hole. His partner incurs no penalty. If the wrong ball belongs to another player, its owner can place a ball on the original spot. If a player's breach helps his partner or adversely affects an opponent, the partner incurs the penalty in addition to any penalty incurred by the player.

In four-ball stroke play, two competitors play as partners, each playing their own ball. The lower score of the partners is the score for the hole. If one partner fails to complete the play of a hole, there is no penalty. The marker must record only the gross score of whichever partner's score is to count for each hole. The gross score of whichever partner's score is to count for each hole. The gross scores must be individually identifiable; otherwise the side shall be disqualified.

If a competitor plays a stroke or strokes with a wrong ball except in a hazard, he adds two penalty strokes to his score for the hole and then plays the correct ball. His partner incurs no penalty even if the wrong ball belongs to him. If the wrong ball belongs to him. If the wrong ball belongs to another competitor, its owner can place a ball on the spot from which the wrong ball was first played.

If a competitor's breach of a Rule assists his partner's play, the partner also incurs the penalty. In all other cases, the penalty will not apply to his partner.

Bogey, par and Stableford competitions are forms of stroke competition in which you play against a fixed score at each hole. Any hole for which a competitor makes no return is a loss. The winner is the player who is most successful in the aggregate of holes.

More than one over or no score: 0
One over: 1
Fixed score: 2
One under: 3
Two under: 4
Three under: 5
Four under: 6

The marker shall be responsible for marking the gross number of strokes on each hole where the competitor's net score earns one or more points. The winner is the competitor who scores the highest number of points.

The Committee is responsible for setting out the conditions for play, including course boundaries, margins of water and lateral water hazards, and overall playable conditions of the course.

The Committee sets starting times, groupings, time limits and conditions for resolution of ties. When a match play competition is played over an extended period, the Committee sets a time limit for each round to be completed. The Committee can suspend or cancel play.

The Committee shall publish a table indicating the order of holes at which handicap strokes are to be given or received. It must issue score cards with the date and competitor names, scores and handicaps, and better-ball scores and rules to determine point totals for bogey, par and Stableford competitions.

In match play, a claim lodged with the Committee should be resolved quickly so the match may be adjusted if necessary. If a claim is not made by the time limit allowed, it will not be considered unless it is based on facts previously unknown to the claimant, and he was given wrong information by an opponent.

In stroke play, no penalty shall be rescinded, modified or imposed after the competition has closed -- when the result has been officially announced or, in stroke play qualifying followed by match play, when the player has teed off in his first match.

If the Committee has appointed a referee, his decision shall be final. The Committee handles the dispute if no referee is available; its decision is final. If the Committee cannot decide, the Rules of Golf Committee of the USGA can rule, and its decision is final. A player or players may ask for an opinion from the Rules of Golf Committee if the dispute has not been referred to the USGA.