USGA Rules Book

All CTGA members should carry a current USGA Rules of Golf booklet.

Learning how to use the USGA Rule Book is not a difficult task. Learning how to interpret what the rules are within the booklet sometimes can be. Our attempt here is to introduce each of us to the booklet and try to help us better understand how to extract what we need from it to make the game of golf more interesting and fair for all CTGA members.

Watching professional golf on TV helps us, to some degree, see how some of the rules are applied. Unfortunately, those players don't seem to get into the same predicaments that we so often do….. And they have Rules specialists on hand to help them apply the rules correctly.

No other competitive sport challenges it's participants to play to the rules of the game as Golf does, to balance courtesy for others and care for the playing field with the demanding requirements of correct play from the 1st Tee-Box through the 18th green.

In a golf magazine article several months ago, a survey showed that golfers who had USGA Rule Books fell into one of the following three categories:

  1. They carry the booklet in their golf bag, learn how to use it, interpret and apply it's rules correctly;
  2. They carry the booklet in their golf bag and pull it out when others may need to use it;
  3. They leave the booklet somewhere and forget about it.

We're confident that all CTGA members are or will be category "A" golfers, and play golf as it's intended to be played……..BY THE RULES.

The bulk of this booklet addresses the 34 major rules that govern the play of golf….86 pages of frustrating small print seemingly written by a sadistic lawyer. However, to make the booklet more meaningful to us, let's do the following:

  • look inside the front cover and read, "How To Use The Rules Book", especially Understand the Words;
  • read and understand Section II, Definitions, beginning on page 3;
  • read the changes that became effective in 2004. These rules seem to be consistent with the majority of the rules we need to apply;
  • review the Table of Contents and we'll see that many of the rules in the booklet don't necessarily apply to things that happen to us on a round-by-round basis;
  • review the Index to the Rules of Golf and get in the habit of putting a checkmark by those rules that seem to reoccur more often than others. Doing this will help when you need to refer to this rule again.

When you run across an incident or situation that is confusing and you'd like clarification on, CTGA now has a "DECISIONS ON THE RULES OF GOLF", published by USGA. This book will be available at all CTGA tournaments. Please put it to good use.