USGA Rules

See Local Rules

Rules of the US Golf Association will govern all play except as modified by local rules. All GMGC members should carry a USGA rules book in your golf bag for use as needed on the golf course. Any special playing rules due to unusual course conditions will be posted on the GMGC Bulletin Board in the Clubhouse. Some of the most important rules are highlighted below:

Recent technology has improved equipment to a point that clubs and balls may exceed limits established by the USGA in rules 4-1 and 5-1. (Specifications are detailed in appendices II and III of the USGA Rules of Golf.) Equipment not in conformance may not be used in tournament play or in establishing or maintaining a USGA certified handicap. PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 4-1 OR 5-1; DISQUALIFICATION. Men’s Club members may not use nonconforming equipment in any GMGC events whether special or weekly.

1. Rule 5 - THE BALL - This rule clearly defines what makes a ball unfit for play. In general the ball must be cut, out of round, etc., not merely having a small paint chip or other minor defect. NOTE: You are NOT ALLOWED TO CHANGE BALLS when reaching the putting green just to be able to putt with a new ball. The ball must actually be unfit for play as defined in Rule 5 before you may change the ball during play of the hole. However, once a ball is unfit for play it may be changed anywhere during the play of the hole, not merely on the putting green.

2. Rule 11 - TEEING GROUND - In stroke play a player who plays outside the teeing ground incurs a penalty of TWO STROKES. The error must be corrected by re-teeing the ball correctly regardless of how many strokes were played before the error was noticed. The strokes played before the error was noticed do not count.

3. Rule 15 - PLAYING WRONG BALL - A player must play the same ball from the tee to the green. A ball can be substituted on the next tee though. If a player plays the wrong ball of an opponent or switches his ball during the hole the penalty is TWO STROKES. The one except to this rule is if a wrong ball is played from a hazard there is no penalty and the ball is replayed from the original spot.

4. Rule 16 - THE PUTTING GREEN - A player may repair an old hole plug if it is in his line of putt on the green. Also if your ball lands on the wrong putting green it must be removed and dropped ONE CLUB LENGTH from the nearest point of relief without penalty. Finally, if a player lifts his ball from the putting green before he marks it, he shall incur a ONE STROKE PENALTY and the ball must be replaced.

5. Rule 20 - DROPPING BALL - A ball dropped under the rules shall be dropped by the player himself. He shall stand erect, hold the ball at shoulder height and at arm’s length and drop it. The player need not face the hole, but the ball may not be dropped nearer to the hole than it's original position. When the ball is dropped the first point of touching the ground must be within the designated one or two-club length area of relief. If the ball touches the player, his partner, either of their caddies or their equipment before or after it strikes the ground, the ball shall be redropped without penalty. For specific directions, see Rule 20-2-C.

6. Rule 24 - RELIEF FROM OBSTRUCTION - allows only ONE CLUB LENGTH instead of the previous two club lengths. There is no penalty for this relief but it must be taken from the nearest point of relief, not the most desirable spot that the golfer might want to select.

7. Rule 25 - RELIEF - relief from casual water, ground under repair, and burrowing animal holes is also only ONE CLUB LENGTH. Additionally, the player may probe for the ball in the above conditions in order to find it and if the ball is accidentally moved there is no penalty.

8. Rule 28 - BALL UNPLAYABLE - A player may deem his ball unplayable at any time on the course except when the ball lies in or touches a water hazard. The penalty is ONE STROKE for claiming an unplayable lie. The player may choose one of three options when he declares the ball unplayable: 1) Hit the ball from as near as possible to the original spot where the ball was last played, 2) drop the ball within two (2) club lengths of the spot where the ball lies, 3) drop the ball behind the point where the ball lies, keeping that point between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind the point the ball may be dropped. If an unplayable ball is declared in a bunker and the player elects option 2 or 3, then the ball must be dropped in the bunker.

NOTE: In the event any special rulings are required in any match play events or any GMGC events please contact Rules Chairman.