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5.1
5.2
a
b
5.3
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5.4
5.5
5.6
a
b
5.7
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b
c
d
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Rule 4
Rule 6

Purpose: Rule 5 covers how to play a round - such as where and when you may practise on the course before or during your round, when your round starts and ends and what happens when play has to stop or resume. You are expected to:

  • Start each round on time, and
  • Play continuously and at a prompt pace during each hole until your round is completed.

When it is your turn to play, it is recommended that you make the stroke in no more than 40 seconds, and usually more quickly than that.

5.1
Meaning of Round

A "round" is 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

See Full Rules For more information on the meaning of a round and how the Rules apply when play is stopped or when a round ends in a tie.

5.2
Practising on Course Before or Between Rounds

"Practising on the course" means playing a ball from anywhere or testing the surface of the putting green of any hole by rolling a ball or rubbing the surface.

a
Match Play

You may practise on the course before a round or between rounds of a match-play competition.

b
Stroke Play

On the day of a stroke-play competition:

  • You must not practise on the course before a round, except that you may practise putting or chipping on or near your first teeing area and practise on any practice area.
  • You may practise on the course after completing play of your final round for that day.

Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.2:

  • Penalty for first breach: General Penalty (applied to your first hole).
  • Penalty for second breach: Disqualification.
5.3
Starting and Ending Round
a
When to Start Round

You must start at (and not before or after) your starting time.

Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.3a: Disqualification, except in these three cases:

  • Exception 1 - You Arrive at Starting Point, Ready to Play, No More Than Five Minutes Late: The general penalty is applied to your first hole.
  • Exception 2 - You Start No More Than Five Minutes Early: The general penalty is applied to your first hole.
  • Exception 3 - Committee Decides that Exceptional Circumstances Prevented You from Starting on Time: There is no breach of this Rule and no penalty.
b
When Round Ends
See Full Rules For information on when your round ends.
5.4
Playing in Groups

You must play each hole with your opponent in match play or in the same group as set by the Committee in stroke play.

Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.4: Disqualification.

5.5
Practise During Round or While Play Is Stopped

While playing a hole and between two holes, you must not make a practice stroke.

Exception - Between holes you may practise putting or chipping on or near the putting green of the hole you just completed and any practice green, and the teeing area of your next hole. But such practice strokes must not be made from a bunker and must not unreasonably delay play.

Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.5: General Penalty. If the breach happens between two holes, the penalty applies to your next hole.

See Full Rules For information on practice while play is suspended or otherwise stopped.

5.6
Unreasonable Delay; Prompt Pace of Play
a
Unreasonable Delay of Play

You must not unreasonably delay play, either when playing a hole or between two holes.

Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.6a:

  • Penalty for first breach: One penalty stroke.
  • Penalty for second breach: General Penalty.
  • Penalty for third breach: Disqualification.

If you unreasonably delay play between two holes, the penalty applies to the next hole.

b
Prompt Pace of Play

A round of golf is meant to be played at a prompt pace.

Your pace of play is likely to affect how long it will take other players to play their rounds, including both those in your group and those in following groups. You are encouraged to allow faster groups to play through.

Pace of Play Recommendations. You should play at a prompt pace throughout the round, including the time taken to:

  • Prepare for and make each stroke,
  • Move from one place to another between strokes, and
  • Move to the next teeing area after completing a hole.

You should prepare in advance for your next stroke and be ready to play when it is your turn.

When it is your turn to play:

  • It is recommended that you make the stroke in no more than 40 seconds after you are (or should be) able to play without interference or distraction, and
  • You should usually be able to play more quickly than that and are encouraged to do so.

Playing Out of Turn to Help Pace of Play. In stroke play, play "ready golf" in a safe and responsible way.

In match play, you and your opponent may agree that one of you will play out of turn to save time.

5.7
Stopping Play; Resuming Play
a
When You May or Must Stop Play

During a round, you must not stop play except in these cases:

  • The Committee suspends play.
  • You believe there is danger from lightning, in which case you must report to the Committee.
  • In match play, you and your opponent may agree to stop play for any reason, except if doing so delays the competition.

If you stop play for any reason not allowed under this Rule or fail to report to the Committee when required, you are disqualified.

b
What You Must Do When Committee Suspends Play

Immediate Suspension (Such as When There Is Imminent Danger). If the Committee declares an immediate suspension of play, you must stop play at once and must not make another stroke until the Committee resumes play.

Normal Suspension (Such as for Darkness or Unplayable Course). If all players in your group are between two holes, you must stop play and must not make a stroke to begin another hole until the Committee resumes play.

If any player in your group has started a hole, the group may choose either to stop play or to play out the hole. Once your group completes the hole or stops before completing the hole, you must not make another stroke until the Committee resumes play.

Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.7b: Disqualification.

c
What You Must Do When Play Resumes

You must resume play at the time set by the Committee and from where you stopped play on a hole or, if between two holes, at your next teeing area, even if play is resumed on a later day.

Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.7c: Disqualification.

d
Lifting Your Ball When Play Stops; Replacing and Substituting Your Ball When Play Resumes

When stopping play of a hole under this Rule, you may mark and lift your ball.

Either before or when play is resumed:

  • You must replace the original ball or another ball on the original spot (which if not known must be estimated).
  • If your ball was not lifted when play was stopped, you may play the ball as it lies, or may mark and lift the ball and replace that ball or another ball on the original spot.

Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Rule 5.7d: General Penalty.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Committee

The person or group in charge of the competition or the course.

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Course

The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee. The boundary edge extends both up above the ground and down below the ground.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Stroke Play

A form of play where you or your side competes against all other players or sides in the competition.

Course

The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee. The boundary edge extends both up above the ground and down below the ground.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Teeing Area

The area you must play from in starting the hole you are playing. The teeing area is a rectangle that is two club-lengths deep where:

  • The front edge is defined by the line between the forward-most points of two tee-markers set by the Committee, and
  • The side edges are defined by the lines back from the outside points of the tee-markers.
Course

The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee. The boundary edge extends both up above the ground and down below the ground.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

General Penalty

Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.

General Penalty

Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.

General Penalty

Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.

Opponent

The person you compete against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play.

Match Play

A form of play where you or your side plays directly against an opponent or opposing side in a head-to-head match of one or more rounds.

Committee

The person or group in charge of the competition or the course.

Stroke Play

A form of play where you or your side competes against all other players or sides in the competition.

Stroke

The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball.

Putting Green

The area on the hole you are playing that is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used).

Teeing Area

The area you must play from in starting the hole you are playing. The teeing area is a rectangle that is two club-lengths deep where:

  • The front edge is defined by the line between the forward-most points of two tee-markers set by the Committee, and
  • The side edges are defined by the lines back from the outside points of the tee-markers.
Stroke

The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball.

Bunker

A specially prepared area of sand, which is often a hollow from which turf or soil was removed. These are not part of a bunker:

  • A lip, wall or face at the edge of a prepared area and consisting of soil, grass, stacked turf or artificial materials,
  • Soil or any growing or attached natural object inside the edge of a prepared area (such as grass, bushes or trees),
  • Sand that has spilled over or is outside the edge of a prepared area, and
  • All other areas of sand on the course that are not inside the edge of a prepared area (such as deserts and other natural sand areas or areas sometimes referred to as waste areas).
General Penalty

Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.

General Penalty

Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Stroke

The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball.

Stroke

The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball.

Teeing Area

The area you must play from in starting the hole you are playing. The teeing area is a rectangle that is two club-lengths deep where:

  • The front edge is defined by the line between the forward-most points of two tee-markers set by the Committee, and
  • The side edges are defined by the lines back from the outside points of the tee-markers.
Stroke

The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball.

Stroke

The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball.

Stroke Play

A form of play where you or your side competes against all other players or sides in the competition.

Match Play

A form of play where you or your side plays directly against an opponent or opposing side in a head-to-head match of one or more rounds.

Opponent

The person you compete against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play.

Round

18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.

Committee

The person or group in charge of the competition or the course.

Match Play

A form of play where you or your side plays directly against an opponent or opposing side in a head-to-head match of one or more rounds.

Opponent

The person you compete against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play.

Committee

The person or group in charge of the competition or the course.

Stroke

The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball.

Committee

The person or group in charge of the competition or the course.

Stroke

The forward movement of your club made to strike the ball.

Committee

The person or group in charge of the competition or the course.

Committee

The person or group in charge of the competition or the course.

Teeing Area

The area you must play from in starting the hole you are playing. The teeing area is a rectangle that is two club-lengths deep where:

  • The front edge is defined by the line between the forward-most points of two tee-markers set by the Committee, and
  • The side edges are defined by the lines back from the outside points of the tee-markers.
Mark

To show the spot where a ball is at rest by either placing a ball-marker right behind or right next to the ball, or holding a club on the ground right behind or right next to the ball.

Replace

To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play.

Mark

To show the spot where a ball is at rest by either placing a ball-marker right behind or right next to the ball, or holding a club on the ground right behind or right next to the ball.

Replace

To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play.

Wrong Place

Any place on the course other than where you are required or allowed to play your ball under the Rules.

General Penalty

Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.