Purpose: Rule 1 introduces these central principles of the game:
Play the course as you find it and play your ball as it lies.
Play by the Rules and in the spirit of the game.
You are responsible for applying your own penalties if you breach a Rule, so that you cannot gain any potential advantage over your opponent in match play or other players in stroke play
The Game, Player Conduct and the Rules
The Game of Golf
Golf is played by striking your ball with a club, and each hole starts from the teeing area and ends when your ball is holed on the putting green.You should normally play the course as you find it and play your ball as it lies.
Standards of Player Conduct
All players are expected to play in the spirit of the game by:
Acting with integrity - for example, by following the Rules, applying all penalties, and being honest in all aspects of play.
Showing consideration to others - for example, by playing at a prompt pace, looking out for the safety of others, and not distracting the play of another player.
Taking good care of the course - for example, by replacing divots, smoothing bunkers, repairing ball-marks, and not causing unnecessary damage to the course.
You should check to see whether the Committee has adopted a Code of Conduct, as you could get a penalty if you do not follow it.
Playing by the Rules
You are expected to recognize when you have breached a Rule and to be honest in applying your own penalties.You may ask for help with the Rules from a referee or the Committee, but if help is not available in a reasonable time you must play on and raise the issue later.There are times when you must make estimates, such as the spot where to replace your ball, the point where your ball crossed the edge of a penalty area or when taking relief under the Rules. You are expected to consider all available information and to make a reasonable judgment in the circumstances.A penalty applies to you when a breach of a Rule results from your own actions, the actions of your caddie, or the actions of another person acting with your authority or knowledge.Penalties are meant to cancel out any potential advantage. There are three main penalty levels:
One-Stroke Penalty: Applies in both match play and stroke play.
General Penalty: Loss of hole in match play and a two-stroke penalty in stroke play.
Disqualification: Applies both in match play and stroke play.
See Full RulesFor more information on penalties, including how penalties are applied when multiple breaches have occurred.