Purpose of Rule: Rule 6 covers how to play a hole – such as the specific Rules for teeing off to start a hole, the requirement to use the same ball for an entire hole except when substitution is allowed, the order of play (which matters more in match play than stroke play) and completing a hole.
Playing a Hole
Starting Play of a Hole
Ball Played from Outside Teeing Area in Match Play and Stroke Not Cancelled by Opponent
If, in starting the play of the hole in match play, a stroke made from outside the teeing area is not cancelled, Rule 6.1b(1) provides that the player plays the ball as it lies. However, the player may not always be permitted to play the ball as it lies.For example, when starting play of a hole, a player hits a ball out of bounds from outside the teeing area (such as from a wrong set of tee-markers) and the opponent does not cancel the stroke.Since, the player's stroke is not cancelled, and the ball is out of bounds, they must take stroke-and-distance relief by playing a ball from where the previous stroke was made. However, as the stroke was not made from inside the teeing area, the ball must be dropped, not teed (see Rule 14.6b - Previous Stroke from General Area, Penalty Area or Bunker).
Playing Ball from Teeing Area
Tee-Marker Moved Without Improvement
If a player causes a tee-marker to move (such as by tripping over it, hitting it in anger or lifting it for no apparent reason), but this does not improve the conditions affecting the stroke, there is no penalty, even if the player does not replace it before playing from the teeing area.But because moving tee-markers can have a significant effect on the competition, they should not be moved and, if they are moved, they should be replaced.However, if a player moves a tee-marker because they think it should be in a different position, or deliberately destroys the tee-marker, the Committee may choose to disqualify the player for serious misconduct contrary to the spirit of the game (Rule 1.2a).
Ball Used in Play of Hole
What to Do When Balls Exchanged at Unknown Place
If, after holing out, two players discover that they finished a hole with the other player's ball but cannot establish whether the balls were exchanged during play of the hole, there is no penalty.For example, after play of a hole, it was discovered that Player A holed out with Player B's ball and Player B holed out with Player A's ball. Both players are certain they holed out with the ball they played from the teeing area.In this situation, and because a player is allowed to start each hole with any conforming ball (Rule 6.3a), it should be determined that the balls were exchanged before play on that hole began, unless there is evidence to the contrary.
Meaning of “Penalty Strokes Solely from Playing That Ball”
When the strokes made at a particular ball do not count in the player's score, any penalty strokes that the player gets while playing that ball do not count unless the player gets a penalty that could also apply to their ball in play.Examples of penalties that are disregarded because they could not also apply to the ball in play include:
Deliberately touching or causing the ball to move (Rule 9.4).
The Player's caddie standing in the "restricted area" while the player is taking a stance (Rule 10.2b(4)).
Meaning of “Same Order” in Rule 6.4b(1) When Players Played Out of Turn at Previous Teeing Area
The term “same order” in Rule 6.4b(1) refers to the order in which the players in the group should have played from the previous teeing area, even if they played in a different order.For example, Player A has the honour on the 6th hole, but Player B plays first from the teeing area to save time. If the players have the same score on the 6th hole, the honour on the 7th hole remains with Player A as that is the same order that the players would have played in from the previous teeing area had they not chosen to play “ready golf”. (New)
Stroke Cannot Be Cancelled When Provisional Ball Played Out of Turn from Teeing Area
If a player who has the honour decides to play a provisional ball after their opponent has played a provisional ball, the player may not cancel the opponent'sstroke with the provisional ball under Rule 6.4a(2).For example, Player A has the honour and plays first from the teeing area. Player B (the opponent) plays next and since their ball may be out of bounds, decides to play a provisional ball and does so. After Player B plays the provisional ball, Player A decides that they will also play a provisional ball.Since Player A only made their intentions to play a provisional ball known after Player B had played, Player A has abandoned the right to cancel Player B's stroke with the provisional ball. However, Player A may still play a provisional ball.
Completing Play of a Hole
When a Player or Side Has Completed a Hole
There are several Rules (such as Rules 4.1b, 4.3, 5.5b and 20.1b(2)) where it is important to understand when a hole has been completed.Examples of when a player has completed a hole and is therefore between the play of two holes:Match Play:Single: When the player has holed out, their next stroke has been conceded, or the outcome of the hole has been determined.Foursome: When the side has holed out, its next stroke has been conceded, or the outcome of the hole has been determined.Four-Ball: When both partners have holed out, their next strokes have been conceded, or the outcome of the hole has been determined.Stroke Play:Individual: When the player has holed out.Foursome: When the side has holed out.Four-Ball: When both partners have holed out, or one partner has holed out and the other cannot better the side’s score.Stableford, Par/Bogey, and Maximum Score: When the player has holed out, or has picked up after scoring zero points, losing the hole or reaching the maximum score.