Spirit of the Game

Player Conduct and Spirit of the Game

It is one of the central principles of golf that players play by the Rules and in the spirit of the game.  Rule 1.2 is important as it details the conduct that is expected of all players.

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A player should ensure that no one is standing close by or in a position to be hit by the club, the ball or any stones, pebbles, twigs or the like when they make a stroke or practice swing. Wait until the players in front are out of range. Players should always alert greenstaff nearby or ahead when they are about to make a stroke that might endanger them. If your ball is heading in a direction where there is a danger of it hitting someone, shout a warning immediately. The traditional word of warning is “Fore!”.

Priority on the Course

Unless otherwise determined by the Committee, priority on the course is determined by a group’s pace of play. Any group playing a whole round is entitled to pass a group playing a shorter round. The term “group” includes a single player. It should be remembered that consideration should be shown to others on the course at all times.

Penalties for Breach and Code of Conduct

There is no penalty under the Rules for failing to act in the spirit of the game, except that the Committee may disqualify a player if it finds the player has committed serious misconduct. For further guidance on what is meant by serious misconduct, see Clarification 1.2a/1. However, a Committee may set its own standards of player conduct in a Code of Conduct adopted as a Local Rule. The Code may include penalties for breach of its standards, such as a one-stroke penalty or the general penalty. See Committee Procedures, Section 5I (explaining the standards of player conduct that may be adopted). 

Did You Know? It is recommended that you make a stroke in no more than 40 seconds after you are able to play without interference or distraction.

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The Rules of Golf are comprehensive and provide answers to the many issues that arise in a game that is played worldwide on many different types of courses by players of all abilities.