6 USGA Tournament Rules to Memorize

How well do you know USGA tournament rules? Quiz yourself on a few of the rules below to either familiarize or refresh yourself before competitive play.

Identifying your Ball

USGA rules allow you to lift your ball in order to identify it, but you must announce your intention to your opponent, as well as mark the position of the ball. In other words, your opponent must be able to observe you lifting and replacing the ball.

Order of Play

Whoever is furthest away from the hole is up, and if that order is somehow broken, you are able to cancel the shot, forcing your fellow golfer to replay it. However, in most circumstances you won’t want to do this unless it’s an extreme offense. It isn’t considered too sportsmanlike.

Counting Clubs

Did you know that you could receive a two-stroke penalty by double-checking your bag and counting your club heads before teeing off? Well, you can. So don’t do it.

Water vs. Lateral Hazards

Water hazards will always be marked in yellow, whereas lateral hazards will be marked in red. If you’re up against a water hazard, you can either play your next shot by dropping a ball closest to the point where your last stroke was played, or go to the designated drop area (if available).

With lateral hazards, you must identify where the ball crossed into the hazard. You will be given a two-club length area to drop, or alternatively travel to the other side of the hazard and drop.

Sand Turf

When it comes to sand, don’t ground your club, or move impediments from the bunker. These are the two major infractions to be aware of.

Don’t Give Advice

Giving advice on the course during competitive play is considered 100% illegal and will cost you a two-stroke penalty. The obvious exception here is if you are part of a team, or if you wish to strategize with your caddie.

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