Golf rules: A beginner’s guide to golf

Golf can be tricky to understand, so The Banner put together a quick guide to understand the basics. The official rule book is 100 pages long, so if you want to be knowledgeable without reading the rulebook, these tips from Golf Digest should help.

It is important to note that you may not ask your caddie for advice on playing the course or how other golfers played. Starting with the clubs, there are several to use, and you can carry a maximum of 14. Each club is used differently based on trajectory and distance.

Another essential rule about equipment is that you must finish a hole with the ball you started with. Starting from the beginning, you must tee up the ball behind the line created by the tee markers. This can be anywhere between the two markers and as far as two club-lengths. If you miss the ball completely, it will count as a stroke, meaning if you swing and miss, it counts.

The lowest scorer hits first on a new hole, and the order proceeds from lowest to highest. During the play of a hole, you must play the ball as it lies, which means you cannot kick it or move it to a better spot. You cannot place anything in front of your ball for aiming, but you can use leaves and stones that were already there to line up your club. If sticks or stones are in the way, you must use your hands to pick them up; kicking or using your feet is considered a foul.

Once you reach the green and your ball comes to a rest, you may mark it with a coin or disk so you can clean the ball. Just remember to put it back as close as possible to where it was before. After golfers play their first round, the player farthest from the hole plays first.

When hitting the ball, you must stand still and be cautious that you are hitting your ball. If your putt stops just on the edge of the hole, you can wait 10 seconds to see if it will drop in; if not, then the next drop-in will count as a stroke.

If your ball is hit beyond the confines of the course, it must be replayed from the original position, adding a penalty stroke. You must have the lowest combined total of all 36 holes to win a golf match.

“It takes a while to be confident in a skill, especially if it’s a brand-new one,” said Jocelyn Chee, captain of the CBU women’s golf team. “I don’t think there is a specific time frame because everyone is different and learns at a different pace. I was lucky to be able to pick up the golf swing relatively quickly. At the same time, there are some other skills that I am still working on.”

Golf is a complex sport, but it can be rewarding for those who are willing to commit the time to practice. 

“For the most part, you can be any age to learn golf,” said Marc Machado, head coach of the CBU women’s golf team. “That is what makes the game of golf so great; so many generations can play it.”

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