You have clubs in your bag.

During a competitive round, you can carry up to 14 (yes, FOURTEEN!) clubs in your bag. You can carry less, but make sure to check the contents before you start and remove any extras – it might cost you penalty strokes for each hole you play. The official regulation regarding player equipment in the R&A Rules of Golf may be found HERE.

Ian Woosnam, the overnight leader in the 2001 Open Championship final round, can tell you everything about this regulation after being penalized two strokes for having one too many clubs in his bag! Make sure you don’t make the same mistake!

Play inside the tee’s constraints.

Even for seasoned golfers, the first tee shot of a game may be intimidating, so make sure you tee up between and behind the appropriate markers – normally white for medal tees, yellow for men, and red for ladies – and within two club-lengths.

It’s easy to lose sight of these fundamentals with all of the swing ideas that run through the average player’s mind. In strokeplay, teeing up the ball outside of them (you may take your stance outside if you wish) results in a two-stroke penalty.

Playing the wrong ball is a bad idea.

Although it may seem self-evident, unless you mark your ball before you begin, you risk mistaking yours for another player due to the similarity of many golf balls.

In matchplay, choosing the incorrect golf ball can result in a hole loss in singles and a two-stroke penalty in strokeplay. Start properly labeling your ball with unique individualized symbols to avoid a sentence like this.

If you’re not sure if the ball is yours, warn your playing companions, mark it carefully with a tee peg, lift but don’t clean it (to identify it), and replace it in the same area you’re within your rights.

Green decisions

Once you’ve reached the green, there are a handful of important rules to remember. You can mark the ball with a coin or a disc once it has come to rest on the putting surface, lift it and clean it, but remember to reinstall it in the identical area.

Golfers may now repair practically any damage to the green, including spike marks, ball markings, club or flagstick indentations, and animal damage.

Play the game as it is.

Unless the Rules allow you to do otherwise, always play your ball as it lays, wherever it comes to rest.

When a player’s ball comes to rest and is subsequently pushed by natural factors like wind or water, the player must usually play it from its new location. A ball at rest must be reset on its original site if raised or moved by anyone or any outside influence before the stroke is executed.

Players should exercise caution when near any stationary ball. Any player who causes their own or an opponent’s ball to move will usually incur a penalty (except on the putting green).