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These 7 most important golf rules will come up in nearly every round you play so you need to know them...
7 Most Important Golf Rules
Below we pick out 7 Rules all golfers need to know.
These are the basic rules that will help you get around the golf course stress-and-penalty-free.
WATCH: 7 Most Important Golf Rules -
The maximum number of clubs you can carry is 14, with the penalties for going over that number harsh, so be careful an extra wedge or putter you've been practising with doesn't slip in.
The penalty for carrying more than 14 clubs is two strokes per hole with a maximum penalty of four strokes.
You can pretty much carry whatever make-up of clubs you like, left-handed/right-handed, two drivers, two putters etc. just make sure your clubs are conforming, ie some older drivers are now illegal.
6) Teeing area
The teeing area is the front and side extremes of the tee markers and two club-lengths back.
You can stand anywhere on the tee as long as the ball is within the teeing area.
Related: Rules of Golf - The Teeing Area
5) Search time
Search time has been reduced from five minutes to three since 2019.
That three minutes starts when you or your caddie gets to the search area where the ball is believed to be.
If a playing partner is searching for the ball before you that doesn't matter, call it 'bonus time' if you will, the three minutes only relates to you being there.
4) Dropping procedure
You can declare an unplayable lie from anywhere inside the general area (opens in new tab).
The first option you have is to go back to where you originally played the shot from via stroke and distance, so if your tee shot found an unplayable lie you could go back and play three off the tee.
The second option is to drop two club lengths from where the ball is, no nearer to the hole.
The third option is to drop back in line with the ball and flag, as far back as you like.
Once you've found the point where you wish to drop, you can then drop anywhere (no closer to the hole) within a club length arc from the side to the back.
3) Play it as it lies
You must play the ball as it lies even if you have found a bare lie or a divot.
You can only get a free drop from things like pathways (if a local Rule), drains, other greens and areas specifically marked as Ground Under Repair.
2) Impediments and obstructions
Things like drainage covers allow for free drops when your ball is on one, your stance is impeded by one or the line of your swing is affected.
If your ball is surrounded by loose impediments, you can move all of them (things like tree branches, twigs, leaves etc.) but the key is if you think moving one will move your ball, it cannot be moved.
1) Lost ball
If you think you may have lost your ball, the first thing you should do is play a provisional (opens in new tab).
You can't just play another one, you have to use the word provisional when stating that you are playing one.
If you don't declare it a provisional, that ball is now in play as your three off the tee even if you find your first one.
If you haven't played a provisional but lose your original tee shot, you have to walk back to the tee and play another.
For more rules content check the Golf Monthly website.
Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Honma TR20
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi
Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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