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Rules of Golf

The USGA, in conjunction with The R&A in St. Andrews, Scotland, writes, interprets and maintains the Rules of Golf to guard the tradition and integrity of the game.The two organizations are joint authors and owners of The Rules of Golf and Decisions on the Rules of Golf.Through an agreement with The R&A, the Rules jurisdiction of the USGA includes only the United States, its possessions and Mexico.The latest version went into effect Jan. 1, 2012, with the next revision taking effect Jan. 1, 2016.

Golf Rule 5 - The Ball

THE BALL: The ball to be used in competition must be on the List of Conforming Golf Balls issued by the USGA.

DISQUALIFICATION is the penalty for using a non-conforming ball.

BALL UNFIT--There is a certain procedure to follow to determine if a player's ball is unfit for play. First of all a ball that is unfit for play must be visibly cut, cracked, or out of shape. If a ball is scuffed or scraped would not qualify as unfit.

PROCEDURE- during the play of a hole, if a player feels his ball is unfit he must (i) before lifting his ball, announce his intention to his opponent, marker, or fellow competitor. (ii) Mark and lift ball to examine giving his opponent, marker, or fellow competitor a chance to also examine it.

If a ball is deemed to be unfit, another ball may be substituted.

PENALTY:One stroke penalty for not following the above procedure. For any other violation of this rule the penalty is Loss of Hole in Match Play and Two-Strokes in Stroke Play.

NOTE--a ball may only be cleaned to the extent necessary to determine whether or not the ball is unfit, unless lifted from the putting green.

NOTE--it's common for player's to have disputes concerning whether a ball is unfit or not. A valid claim must be made before the player plays another ball. Also, in stroke play, the player has the option of playing a second ball in case of dispute.

NOTE--due to a stroke, if a ball breaks into pieces, the stroke must be cancelled without penalty and replayed from the spot where the last stroke was played.