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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 6 - The Player

THE PLAYER AND HIS RESPONSIBILITIES: the player is responsible for knowing the rules and conditions under which the competition is to be played.

NOTE--a marker records the competitor's score in stroke play and is appointed by the Committee. A marker can be a fellow competitor , but not a referee.

HANDICAP IN MATCH PLAY COMPETITION-- before a match begins, the players should their respective handicaps. If it's determined that a player has declared a higher handicap than he actually has, he is disqualified. If the hadicap of the player declared is lower than his actual, he must play off the lower handicap.

HANDICAP IN STROKE PLAY COMPETITION--the player is responsible to record his handicap prior to returning it to the Committee. If no handicap is recorded, or the recorded handicap is higher than the player's actual handicap, the player is disqualified from that round.

NOTE--the holes to which the player is entitled are the responsibility of the player to know where the occur.

STARTING TIMES: the Committee sets the starting times and the competitors must adhere to the Committee's schedule. The player is required to remain with the group arranged by the Committee unless the Committee authorizes a change. The penalty is DISQUALIFICATION if the player does not adhere to the starting time or to play the entire round with the group arranged by the Committee.
NOTE--if the player is late for his starting time, but does arrive ready to play within five minutes of the starting time, the Committee can waive the disqualification penalty and apply a penalty of loss of hole in match play and two-strokes in stroke play.

ONLY ONE CADDIE AT A TIME: a player can only have one caddie at a time. If more than one is used at a time the player is disqualified.
NOTE-- the player incurs the appropriate penalty for any breach of a rule by his caddie.

BALL--each player in the competition should have an identifying mark on his ball, and it's the responsibility of the player to play the proper ball.

STROKE PLAY SCORING: it's recommended that after each hole the marker should record the competitor's score. Upon completion of the round, the marker must sign the competitor's card and if there was more than one marker then each marker must sign that part of the scorecard that they marked. The marker must then give the card to the competitor in which he should check his hole by hole score and settle any questionable points with the Committee. The competitor must make sure his card is signed by his marker or markers, and then countersign the card himself and return it to the Committee as soon as possible.
DISQUALIFICATION is the penalty for not properly signing or turning in a scorecard.
NOTE--no alterations are allowed by a player to his scorecard once he returned it to the Committee.
NOTE--once a player's scorecard has been returned to the Committee and he finds out that the score for one of the holes is lower than he actually took, he is DISQUALIFIED. However, if the score for one of the holes is higher than he actually took, that higher score counts and he is not disqualified (remember Rober DeVicenzo). The player does not have to total his score when returning his scorecard. The Committee is responsible for the addition of scores and applying handicaps if applicable. In team competition only one of the player's on a side are required to sign the scorecard.

UNDUE DELAY AND SLOW PLAY: all competitors are responsible for playing according to the guidelines for pace of play noted by the Committee.
PENALTY FOR UNDUE DELAY OR SLOW PLAY--Loss of Hole in Match Play and Two Strokes in Stroke Play. DISQUALIFICATION for subsequent offenses.
NOTE--the penalty applies to the next hole if a player unduly delays play between holes.

PLAY DISCONTINUED: competitors must not discontinue play unless (i) play is suspended by the Committee, (ii) a player is seeking a decision from the Committee, (iii) the player believes there is danger form lightning, but bad weather is not of itself a good reason, (iv) illness or another good reason.
NOTE--if a player does discontinue play in stroke play without permission, he must notify the Committee as soon as practicable, and the Committee must make a determination to consider the reason. If the Committee is satisfied with the reason, there is no penalty. If the Committee is not satisfied, the player is DISQUALIFIED. In match play, players discontinuing play by agreement are not subject to disqualification, unless they delay the competition.
NOTE-- a competitor or competitors are not necessarily considered to have discontinued play if they leave the golf course.

PROCEDURE WHEN THE COMMITTEE SUSPENDS PLAY: (i) if between the play of two holes, play must not resume until the Committee has ordered play to begin. (ii) during play of a hole, the competitors can continue play of the hole without delay, if they continue they can discontinue either before or immediately after finishing the hole. If they discontinue they cannot finish until the Committee resumes play.
PENALTY--DISQUALIFICATION for not obeying the rules on discontinuence of play.
NOTE--the Committee may invoke as part of the conditions of play Immediate Discontinuence of Play for potentially dangerous situations. If the competitor fails to immediately discontinue play in such circumstances, the competitor is DISQUALIFIED.
NOTE--most people don't know this. During play of a hole a player can lift (mark before lifting) his ball if play is discontinued or suspended. When the ball is lifted (it may be substituted) it can be cleaned and a ball must be replaced on the spot from which the original ball was lifted.
PENALTY--Loss of Hole in Match Play and Two-Strokes in Stroke Play