The Most Commonly Overlooked Rules of Golf

Common Rules of Golf

Everybody who plays and even most of those who don't know the common rules of golf, such as play it where it lies, you are only allowed fourteen golf clubs in a bag.

However the rules of golf are pretty complex and reading through them reads like a legally binding contract where by you need three translators, a legal specialist and a linguist versed in latin just understand what is being written.

I have pulled out some of my favourite and most commonly overlooked rules of golf, these could prove to be very useful if you are having a cheeky little side bet with your golf buddy and you need to swing things in your favour. Although don't expect to remain buddies after using them.


Hitting yourself with your own ball = impressive

Don't be the Mary Poppins of Golf

Holding an Umbrella over a player whilst putting earned this caddy the nickname 'Mary Poppins'
Holding an Umbrella over a player whilst putting earned this caddy the nickname 'Mary Poppins'
Don't get disqualified for not knowing the rules.
Don't get disqualified for not knowing the rules.

5 of the most commonly overlooked rules of golf

So here are those rules, use them wisely:

  1. There is no rule against hitting other players on the golf course, but rule 19-2b says that if a golfer will receive a 2 stroke penalty if he hits himself with his own ball. If you have managed this then please comment, I would be fascinated to know how you managed such an impressive feat. Check out Phil Mickelson doing just that in the video
  2. According to a definition set by USGA, any hole which is made by borrowing animals such as goffers, rabbits etc. are thought of as unusual ground conditions and as such relief is given to the player. However holes and divots made by non borrowing animals, such as dogs, cats are not considered abnormal ground so are not subject to any relief. Be sure to find the culprit before you continue.
  3. You are not allowed to have someone hold an umbrella over you whilst you are taking a putt, which is subject to a two stroke penalty, this in fact happened in the European PGA tour and the caddy who was responsible is now referred to as Mary Poppins.
  4. If your ball is teetering over the edge be sure to jump up and down as quickly as possible because if it falls in after the 10 seconds then another shot is added to your score. This happened in the world series of golf in 1998 when a shot fell over the lip 19 seconds and he recorded it without the +1 which meant he was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard.
  5. In 1987 at the Andy Williams Open, Craig Sadler used a towel to kneel on whilst he was taking a shot from underneath a tree, he went on to finished tied for second. However following calls from viewers, they said that he had broken a rule. He should have been awarded a 2 stroke penalty for building a stance, however since he signed an incorrect score card he was disqualified and lost $37000. ouch all for using a towel

There are so many others like not being able to remove morning dew from your balls and if your bunker is filled with water, you may move it but only within the bunker. Some of these rules may come in useful when you are playing your round of golf and the post game drinks are on the line, be sure to have a rule book with you because otherwise they won't believe you.

Golf is a simple game at heart but it has so many rules and regulations that not knowing them can cost you serious money as a professional. But for us recreational players, it's just fun to laugh at the shear comedy in some of these rules. I'll leave you with a couple of videos to make you smile.

Grounding your club in a Hazard

Golf's all about keeping your cool

Remember just do the opposite of Happy Gilmore

Finally if Caddyshack taught us anything, don't play in a storm.

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Comments 10 comments

ntmarketing profile image

ntmarketing 4 years ago from Elon, NC

Wait...these are uncommon rules?


dipless profile image

dipless 4 years ago from Manchester Author

Yes they are :) I asked a few friends and most of them hadn't heard of a lot of them. Please feel free to let me know some more and i'll include them.


ntmarketing profile image

ntmarketing 4 years ago from Elon, NC

No problem...Search the youtube video of Dustin Johnson hitting the shot on 18 last year when he got 2 strokes assessed after the round.


dipless profile image

dipless 4 years ago from Manchester Author

Wow that is a really interesting, wow that sucks added that video to the end. Thanks for sharing this.


lobobrandon profile image

lobobrandon 4 years ago

Awesome hub somewhat hilarious as well as I'm not completely familiar with the rules of golf even though I know the major rules ;)

I loved the one about the penalty for hitting yourself as well as the umbrella while you putt penalty :D


dipless profile image

dipless 4 years ago from Manchester Author

Thank you lobobrandon, glad you enjoyed it, but you can never go wrong with a bit of Adam Sandler to help emphasise your point.

I know there are in my humble opinion some very odd rules in golf.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

Hehee, this is so much fun! Who knew that cat-made holes could not be counted as natural occurrences??? And goodness, now that I see there are no rules restricting one from hitting others with a golf club, I really want to get started with golfing!


Eric Newland profile image

Eric Newland 4 years ago from Dayton, Ohio

Hmm, maybe #1 is in place so you can't knock your ball into the air and hacky sack it over to the hole. Shame, that would make golf a lot more fun.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

Oh, seriously though. I say we invent a variation of golf in which this is allowed. Hippies and preppies unite!


dipless profile image

dipless 4 years ago from Manchester Author

@ Simone I know right, it's insane, I may "accidentally" let my cat loose on a golf course just to wreak havoc :p Haha I know let's turn golf into a contact sport :D

@Eric That would be so good, however i'm not sure for me that would improve anything both golf and hacky sack are not my forte :)

@Simone haha patent that now, just in case ;)

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