A good golfer will know the rules of golf, even those that seem obscure. Here’s a run-down of the most important rules of golf to keep in mind when playing in Australia and New Zealand, with thanks to John Hopkins of the Golf Australia’s Rules of Golf Committee:
You must play the same ball from the teeing ground into the hole. Change only when the rules allow.
You must hole out on each hole. If you don’t, you don’t have a score and are thus disqualified.
You must play the ball as it lies.
When your ball is in a hazard, whether a bunker or a water hazard, you cannot touch the ground or water in the hazard with your club before impact.
You cannot improve the line of a putt by repairing marks made by the spikes of a player’s shoes.
When your ball is in play, you must not touch it except as permitted or cause it to move. If you do, you incur a penalty stroke and must replace the ball.
Obstructions are anything artificial. Some obstructions are moveable. Others are not, so you must drop your ball within one club length of your nearest point of relief.
If your ball is lost in a water hazard, you can drop another ball behind the hazard, keeping the point where the ball last crossed the hazard between you and the hole.
If you lose your ball anywhere else other than a hazard, return to where you hit your previous shot and hit another – with a one-stroke penalty.
If your ball is unplayable, you have three options:
Play from where you hit your last shot.
Drop the ball within two club lengths of where your ball is now.
Keep the point where the ball is between you and the hole and drop your ball on that line. You can go back as far as you want.