An early attempt at a universal rules code ("...shall suit all greens alike.") from the now defunct Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club.
[1802 Edinburgh Burgess]
THE ROYAL ISLE OF WIGHT GOLF CLUB
12 MARCH 1886.
The following Rules, written for and adopted by the Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club, and also adopted by the United Service Golf Club, Portsmouth, have been compiled with the object of framing a set of Rules for the Game of Golf, which shall suit all Greens alike. The want of such a set has been long felt; and if these do not come up to the standard aimed at, it is hoped, at least, that they may serve as a basis on which such a set may ultimately be perfected.
Golfers trained in different schools are naturally biassed in favour of their own code; but, in attempting a work of this kind, the compiler has endeavoured to study what he believes to be the desire of the majority. These Rules are the result of much time and trouble, and also of a careful study of the Rules of the principal Clubs. They have been codified, and brought under their natural heads, and in the order of the progress of the game. They will be found more fully worded than those in general use; this in the interests of beginners, and for clearness.
The Penalties will probably not recommend themselves to all alike, but they have been approved by a Committee of eminent Golfers, as most likely to suit generally. Golf is surely the only game in which the Rules give rise to so much controversy. Nothing will put a stop to this but fixing on a set of Rules, approved by an Association of Delegates from the principal Clubs. There might be even two, say, a Scottish Association and an English Association; but at present every Club has, practically, its own, all very similar, but still differing. It is hoped that this effort to supply what is required will be accepted in the spirit in which it has been carried out, namely, a desire to promote the interests of the Noble and Ancient Game.
J. S. EATON,
I - General
1. The Captain and Council, or Committee, shall have power to make Bye-Laws, where necessity arises; such Bye-Laws to be exhibited in a conspicuous place in the Club Room, and also inserted under that head in these rules.
2. All disputes respecting the game may be determined by any person, or persons, agreed upon by the parties interested; or, failing which, by the Captain and Council, or Committee, whose decision shall he final.
3. When any doubt arises as to the meaning of a rule, or point, of Golf, those appointed to decide the question should bear in mind that rules are framed, as far as possible, to preserve the best features of the game, and to prevent any player obtaining an undue advantage; and a player should have the benefit of such doubt, in a fair and liberal spirit.
Breach of Rules
4. Where no penalty is stated, for the infringement of a rule, the offending player renders himself liable to the loss of the hole in match play, and to disqualification in medal play.
II -Mode of Playing the Game.
The Links or Green
5. The tract of country over which the game is played is called the "Links" or "Green," and may be divided under four heads, viz.: the "Course" (par. 73), the "Putting Greens" (par. 53), the "Teeing-Grounds" (par. 18), and "Hazards" (par. 74). The Links should be clearly defined on a plan, to be exhibited in the Club Room, showing its boundaries, principal Hazards, the position of the Holes, and the order in which they are to be played, &c.
The Holes, no. of
6. There should be eighteen "Holes" in the Round, but, where the ground will not admit of this, they may be fewer in number. There is no fixed distance between the Holes, this being governed by the nature of the ground. They are placed where the turf is especially good, and free of Hazards; and, if possible, there should be a radius of twenty yards of unbroken turf around each hole; this is called the Putting-Green.
The Holes, size of
The Holes are circular, four inches in diameter, and about six inches deep; lined inside by an iron pipe, to preserve their shape, the upper edge of which should be half an inch below the surface of the ground. There should be a small flag in each, to mark its position; white going out, and red coming in.
Kinds of Play
7. There are two kinds of play, viz.: "Match Play," in which the object is to win the greater number of Holes; and "Medal" or "Competition Play," in which the object is to complete the Round, or Rounds, in as few strokes as is possible.
8. One or more Rounds of the Links, according to the Bye-Laws of the Club, is reckoned a "Match," unless otherwise stipulated before starting.
9. The game may he played by two persons, one on each side, each playing their own ball; this is called a "Single."
Or by three persons, two on one side, playing alternately from the Teeing-Grounds and through the Green, against one playing his own ball; this is called a "Threesome."
A Foursome or Double
Or by four persons, two on each side, playing alternately, as above; this is called a "Foursome" or "Double."
Three or more Ball Matches
Or by three or more persons, each playing their own ball; these are called Three or more Ball Matches.
Hole, how won
10. A "Hole" is won by the side which holes out in the fewer strokes; if each side hole out in a like number, the Hole is said to be "Halved."
Match, how won
A "Match" is won by the side which is one or more Holes up in excess of the number remaining to be played; should each side win a like number, the Match is "Halved."
Scoring Stroke, Match Play
11. The score of the strokes in Match Play is kept by the terms "the odd," "two more," "three more," &c.; "one off three," "one off two," "the like."
Ditto, Medal Play
Vide par. 69.
The score of the Holes is kept by the terms "one up," "two up," "three up," &c.; "down to two," "down to one," "all even," "all square," or "level.
12. When one side is as many Holes up as remaining to be played, that side is said to be "Dormy."
13. After a Match is won, any remaining Hole or Holes of the Round is termed the "Bye"; and it, or they, may be played either singly or as a whole.
Handicapping or Giving Odds
14. In order to handicap players, "odds" may be given in the three following ways.
First: by giving one or more strokes a hole, "two-thirds," "a-half," "a-third," "a-fourth," &c. In this case, the player receiving the odds must say, before starting, at which Hole he will commence to take his stroke; and, after this, the stroke must be taken at every second, third, or fourth hole, &c., in regular order. And when "two-thirds" is given, the strokes must be taken at two consecutive Holes, leaving out the third. Should no arrangement be made before starting, the odds shall commence at the first Hole.
Second: by giving so many "Strokes" in the Round. In this case, the player receiving the odds may select at which Holes he will take the strokes given; but this must be done before starting, otherwise they must be taken as in case first.
Third: by allowing the weaker side to start so many "Holes up," or the stronger side so many "Holes down."
III - The Order of Starting.
15. Before starting, the players opposed to each other may decide, by agreement, lot, or toss of a coin, for the choice of either striking off first, or obliging the opponent to do so; the side which is to strike off first, is said to have the "Honour;" and, with two on a side, they must first decide which of them shall strike off, and then the opponents shall do likewise; the players thus named shall strike off against each other, at every alternate Teeing Ground, in their proper turn.
Side winning Hole
The side winning a Hole shall have the Honour in striking off to the next; and the side winning a Match shall have the Honour in striking off for another; if the Hole or Match be halved, the side which had the Honour shall retain it.
The Honour at starting is, however, by courtesy, generally granted to Captains and Senior members.
Penalty, vide par. 25.
Several Parties starting
16. When several parties are waiting to start at the same time, they shall go in the order in which their balls were "teed;" but those starting for a Medal or Competition Round shall have precedence. And where the Match Round consists of more than one round of the Green, those starting for a second or third round shall go alternately with those starting for their first or second.
17. When a telegraph board is used, a person will be placed in charge, to note the order of starting. Only one player in a Match may put his name down; and, when his turn comes, the parties who are to strike off must be ready to start, or else they lose their turn, and must go to the bottom of the list of those starting.
Starting Medal Play
Vide par. 68.
IV - The Teeing-Ground.
18. The "Teeing-Ground" is a place, marked off by the Conservator of the Links, from whence the players strike their first or "Tee-shot," in playing to each Hole.
NOTE - The most convenient marks are small boxes, painted white, containing damp sand, for teeing purposes.
19. For the first or "Tee-Shot" in striking off to each Hole, the player may "tee" his ball, i.e., place it fair for striking. The ball must be "teed" within the marks laid down, neither in front, outside, nor more than two club lengths behind the front line.
Penalty - Should a player improperly "tee" his ball, the opponent must call his attention to the fact, before he strikes; otherwise, the stroke shall stand good. Should he, however, persist in striking off, after notice, the stroke may, at the option of the opponent, be recalled, and replayed, with the same or another ball; but in Medal Play it must be recalled.
Defacing Teeing ground
20. The Teeing-Grounds may not be defaced by the players, or their caddies, pinching or kicking up the turf, to form a tee. If a tee be required, a pinch of sand should be used.
V - Playing through the Green.
21. A player may not ask advice about the game, of any one, either by word, look or gesture, excepting of his partner and of his own or partner's caddie.
Penalty, vide par. 4.
Lifting and replacing Ball.
22. Where, by these Rules, a ball is to be lifted and replaced, it should, if possible, be done by a disinterested party, or umpire; or, failing which, by the owner of the ball.
Lifting and Teeing or Placing ball.
23. Where, by these Rules, a ball may be lifted and "teed," or "placed" behind, it shall be done by the player or his caddie, who must place the spot where the ball lay in a direct line between himself and the Hole he is playing towards.
Ditto and Dropping.
And, where the ball may be lifted and "dropped," the player shall face the Hole he is playing towards, keeping the spot where the ball lay, as above, and drop the ball from behind the head, keeping the body perfectly erect. In either case, the player may go as far behind as he pleases.
Alternation of Stroke
24. The lifting of a ball, whether with or without a penalty, shall not interfere with the regular alternation of the play of the strokes between partners.
25. The game commences by the parties named (par. 15) striking off a ball from the first Teeing-Ground. In a Match with two on a side, the partners shall play alternately, from the Teeing-Grounds, and through the Green, and (excepting in three or more ball matches and in Medal Play, (pars. 36 and 70) the ball farther from the Hole to which the parties are playing, shall be played first, until both are holed out.
Wrong Side playing
Penalty - Should the wrong side play first, either from the Teeing-Ground or through the Green, the opponent, before playing his own ball, may recall the stroke; and, excepting from the Teeing-Ground, the ball shall be "dropped" (par. 23) as nearly as possible where it lay, without further penalty.
Wrong Player playing
But, in a double Match, if a player shall play when his partner should have done so, that side loses the Hole.
Parties in Front
26. The players may not drive into parties in front; nor should a player drive a ball in the direction of any person, without first calling, "Fore!" and being satisfied that such person is on the look-out.
28. The balls struck off from the Teeing-Ground may not be changed, except when broken or damaged (par. 38), and as provided in paragraphs 39, 40, 41, 42, 46, 49, 50, 51, and 52.
Penalty, vide par 4.
29. The player, whilst "addressing" (par. 72) the ball, is permitted to touch it with the club head only; but, with this exception, at the Teeing-Ground, and for the purposes of lifting, as permitted by these rules, no player or caddie engaged in a Match, or in Medal Play, may touch either of the balls.
Penalty: the loss of one stroke.
30. Excepting at the Teeing-Ground, no player or caddie engaged in a Match may move either of the balls, nor may they touch anything which will cause the ball to move; and if, whilst addressing the ball, the player touch it, so as to cause it to move, it shall be accounted a stroke (vide par. 77).
Definition of a Moved Ball
If a ball be moved, in the slightest degree, from its original position, and stop in another, it is a moved ball; but, if it merely oscillate, and return to its original position, it is not considered to have been moved.
Penalty: the side lose one stroke.
Pressing Down Irregularities
31. On no account is it allowable to press, or pat, down irregularities of surface in the ground, so as to improve the lie of the ball.
Penalty: vide par. 4.
Impression of Club on Sand
32. When the ball lies on sand, mud, or broken ground, in a bunker, or other hazard, the player shall not touch the sand or mud, &c., with his club, whilst addressing his ball; if, however, a ball lie on thin sand, sprinkled or blown on to the "Course," it shall be treated as if it lay on grass.
Penalty: vide par 4.
Lifting Break-Clubs; Ball on Sand
33. When a ball lies on sand, gravel, or broken ground, in a bunker, or other hazard, no stones, sand, or other loose obstacles (excepting balls, vide par. 36) may be either lifted, moved, or touched, by club or otherwise, except in the act of striking at the ball (for penalty, see below); but, when a ball lies on turf, whether on the "Course" or in a "Hazard," all moveable obstacles (including balls, par. 36), within a club length of the ball, may be lifted or moved, provided the ball be not moved in so doing.
Penalty: vide par 4.
Fixtures and Growing Obstacles
34. Excepting as provided in par. 35, no fixture or growing obstacle may be pulled up, bent or broken down, except in the act of striking at the ball; nor may a player stand upon, or trample down, growing obstacles, to better enable him to play the ball; and all posts, rails, gates, chains, fences, and the like, must be left in the position they were in, as the player approached them. All golfing marks, however, are movable. Penalty: vide par. 4.
Entitled to see Ball
35. When a ball is completely covered or obscured, by moss, grass, bents, nettles, whins, dry sand, or the like, only so much of these may be lightly set aside, by hand or club, as that the player may have a view of the ball whilst playing it, whether in the direction of the Hole or otherwise, provided the ball be not moved in so doing. Should a ball be stuck fast, in wet ground or wet sand, it may be lifted, and replaced lightly in the hole it has made, without a penalty.
Penalty: vide par. 4.
Balls within Club Length
36. Excepting on the Putting-green (par. 59), should balls lie within a club length of each other, in any situation, the one nearer the Hole to which the player is playing, may be lifted, whilst the other is being played, and then be carefully replaced; Should the player's ball be accidentally moved, in so doing, it must be replaced, without a penalty; and, should the position of the lifted ball be injured by the player's stroke, the ball may be "dropped" (par. 23) behind, without a penalty.
In three or more ball Matches, and in Medal Play (par. 70), a ball in any degree interfering with the play of another, must be either lifted or played first.
Balls not Distinguishable
37. If the players are at a loss to distinguish one ball from another, neither may be lifted without the consent of the opponent; but the ball of a third party may be lifted without consent, and must be carefully replaced.
Penalty: vide par. 4.
38. If a ball split into two or more pieces, another may be put down where the largest portion lies; and if it be cracked, or otherwise damaged, another may be substituted, on intimating the fact to the opponent; but dirt or mud adhering to the ball may not be removed, except under the penalty for touching the ball (par. 29).
Rub on the Green
39. Whatever happens to a moving ball, such as being deflected or stopped, by any agency outside the Match, or by the fore caddie, is a "Rub on the Green," and must be submitted to. Should such moving ball lodge in anything moving it, or, if not recoverable, another shall be "dropped" (par. 23) as nearly as possible to its original position, without further penalty.
Ditto, Out of Bounds
Should, however, such moving object be out of bounds, the player incurs that penalty (par. 51).
Ball Played, Lifted or Moved by Third Party
40. Whatever happens to a ball that has ceased to move, such as being played away, lifted, or moved, by any agency outside the Match, or by the fore caddie, is not a "Rub on the Green;" and the ball, or, if not recoverable, another, must be "placed" (par. 23), as nearly as possible, to where it lay, without a penalty.
Playing Ball of Third Party
41. If a player inadvertently play a ball belonging to a party outside the Match, he incurs no penalty; and, if the mistake be discovered, the ball must be replaced, the players playing their proper balls; should, however, the mistake not be discovered until he has "holed out," the Hole shall stand good, the ball being returned.
Ball Striking Opponent
43. Excepting as provided in pars. 61 and 63, if the player's ball strike an opponent, or an opponent's caddie, or clubs, the opponent loses the hole; but, in Medal Play, the ball must be brought back, and be replayed, without a penalty.
Ball Striking Player
If, however, the player's ball strike himself, or club, or if it strike his partner, or either of their caddies, or clubs, the player loses the Hole; and, in Medal Play, one stroke.
Striking Ball Twice
44. If, in the act of playing, the player strike the ball twice, his side loses the Hole; but in Medal Play, it shall be counted as two strokes.
45. Parties playing Medal Rounds, may pass those playing Matches. Parties seeking for a lost ball, may be passed by those coming up behind. Parties having caddies, may pass those who are carrying their own clubs.
A two-ball Match may pass those playing three or more balls. Parties not going the full round, must let any two ball Match, that is, pass them.
VI - Rules and Penalties for Lost and Unplayable Balls,
IN MATCH OR MEDAL PLAY.
46. If a ball be lost, and not recovered in five minutes, another shall be "teed" (par. 23), at the spot where the parties are searching for it, or behind the hazard where it was lost, with a loss of two strokes. Should, however, the original ball be found, before the other has been struck, it shall continue to be played, without a penalty.
Ball Liftable without Penalty
47. If a ball lodge in a golf or flag hole, teeing box, roller, wheel barrow, washing tub, or the like, or if it lie in a tent, on nets, clothes, or the like, or on ground under repair, by the Conservator of the Links, it may be lifted and "dropped" (par. 23), either behind, or one club-length right or left of the obstacle, provided the Hole be not neared in so doing, without a penalty. (For water, and holes, &c., on Putting-Green, vide par. 57.)
48. Excepting as provided in pars. 47, 49 and 57, a ball may be lifted out of a difficulty of any description, and be "teed" behind (par. 23), either in or out of the hazard, with the loss of two strokes.
Ball on Ice or in Water on the Course
49. If, on the "Course," as defined in par. 73, a ball lie on ice, or in temporary water, it may be played where it lies; or it may be lifted, changed, or dried, and "teed" behind (par. 23), with the loss of one stroke; and, should the water be deep or dirty, so as to render its recovery difficult, another may be substituted. (For Putting-Green, vide par. 57.)
Ball on Ice or in Water in Hazards
50. If a ball lie on ice, or in water, in a permanent "Hazard," (par. 74) it may be played where it lies; failing which, it must be treated as a "lost" or "unplayable" ball (pars. 46 and 23).
Ball Out of Bounds
51. If a ball be driven into any place declared by the Bye-Laws to be "Out of Bounds;" or into any hedge, cop, fence, or tree, bounding the same; it, or, if not recoverable, another shall be "teed" at the spot, as nearly as possible, from whence the ball was struck, with the loss of one stroke and the distance. And, if a ball lie in any burn, or ditch, lining such hedge, cop, or fence; or, in any hazard bordering on such burn, ditch, hedge, cop, or fence, so that the player cannot place himself "behind" (par. 23) the same; it may be played where it lies; failing which, it must be treated as "Out of Bounds."
Ball in Sea, Lake or River
52. If a ball be driven into a sea, lake, river, or other extensive sheet of water, or into any other situation, not declared to be "Out of Bounds," and where a player cannot place himself" behind" (par. 23) the same, it may be played where it lies; failing which, it must be treated as "Out of bounds."
VII - The Putting-Greens.
53. The "Putting-Greens" are those portions of the Links where the Holes are placed, and are limited in extent, to a radius of twenty yards from the Hole, and within this radius, should be kept perfectly clean, smooth, and free of hazards.
Playing on to Putting-Greens and practising Putting
54. Parties may not play on to the Putting-Green, until the party in front have holed out; and, parties who have holed out, may not cause delay, by practising their puts over again.
Removing and replacing Flag
55. Before playing on to the Putting-Green, the player's caddie, and, with two on a side, the partner, or either of their caddies, should remove the flag from the Hole, and give the direction; and, after the balls are holed out, the last player, or his caddie, must replace the flag in the Hole.
56. All loose impediments, on the Putting-Greens, may be removed, provided the ball be not moved in so doing; and the player, or his caddie, may remove, but not press or pat down, sand, or worn heaps, around the Hole, and on the line of the put; but this must be done lightly, by hand only.
Ice or snow on Putting-Green
When loose ice or snow lies on the Putting-Greens, they shall be treated as loose impediments.
Penalty, vide par. 4.
Ball on ice, in water, holes, or scrapes, on the Putting-Green
57. If a ball lie on ice, in water, holes, or scrapes, on the Putting-Green, it may be played where it lies, or may be lifted, and "placed" behind (par. 23), without a penalty. A ball merely cupped may not be lifted.
58. Except as provided in par. 56, and whilst addressing, when the player is permitted lightly to place the club-head down in front of the ball, the putting-line may not be touched, by hand, club, or foot. If the player desires the line to the Hole, it may be pointed out by the partner, or either of their caddies, with the point of a club-handle, only.
Penalty: vide par. 4.
59. On the Putting-green, a ball, in any degree, lying between the player's ball and the Hole, is termed a "Stymie;" and, excepting the balls be within six inches, in any position on the Putting-Green, measured from their nearer surfaces, in three or more ball Matches (par. 36), and in Medal Play (par. 70), may not be lifted.
60. In "holing-out," no mark may be placed, nor line drawn, to indicate the line to the Hole. The ball must be played fairly and honestly for the Hole, and not on the opponent's ball, it not being in the way to the Hole; nor, through laying in the way, is the player entitled to play upon it, nor with greater force than is necessary, honestly, to send his own ball the distance of the Hole.
Opponent's Ball Displaced
Should the opponent's ball be thus accidentally displaced, this must be submitted to, in Match Play; but, in Medal Play, the ball must be replaced.
Penalty: vide par. 4.
Opponent or Caddie struck on Putting-Green
61. If, in holing-out, a player request an opponent, or an opponent's caddie, to stand at the Hole, and such opponent, or his caddie, or clubs, be struck by the player's ball, this must be treated as a "Rub on the green." (par. 39).
Ball resting on flag stick in hole.
62. If, in holing-out, a ball rest upon the flag-stick in the Hole, the umpire, or player of the ball, shall be entitled to remove the flag-stick from the Hole; and, if the ball fall in, it shall be considered as holed-out.
Ball resting on Lip of Hole
63. In Match Play, if the opponent's ball rest on the lip of, or near, the Hole, the player, after holing-out his own ball, may strike away the opponent's ball, claiming the Hole, if he shall have holed in the like, and a half, if he shall have holed in the odd. But no player may play, until the opponent's ball has ceased to roll.
Opponent's Ball holed by Players
Should the player's ball knock in the opponent's ball, it shall be counted as holed-out on his last stroke. In Medal Play, however, the ball must be replaced, and holed-out, by the proper player, without a penalty. After one side has holed-out, the other side can only claim, as a penalty for the subsequent infringement of any rule, that their ball shall be considered as holed-out in their next stroke.
VIII - Medal Play - Special Rules.
64. All competitions for medals or prizes of the Club, shall be decided by playing one or more rounds of the Round to be played Links, according to the Bye-Laws of the Club.
The round or rounds must, as far as possible, be played continuously, and without interval, under pain of disqualification. All ties must be played off, as provided in the Bye-Laws of the Club.
Cutting New Holes
65. On the morning of competitions, new Holes shall be cut; and any competitor, putting at or into them before starting, renders himself liable to disqualification.
66. No competitor may play with a professional, under pain of disqualification.
Couples, a Match and Opponents
67. For the purpose of these rules, the couples shall be deemed to be a "Match;" and the players forming a couple, "opponents."
68. The couples shall be started in accordance with the Bye-Laws of the Club; and, when the Round has to be played more than once, couples starting for their second or third round, shall be started alternately with those starting for the first or second.
Parties starting, shall not drive off until the party in front have reached the first Putting-Green.
69. Before starting, the competitors must obtain a scoring card, and, in the absence of a special marker, will note the opponent's score, bearing in mind that they hold a position of trust, in respect of the whole field of players; and they must satisfy each other, at the finish of each Hole and Round, that the strokes have been accurately marked; and, at the end, hand in the cards to the Secretary, or his deputy, properly checked and signed.
70. All balls must he "holed out," under pain of disqualification; and, when on the Putting-Green, the flag must be removed from the Hole; and the player whose ball is nearer the Hole, has the option of holing-out first. Either player can have the other's ball lifted, if he finds that it interferes with his stroke; and, if a ball be lifted, it must be carefully replaced.
71. The Rules of Golf, so far as they are not inconsistent with these special rules, shall also apply to competition days.
IX - Definitions
72. Placing one's self in position to strike the ball.
73. The "Course" shall be those grassy portions of the Links on which the game ought to be played. If a ball lie in a Hazard of any description, it is, for the purpose of these rules, "off the Course."
74. "Hazard," is a general term for bunkers, quarries, broken ground, beaches, roads, gravel, sand, sea, lakes, rivers, burns, ditches, water, holes, mole-hills, whins, bents, rushes, nettles, long grass, fixtures, and difficulties, of every description; and their boundaries are defined by the continuous turf of the Links.
75. Any person playing the game.
77. A "Stroke" is the act of striking, attempt to strike, or (excepting at the Teeing-Ground) moving the ball with the Club. The ball must be fairly struck by the club-head only, not pushed, scraped, or spooned. A stroke may be arrested during the swing, provided the club-head do not reach and pass the ball, nor touch the ground. If, in swinging, the club break, it is, nevertheless, to be accounted a stroke, if the part of the club remaining in the player's hand either strike the ground or pass the ball.
Vide par. 53
Vide par. 59
Vide par. 18
GLOSSARY OF TECHNICAL TERMS
EMPLOYED IN THE GAME OF GOLF