The Best Rule in Golf?


Given your background in the game, what rule do you believe is the best rule in the Rules of Golf and if there was one rule that you could change, what one would it be?

Steve, CA.


I believe that the best rule in golf is Rule 13-1 General “The ball must be played as it lies, except as otherwise provided in the Rules”. I also believe that all golfers should know and once a year recite, the section regarding the Spirit of the Game in the etiquette section of the rules, which states;

“Golf is played, for the most part, without the supervision of a referee or an umpire. The game relies on the integrity of the individual to show consideration for other players  and to abide by the Rules. All players should conduct themselves in a disciplined manner, demonstrating courtesy and sportsmanship at all times, irrespective of how competitive they may be. This is the spirit of the game of golf. ”

If I had to change a rule, I would change Rule 4-3 a (iii) which allows the golfer to replace a damaged club that is unfit for play with ANY club. I believe this Rule should instead permit the golfer to replace the damaged club only with a SIMILAR club. For example if you damage your 3 -iron and it is unfit for play, you should not be allowed to replace it with a wedge or a driver.

Thanks for your question. Hope this helps.



Do you have a favorite Rule or is there a Rule you would like to be changed? Share your thoughts by replying below.





11 thoughts on “The Best Rule in Golf?

  1. Out of bounds should be changed to stroke penalty only, treat it like a lateral water hazard. A person can hit his ball out of bounds by a half inch and it is trudge back to last place played from and add a stroke. A person can hit his ball 50 yards off line in a lateral hazard and only loses a stroke. maybe the worse rule in golf. I know some of the relieves available for a lateral water hazard may not be available at point of going out of bounds, but all forms of relieve are not always available at point of entry of a water hazard either. Worse waste of time on any on the rules.

  2. The out of bounds/lost ball rule being stroke and distance. I believe in order to speed up play if a ball is deemed to be lost or out of bounds it should be played as the lateral water hazard rule to speed up play – which is how most golfers play this rule anyway. It would simplify things.

  3. I would change the rule so that if you have played a provisional, but you find the original ball and it is unplayable, then you can carry on with the provisional ball as the ball in play, under penalty of stroke and distance. This would save a lot of time, i.e. walking back to the tee.

  4. I read of a group who used the following in lieu of stroke and distance and imposed on all types of penalty drops, ie, lost ball, ob, unplayable, lateral hazard, etc. The ball is taken to the edge of the FAIRWAY at the point where it is presumed lost, crossed OB, crossed margin of hazard etc., then BACK 10 yards and dropped in the FAIRWAY. In some cases, this is more penalizing than the actual rule, in other cases less so, but is consistent for all and speeds play. Less controversy and no returning to tee, etc.

  5. Clubs damaged during a round of golf have to be few and far between compared, say, to a stroke and distance penalty for hitting a ball OB – much more frequent occurrence and a questionably inequitable rule, at that.

    Sent from my iPhone


  6. I don’t like the rule with regard to fixing spike marks before putting. Why should the putter be penalized because some idiot ahead of him cannot lift his feet. Even if an opponent would be permitted to repair the mark for him it would be an improvement.

  7. Rule 16-2 Ball Overhanging Hole. Re-written after ’85 US Open. Player gets 10 seconds if ball overhanging. If it does NOT fall, it is DEEMED at rest. If it falls in after 10 secs, player adds 1 stroke. It encourages players to “get on with it” and not claiming the ball is still moving.

  8. I’ve always thought it significant the the very first section in the rules of golf is Etiquette. My wife and I both play a lot of golf, and we see divots not repaired, ball marks not repaired, slow play, etc. To us, how one behaves on the golf course is about respect — respect for the game, respect for the course, respect for one’s playing partners, and self-respect. So, Section 1 is my choice for the “best rule”.

  9. I’m not sure of the purpose of the “one ball” rule. Obviously during the play of a hole you can’t use one ball for driving and another ball for putting, but with the quality of balls today, I don’t see how it affects the integrity of the game to require that during a stipulated round you must use the same brand, model, and year of ball. I attended a U.S.G.A. 3 day rules workshop and had rules officials tell me that the one ball rule even restricts you to use even the same model of a ball such as the Pro V 1 X ie can’t use last years and this years. Must be the same year. Why??? As long as it is on the conforming ball list you should be free to use. I understand that for most tournaments the one ball rule is not in effect but why even have it?

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