A large part of playing golf is following the rules to ensure a fair and fun game for every-one. Here are six simple things you should know how to do if you’re heading out for 18 holes.
How to Tend the Flagstick
On the green, the person in your group whose ball is closest to the hole has the responsibility of han-dling the flagstick. Before you or your playing partner does this, you should check with the golfer whose ball is farthest away whether or not they want the flag tended. If they decline, just remove the flag and put it somewhere that does not interfere with anyone's putting line
If they want you to tend, stand to the side of the hole and hold the flagstick with your hand over the flag to prevent it from flapping. When the ball is heading toward to the hole, pull the flagstick out of the hole completely. Remember, your playing partner will incur a two-stroke penalty if his ball hits the flagstick which is being lifted, so don’t do it too late.
How to Mark Your Ball
After your ball is on the green, you should mark your golf ball. It can be done with a small coin or ball marker. Put the marker just behind your ball before picking up the ball. You can place the ball back on the green in its original location when it is your turn to putt before picking up the marker again.
If your marker is in the way of a playing partner's putting line, you should ask them if they want you to move it. If they want it moved, choose a tree or another stationary object to line your ball marker up with and then move it a putter head or two to the right or left. After your playing partner has putt their ball, you should return your ball to its original spot—not where you moved your marker — before put-ting.
How to Repair a Ball Mark
Sometimes a ball lands on a green and leaves a dent. There is a very easy step to fix this so that you leave the green in as good a condition as you found it. Using a divot repair tool or a tee, stick it into the turf area on the edge of the mark. Gently lever up the compacted soil to raise the dented area. Do this a few times, circling the entire ball mark. Finally, use your putter to tap down the turf so it is level with the rest of the green. You are also allowed to repair ball marks that are on your line. But remember, you are not allowed to repair spike marks.
How to Rake a Bunker
You have an obligation to keep a bunker in good shape after hitting a shot from the sandy hazard. You must rake the area you hit, where you stood, where you walked, and even clean up any mess made by someone else. Simply rake the sand toward you as you walk backwards to exit the bunker.
How to Take Relief
You are allowed to take relief without penalty from cart paths, ground under repair, and casual water. When the lie of a player’s ball, his stance, or the area of his intended swing are affected by one of these situations, the player is allowed to lift and clean his ball then drop the ball within one club-length of the spot where the player has complete relief.
This is how to take relief:
(1) take your stance, avoiding the interference, no nearer the hole
(2) Decide where your clubhead would lie. If you like this stance, mark this point with a tee
(3) Drop at this point or within one club-length of it, no nearer the hole.