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The article below was written by Matt Coles of National Club Golfer.

How many clubs can I carry? Can I pick up and clean my ball? Can I tee my ball up anywhere? Here are some of the rules that beginner golfers have to know!

For golfers just starting out, learning the Rules of Golf can be just as difficult as consistently putting a clubhead on to the ball.

How many clubs can you carry? What happens when you lose your golf ball?

Hannah Holden took the time to explain some of the key rules, and why they’re so important for beginner golfers to get to grips with them.

You can watch the video below, or scroll on down to see a baker’s dozen of important rules and golf etiquette revealed…


The rules every beginner golfer needs to know

How many clubs am I allowed to carry?

Yes, there is a limit! You can only carry a maximum of 14 clubs. You can choose to carry less, but have any more than 14 in the bag and you’ll be getting a penalty.


Where and how do I start?

How do you start playing a hole? By playing a ball from anywhere inside the teeing area. A ball is classed as being in that area if any part of it touches or is above part of the teeing area.

You can use a tee, or you can play it from the ground, and you’re under way when you make a stroke to begin the hole.

This bit is important. A stroke is defined as the forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. So, even if you miss it entirely, it counts a stroke. Add one to your score.


Can I tee it up everywhere on the course?

No. The only time you can place the ball on a tee is when you are in the teeing area. Everywhere else on the golf course, the ball must normally be played as it lies – whether that is in the fairway, rough, bunker, or on the green.


I’ve lost my golf ball…

What if you can’t find your ball? Once a three minute search time has elapsed, you’ll have to take stroke-and-distance relief. That means going back to where you played your previous shot and hitting another ball.

For instance, you’ve hit your drive offline and you can’t find your ball in the rough. If you haven’t already played a provisional ball, you would have to go back to the teeing area and put another ball into play.

This is now your third shot, as you’ve hit off the tee, incurred a penalty stroke for taking stroke-and-distance relief, and have played from the tee once more.


Where does my golf bag go?

You have made it on to the green, but does your golf bag come with you? We don’t want to put it in the way, or too far out of the way so we are slowing down golfers behind.

If you can, always try and put your golf bag between the flag and the next tee, so it is on your way as you leave the putting surface. Just make sure your bag never goes on the green!


How do I know whose turn it is?

Ah, the honour. Traditionally, the person with the lowest gross score on the previous hole is the first player to tee off.

As the hole develops, the player who is furthest from the hole usually players first. Many golfers, though, adopt a mantra of ‘ready golf’.

If someone else in the group is ready, and it is safe to play, they can hit their shot to keep the game moving.


My ball has made a pitch mark on the green – what now?

The greens are usually the most receptive bits of turf on the golf course. These can also mean a golf ball coming from a high trajectory can cause marks and indentations in the ground.

If you get to the green and find your ball has done this then it is correct etiquette repair it. Normally you’ll use a pitch mark repairer but you can also use a tee.

This is done to make sure the green is in as good a shape as possible for the next group, and there are no big indentations after you’ve finished the hole that can damage the putting surface if left unattended.


Can I clean my ball when it’s on the green?

Yes, you are allowed to mark your ball and clean it before putting. You can place your ball marker behind the ball, you can use a tee if you wish, and you can then lift the ball.

When you’re done, place the ball back on the same spot, remove the marker, and away you go!


Can I move the flag?

When you are on the green, does the flagstick have to stay in the hole?

This is entirely your choice. You can putt with the flag in. You can also remove it. If you’re a long way from the hole, you can ask a playing partner to ‘attend the flag’.

This means they hold the flagstick until the ball gets closer to the hole, and then remove it. If the ball hits the flagstick, or the person attending it, a penalty will ensue if that was done deliberately.


I’m on the green, but the wrong one…

This happens more than you might think! You’re not allowed to play from a wrong green and must take relief.

You need to find the nearest point of complete relief from interference from the wrong green – that includes stance and area of intended swing – it that can be no nearer the hole you are playing.

You drop the ball, from knee height, into a one-club relief area.


How many can we have in a group?

Most clubs will only allow a maximum of four people in a group. If you are in a fourball and there are ones and twos behind, the Rules say players are encouraged to allow faster groups to play through. Step to the side and wave them on.