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Cheat Sheet

Golf For Dummies (Australia/New Zealand Edition)

Rules rule golf. For an enjoyable day on the green, golfers have to remember the essential laws of golf and follow golf etiquette. But even if you’ve mastered those, there are always ways to perfect your game.

Top Ten Golf Rules to Know in Australia and New Zealand

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:

  1. Rule 1:

    You must play the same ball from the teeing ground into the hole. Change only when the rules allow.

  2. Rule 3-2:

    You must hole out on each hole. If you don’t, you don’t have a score and are thus disqualified.

  3. Rule 13:

    You must play the ball as it lies.

  4. Rule 13-4:

    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.

  5. Rule 16:

    You cannot improve the line of a putt by repairing marks made by the spikes of a player’s shoes.

  6. Rule 18-2:

    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.

  7. Rule 24:

    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.

  8. Rule 26:

    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.

  9. Rule 27:

    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.

  10. Rule 28:

    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.

Golf Etiquette

Golfers show their respect for the game, the course and their fellow players through commonly accepted rules of golf etiquette. Here are some basic tips to help you get the most from your day on the green:

Do:

  • Be ready to play when it’s your turn.

  • Award the honour on a given tee to the player with the lowest score on the preceding hole.

  • Pay attention to the group behind you.

  • Help the greenkeeper out: replace divots, repair ball marks and smooth footprints in bunkers.

Don’t:

  • Talk while someone is playing a stroke.

  • Hit until you’re sure that everyone in your foursome is behind you.

  • Park golf carts near greens, trees or bunkers.

  • Hang around the green filling out your scorecards after everyone has finished putting.

Ten Timeless Golf Tips

Bad golf habits are hard to break. Here’s a list of the ten most common faults seen on the golf course, and how you can work on overcoming them and perfecting your golf game:

  • Take enough club to get to your target.

    Amateurs consistently come up short with their approach shots to the green. Choosing a club that will get the ball to the green is paramount, so take a club that you can swing at 80 per cent and still get to the hole. Conserve your energy; you have a long life ahead of you!

  • If you can putt the ball, do it.

    Don’t always use a lofted club around the greens. Leave this kind of shot to the players who can handle them, like Phil Mickelson. Good advice is to use a club that can hit this shot with the lowest trajectory possible. If you can putt the ball, do it.

  • Keep your head fairly steady.

    You’re going to move your head a little during the swing, especially with the longer clubs. But moving your head too much leads to all sorts of serious swing flaws that make this game very difficult to play. Have someone watch you to see whether you move your head, or watch yourself in the mirror while you take practice swings.

  • Keep your sense of humour.

    If everything else fails, you can keep your sense of humour and still survive, or at least die laughing.

  • Bet only what you can afford to lose.

    Never bet on your golf game what you can’t afford to lose. One idea is to bet everything in your pocket except for $10, and that is for the petrol home.

  • Keep the ball low in the wind.

    When the wind starts to pick up, play the ball back in your stance, put your hands ahead of the ball, and keep them ahead when you make contact. Keep the ball as low as you can, and you can manage your game much more efficiently. You probably won’t lose as many golf balls, either.

  • Take some golf lessons.

    If you really want to have fun playing this game, start off with a few lessons to get you on the right track and, of course, read Golf For Dummies, Australian and New Zealand edition in its entirety. It’s amazing what you can do with a clear concept in your mind of how to make a golf swing.

  • Do not give lessons to your spouse.

    Giving golf lessons to your spouse can be a federal offence. Don’t do it! Doing so can only lead to disaster. Invest some money in lessons. Get good instruction and reap the benefits (peace of mind).

  • Always tee it up at the tee boxes.

    Whenever it’s legal (in the teeing area), tee the ball up. This game is more fun when the ball’s in the air.

  • Never blame yourself for a bad shot.

    Give yourself a break. This game is hard enough without blaming everything on yourself. Find creative ways to blame something else, like the magnetic force field from alien spacecraft. Let your mind go and see how crazy your excuses can be. Save your sanity!

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