The Spirit of the Game

Unlike many sports, golf is played, for the most part, without the supervision of a referee or 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.

Players should ensure that no one is standing close by or in a position to be hit by the club, the ball or any stones, pebbles, twigs or the like when they make a stroke or practice swing.



Players should not play until the players in front are out of range.

Players should always alert greenstaff nearby or ahead when they are about to make a stroke that might endanger them.

If a player plays a ball in a direction where there is a danger of hitting someone, he should immediately shout a warning. The traditional word of warning in such a situation is “fore.”

Test Your Knowledge

Rule 18-2a/13.5

Ball Lifted and Thrown into Pond in Anger.


A player played a poor shot and his ball came to rest through the green near a lake. In anger, the player lifted his ball and threw it into the lake from where it could not be retrieved. The player placed another ball on the spot from which the original ball was lifted and holed out. What is the ruling?


Although Note 1 to Rule 18 states “If a ball to be replaced under this Rule is not immediately recoverable, another ball may be substituted,” as the player’s ball became irrecoverable only due to the player’s subsequent actions after his breach of Rule 18-2a, the Note is not applicable.

The player lost the hole in match play— Rule 15-2.

In stroke play, the player incurred the general penalty of two strokes under Rule 18 for incorrectly substituting a ball, but there is no additional penalty for lifting the ball without authority.