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How to Use the USGA Rule Book

posted Mar 28, 2013, 5:27 PM by Sue Jacobson   [ updated Mar 28, 2013, 5:27 PM ]
Originally posted 3/12/13

This month, we want to help all of you use the Rules of Golf book. One of the most important pages in the entire book is the ninth page: “How to use the Rule Book”. You are encouraged to read that one page at your earliest opportunity. It will save you a great deal of time and will prevent misunderstandings and misinterpretations. The final paragraph on that page reads: “Understand the Words”: “The rule book is written in a very precise and deliberate fashion. You should be aware of and understand the following differences in word use:

MAY = optional
SHOULD = recommendation
MUST = instruction (and penalty if not carried out) 
A BALL = you may substitute another ball (e.g. Rules 26, 27, & 28)
THE BALL = you must not substitute another ball (e.g. Rules 24-2 and 25-1)”

All of us tend to look for general information and might easily miss specific cues, which can lead to errors when seeking to apply a Rule of Golf. So, for your own protection, be aware of terms and wording.
The following page, #10, is equally important. It continues the explanation on “How to Use the Rule Book”, including “Know the Definitions” and “The Facts of the Case”. Again, the information on this particular page will be of great help when applying the Rules of Golf.
Very few golfers have read the Rules of Golf from beginning to end, and it is not something this committee recommends. As the authors state, the book is written in a very “precise and deliberate fashion” – as reading material, it is neither fascinating nor exciting. Knowing how to USE the Rule book will enable you to apply the Rules correctly.

HAPPY GOLFING FROM YOUR RULES COMMITTEE! - Pat, LaVern, Gail, Nancy, Linda and Stevie