I. Definition

AbnormalGround Conditions

An "abnormal course condition" is any temporary accumulation of water, renovated ground, caves, mounds, or passages created by burrowing animals, reptiles, or birds.


Addressing the Ball 

When positioned, a player is "ready to hit the ball" when positioned, and the club touches the ground. However, the player is "ready to hit" when taking their stance in an obstacle course.



"Advice" is any advice or recommendation that affects a player's decision to play, club selection, or approach to the ball. Information about rules, distances, or public information such as the location of hazards or the position of the flagstick on the green is not considered advice.


Ball in Play

A ball in play becomes a "ball in play" after a player hits it off the tee. The ball remains in play until the hole is played, unless it is lost, out of bounds, picked up, or replaced by another ball (whether or not replacement is allowed by the rules). When another ball replaces the ball, the replacement ball becomes the ball in play.

If a player hits a ball off the tee to begin play on a hole, or if he hits a ball off the tee while attempting to correct the error, the ball is not a ball in play, and Rule 11-4 or ll-5 applies. Otherwise, a ball in play includes a shot from off the tee when the player chooses or is asked to play the next shot from the tee.

Exception in Match Play: If a player begins to play on a hole by hitting a ball from off the tee and the opponent does not cancel the shot as required by Rule 11-4a, the ball in play includes the player's shot from off the tee.



A "bunker" is an obstacle area made by removing turf and soil from an area of ground and replacing it with sand or sandy material, mainly in the form of depression.

The grass-covered ground at the edge of a bunker or within a bunker, including sloping surfaces made of sod (whether grass-covered or earthen), is not part of a bunker: the bunker's sidewalls or inner edges of uncovered bunkers. The boundary of a bunker extends vertically downward but not upward.

A ball is in a bunker when it is inside or when any part of it touches the bunker.


Burrowing Animal

Burrowing Animal" means an animal whose habits or hiding needs are such as rabbits, groundhogs, groundhogs, theater rats, or fire squirrels, but does not include worms, insects, or their analogs.

Note: Pits made by non-digging animals (such as dogs) are not considered unusual course conditions if they are not marked or declared renovated.



Caddie is a person who assists a player in accordance with the rules and whose job may include carrying or managing the player's clubs during play.

When more than one player employs a caddie, the caddie is considered the caddie of whichever player's ball (or his partner's ball) is relevant to the situation in question. Also, the equipment carried by the caddie is considered the player's equipment. However, if the caddie is acting on the specific instructions of another player (or his partner) of the hirer, he is considered the caddie of that player.


Casual Water

"Casual Water" means any temporary accumulation of water on the court that is not within a water hazard and is visible before or after a player takes a stance. Snow and natural ice (other than frost) may be temporary standing water or loose obstructions at the player's option. Artificial ice is an obstruction. Dew and frost are not temporary water.

When the ball is in temporary water, or any part of it touches temporary water, the ball is in it.



"Committee" means the Committee in charge of the tournament, or if no problems occur during the tournament, the Committee is responsible for the course.



A "competitor" is a player in a stroke-play tournament. The term "competitor" means a player who plays with a competitor in a four-person two-ball or four-ball stroke play tournament and, subject to context, the terms "competitor" and "fellow competitor" The terms "competitor" and "fellow competitor" include their partners when they do not violate the context.



"Course" means the entire area within the boundaries established by the Committee.



"Equipment" means anything used, worn or carried by a player, or carried by a player's partner or their caddie for the player, but does not include the ball used by them on the hole being played and small items used to mark the position of the ball or the range of the toss, such as a coin or tee. Equipment includes motorized or non-motorized golf carts.

Note 1: If the ball used on the hole being played is picked up and not yet put into play, the ball is a thousand pieces of equipment.

Note 2: When two or more players share a cart, the cart and all its contents are considered the equipment of one of the players.

If a player (or his partner) sharing the cart is moving the cart, the cart and all its contents are considered the equipment of that player. Otherwise, whichever player's ball (or his partner's ball) is relevant to the situation in question, the cart and all its contents are considered the player's equipment.



A "flagstick" is a movable, straight marker, with or without a flag cloth or other item attached, that is placed in the center of the hole to mark its position. The cross-section of the flagpole must be circular. The use of soft cushions or shock-absorbing materials that may unduly affect the ball's movement is prohibited.

Forms of Match Play 

Single: A match play tournament where one player plays against another player.