Golf Rule 1: The Game, Player Conduct and the Rules


Golf Rule 1 covers the overall conduct of the game and the behavior of the players. It sets out the guidelines for fair play and sportsmanship, and emphasizes the importance of respecting the rules of the game and one’s opponents. The rule applies to all levels of play, from casual rounds with friends to professional tournaments.

Example Golf Behaviors

  • Playing the ball as it lies: Players must not improve their lie (position of the ball) by removing loose impediments or filling in divots, and they must not move the ball or touch it with their club except as allowed by the rules.
  • Taking appropriate relief: If a ball comes to rest in a difficult or unplayable lie, players may take relief by dropping the ball in a specified area without penalty.
  • Avoiding slow play: Players should be ready to play when it is their turn and should keep up with the pace of play.
  • Playing without delay: Players should not unduly delay play, and they should be ready to hit their shots when it is their turn.
  • Playing by the rules: Players should familiarize themselves with the rules of the game and should follow them at all times.
  • Respecting other players: Players should show respect for their opponents, the course, and other players, and should not engage in unsportsmanlike conduct or behavior that could cause injury or damage.

In addition to these specific behaviors, Golf Rule 1 also stresses the importance of maintaining a high standard of integrity and sportsmanship at all times. Golfers are expected to follow the rules of the game and to act in a manner that is respectful and fair to all.

Resolving Disputes

Golf Rule 1 also provides guidance on how disputes should be resolved, and outlines the procedures for appealing decisions made by referees or committees. If a player disagrees with a ruling made by an official, they may ask for clarification or make an appeal, but they must do so in a respectful and constructive manner.

The Takeaway

In summary, Golf Rule 1 is a critical component of the rules of the game, setting out the expectations for player conduct and providing guidance on the principles of fair play and sportsmanship. Whether playing for fun or in a competitive setting, golfers are expected to follow the guidelines set out in this rule and to act in a manner that is respectful to their opponents and the game itself.

Here’s a link to USGA’s Official language for Rule 1