Commonly Misinterpreted Golf Rules

Commonly misinterpreted golf rules

The KLGC plays by the rules of golf, and KLGC members are proud to be associated to fair play at our weekly competitions. The KLGC uses the Deemples handicap, and also a local rule of maximum score of 10 per hole for all stroke play competitions.

There are however, some rules that are commonly misinterpreted:

  1. If you hit a bad drive, and can’t find your ball (or OB), you can drop your ball on the nearest fairway, and take your 4th shot, or 2 penalty strokes. (Not a rule, but a KLGC local rule to speed up the game). The other options is to go back to take stroke-and-distance, which means playing another ball from the original position with 1 stroke penalty.
  2. If you play a provisional, you are allowed to play a second shot up until the point that the original ball is thought to have been lost. If the original ball is found and the provisional ball has been played from closer to the hole, then the original is dead and the provisional is to count. If you pick up the live ball and play the dead ball, you automatically take the maximum score of 10 for the hole.
  3. If you can’t find your ball after 3 minutes, the ball is declared lost. You can take stroke-and-distance (going back to original spot and taking a 1 stroke penalty), or use the local rule and drop on nearest fairway for 2 stroke penalty.
  4. If you have declared your ball lost and have taken a drop with a 2nd ball, and after that you find your original ball, your original ball is declared dead. If you pick up your 2nd ball (which is live now), you would automatically take the maximum score of 10 for the hole.
  5. If your ball lands in a divot on the fairway, play it as it lies! 
  6. Winter rules / preferred lies: Only applies to fairways, not rough. If your ball is in the rough, play as it lies. 
  7. If you improve your lie, ie stepping on the grass behind the ball, moving your ball to a better position, you incur a 2 stroke penalty. 
  8. If your ball lands in the hazard, you can drop TWO club lengths only from the point of entry with 1 stroke penalty, not drop any where with a nice lie and view of the green. Dropping outside the 2 club length mark will incur a 2 stroke penalty. 
  9. If your ball didn’t get pass the water, you take the drop at the POINT OF ENTRY, not after the water. 
  10. If there’s a root in your way, don’t hit too hard. If you move the ball to a nicer lie, it’s a 1 stroke penalty as you’re taking an unplayable, or 2 stroke penalty if you didn’t declare the unplayable. 
  11. If there are branches, or any natural immovable objects, and you move/break them to make way, it’s a 2 stroke penalty. 
  12. Bunkers are always in play unless mentioned before hand. ONLY if preferred lies are announced for bunkers, you can drop within 1 club length, not closer to the pin, anywhere INSIDE the bunker. If you drop outside, 1 stroke penalty. 
  13. Embedded (plugged) ball, anywhere through the green, or general area. General area includes rough, but does not include bunkers or penalty areas. Only if embedded, you can lift, clean and drop within 1 club length (not closer to the pin).
  14. If you lose your ball, you can 1) take stroke and distance, which means go back to the original spot where you hit your last shot, to take another shot with 1 stroke penalty, or 2) based on 2019 new rules, drop at nearest fairway not closer to the pin with 2 stroke penalty.  
  15. If you intentionally take a shot and miss the ball, that’s counted as 1 stroke.
  16. If you’re unsure on the number of strokes you have taken, ask your flight mate, or take a 10 🙂 

Some golf etiquette that we forget sometimes: 

  1. Not making noises/visible movements when someone else is taking a shot. This includes talking, taking practice swings, moving in the line of sight of the golfer, mobile phone ringing, ruffling golf bags, etc. 
  2. Standing in the line of sight while another golfer is putting, that means on both ends of the line of the putt. 
  3. Some like to play music during the game. Whilst it’s not encouraged, not everyone is against it, so best to check with your group if they’re OK with music.
  4. Pace of play: You are slow when you cannot see the group in front, not when the group at the back is waiting for you. Get ready for your shot, so you can proceed to hit as soon as its your turn.
  5. Arriving 30 min before tee time for registration, getting to buggies, and getting to tee boxes 10 min before the tee time. 


The KLGC has always been proud to have members who practice an understanding of the rules and etiquette of golf. This is to upkeep the pleasantness and fairness of golf competition for all members.

If someone else is having troubles with the rules, do help them by speaking up. Not speaking up, is to the detriment of that golfer and to everyone else that is playing in the competition. Not declaring the right score, also harms the integrity of that player who also harms the image and reputation of KLGC.

Let’s work together to keep KLGC a place that everyone can look forward to fair competition!

For a full set of rules:

One thought on “Commonly Misinterpreted Golf Rules

  1. Basic rules. Well documented. Easy for all to understand. Now no one can say they did not know the rule.

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