Section II - Definitions

The Definitions are listed alphabetically and, in the Rules themselves, defined terms are in italics.

Abnormal Ground Conditions

An "abnormal ground condition" is any casual water, ground under repair or hole, cast or runway on the course made by a burrowing animal, a reptile or a bird.

Addressing the Ball

A player has "addressed the ball’’ when he has taken his stance and has also grounded his club, except that in a hazard a player has addressed the ball when he has taken his stance.

Advice

"Advice’’ is any counsel or suggestion that could influence a player in determining his play, the choice of a club or the method of making a stroke.
Information on the
Rules or on matters of public information, such as the position of hazards or the flagstick on the putting green, is not advice.

Ball Deemed to Move

See "Move or Moved’’.

Ball Holed

See "Holed’’.

Ball Lost

See "Lost Ball’’.

Ball in Play

A ball is "in play" as soon as the player has made a stroke on the teeing ground. It remains in play until it is holed, except when it is lost, out of bounds or lifted, or another ball has been substituted whether or not the substitution is permitted; a ball so substituted becomes the ball in play. If a ball is played from outside the teeing ground when the player is starting play of a hole, or when attempting to correct this mistake, the ball is not in play and Rule 11-4 or 11-5applies. Otherwise, ball in play includes a ball played from outside the teeing ground when the player elects or is required to play his next stroke from the teeing ground. Exception in match play: Ball in play includes a ball played by the player from outside the teeing ground when starting play of a hole if the opponent does not require the stroke to be cancelled in accordance with Rule 11-4a.

Best-Ball

See "Matches".

Bunker

A "bunker’’ is a hazard consisting of a prepared area of ground, often a hollow, from which turf or soil has been removed and replaced with sand or the like. Grass-covered ground bordering or within a bunker including a stacked turf face (whether grass-covered or earthen), is not part of the bunker. A wall or lip of the bunker not covered with grass is part of the bunker. The margin of a bunker extends vertically downwards, but not upwards. A ball is in a bunker when it lies in or any part of it touches the bunker.

Burrowing Animal

A "burrowing animal" is an animal that makes a hole for habitation or shelter, such as a rabbit, mole, groundhog, gopher or salamander. Note: A hole made by a non-burrowing animal, such as a dog, is not an abnormal ground condition unless marked or declared as ground under repair.

Caddie

A "caddie" is one who assists the player in accordance with the Rules, which may include carrying or handling the player's clubs during play. When one caddie is employed by more than one player, he is always deemed to be the caddie of the player whose ball is involved, and equipment carried by him is deemed to be that player's equipment, except when the caddie acts upon specific directions of another player, in which case he is considered to be that other player’s caddie.

Casual Water

"Casual water’’ is any temporary accumulation of water on the course that is visible before or after the player takes his stance and is not in a water hazard. Snow and natural ice, other than frost, are either casual water or loose impediments, at the option of the player. Manufactured ice is an obstruction. Dew and frost are not casual water. A ball is in casual water when it lies in or any part of it touches the casual water.

Committee

The "Committee’’ is the committee in charge of the competition or, if the matter does not arise in a competition, the committee in charge of the course.

Competitor

A "competitor’’ is a player in a stroke play competition. A "fellow-competitor’’ is any person with whom the competitor plays. Neither is partner of the other. In stroke play foursome and four-ball competitions, where the context so admits, the word "competitor’’ or "fellow competitor’’ includes his partner.

Course

The "course’’ is the whole area within any boundaries established by the Committee (see Rule 33-2).

Equipment

"Equipment’’ is anything used, worn or carried by or for the player except any ball he has played at the hole being played and any small object, such as a coin or a tee, when used to mark the position of a ball or the extent of an area in which a ball is to be dropped. Equipment includes a golf cart, whether or not motorised. If such a cart is shared by two or more players, the cart and everything in it are deemed to be the equipment of the player whose ball is involved except that, when the cart is being moved by one of the players sharing it, the cart and everything in it are deemed to be that player's equipment.

Note: A ball played at the hole being played is equipment when it has been lifted and not put back into play.

Fellow-Competitor

See "Competitor’’.

Flagstick

The "flagstick" is a movable straight indicator, with or without bunting or other material attached, centered in the hole to show its position. It must be circular in cross-section. Padding or shock absorbent material that might unduly influence the movement of the ball is prohibited.

Forecaddie

A "forecaddie’’ is one who is employed by the Committee to indicate to players the position of balls during play. He is an outside agency.

Four-Ball

See "Matches".

Foursome

See "Matches".

Ground Under Repair

"Ground under repair’’ is any part of the course so marked by order of the Committee or so declared by its authorised representative. It includes material piled for removal and a hole made by a green keeper, even if not so marked. All ground and any grass, bush, tree or other growing thing within the ground under repair is part of the ground under repair. The margin of ground under repair extends vertically downwards, but not upwards. Stakes and lines defining ground under repair are in such ground. Such stakes are obstructions. A ball is in ground under repair when it lies in or any part of it touches the ground under repair.

Note 1: Grass cuttings and other material left on the course that have been abandoned and are not intended to be removed are not ground under repair unless so marked.

Note 2: The Committee may make a Local Rule prohibiting play from ground under repair or an environmentally-sensitive area defined as ground under repair.

Hazards

A "hazard’’ is any bunker or water hazard.

Hole

The "hole’’ must be 41/4  inches (108 mm) in diameter and at least 4 inches (101.6 mm) deep. If a lining is used, it must be sunk at least 1 inch (25.4 mm) below the putting green surface unless the nature of the soil makes it impracticable to do so; its outer diameter must not exceed 41⁄4 inches (108 mm).

Holed

A ball is "holed" when it is at rest within the circumference of the hole and all of it is below the level of the lip of the hole.

Honour

The player who is to play first from the teeing ground is said to have the "honour’’.

Lateral Water Hazard

A "lateral water hazard’’ is a water hazard or that part of a water hazard so situated that it is not possible or is deemed by the Committee to be impracticable to drop a ball behind the water hazard in accordance with Rule 26-1b.That part of a water hazard to be played as a lateral water hazard should be distinctively marked. A ball is in a lateral water hazard when it lies in or any part of it touches the lateral water hazard.

Note 1: Stakes or lines used to define a lateral water hazard must be red. When both stakes and lines are used to define lateral water hazards, the stakes identify the hazard and the lines define the hazard margin.

Note 2: The Committee may make a Local Rule prohibiting play from an environmentally-sensitive area defined as a lateral water hazard.

Note 3: The Committee may define a lateral water hazard as a water hazard.

Line of Play

The "line of play’’ is the direction that the player wishes his ball to take after a stroke, plus a reasonable distance on either side of the intended direction. The line of play extends vertically upwards from the ground, but does not extend beyond the hole.

Line of Putt

The "line of putt’’ is the line that the player wishes his ball to take after a stroke on the putting green. Except with respect to Rule 16-1e, the line of putt includes a reasonable distance on either side of the intended line. The line of putt does not extend beyond the hole.

Loose Impediments

"Loose impediments’’ are natural objects, including:
• stones, leaves, twigs, branches and the like,
• dung, and
• worms and insects and the casts and heaps made by them,

provided they are not:
• fixed or growing,
• solidly embedded, or
• adhering to the ball.

Sand and loose soil are loose impediments on the putting green, but not elsewhere. Snow and natural ice, other than frost, are either casual water or loose impediments at the option of the player. Dew and frost are not loose impediments.

Lost Ball

A ball is deemed "lost" if: a. It is not found or identified as his by the player within five minutes after the player’s side or his or their caddies have begun to search for it; or

b. The player has made a stroke at a substituted ball; or

c. The player has made a stroke at a provisional ball from the place where the original ball is likely to be or from a point nearer the hole than that place. Time spent in playing a wrong ball is not counted in the five minute period allowed for search.

Marker

A "marker’’ is one who is appointed by the Committee to record a competitor’s score in stroke play. He may be a fellow competitor. He is not a referee.

Matches

Single: A match in which one plays against another.

Threesome: A match in which one plays against two, and each side plays one ball.

Foursome: A match in which two play against two, and each side plays one ball.

Three-Ball: A match play competition in which three play against one another, each playing his own ball. Each player is playing two distinct matches.

Best-Ball: A match in which one plays against the better ball of two or the best ball of three players.

Four-Ball: A match in which two play their better ball against the better ball of two other players.

Move or Moved

A ball is deemed to have "moved’’ if it leaves its position and comes to rest in any other place.

Nearest Point of Relief

The "nearest point of relief" is the reference point for taking relief without penalty from interference by an immovable obstruction (Rule 24-2), an abnormal ground condition (Rule 25-1)or a wrong putting green (Rule 25-3).It is the point on the course nearest to where the ball lies:
(i) that is not nearer the hole, and
(ii)
where, if the ball were so positioned, no interference by the condition from which relief is sought would exist for the stroke the player would have made from the original position if the condition were not there. Note: In order to determine the nearest point of relief accurately, the player should use the club with which he would have made his next stroke if the condition were not there to simulate the address position, direction of play and swing for such a stroke.

Observer

An "observer’’ is one who is appointed by the Committee to assist a referee to decide questions of fact and to report to him any breach of a Rule. An observer should not attend the flagstick, stand at or mark the position of the hole, or lift the ball or mark its position.

Obstructions

An "obstruction’’ is anything artificial, including the artificial surfaces and sides of roads and paths and manufactured ice, except: a. Objects defining out of bounds, such as walls, fences, stakes and railings; b. Any part of an immovable artificial object that is out of bounds; and c. Any construction declared by the Committee to be an integral part of the course. An obstruction is a movable obstruction if it may be moved without unreasonable effort, without unduly delaying play and without causing damage. Otherwise it is an immovable obstruction. Note: The Committee may make a Local Rule declaring a movable obstruction to be an immovable obstruction.

Out of Bounds

"Out of bounds’’ is beyond the boundaries of the course or any part of the course so marked by the Committee. When out of bounds is defined by reference to stakes or a fence or as being beyond stakes or a fence, the out of bounds line is determined by the nearest inside points of the stakes or fence posts at ground level excluding angled supports. Objects defining out of bounds such as walls, fences, stakes and railings, are not obstructions and are deemed to be fixed. When out of bounds is defined by a line on the ground, the line itself is out of bounds. The out of bounds line extends vertically upwards and downwards. A ball is out of bounds when all of it lies out of bounds. A player may stand out of bounds to play a ball lying within bounds.

Outside Agency

An "outside agency’’ is any agency not part of the match or, in stroke play, not part of the competitor’s side, and includes a referee, a marker, an observer and a forecaddie. Neither wind nor water is an outside agency.

Partner

A "partner’’ is a player associated with another player on the same side. In a threesome, foursome, best-ball or four-ball match, where the context so admits, the word "player" includes his partner or partners.

Penalty Stroke

A "penalty stroke’’ is one added to the score of a player or side under certain Rules. In a threesome or foursome, penalty strokes do not affect the order of play.

Provisional Ball

A "provisional ball’’ is a ball played under Rule 27-2 for a ball that may be lost outside a water hazard or may be out of bounds.

Putting Green

The "putting green’’ is all ground of the hole being played that is specially prepared for putting or otherwise defined as such by the Committee. A ball is on the putting green when any part of it touches the putting green.

R&A

The "R&A" means R&A Rules Limited.

Referee

A "referee’’ is one who is appointed by the Committee to accompany players to decide questions of fact and apply the Rules. He must act on any breach of a Rule that he observes or is reported to him. A referee should not attend the flagstick, stand at or mark the position of the hole, or lift the ball or mark its position.

Rub of the Green

A "rub of the green’’ occurs when a ball in motion is accidentally deflected or stopped by any outside agency (see Rule 19-1).

Rule or Rules

The term "Rule’’ includes:
a.
The Rules of Golf and their interpretations as contained in Decisions on the Rules of Golf;
b.
Any Conditions of Competition established by the Committee under
Rule 33-1 and Appendix I;
c.
Any Local Rules established by the Committee under Rule
33-8a and Appendix I; and
d.
The specifications on clubs and the ball in Appendices II and III.

Side

A "side" is a player, or two or more players who are partners. Single See "Matches".

Stance

Taking the "stance’’ consists in a player placing his feet in position for and preparatory to making a stroke.

Stipulated Round

The "stipulated round’’ consists of playing the holes of the course in their correct sequence unless otherwise authorised by the Committee. The number of holes in a stipulated round is18 unless a smaller number is authorised by the Committee. As to extension of stipulated round in match play, see Rule 2-3.

Stroke

A "stroke’’ is the forward movement of the club made with the intention of striking at and moving the ball, but if a player checks his downswing voluntarily before the club head reaches the ball he has not made a stroke.

Substituted Ball

A "substituted ball" is a ball put into play for the original ball that was either in play, lost, out of bounds or lifted.

Tee

A "tee" is a device designed to raise the ball off the ground. It must not be longer than 4 inches (101.6 mm) and it must not be designed or manufactured in such a way that it could indicate the line of play or influence the movement of the ball.

Teeing Ground

The "teeing ground’’ is the starting place for the hole to be played. It is a rectangular area two club-lengths in depth, the front and the sides of which are defined by the outside limits of two tee-markers. A ball is outside the teeing ground when all of it lies outside the teeing ground.

Three-Ball

See "Matches".

Threesome

See "Matches". Through the Green" Through the green’’ is the whole area of the course except: a. The teeing ground and putting green of the hole being played; and b. All hazards on the course.

Water Hazard

A "water hazard’’ is any sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface drainage ditch or other open water course (whether or not containing water) and anything of a similar nature on the course. All ground or water within the margin of a water hazard is part of the water hazard. The margin of a water hazard extends vertically upwards and downwards. Stakes and lines defining the margins of water hazards are in the hazards. Such stakes are obstructions. A ball is in a water hazard when it lies in or any part of it touches the water hazard.
Note 1:
Stakes or lines used to define a water hazard must be yellow. When both stakes and lines are used to define water hazards, the stakes identify the hazard and the lines define the hazard margin.
Note 2:
The Committee may make a Local Rule prohibiting play from an environmentally-sensitive area defined as a water hazard.

Wrong Ball

A "wrong ball’’ is any ball other than the player’s:• ball in play provisional ball; or• second ball played under Rule 3-3 or Rule 20-7c in stroke play; and includes:• another player’s ball;• an abandoned ball; and• the player’s original ball when it is no longer in play. Note: Ball in play includes a ball substituted for the ball in play, whether or not the substitution is permitted. Wrong Putting Green A "wrong putting green" is any putting green other than that of the hole being played. Unless otherwise prescribed by the Committee, this term includes a practice putting green or pitching green on the course.