The Rules of Golf

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The Rules of Golf are standardized procedures in which the game of golf should be played.

A central principle, although not one of the numbered rules, is found on the R&A rule book's cover:

Play the ball as it lies, play the course as you find it, and if you canot do either, do what is fair. But to do what is fair, you need to know the Rules of Golf.

The Rules of Golf (book)

The Rules of Golf and the Rules of Amateur Status is published every four years by the governing bodies of golf (R&A/USGA) to define how the game is to be played. The Rules have been published jointly in this manner since 1952, although the code was not completely uniform until 2000 (with mostly minor revisions to Appendix I). The Rules Committee of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A) has responsibility for upkeep and application of the rules worldwide except in the United States and Mexico, which are the responsibility of the United States Golf Association (USGA).

The term "Rules" can be said to include the following:

Note that while the USGA defines its own Handicapping and Course Rating system, the R&A defers this responsibility to each respective national governing body.

The R&A is a private golf club run for the benefit of its members. As such, since 2004 it has passed responsibility of publishing the rules to a private company, R&A Rules Ltd, operating under the stewardship of the R&A.