of the most fundamental Rules of Golf is to play the course as you find it.
While there are exceptions, in general when playing a round, you must play the
ball as it lies on the golf course and play the course as it’s found.
means that normally you must accept the conditions of where your ball came to
rest. To maintain this principle, Rule 8 protects areas known as the
“conditions affecting the stroke” for the next stroke that you will make.
protected conditions include:
you generally may not make improvements to these areas, the Rules do allow you
to take certain reasonable actions even if they improve those conditions
affecting your stroke. Additionally, there are limited circumstances where you
can avoid incurring a penalty by restoring conditions even after they have been
overarching theme of Rule 8 is that you may not improve any of the conditions
affecting the stroke, except that you are entitled to perform some reasonable
actions even if they make an improvement to those areas. Let’s take a look at
some of the actions you are and are not allowed to do.
as allowed by certain actions we’ll look at in the next section, you may not
take any of the following actions if they improve the conditions affecting the
stroke (that is, if they are likely to give you a potential advantage):
preparing for or making a stroke, you may take certain actions even if doing so
improves one of the five conditions affecting the stroke mentioned above. Some
of these allowed actions include:
that the lists of allowed and not allowed actions above are not exhaustive. If
you would like to read the full lists, please see Rules
8.1a and 8.1b in the Rules of Golf.
to the Rules for 2019 was the concept of restoring certain conditions after you
have made an improvement to avoid getting a penalty. Such restorations can only
apply in specific circumstances, such as bending or breaking an object or
moving an object into position. As an example, prior to your stroke, you remove
a boundary stake (which the Rules treat as immovable) that was interfering with
your area of intended stance. If you replace the stake prior to making your
stroke, you can avoid penalty under Rule 8.1.
of actions that are needed and reasonable to prepare for and make a stroke, you
must not make improvements to the five conditions that would affect the stroke
you are about to make. In other words, play the course as you find it. For more
on the Rules, click