Amateur and pro golfers alike have long been stymied by the legalistic and opaque wording in the United States Golf Association’s official Rules of Golf. In this guide, an experienced volunteer USGA rules official and an expert on language and usageboth of them avid golfershave translated the Rules into everyday English to help players understand procedures, assess penalties, and settle disputes as the sport’s governing body intended. This edition includes updates throughout to reflect changes introduced into the USGA’s Rules in 2016.
The earliest standards for the game of golf included just 338 words and thirteen rules, which included what to do if your ball had the misfortune of falling into “watery filth” and how to proceed if your ball was stopped by a horse. The official Rules of Golf have since grown to more than 40,000 words and cover everything from marking a scorecard to determining whether a club has the appropriate roughness.
Two hundred years of revisions have rendered these Rules opaque and stylistically inconsistent. Those intricacies can be intimidating for anyone hoping to pick up the game and frustrating for longtime players who just want to settle a dispute. Both lawyers and avid golfers, Jeffrey S. Kuhn and Bryan A. Garner recognized the difficulties that the language of the Rules of Golf has created, especially in a sport that expects players to call penalties on themselves. By reworking the Rules line by line, word by word, they have produced an accessible resource that no golfer—from the duffer to the pro—should be without.
This new edition of The Rules of Golf in Plain English is fully aligned with the latest United States Golf Association updates and continues to be published with their permission and encouragement. Clear and concise, this reference will allow players to spend more time playing through and less time scratching their heads.