As someone who has played, coached, and run high school tournaments, I can easily tell which coaches and teams emphasize teaching their players the Rules of Golf.
When we think about instructing high school players about the rules, the biggest thing I preach is approaching it as support them and not treating it like a quiz or scolding them for not knowing what to do (this is especially true for rules officials that treat high school events like the PGA TOUR). I have found the best way to learn the rules is by teaching the basics and then playing golf and helping players get around the course implementing the proper rules. From there, it’s all repetition. Once the players have a good understanding of the rules and begin understanding the advanced nature, that is where they can use the rules to help benefit their score.
Let’s review the 4 Rules of Golf every high school golfer (and coach) needs to know
- Areas of the Course – Before you start diving into specifics, it’s important to know the 5 Areas as rules often apply based on which area he or she is in – Teeing, Bunkers, Putting Green, Penalty, and General Areas.
- Taking Relief from Free Relief vs. Penalty – A helpful thing to remember when starting out is when getting free relief let’s say from Ground Under Repair, it’s typically a 1-club relief area. If you are penalized and is taking relief, it’s generally a 2-club relief area.
- Cart Path Relief – Cart path relief is one of the most common relief practices that I see performed incorrectly (even by coaches). It’s also one of the most often needed rules since it happens to many golfers at least once a round. Learn how to take Cart Path Relief.
- Play Two Balls – If you are not sure what rule should apply or don’t have a rules book simply announce to your partners you are playing two balls so you can ask a PGA Professional or rules official later on. Always remember to identify which ball is your preferred ball of the two you are playing.
The USGA also does a great job expanding on these on their “15 Rules Every Golfer Should Know.” If you have questions about the Rules of Golf shoot me an email and I would be happy to help (firstname.lastname@example.org)