Golf Rules – The Original Ones

The Original Golf Rules

We came across with a post from GolfDigest that mentioned the 13 Original Golf Rules, so we decided to create a Post dedicated just to these Rules (and have a little fun with them), for example, Rule #4 really freaked me out…

These Rules were created in 1744 in Edinburgh, for the world’s first ‘open’ golf competition at Leith by the Gentlemen Golfers of Edinburgh.

Apparently these Rules were lost until 1937 when Mr. CB Clapcott found them on the last two pages of the “Honourable Company’s Minute Book. The pages contained the original thirteen Articles and the signature of John Rattray, the first winner” (Scottish Golf History).

Later in 1754 golfers at St Andrews, who would later become the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, adopted these rules almost exactly as they were for their own competition, even Rule #13 which had references to features that only existed at Leith.

This is the Original Page that contained the First Rules Of Golf.

We will break them down for you…

1) You must Tee your Ball within a Club’s length of the Hole.

2) Your Tee must be upon the Ground.

3) You are not to change the Ball which you Strike off the Tee.

4) You are not to remove Stones, Bones or any Break Club, for the sake of playing your Ball, except upon the fair Green and that only/within a Club’s length of your Ball.

5) If your Ball comes among watter, or any wattery filth, you are at liberty to take out your Ball & bringing it behind the hazard and Teeing it, you may play it with any Club and allow your adversary a Stroke for so getting out your Ball.

6) If your Balls be found anywhere touching one another, You are to lift the first Ball, till you play the last.

7) At holling, you are to play your Ball honestly for the Hole, and not to play upon your Adversary’s Ball, not lying in your way to the Hole.

8) If you should lose your Ball, by it’s being taken up, or any other way, you are to go back to the Spot, where you struck last and drop another Ball; and allow your adversary a stroke for the misfortune.

9) No man at Holling his Ball, is to be allowed, to mark his way to the Hole with his Club, or anything else.

10) If a Ball be stop’d by any Person, Horse, Dog or anything else, The Ball so stop’d must be play’d where it lyes.

11) If you draw your Club in order to strike and proceed so far in the Stroke as to be bringing down your club, if then your club should break in any way, it is to be accounted a Stroke.

12) He whose Ball lyes farthest from the Hole is obliged to play first.

13) Neither Trench, Ditch or Dyke, made for the preservation of the Links, nor the Scholar’s Holes, or the Soldier’s Lines, shall be accounted a hazard; but the ball is to be taken out teed /and play’d with any iron Club.

John Rattray, Capt.

Back then Golf was so simple… and the Golf Rules were perfect for the situations back then; golfers didn’t have too much to worry about, except for Horses or Dogs or Bones around the Course… but it was nothing like today. It is incredible how things change… Nowadays we have 3 different Sections on the Rule Book and Section #3 has 34-rules… and each Rule with Sub-rules.

I guess back then Golfers didn’t worry too much about their Golf Game or even their Golf Handicap. They were just trying to distract themselves and enjoy doing something different; that’s why they didn’t have that many Rules. Now golfers are more aware of their Golf Game and their Handicaps and because of that, we need more Rules, we need to make the Game as fair as possible.

 But do we really need all those Rules we have now? Is there a Rule that we never use? Or, are we laking Rules? Should we add more?

We’ll keep thinking… Leave your thoughts at the comment section.

Enjoy your Golf!

Blog written by: LadyGrinter
Author avatar
Golfer, Writer, and Grinter for life.

1 comment

  1. Luis Ricardo Leon

    Dear LadyGrinter,
    Congrats on your latest blog entry.
    Is there anyway i could get a copy of these
    Rules ?
    Luis R.

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