News From Terre Haute, Indiana

On & Off the Course

April 26, 2008

On and Off the Course: Original rules of golf have undergone changes

TERRE HAUTE — In 1754 an event occurred which unknowingly would form a foundation of golf and how it is played to this day. The Gentlemen of Fife invited the Gentlemen Golfers of Leith to join them in forming the St. Andrews Society. The 22 men involved made a list of certain rules under which they wished to play. From then on, The St. Andrews Society (which would be named the “Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews” by King William IV in 1834) developed as the governing body for the rules of golf.

The original list was comprised of 13 rules, which they called “The Articles and Laws in playing the Golf.” Here is the original list [information came from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of World Golf, 1988 edition, page 16]

• 1. You must tee your ball within a club-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 length of your ball.

• 5. If your ball come among water, or any watery filth, you are at liberty to take your ball, and throwing it behind the hazard six yards at least. 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 holing, 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 its 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.

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    March 12, 2010