How can you become better informed about the rules of golf? Start by buying a copy of the rules from the USGA (908-234-2300) or should be available at your local Pro shop.
For more in-depth learning, get a copy of the "Decisions on the Rules of Golf", published annually by the USGA. Decisions are official proclamations from the USGA and/or R&A which expand on, or in some cases, modify the rules of golf. Decisions that come from real-life situations, and the book gets larger each year.
Both rules publications listed above, as well as a third, "The Rules in Brief" are also available for reference at the USGA'S Internet site.
Please keep in mind the USGA'S Usage guidelines: Copyright restrictions prohibit you from downloading and reassembling either of the manuals "The Rules of Golf" or "Decisions on the Rules of Golf", either in whole or in part. However, you are welcome to download the USGA "Rules in Brief".
Golf games are won and lost by golfers that don't know the rules; even the Pro's make errors about rules. Check them out and learn as many golf rules you possibly can. It won't hurt you. Carry a rules book in your golf bag at all times to settle disagreements properly.
The Ten Commandments ..................of Golf
by Robert Cook, MD
Any resemblance of the following to the work of Moses is purely coincidental and not the intention of the author. I would never want to compete with Moses, because I know he must have some tips from The Master. Moses and I do, however, share a common interest: helping people free themselves. He helped them free themselves from the bondage of the Pharaoh. I, as a psychiatrist, try to help them free themselves from their own internal bondage. Sometimes appropriate analogies between golf and life are helpful in this process.
I: Thou Shalt not take thy game or thyself too seriously. Remember: life is just a game-golf is serious.
II: Thou Shalt not concentrate on the outcome of the shot, but instead upon the execution of the shot. The outcome will happen. If you are not satisfied with the outcome (or yourself) you may fling your clubs one by one into the nearby lake where your ball now resides.
III: Thou Shalt not confuse a lousy shot with defeat. Even The Master hits some bad ones, but he usually recovers-somehow?
IV: Thou Shalt not confuse winning with going to heaven. There are many 'winners' who live in hell, and many 'losers' who reside in heaven. The quality of your personal relationships is more important than the quality of your golf score. Don't keep score in your relationships.
V: Thou Shalt not confuse thyself with Jack Nicklaus. After all, he has to play golf. It's his profession. You can play for fun-or not at all. Options!
VI: Thou Shalt not spend four hours on the golf course without taking time to smell the flowers. Walter Hagen, great Pro of earlier years, was famous for this advice. He lived it up and he died of alcoholism-another hazard of the game-and of the 19th hole.
VII: Thou Shalt not let the fear of failure interfere with your natural ability. You can make that crucial putt on the 18th hole just as easily as you make 90 percent of those same 3-footers on the practice green. That is, if you stay relaxed. Relax! It's only your self-esteem at stake. No big deal!
VIII: Thou Shalt not confuse thy score with thy self-worth. There really are more important issues, i.e., paying taxes. It's easy to confuse the agony of golf with the agony of paying taxes. At least, you don't have to play golf.
IX: Thou shall not lose trust in your golf swing-or yourself. It's your swing-learn to love it. You probably don't swing like Tiger Woods, but who does? If you can't trust your swing (or yourself), take up bingo or lawn bowling. That's safer. Dare to give up the over control and let it go. You'll swing better-and live better.
X: Thou Shalt not ever forget how fortunate you are to be playing the game. You are still on the right side of the grass. Who knows what the next hole may bring. Keep swinging-and living.