Competing in a professional golf tournament -- possibly against stars such as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson -- could be an incredible thrill for some amateur golfers. Actually winning the tournament would be even more spectacular, and would result in a nice trophy -- but no prize money. The United States Golf Association prohibits amateurs from accepting prize money in golf tournaments.
Each local golf course or club may create its own regulations regarding caddies who are employed during casual play. For tournament play, the Rules of Golf, as published by the U.S. Golf Association, includes standardized regulations that apply to caddies during competition.
The Rules of Golf are largely enforced through the honor system, with players self-reporting infractions. If a player doesn’t self-report, or is unaware of a violation, another individual may report the infraction. Typically, the infraction must be reported immediately in match play and before the competition ends in stroke play. Penalties usually are not assessed when infractions are reported too late -- unless the infraction results in a player’s disqualification.
As with any large undertaking, the golfing world has developed its own language, including a variety of abbreviations and shorthand terms. Some are used for convenience in conversation, while others are mainly employed in print. Understanding these abbreviations can help newcomers speak and read the language of golf.
The United States Golf Association's position concerning distance finders is stated in Rule 14-3. In general, it is a breach of 14-3 for a player to use any artificial device or unusual equipment for "the gauging or measuring distance or conditions which might affect his play." Confusion arose over the words "distance or conditions," and in 2006 the USGA clarified 14-3 to spell out whether rangefinders and other distance finders complied with USGA rules.
Hitting your ball into a sand trap or other hazard is bad enough without having to deal with an ant hill or, in some cases the ants themselves. While ant hills may pose a variety of challenges for a golfer, there is no provision in the Rules of Golf that specifically states what to do about the problem. But the rules interpretations provided by the U.S. Golf Association do offer some answers for golfers confronting ants, whether in or out of a hazard.