Rule 11: Teeing Grounds

The 11th Rule of Golf

The 8th tee box during day four of the 2016 Sime Darby LPGA tournament.
One of the teeing grounds at an LPGA Tour event. Stanley Chou/Getty Images

According to the United States Golf Association, the 11th Rule of Golf is all about teeing grounds — where a player first puts the ball into play to start the hole and includes stipulations on how to properly tee off, how to mark tees, what happens when a ball falls off the tee, playing from outside the teeing grounds, and playing from the wrong teeing ground.

Perhaps one of the most essential rules to understanding how a game of golf starts, Rule 11 defines exactly what counts toward your strokes as well as how to go about troubleshooting common errors made on the teeing grounds.

With the following rules in mind, you'll be well on your way to starting off your perfect hole — hopefully, you'll even get a birdie!

11-1: Teeing and 11-2: Tee-Markers

When a player starts a hole and is putting a ball into play from the teeing ground, he or she must play that ball from the surface of the teeing ground — including an irregularity of surface and sand or other natural substances, whether or not created or placed by the player — or from a conforming tee in or on the surface of the ground.

On the USGA website, rule 11-1 comes with the specific stipulation that "If a player makes a stroke at a ball on a non-conforming tee, or at a ball teed in a manner not permitted by this Rule, he is disqualified," though "a player may stand outside the teeing ground to play a ball within it."

Further, before a player makes his first stroke with any ball on the teeing ground of the hole, rule 11-2 states that "tee-markers are deemed to be fixed" and in these circumstances, if the player allows a tee-marker to be moved for the purpose of avoiding interference with the area of his intended swing or line of play or stance, he incurs a penalty for breaching Rule 13-2.

Rules 11-3, 11-4 and 11-5: Penalties and Errors

Rule 11-3 states that "if a ball, when not in play, falls off a tee or is knocked off a tea by the player in addressing it, it may be re-teed, without penalty," though if this occurs while or after a stroke is made in these circumstances, whether or not the ball is moving, the stroke counts but there is no additional penalty.

On the other hand, if a player enacts rule 11-4, which states that in the event of a player starting a hole outside of the teeing ground, he or she will be forced to take a two-stroke penalty and must then play from the teeing ground to continue, and if he or she does not correct their error after this, he or she is then disqualified from the match.

In 11-5, which dictates rules for playing from the wrong teeing ground, the same rules as 11-4 apply. In both of these cases, any strokes made by the competitor on the hole prior to his or her correction of the mistake will not count toward his or her score.