While there is a whole book of rules pertaining to the game of golf, some of the most important new ones are contained here
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What Do I Do Now?
Patty Par and her friend, Edith Bunker, were golfing in the Weekend Play. Edith had a miserable lie that had several small trees in her line of play. She felt she could clear the trees, so Edith took her shot. "I saw your ball hit that tree about 50 yards from us but I'm not sure where it landed," Patty said. So the two went looking for Edith's ball. "I don't see it. Where is it?" Edith complained. "I don't either," Patty commented. "Oh...wait a minute! Here it is!" Patty said with a laugh. "It's still in the tree!" "Oh, great! Now what do I do?" Edith asked. So now what does Edith do? Do you know what the rule is in this situation?
Edith can play the ball and hit it out of the tree. Edith chooses to not do this but instead declares it an unplayable lie. Now she has several options.
Decision: 28/11 Ball Unplayable in Tree and Player Opts to Drop Within Two Club-Lengths The player would be entitled to drop a ball within two club-lengths of the point on the ground immediately below the place where the ball lay in the tree.
Rule 28 - Ball Unplayable
The player may deem his ball unplayable at any place on the course, except when the ball is in a water hazard. The player is the sole judge as to whether his ball is unplayable.
If the player deems his ball to be unplayable, he must, under penalty of one stroke:
a. Proceed under the stroke and distance provision of Rule 27-1 by playing a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5); or
b. Drop a ball behind the point where the ball lay, keeping that point directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind that point the ball may be dropped; or
c. Drop a ball within two club-lengths of the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole..
When proceeding under this Rule, the player may lift and clean his ball or substitute a ball.
Check out this USGA site, Rules of Golf Experience, for more information. It explains the rules through a great 12 video series.
What Do I Do Now? - Previous Situations
Abnormal Ground Conditions
Unplayable Lie in a Bunker
Unplayable Lie in Tall Grass
Ball Hitting Your Golf Cart
Identifying Your Ball
Order of Play
Ball in Motion - Deflected
Ball Hits Flagstick