There are many different markers on each golf course. In general, they define the location of the individual elements of the course. Simultaneously they help a lot with golfers who are unfamiliar with this particular course. The area markings on a course can be divided into following groups.
Area markers defined in the Rules
- white stakes and lines – course boundary (OB)
- yellow stakes and lines – yellow (crossing) penalty areas
- red stakes and lines – red (lateral) penalty areas
The end of the course OB line (used, for example, for an internal out) and the penalty area boundary is marked with doubled single-color stakes. The dividing point between the yellow (crossing) and the red (lateral) penalty areas is marked with two stakes: yellow and red.
- two white stakes – the end of course boundary line (OB)
- two yellow/red stakes – the end of yellow/red penalty area
- yellow and red stakes – junction of yellow and red penalty areas
Sometimes the above colored stakes are slightly modified to additionally mark the no play zones.
- green/black top of white stake – no play zone at the course boundary (OB)
- green/black/red top of yellow stake – no play zone with mandatory relief as for yellow penalty area
- green/black top of red stake – no play zone with mandatory relief as for red penalty area
It is recommended that all stakes should be separated by a distance of no more than 30 yards to allow players to see them easily.
See more information about these areas on the Penalty Area, Out of Bounds and No Play Zone subpages.
Areas and Zones marking not defined in the Rules
The Rules of Golf do not precisely define the way of marking some areas and zones on the course. Nevertheless, in most cases they are marked in the standard, similar way in most courses in the world. Occasionally, however, there may be some differences specific to some courses. The Local Rules always describe the way of marking and the proper method of relief.
- blue stakes and blue / white lines – Ground Under Repair (GUR)
- green stakes or green tops and white lines – No Play Zone located in the General Area.
The permanent Dropping Zone is usually marked with a white line and the appropriate plate. The temporary (designated for one event) Dropping Zone is usually defined by a white line with the acronym “DZ”. Some courses use blue color of the lines / descriptions.
- white/blue line and the acronym “DZ” (Dropping Zone)
- plate with the description: Dropping Zone, DZ or Drop Zone
Teeing area markers
The teeing area (teeing ground) is defined by two movable tee markers of the appropriate color placed on all holes of the course. Their exact location may vary from day to day. However, they always must be located within 10 yards of the permanent tee marker, which is permanently attached to the ground. The permanent tee markers always define the measured start point of the hole and cannot be moved.
See more information about this area on the Teeing Area subpage.
update: November 2021