Golf Rule of The Month

  • Rule 1-4/8: Nearest Point of Relief from Cart Path Is in Casual Water; nearest point of Relief in Water Is Back on Cart Patch

    Aug 26, 2018

    Q: A player’s ball lies on a paved cart path from which he wishes to take relief under Rule 24-2b(i). It appears that the nearest point of relief will be in a large area of casual water which adjoins the cart path and the nearest point of relief from the casual water under Rule 25-1b(i) would be back on the cart path. What are the player’s options? A: The player may proceed in accordance wi...

  • Rule: 1-4/7: The Ball Lost in Either Water Hazard or Casual Water Overflowing Hazard

    Jul 4, 2018

    Q: It is known or virtually certain that a ball is lost either in a water hazard or in an area of casual water overflowing the hazard, but it is not known which. What is the proper procedure? A: In equity (Rule 1-4), the player must proceed under the water hazard Rule. (Revised) Related Decisions: 25/2Overflow from Water Hazard

  • Rule 1-4/5: Removal of Obstruction in Hazard Would Move Loose of Impediment

    Jun 16, 2018

    Q: In a hazard, a player’s ball lies against a movable obstruction. A loose impediment lies on top of the obstruction in such a position that the player cannot remove the obstruction without also moving the loose impediment. The player is entitled to move the movable obstruction under Rule 24-1 but is not entitled to move the loose impediment under Rule 23. What is the procedure? A: The pla...

  • Rule 1-4/4: In Anger Player Strikes Ball Played by Player in Following Group

    Apr 10, 2018

    Q: A is nearly struck by a ball played by a player in the following group. In anger, A hits the ball back towards the group. Has A played a practice stroke or a wrong ball? A: No. However, in equity (Rule 1-4), A should incur the general penalty of loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play.

  • Rule: 1-4/3: Flagstick Stuck into Green Some Distance from Hole by Practical Joker

    Nov 15, 2017

    Q: A practical joker removes the flagstick from the hole and sticks it into the putting green some distance from the hole. The players approaching the green are unaware of this action and they play towards the flagstick and not the hole. Do the players have the option to replay? A: No. In equity (Rule 1-4), the players must accept the resultant advantage or disadvantage.

  • Rule: 1-4/2: Ball Adhering to Face of Club After Stroke

    Oct 2, 2017

    Q: A player plays a stroke from wet sand or soil and the ball adheres to the face of the club. What is the ruling? A: In equity (Rule 1-4), the ball should be dropped, without penalty, as near as possible to the spot where the club was when the ball stuck to it.

  • Rule: 1-4/1: Player Distracted by Ball Dropped by Another Player Mis-Hits Ball

    Sep 5, 2017

    Q: As A was making his back swing, B accidentally dropped a ball, which rolled within six inches of A's ball. The appearance of the dropped ball startled A, causing him to top his shot. In equity, should A be permitted to replay his stroke? A: No. Distractions are a common occurrence which players must accept.

  • Rule: 1-1/4 – Player Discovers Own Ball Is in Hole After Playing Wrong Ball

    May 18, 2017

    Q: A player played to a blind green and putted what he thought was his ball. He then discovered that his own ball was in the hole and that the ball he had putted was a wrong ball. What is the ruling? A: Since the play of the hole was completed when the original ball was holed (Rule 1-1), the player was not in breach of Rule 15-3 for subsequently playing a wrong ball.

  • Rule 1-1/3: Player discovers original ball in hole after searching five minutes and then continuing play with provisional ball

    Apr 12, 2017

      Q: At a par-3 hole, a player, believing his original ball may be lost, plays a provisional ball. He searches five minutes for the original ball and then plays the provisional ball onto the green. At that point, the original ball is found in the hole. What is the ruling? A: The player's score is 1. The play of the hole was completed when the player holed the original ball (Rule 1-1).

  • Rule 1-1/1: Two Balls in Play Simultaneously at Different Holes

    Mar 2, 2017

    Q: Two players on the 8th hole play their approach shots to the 8th green. They agree to tee off at the 9th hole and then putt out on the 8th green. This is to avoid having to walk back up a hill to the 9th tee and to save time. What is the ruling? A: In match play, the players are disqualified under Rule 1-3 for excluding the operation of Rule 2-1 by failing to play the stipulated round, provi...


    Feb 5, 2017

    Q: In a match between A and B, B without A's authority marked the position of, and lifted, A's ball on the putting green. Is B subject to penalty? A: Yes. Under Rule 20-1, a player's ball may be lifted by his opponent only with the authority of the player. Since B was not entitled to lift A's ball, B incurred a penalty stroke (Rule 18-3b).

  • Rule 20-1/1 Ball Lifted from Putting Green in Mistaken Belief It Is Wrong Ball

    Jan 10, 2017

    Q: A player mistakenly believing the ball he has played onto a putting green is a wrong ball, picks the ball up without marking its position. He then discovers that the ball is his ball in play. What is the ruling? A: The player incurs a penalty stroke and he must replace his ball. (Rule 20-1)  


    Dec 4, 2016

    Q. A player's tee shot might be in a water hazard, but clearly it is not lost outside a water hazard or out of bounds. The player announces that, since his ball might be in the hazard, he is going to play a provisional ball and he does so. Rule 27-2a seems to prohibit a provisional ball in the circumstances. What is the ruling? A. The player did not play a provisional ball which, according to t...

  • Rule 12-1 – Seeing Ball; Searching for Ball

    Nov 9, 2016

    Q: A player's ball is believed to be in a bunker covered by leaves. The player probes for the ball with a club which touches the ground in the bunker. What is the ruling? A: There is no penalty. Rule 12-1 permits a player to touch or move loose impediments in a hazard in order to find a ball. A player is also permitted to touch the ground in the hazard while probing in the loose impediments wit...


    Sep 28, 2016

    Q: A player, taking a relief under a Rule, uses his driver to measure the one club-length or two club-lengths prescribed in the relevant Rule. He drops a ball correctly and the ball rolls less than two driver-lengths, but more than two putter-lengths, from where the ball first struck a part of the course when dropped. Under Rule 20-2c, a dropped ball must be re-dropped if it rolls more than two...


    Aug 3, 2016

    Q. A player, unable to find his ball, puts another ball into play. He then discovers that his ball is in the hole. What is the ruling? A. The score with the original ball counts. The play of the hole was completed when the player holed that ball. Note: The same principle as in the foregoing case applies to both Rule 1-1/3 (Player Discovers Original Ball in Hole After Searching Five Minutes a...


    Jul 27, 2016

    Q. A Player aligns his partner's putter and then moves away before his partner plays. Is this permissible? A. Yes. Rule 14-2 (ASSISTANCE) does not apply prior to making a stroke.

  • Rule 27/8 – Ball Found After Search Exceeding Five Minutes is Then Played

    Jun 2, 2016

    Q: A player searches for his ball for 5 minutes and does not find it. He continues to search, finds his ball and plays it. What is the ruling? A: The ball was lost and therefore out of play when the 5-minute period allowed for search expired. (See Definitions of "Ball in Play" and "Lost Ball") When the player played a stroke with the ball out of play, he played a wrong ball (see Definition of "...

  • RULE 22–1 & 2 Ball Assisting or Interfering with Play

    May 3, 2016

    Q. In order for player A to be entitled to have player B's ball lifted because of interference, does B's ball have to be on or near A's line of play and thus in a position to interference physically with A's ball? Or may A also have B's ball lifted if it is off his line of play but catches his eye and thus constitutes mental interference? A. A player may, under Rule 22-1 & 2 have another ba...


    Apr 5, 2016

    RULE 19-5/1: Player Lifts His Ball on Putting Green and Sets It Aside; Opponent's or Fellow-Competitor's Ball Played from Green Subsequently Strikes Player's Ball   Q. Player "B" lifts his ball on the putting green and sets it aside elsewhere on the green. Player "A" then putts and his ball is deflected or stopped by B's ball. What is the ruling?   A. Since A's ball was deflected by ...

  • Rule 27/1.5 Time Permitted for Search for Lost Ball if Play Suspended During Search

    Mar 8, 2016

    Q: A player has been searching for his ball for three minutes when play is suspended. How much time is he allowed for further search? A: The player may continue searching for two more minutes. The suspension of play has no effect on the five-minute search period. Thus, even if the player searches for his ball during the suspension of play, he is still only permitted a total of five minutes to sea...

  • Rule 27-1/1: BALL LOST OR OUT OF BOUNDS (Original Ball Found Within Five Minutes Search Period After Another Ball Teed)

    Feb 6, 2016

    Q. A player plays from the teeing ground, searches briefly for his ball and then goes back and tees another ball. Before he plays the teed ball, and within the five-minute search period, the original ball is found. May the player abandon the teed ball and play the original ball? A. Yes. The teed ball was not in play since the player had not yet made a stroke at it, and the original ball was not...


    Jan 19, 2016

    Q: A Player hits his ball into an area where it may be lost outside a water hazard or out of bounds. The player then drops another ball and plays it. The player intends the dropped ball to be a provisional ball, but he does not inform his opponent, marker or fellow-competitor that he is "playing a provisional". In such a situation, can a player's actions constitute announcement that he is playing ...

  • Rule 15: Substituted Ball; Wrong Ball

    Dec 10, 2015

    Q: A player finds a ball he believes is his ball, declares it unplayable and drops it under Rule-28b or c. He then discovers that the ball is not his, i.e. it is a wrong ball. What is the ruling? A: There is no penalty for lifting and dropping a wrong ball. A penalty is applicable only if a stroke is played with a wrong ball (Rule 15-3). The player would be entitled to resume search for his own...


    Nov 4, 2015

    Q: In stroke play, a competitor, whose ball lies in a bunker, makes a practice swing and touches the ground in the bunker with his club. His fellow-competitor advises him that his action may be a breach of the Rules. The competitor disagrees and makes several more practice swings prior to making his stroke, touching the sand each time. What is the penalty? Ar: As the competitor was correctly ad...

  • Rule 11-3: Ball Falling Off Tee

    Oct 13, 2015

    If a ball, when not in play, falls off a tee or is knocked off a tee by the player in addressing it, it may be re-teed without penalty. However, if a stroke is made at the ball in these circumstances, whether the ball is moving or not, the stroke counts but there is no penalty.  

  • Double Caddie informs one employer about club used by another

    Mar 19, 2013

    Q: when one caddie is employed by two players, A and B, who are not partners, is it permissible for A, who is about to play, to ask the caddie which club B used for a stroke from a nearby position?     A: Yes. A is entitled to seek from the caddie any information the caddie might posses

  • Playing stroke with Back of Clubhead

    Mar 12, 2013

    Q: May a player play a left- handed stroke with the back of the head of a right-handed club? A: Yes. A player may play a stroke with any part of the clubhead