Rules Q&A

Rules Q&A

Last year I was caddying for a friend in a local women's tournament and a fellow competitor's caddie repaired a ballmark in her putting line for her. Is this legal? If not, what's the rule that was broken and what's the penalty? How should one bring this up when it happens?

The answer depends on whether the player authorized the caddie to repair the ball mark. If the player authorized this action there would be no penalty. However, if there were no player authorization then the fellow-competitor would incur a two stroke penalty under Rule 1-2. Handling this situation should be done in firm but diplomatic way.

I know that I can remove sand on the green that is on my line of play. If my ball is off the green, may I remove sand (loose impediments) on the green that is between my ball and the cup?

Yes. The ball's location does not affect a player's right to remove sand on the putting green.

If I take relief from an unplayable lie by dropping within two clublengths of the original ball and the ball rolls back into an unplayable lie, what's the ruling?

Under Rule 28c, a player may drop a ball within two club-lengths of the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole. If a player drops a ball and it rolls and comes to rest less than two club-lengths from where it first struck a part of the course, the ball is in play.

Under Rule 20-2c, when a ball comes to rest in a position from which relief was taken under Rule 24-2b (immovable obstruction), Rule 25-1 (abnormal ground conditions) or Rule 25-3 (wrong putting green), or rolls back into the pitch-mark from which it was lifted under Rule 25-2 (embedded ball), a player must re-drop.

If player A's ball is off the green but closer to the pin than player B's ball which is on the green, who plays first? Our foursome thought that all players who are still off the green go first. Once everyone is on the green then players putt out with the player who is furthest away going first. However, one of the ladies said she saw a situation on TV where the player who was furthest away went first even though another player was still off the green but close to the pin. Please let us know what the proper ruling is. We do play ready golf but would like to know what the rule really is just in case we ever play in a real tournament.

I am answering the question based on a group of 4 ladies playing together. (See definition of “Matches”)
In Match Play, the ball farther from the hole is played first. In four-ball Match Play, balls belonging to the same side may be played in the order the side considers best.
(See Rule 10-1 and Rule 30-3c).
In Stroke Play, the ball farthest from the hole plays first. However, there is no penalty for playing out of turn unless the Committee determines that competitors have agreed to play out of turn to give one of them an advantage.
(See Rule 10-2, Rule 22 and Rule 31-5).

Can you put a putter grip on a driver?

The rules state that for all clubs, other than a putter, the grip must be straight and plain in form. It must also extend to the end of the shaft and cannot be molded for any part of the hands. See Appendix II on page 118 of the Rules of Golf booklet.

I am on the green and I make a practice stroke before addressing the ball and I accidentally hit the ball. How is this counted and where do I play the ball from?

Your ball was at rest on the putting green therefore it was in play. Unfortunately you have moved your ball in play, and, under Rule 18-2a, you incur a penalty of one stroke and the ball must be replaced. See Rule 18 regarding a ball moved, deflected or stopped.

How many clubs can I carry?

A player is limited to 14 clubs for a round. If a player starts the round with 13 clubs he can add another club, (any club) at any time. However if a player starts the round with more than 14 clubs he incurs the penalty of two strokes for each hole he has the extra club, maximum penalty of 4 strokes. See Decision 4-, Decision 4- and Decision 4- for further clarification.

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