The 18 Most Misunderstood Rules Of Golf

We thought it would be helpful for members to have answers to some of the most misunderstood rules of the game which you may not have been aware of.  If any member has any questions about the rules please see Club Professional, Colin Fairweather or Match and Handicap Secretary, David Cambridge.

1. Red Lateral Hazard

Option 1 – Play it from the hazard

Option 2 – Replay the shot from the original position incurring a stroke and distance penalty

Option 3 – Draw a line from the hole to where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard and drop anywhere behind that point keeping the point between you and the hole incurring a 1 shot penalty.

Option 4 – go to the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard and drop within 2 club lengths, no nearer the hole, on either side of the hazard incurring a 1 shot penalty.

 

2. Yellow Water Hazard

Option 1 – Play it from the hazard

Option 2 – Replay the shot from the original position incurring a stroke and distance penalty

Option 3 – Draw a line from the hole to where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard and drop anywhere behind that point keeping the point between you and the hole. You would incur a 1 shot penalty

 

3. Lost Ball or Out-of-Bounds

After looking for a maximum of 5 minutes, you must go back to where the shot was originally played from, and replay, incurring a stroke and distance penalty.

 

4. Unplayable Lie

Option 1 – Take 2 club lengths relief no closer to the hole and assess a 1 stroke penalty

Option 2 – Replay the shot from the original position incurring a stroke and distance penalty

Option 3 – Take the ball back as far as you want keeping the point where the ball lays between you and the hole incurring a 1 shot penalty

 

5. Improving Your Swing Path

You cannot bend, break or hack anything growing or fixed if it improves you lie, your stance, or your area of intended swing. The penalty for doing so is loss of hole in match play, or a 2 shot penalty in stroke play.

 

6. Unplayable Lie in a Bunker

Option 1 – Take a drop of no more than 2 club lengths no closer to the hole, but still in the bunker incurring a 1 shot penalty

Option 2 – Replay the shot from the original position incurring a stroke and distance penalty

Option 3 – Go back as far as you like in the bunker and drop keeping that spot where your ball laid between you and the hole. This incurs a 1 shot penalty

 

7. Removing Objects in a Bunker

You may not move or remove any loose impediments in the bunker unless they are foreign to the area. Example – you may remove a candy wrapper but not a pine cone or tree branch

 

8. Number of Allowed Clubs

You are only allowed to carry 14 clubs in your bag. The penalty for carrying more than 14 clubs:  Match Play – Loss of hole – maximum of 2 holes/Stroke Play – 2 strokes per hole up to a maximum of 2 holes or 4 shots

 

9. Casual Water

Find your nearest point of relief no closer to the hole where neither you or your ball lie in water that can be seen without pressing your feet up and down. You may then drop your ball within 1 club length from that point no nearer to the hole at no penalty

 

10. Grounding Your Club in a Hazard

Practice swings may be taken inside a hazard as long as you don't touch the ground, sand or water with your club. The top of the grass may be touched during a practice swing. The penalty for grounding your club is loss of the hole in match play or a 2 shot penalty in stroke play.

 

11. Accidentally Moving Your Ball

There is a 1 stroke penalty for accidentally moving your ball and it must be replaced in its original position before hitting. There is another 1 stroke penalty for hitting the ball from the wrong place if it is not replaced. There is no penalty for accidentally moving the ball when on the tee.

 

12. Removing Loose Impediments

If, in moving loose impediments, you accidently move your ball, you must return the ball to its original position and penalize yourself one stroke

 

13. Asking for Advice

It's against the rules of golf to ask an opponent what club they have hit. The penalty for this breech is loss of hole in match play, or a 2 shot penalty in stroke play.

 

14. Ball on a Cart Path

You are entitled to free relief.

 

Step 1 – Determine the "nearest point of relief". This is the point where the ball would lay affording the player both swing and stance from the cart path.

Step 2 – you are entitled to 1 club length relief from the point where the ball would lie once full relief is taken.

Step 3 – After dropping, the ball may roll up to 2 club lengths no closer to the hole.

 

15. Changing Club Characteristics

Clubs may not be altered in any way once play has begun. If a club is altered during the normal course of play, such as bending it after hitting a tree while attempting to hit the ball, the club may be taken to the shop for immediate repair and a replacement club may be used until the original club is repaired. If the club is modified outside the normal course of play, such as breaking or bending it in a fit of anger, it must be taken out of play for the remainder of the match. Should it be used again the penalty is disqualification, whether match or stroke play.

 

16. How to Drop the Ball

After determining the nearest point of relief, you may stand outside the drop area, no closer to the hole, and extend your hand to the side dropping the ball from shoulder height. The ball may roll up to 2 club lengths no closer to the hole. If the ball rolls farther than that you must re-drop. If after dropping 2 times the ball continues to roll past 2 club lengths, you must place the ball where it first touched the ground.

 

17. Repairing the Line of your Putt

You may repair any ball marks in your line and removed any pebbles or foreign objects in your line, provided you do it with your hand or club. You may not fix spike marks or fan the ground with a towel or cap to remove sand or foreign objects. The penalty for doing so is loss of hole in match play or a 2 shot penalty in stroke play.

 

18. Hitting the Wrong Ball

The penalty for hitting the wrong ball in match play is loss of hole. If both players hit the wrong ball, only the first player to do so would be penalized as that would be the end of the hole.  The penalty for hitting the wrong ball in stroke play for either player is 2 strokes and the original ball must be replayed from its original position.

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