Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Facts About the Rules of Golf

Royal & Ancient Golf Club, St. Andrews, Scotland

With very little happening in the golfing world over the holiday season I am devoting my last blog of 2009 to some miscellaneous facts about the Rules of Golf, some of which I am sure that you will know and some that I hope are new to you.
  1. The first recorded rules of the game of golf were created by the golfers playing at Leith Links, Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1744.
  2. There were originally 13 Rules which can be viewed here.
  3. In 1897 the Royal and Ancient were given sole control of the Rules of Golf Committee.
  4. The Royal & Ancient (R&A), located in St. Andrews, Scotland, is golf ’s world rules and development body that operates with the consent of more than 136 national and international, amateur and professional organisations, from over 123 countries and on behalf of an estimated 30 million golfers in Europe, Africa, Asia-Pacific and The Americas (outside the USA and Mexico).
  5. The United States Golf Association (USGA) is the game’s governing body in the United States and Mexico, also representing an estimated 30 million golfers.
  6. The R&A and USGA have worked closely together since 1952 to produce a uniform code of rules, so that wherever in the world the game is played the same rules apply.
  7. There are now 34 Rules of Golf and over 1,200 Decisions on the Rules.
  8. There is only one issue on which the R&A and USGA have failed to agree and that relates to the maximum prize that may be awarded for a hole-in-one. See my blog on this.
  9. In 1952 the ‘stymie’ was abolished; previously players had to chip over an opponent's ball coming to rest between their ball and the hole in match play.
  10. From 1984 a ball to be dropped is no longer dropped over the player's shoulder, but at arm's length and at shoulder height.
  11. Every four years the two governing bodies agree any necessary amendments or clarifications to the Rules of Golf, whereas the Decisions on the Rules are reviewed on a two-year cycle.
  12. The next changes to the Rules of Golf will be on 1st January 2012.
  13. A new Decisions on the Rules book has just been published, with 30 new Decisions, 49 revised Decisions and one withdrawn Decision, that take effect on 1st January 2010.
  14. Both the Rules of Golf and the Decisions on the Rules of Golf can be accessed online at either; http://www.usga.org/Rule-Books/Rules-of-Golf/Rules-and-Decisions or http://www.randa.org/rules/rulessub/rulespage.
Now is an excellent time to set your golfing goals for 2010, however simple or ambitious they may be. My New Year’s wishes are that you can always enjoy the wonderful game of golf, and that you will play your part in maintaining its unique integrity by playing to, and observing, the Rules at all times.

Barry Rhodes
Author of the easiest way to get to know the Rules, ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

9 Golfing Nuggets - Before You Start Your Round

Photo: Dansk Golf Union

A year ago, my good friend Andy Brown, of GolfSwingSecretsRevealed.com, and I launched a 75-minute compact disk, ‘99 Golden Nuggets to Demystifying the Rules of Golf’, containing 11 chapters of tips on how to avoid penalties and save strokes on the golf course.

The following are shortened versions of the 9 nuggets that every player should use as a check list before they even commence their round. Many of them are self-evident but I guarantee that the majority of golfers will be caught out
by at least one of them during 2010.
  1. Arrive at the course well before your starting time. The penalty for not being on the1st tee at your allotted tee time is disqualification (Rule 6-1).
  2. Check that your competition score card date has your name and the date on it and enter your correct handicap.
  3. Ensure that you know the exact format of the competition that you are about to play in (e.g. strokes, par or Stableford) and which colour tees you are to play from.
  4. Read the Local Rules on the back of the score card and on the course notice board. This is so important that I will do a separate blog on it next week.
  5. Ensure that you carry a current Rules of Golf book in your golf bag. Rule 6-1 states that it’s up to each individual player to know the Rules, and being able to reference the book during a round could assist you to make a right decision out on the course.
  6. Put recognisable personal identification marks on all your golf balls. Knowing that you are playing a Titleist 1 Pro V1 is not good enough, as so are thousands of other golfers.
  7. Check that you have enough golf balls to complete your round - even the best players lose balls!
  8. Count your clubs on the first tee to make sure that you are carrying 14, or less
  9. If you arrive early enough you may practice anywhere on the course for a match play competition, but not for a stroke play competition. However, this does not prevent you from using the practice putting green or driving range. You may also practice putting, or chipping, on or near the first teeing ground.
Now you’re ready to start your round.

Happy New Golfing Year

Barry Rhodes

We still have some copies of ‘99 Golden Nuggets to Demystifying the Rules of Golf’. If you would like a copy at the special price of $27 (or $17 as MP3 files), plus bonus transcription, click on this link.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Casual Water in Bunkers - Rule 25-1b(ii)

Photo - BunkerBlaster .com
Many golf courses in Western Europe have had significantly higher rainfalls than is usual for this time of year. This has raised the subject of how players should proceed when their ball lies in water-filled bunkers. Here is a question I received two weeks ago from a Committee member of a Club close to where I live in South Dublin.
“If bunkers are out of play (due to really wet conditions) where is ball played from - nearest point of relief or club length back in line where ball was originally played from. Hope you can assist me here or tell me where I can find out. I have searched the rule book but it does not specify what to do when a bunker is out of play completely.”
The first important point that I must make here is that a Committee may not take bunkers out of play just because they are waterlogged. Decision 33-8/27 states;
Q. May a Committee make a Local Rule allowing a player to drop out of any bunker filled with casual water, without penalty, contrary to Rule 25-1b(ii)?
A. No. The Committee may not make a Local Rule providing generally that flooded bunkers are ground under repair through the green as such a Local Rule waives a penalty imposed by the Rules of Golf, contrary to Rule 33-8b.
However, in conditions of extreme wetness, where certain specific bunkers are completely flooded prior to the competition commencing and there is no reasonable likelihood of the bunkers drying up during the competition, the Committee may, in such exceptional circumstances, introduce a Local Rule providing that specific bunkers, which are known to be flooded prior to the competition commencing, are deemed to be ground under repair and classified as through the green. Therefore relief may be taken outside these bunkers without penalty in accordance with Rule 25-1b(i). In a competition played over more than one round, such a Local Rule may be introduced or rescinded between rounds. (Revised)
So, what can a player do under the Rules when a bunker is completely covered by water? Decision 25-1b/8 clearly sets out that they have
three options;
"Q. If a player's ball lies in a bunker completely covered by casual water, what are his options?
A. The player may play the ball as it lies or:
(1) drop the ball in the bunker without penalty at the nearest point, not nearer the hole, where the depth of the casual water is least — Rule 25-1b(ii)(a); or
(2) drop the ball behind the bunker under penalty of one stroke — Rule 25-1b(ii)(b); or
(3) deem the ball unplayable and proceed in accordance with Rule 28.”
Note that the second option above incurs a penalty of one stroke and the ball must be dropped outside the bunker, keeping the point where the ball lay in the water in the bunker directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind the bunker the ball may be dropped.

So, if a Committee wants to take individual bunkers out of play, whether it’s because they are being renovated or because they are completely filled with water, it must introduce a Local Rule. This is the revised wording for Decision 25/13 that comes into effect from 1st January 2010;
"If a bunker is being renovated and the Committee defines the entire bunker as ground under repair, the bunker loses its status as a hazard and is automatically classified as ‘through the green’. Therefore, unless a Committee specifically states otherwise, Rule 25–1b(i) applies, not Rule 25–1b(ii). (Revised)"
Please pass this blog entry along to your Club Committee if they are having a problem as to how to deal with waterlogged bunkers.

Happy golfing, wherever you play,

Barry Rhodes
Author of ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf'. Click here for special Christmas gift offer.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Relief from Immovable Obstruction in a Water Hazard

Earlier this week, a Rules aficionado from Bangladesh raised an interesting point relating to taking relief from an immovable obstruction in a water hazard. His query was all the more interesting because he provided a photograph of the circumstances.

Here is the question. If a player’s ball lies through the green (e.g. on the fringe of the putting green) may they take relief from an immovable obstruction that is located within the margin of a water hazard?

Before you answer, take a look at the photo. I apologise that you cannot clearly read the captions but I will explain the situation below.

The ball lies on the fringe about 3’ from the putting green, which is to the right side of the photo. The margin of the water hazard is defined by the log heads, which support the bank above the water level. The log heads interfere with the swing and/or the normal stance of a player making a stroke to the green. So, do the Rules of Golf permit the player to take relief, without penalty, in this situation?

Yes, they do. Rule 24-2b states that a player may take relief from interference by an immovable obstruction, except when the ball is in a water hazard or lateral water hazard.

Another example of when relief is available under Rule 24-2b is when there is a bridge/path inside the margin of a water hazard that interferes with a player’s stance, or area of intended swing, when their ball lies outside of the margin.

Now, let me add a word of caution. In the circumstances described in the question above it is highly likely that the Committee could have made a Local Rule declaring that the log heads were integral parts of the course. In this case there would be no relief and the ball would have to be played as it lies. This illustrates one of my most important nuggets on the Rules; you should never commence a round of golf on a new course without reading the Local Rules first. This can save you several strokes over the course of a year.

I wish happy golfing to everyone in this holiday month.

Barry Rhodes

Don’t forget, if you haven’t sorted out all your Christmas presents yet, click here for my recommendation.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Revised Decisions on the Rules of Golf

Following their two-year review cycle, the R&A and the USGA have announced 28 new Decisions, have revised 51 Decisions and withdrawn 1 Decision for the 2010-2011 edition of Decisions on the Rules of Golf. The changes will take effect on 1st January, 2010. Remember, that there will be no changes to the Rules of Golf until the four-year review, which is not due until 1st January 2012.

I have to confess that so far I have only scanned quickly through the new and revised Decisions and I have not seen anything that stands out as changing the game that we play in any material way.

I have chosen one interesting, revised Decision as a good illustration of an area of the Rules that needed clarification;

This is the current wording;

20-3a/2 Trademark Aimed Along Line of Putt When Ball Replaced
Q. When a player is replacing his ball, is it permissible for him to position the ball so that the trademark is aimed along the line of putt to indicate the line of play?
A. Yes.
This is the revised wording that takes effect from 1st January 2010;

20-3a/2 Using Line on Ball for Alignment
Q. May a player draw a line on his ball and, when replacing his ball, position the ball so that the line or the trademark on the ball is aimed to indicate the line of play?
A. Yes. (Revised)
There is an increasing tendency for players to draw a line around their golf balls to assist them in lining up their ball to indicate the line of play. Callaway, the golf products giant, offers their Line-M-Up Pro Guide and this picture shows a home-made ball marker using a standard PVC 1-1/4 coupling available from most hardware stores.

Whilst lining up your ball in this way has always been permitted, until now there has been nothing specific in the Rules which players can point to if they are challenged on the practice. Some arguments that have been used to against using a line on the ball to line up the line of play have now been
  • Rule 12-2 ..... Each player should put an identification mark on his ball (but this does not mention a line). Ruling: that mark may include a line drawn anywhere on the ball.
  • Rule 8-2a ..... any mark placed by the player or with his knowledge to indicate the line must be removed before the stroke is made. Ruling: this does not refer to a mark on the ball itself.
  • Rule 8-2b ..... a mark must not be placed anywhere to indicate a line for putting. Ruling: this does not refer to a mark on the ball itself.
  • Definition of Tee ..... a tee must not be designed or manufactured in such a way that it could indicate the line of play or influence the movement of the ball. Ruling: but the ball may have a mark indicating the line of play on the teeing ground or on the putting green.
I am pleased that the Ruling Bodies have clarified this situation relating to how balls may be marked. The relevant Rule has not changed at all, but now players have a clear Decision that they can refer to if someone challenges their entitlement to draw a line around the circumference of their ball to use for lining-up purposes when placing it on the teeing ground, or replacing it under the Rules.

If you already have a copy of my book ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’ then I now recommend that you acquire a copy of ‘Decisions on the Rules of Golf 2010-2011’, available from either the R&A or USGA.

Good golfing,

Barry Rhodes
Looking for a unique present for a golfer? Click here for the perfect answer.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

An Ideal Present For Golfers

his time of year most of us are scratching our heads as to what presents we can buy for family and friends that are favourably priced. Well, I have the solution for anyone who plays golf. My book ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’ will be appreciated and valued by players of all abilities. This is not a novel that holds your interest for a few days. This is a book that players can regularly dip in and out of, learning something new about the Rules on each and every visit, over weeks, months and years. I can promise you that all the emails that I have received from purchasers have been positive, affirming how much golfers have enjoyed testing themselves, and others, on the different situations that may be encountered on the course. This is learning the Rules of Golf the easy and interesting way; improving your knowledge whilst amusing yourself.

So, here’s the deal. I will personally sign (and dedicate to a specific person, if required) each copy of my book and will pay the postage to anywhere in the world. Also, if you purchase 2 copies, I will discount them by 20%, or if it’s 3 copies by 30%. If you are purchasing multiple copies for a golf club or society (say 10 copies or more) email me direct and I will give you details of a great wholesale price.

Gift problem solved, money saved, ordered from home, delivered to home, happy recipient(s). What more can you ask for?

Now, select the currency and number of copies that you require and complete the PayPal process. You will then receive the books through the post in plenty of time for the holidays.

(Edit: Apologies to those of you that tried to order from the PayPal BuyNow buttons that were placed here. I must have goofed up!

I think that you will find that this link works. Just scroll down to the Buy Now buttons.)

If you have any questions on the payment process please email me at barry at barryrhodes dot com.

Good golfing,

Barry Rhodes

My aim is to assist golfers of all abilities to better their knowledge of the Rules of Golf in an enjoyable way.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Is my Ball on the Putting Green or the Fringe?

This ball is on the putting green
A fellow blogger from Australia told me that he finds it difficult to remember the Rules of Golf as they contain anomalies. As an example, he quoted these two questions from my book, ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’;
Q.81. When a ball touches a line defining out of bounds the player must take a stroke and distance penalty. True or False?
Answer: False. Definition of Out of Bounds.
Note: A ball is out of bounds when all of it lies out of bounds.

Q.132. A ball is deemed to be on the putting green only when all of it lies on the putting green. True or False?
Answer: False. Definition of Putting Green.
Note: A ball is on the putting green when any part of it touches the putting green.
His point was that in the first question all of the ball must be fully outside the line to be OB and in the second, only part of the ball has to touch the putting green to be on it. I argued that conversely, in my opinion, these questions provide a good example of the consistency in the writing of the Rules of golf, because when any part of a ball touches the green it is on the green, when any part of a ball touches the course (i.e. it is not wholly out of bounds) it is in bounds!

Over the past few years, I have come to realise that Rules of Golf that initially may seem to be over-officious, illogical, or unnecessary, are there for very good reason and I have come to admire those that are responsible for covering every eventuality that can possibly occur on a golf course. In addition to Golf, I also take an interest in Rugby, Soccer, Gaelic Football, Hurling, Aussie Rules, Baseball and American Football. If only the Rules in these games were as precise and non-controversial as those of Golf!

If you are ever in doubt as to the status of where your ball lies this little memory jogger may help;

When any part of a ball touches:-
  • a putting green, it is on the putting green
  • the teeing ground, it is in the teeing ground
  • a bunker, it is in the bunker
  • a water hazard (or overhangs the margin of a water hazard), it is in the water hazard
  • casual water, it is in casual water
  • an abnormal ground condition, it is in the abnormal ground condition*
  • the course,(or overhangs the course) it is in bounds (i.e. not out of bounds)
* Note: An abnormal ground condition is any casual water, ground under repair (GUR) or hole, cast or runway on the course made by a burrowing animal, a reptile or a bird.
I’d say that the above explanations are all pretty logical.

Since writing this blog I have received another useful tip on this subject from someone I correspond with in Canada. The statement he uses to remind him is even simpler;
"The ball is on the part of the course it touches.
Good golfing,

Barry Rhodes
* Details of my special Christmas Offer on my book very soon.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Learning the Rules of Golf - Here's Where to Start

Many golfers possess a copy of the Rules of Golf book. In some countries the R&A provide free copies to Club members, thanks to the generosity of Rolex, the official sponsors of the Rules book. The USGA charge a nominal $2 on their web shop, but currently you can purchase it for just $0.80 cents. But, and this is the crux of the matter, most of those that own a copy of the Rules book have only scanned through it, without learning much. No doubt, the reason for this is that it definitely is not an easy read and, until you have become well acquainted with the Rule numbers, it can be very difficult to find a particular ruling that you are searching for.

Well, let me suggest a section of the book, that I think you will find easy to read, that is probably the best place to start for anyone who wishes to improve their knowledge and understanding of the Rules (other than purchasing my book, ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’!**). Towards the front of the book (page 30 in the R&A’s book), there are over fifty defined terms (e.g. advice, burrowing animal, lost ball, etc) and these form the foundation around which the Rules of Play are written. By reading through these 14 pages a couple of times, many Rules should start to make more sense. For example;
"A 'stroke' is the forward movement of the club made with the intention of striking at and moving the ball, but if a player checks his downswing voluntarily before the clubhead reaches the ball he has not made a stroke."
So, we can see that a ‘fresh air’, or ‘whiff’, does count as a stroke, as there was intention to strike and move the ball. Whereas, if a player aborts his stroke on the downswing, as Tiger did in the 2007 Masters, it does not count as a stroke because there was no such intention.

Try it out, read through the definitions and see how much it helps your understanding of the Rules. If you don’t have a copy of the Rules book to hand you can read from an on-line version here .

Good golfing,

Barry Rhodes

** I truly believe that the easiest and most enjoyable way to absorb and understand the Rules for golfers of all playing abilities is with my book, ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’. Readers can work through a series of questions, answers and, most importantly, explanations to the myriad situations on the golf course that they will recognise and relate to. Answers are conveniently located immediately beneath each question and are directly referenced to the applicable Rule of Golf, or Decision on the Rules. A detailed index provides an easy and convenient way for readers to reference specific situations as they arise. Watch out for my next blog for my special Christmas gift promotion on 1, 2 or 3 copies.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Ryo Ishikawa's Ball Stolen

Ryo Ishikawa - photo golf-walls.com

18-year old Japanese golfing sensation, Ryo Ishikawa, is commanding a lot of attention these days and not all of it is welcomed by him. During the recent Japan Open Golf Championship (Oct. 2009), not only did he have to contend with the sounds of multiple shutter sounds from camera phones (apparently the Japanese golf spectators have a lot to learn about etiquette on the course), but then a lady walked off with his ball in play. He had hooked his ball into trees and while it was still rolling she ran after it picked it up and strode off. Other spectators saw what had happened and started shouting at her causing her to panic and start screaming. She was quoted as saying, "I am a fan of Ryo and this is the first time I've been to a golf tournament. I really don't know the rules and I just tried to take the ball home as a souvenir."

Frankly, I am surprised that this type of incident doesn’t happen more often at Tour events around the world. We live in an increasingly celebrity-centric society and the world’s leading golfers are becoming as recognised and revered as any other superstars. Some fans are desperate for an enduring memento of their idols whether it is an autograph, a ball or a glove. Let’s hope that it doesn’t move on to their shirt, sweater, or even clubs!

So, when the rolling ball was picked up by a spectator what was the ruling? Although this bizarre episode was widely reported by golfing journalists none that I read went on to explain how Ryo had to proceed, and it’s not a straight-forward situation. The first point to note is that In the Rules of Golf the lady spectator was an outside agency. The second is that she purposely stopped and picked-up the ball.

A Note to Rule 19-1 - Ball in Motion Deflected or Stopped by an Outside Agency, states;
"If the referee or the Committee determines that a player's ball has been purposely deflected or stopped by an outside agency, Rule 1-4 applies to the player."
Rule 1-4 deals with points not covered by the Rules. Not too helpful so far. Fortunately, there is a relevant decision that helps explain how equity should be applied, though it’s still a little subjective;
"Q. A player overshoots a green. A spectator (X) who is standing behind the green deliberately deflects or stops the ball. According to the Note under Rule 19-1, equity (Rule 1-4), applies. What is the equitable procedure in this case?

A. In a case where the ball might have come to rest where X was situated if he had not deliberately deflected or stopped it, the player should be required to drop the ball at the spot where X was situated. For example, if another spectator (Y) had been behind X, the ball might have struck Y, if X had avoided it, and come to rest where X was situated.

If there is no question that the ball would have come to rest somewhere else if X had not deflected or stopped it, the Committee must make a judgment as to where the ball would have come to rest, giving the player the benefit of any doubt. For example, if no person or object had been behind X and without any doubt the ball would have come to rest either in a lateral water hazard behind the green or in the rough just short of the hazard, the Committee should require the player to drop the ball in the rough just short of the hazard."
Note that the Decision refers to ‘the’ ball. In other words, the original ball played. Now it was not reported whether the lady dropped Ishikawa’s ball, or held on to it and disappeared into the crowd. Fortunately, if the latter was the case there is a clause in Rule 19-1 that says;
"If the ball is not immediately recoverable, another ball may be substituted."
Now, I am sure that many readers are thinking that this above Decision is irrelevant to them as there are unlikely to be any spectators deflecting or stealing their golf balls. True, but the same Rulings apply to other outside agencies, including fellow competitors, players in other groups, dogs, birds, and even kangaroos. The only difference is that, in the absence of a Rules Official or Committee member being available, the player should agree where to drop their ball with their marker in stroke play or opponent in match play.

All of the above refers to situations where the ball is still moving when it is deflected of stopped by an outside agency. If a player’s ball is at rest when it is moved by an outside agency the ruling is much simpler. Rule 18-1 states;
“If a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced."
Finally, what happened to Ryo Ishikawa after the incident I opened with? Well, he recovered his poise to finish level with two other players but was then beaten in the play-off. It was Ishikawa's second consecutive runner-up finish at the Japan Open and left him at the top of the Japan Tour money list with 139 million yen (1.5 million dollars). Not too bad for a teenager!

Good golfing,

Barry Rhodes
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Sunday, 18 October 2009

Ball Marker Penalties

I came across this interesting piece on penalties involving ball markers on the web site better-golf-by-putting-better.com. I am indebted to Neville Walker of Perth, Australia, for permitting me to use it in full.
“Dumbest rule ever invented.” Jesper Parnevik at the 2002 Genuity Championship at Doral.
Professional golfers are no different to their amateur counterparts when it comes to playing by the rules. They too make mistakes, either through ignorance or oversight. The biggest difference is that professional golfers play under the spotlight of spectators, and this serves to highlight their mistakes. If a mistake goes unnoticed at the time of play, television viewers eagerly telephone in to act as armchair rules officials. An infringement is sometimes discovered after the player has signed his or her card, and he or she is disqualified for signing for an incorrect score.

Marking a ball on the green is a simple act, yet it is not without its dangers. You may remember the incident that resulted in the above quote. Jesper Parnevik thinking he may have broken a rule called for an immediate ruling. What happened was that his caddie tossed him the ball which he fumbled and dropped. Unfortunately the ball landed on his coin and it flipped over. Did this incur a penalty or was he entitled to replace his ball marker on the original spot without penalty? Under the rules there is no penalty provided the movement of the ball or marker is directly attributable to the specific act of marking the position of, or lifting, your ball. Otherwise, you incur a penalty of one stroke. Unfortunately for Parnevik fumbling a catch could not be construed as marking his ball.

Not even the professionals get it right. Recently on the Japanese tour an Australian golfer replaced his ball and before he could lift his ball marker, a gust of wind moved the ball to a new position. The player incorrectly replaced his ball and putted out. Consequently, he was penalised two-shots for putting from a wrong place (Decision 18-1/12). This is because it is irrelevant if a player has removed his or her marker before the wind moved the ball, as the ball is in play as soon as it is replaced.
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day.
St. Crispen's Day Speech Henry V William Shakespeare, 1599
You may ask what Henry V’s speech to his troops before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 has to do with marking your ball on the putting green. The key is in the words "Old men forget". Being a senior golfer, I have the excuse of age if I forget to replace my ball marker after being asked earlier to move it by a fellow competitor. Younger professionals can't use the same excuse for their transgression.

Tom Lehman as defending champion had a memory lapse during the second round of the British Open at Royal Troon in Scotland in 1997. At the second hole Vijay Singh asked him to move his ball marker as it was on his line. He then forgot to return his marker to the original place before putting. He only realised his mistake on the next tee. By then it was too late and he was penalised two shots (Rule 20-7c).

Two years later Tom Lehman was again penalised for a transgression involving his ball marker in his match against the Italian golfer Emanuele Canonica. In this instance he was representing the United States in the Alfred Dunhill Cup at St Andrews. Mistakenly he picked up his marker after having been beaten on the 18th hole. However, in medal match play this is not allowed, and he received a one shot penalty.

A similar incident of not replacing the ball marker happened forty years earlier, but with a different outcome. At the 1957 British Open at St Andrews Bobby Locke, then aged 39, marked his ball one putter-head off the line of his playing partner Bruce Crampton’s putt at the 72nd hole. When he came to putt, he forgot to replace his ball marker in its original spot and putted from the wrong place. The error was only picked up on newsreel film and reported to the Royal and Ancient officials after the trophy had been presented. As Bobby Locke had a three shot lead over Peter Thomson, the Championship committee after an eight-day delay concluded that he had gained no advantage. Citing the equity and spirit of the game, the Committee decided that he should not be disqualified. Had they thought otherwise they would have had to disqualify Locke as the rules at that time made no provision for a two-stroke penalty for playing from the wrong place. There are golfers who use a memory aid to remind them to replace their ball marker in its original spot. They do this by always having the same side facing up when they mark their ball. If they have to move their marker, they turn it upside down. Of course, you need a coin or flat disk of some sort to do this, and not one of those plastic markers with a spike.

All of us know that to mark your ball, you first place your ball marker behind the ball and then lift the ball. What could be easier than that? However, a long day of competition can scramble the brain. We all have had mental melt downs at one time or the other. In my case they are euphemistically called senior moments. In a bizarre incident Ian Woosnam was penalised at the 1991 World Cup when he picked up his ball and forgot to mark it in his haste to get to a toilet. When he came to putt he looked for his non-existent ball marker which was unfortunately still in his pocket. Bernhard Langer, needing a par at the last hole to win the 1999 Greg Norman Holden Classic tournament at Lakes Golf Club in Sydney, Australia took a double bogey five to lose by one shot to Michael Long of New Zealand. There is nothing truly remarkable about that as many tournaments are lost or won at the death. However, in this case Bernhard Langer lost because of a simple mistake at the short 18th. He picked up his ball marker without first putting his ball down and by doing so he incurred a one stroke penalty. He describes it as the dumbest thing that he has ever done on the golf course.

Golf is a game of rules. Some help us, other don’t. The best way to guard against unnecessary penalties is to learn the Rules of golf and carry a Rule book at all times in your golf bag.

Hear, hear to that last sentence!

No Rules - no improvement; know Rules - know improvement!

Barry Rhodes
rules at barryrhodes dot com
Check out golfrulesquestions.com for information on my book, ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Cleared of Penalty on Saturday; Wins on Sunday

Last weekend ended well for 32 year old Indian golfer C Muniyappa, very well. The C is for Chinnaswamy but he is better known as ‘C’. On Saturday, he was asked to explain an incident on the 18th hole, where it was thought that he might have brushed sand in a bunker with his club-head when clearing a wrapper (a movable obstruction) behind his ball. This could have led to a penalty under Rule 13-4b);
….the player must not ….touch the ground in the hazard or water in the water hazard with his hand or a club.
After reviewing television footage and consulting rules officials who were standing next to the bunker he was cleared of any infringement. This favourable ruling meant that C Muniyappa held on to a one stroke lead going into the final round. He managed to hold his nerve and shot a 71 to finish the four rounds as joint leader with South Korea's Lee Sung. He then had to return to the 18th hole that had caused him such a nervous wait the day before, to commence the play-off. A few minutes later he calmly slotted a 10ft birdie putt to win the Indian Open, transforming the life of a player who, like most Indian golfers, comes from a humble background.

Most golfers know that they cannot ground their club in a bunker, but some readers might not have realised that the same Rule applies when your ball lies in a water hazard. Don’t make the mistake of casually washing your club in the water before you make your stroke from the hazard, or touching the water with your backswing as you play your ball lying close to the water’s edge. Both of these incur the same penalty as touching the sand or grounding a club in a sand bunker.

Good golfing,

Barry Rhodes

Check out http://www.golfrulesquestions.com for some sample questions and answers from my book, ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Wind Direction and Speed

Photo by Kapungo - Flickr

In my previous blog, ‘Golf Rules – 9 Tips on What you Cannot Do’, I included the following tip;

8. Ask anyone, other than your playing partner, as to the direction of the wind - Rule 8-1.

Well, it seems as though I am wrong, although I have not been given any conclusive evidence from the Rules or Decisions. However, I do respect and value the opinions of those who have more experience of these matters, who collectively assure me that discussing weather conditions with your fellow competitors does not incur a penalty.

In the various communications that I had over this issue I used six questions or statements on the subject of wind to see which ones incurred a penalty and which ones did not. It may help you to understand the principle involved if I repeat them here. But first, here is the Definition of Advice from the Rules book;

‘Advice is any counsel or suggestion that could influence a player in determining his play, the choice of a club or the method of making a stroke.

Information on the Rules, distance or matters of public information, such as the position of hazards or the flagstick on the putting green, is not advice.
The situation is that Player A is about to select his club on a Par-3. Player B is his fellow competitor or opponent;

A asks B, "Is the wind behind us, or from left to right?" Not asking for advice
A asks B, "Do you think that the wind is stronger now than when we played this hole on the front 9?" Not asking for advice
A asks B, "Is one extra club enough in this wind?" Asking for advice – A incurs penalty
B says to A, "There's no wind here because we're in a shaded hollow but it's pretty strong out there." Not giving advice
B says to A, "There's a two-club wind blowing right against us." Giving advice – B incurs penalty
B says to A, "Don't forget to take the wind into account." Giving advice – B incurs penalty

The penalty is two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play.

The reasoning is that any conversation regarding wind conditions is public information and does not constitute advice. However, as soon as a player says anything directly relating to club selection for the next stroke he is likely to be breaching the Rule. It is a fine line and a little subjective, but then that applies to many of the Rules.

Apologies if I confused you with an incorrect tip, which I have since corrected on the original post.

Good golfing,

Barry Rhodes

Author of the book, ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’ – the easy way to get to know the Rules better.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Golf Rules - 9 Tips on What You Cannot Do

Well, as I guessed, my previous blog providing 9 tips on what the Rules permit you to do on the golf course threw up a few surprises for some readers. Now for the other side, 9 tips on what the Rules disallow.

Under the Rules of Golf you may not;

  1. Declare that your ball is lost - Definition of Lost Ball.
  2. Touch your ball to identify it anywhere on the course, without announcing your intention to do so and marking its position first - Rule 12-2.
  3. Borrow a club selected for play by any other person playing on the course - Rule 4-4a.
  4. Rake any part of a bunker on your line of play before making a stroke at your ball lying in the same bunker. Rule 13-2. (N.B. This 'cannot' was edited in February 2012 to reflect the amendments to Rules effective January 2012).
  5. Discontinue play because of gale force winds or driving rain - Rule 6-8.
  6. Practice on the competition course before a round on the day of a stroke-play competition - Rule 7-1b.
  7. Touch leaves, or other loose impediments, lying in a bunker during the backswing of your stroke - Decision 13-4/33.
  8. Ask anyone, other than your playing partner, as to whether you need an extra club because of the wind - Rule 8-1.
  9. Decline, or withdraw, a concession in match play - Rule 2-4.
One last point, earlier this week I was able to resolve a clubhouse dispute as to whether a player may remove a white boundary post that interferes with his area of intended swing. I can confirm that this is not permitted by the Rules, as confirmed by Decision 13-2/17;

Q. A player removes a stake defining out of bounds which interferes with his swing. Is this permissible?
A. No. Objects defining out of bounds are fixed. Improving the position of a ball by moving anything fixed is a breach of Rule 13-2.
As always, good golfing,

Barry Rhodes

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Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Gof Rules - 9 Tips on What You Can Do

I am going to keep this blog very simple; 9 short tips on what the Rules permit you to do. Check them out; there might be something new for you.

Under the Rules of Golf you may;
  1. Have a flagstick attended even when your ball is in a bunker, or on the apron of the green - Rule 17-1.
  2. Look into someone’s golf bag to identify which club they are using for their stroke - Decision 8-1/10.
  3. Use the back, or the toe, of the clubhead to strike the ball - Decision 14-1/1.
  4. Ask anyone the distance from any point A to any point B - Information on distance is not advice, Definition of Advice.
  5. Ground your club on a bridge situated in a water hazard - Decision 13-4/30.
  6. Lay a club, or clubs, in a bunker before you make a stroke at your ball lying in that bunker - Exception 1(b) to Rule 13-4.
  7. Wrap a towel or handkerchief around the grip to assist in gripping your club on a wet day - Rule 14-3c.
  8. Replace your ball where it was, under penalty of one stroke, when you have just putted past the hole and into a bunker - Rule 28a.
  9. Use the toe of your putter to mark your ball – Decision 20-1/16.
I was going to follow this list with 9 things that you can’t do. But I don’t want to confuse, so I will leave this for a few days until my next blog.

Good golfing

Barry Rhodes

Have you got your copy of my book, ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’? If you haven’t, I think that it will help you understand and remember the Rules; if you have, why not purchase another one as a gift for a golfing friend or relative?

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Provisional Ball - Original Ball Found But Deemed Unplayable

A long, lonely walk

I missed it, but a reader advised me that my near-neighbour (well, about 3 miles away), Padraig Harrington, was involved in a Rules incident at the recent Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston, the detail of which is an interesting continuation of my blog last week on deeming a ball unplayable.

Padraig pulled a tee shot into the trees and, because he was not sure that he would find it, he correctly played a provisional ball from the teeing ground, so as to save time if his original ball was lost. In fact, he soon found his original ball but deemed that it was unplayable. Apparently, two club lengths would not give sufficient relief, nor would dropping a ball back on an extension of the line from the hole and where the ball lay in the trees, so he chose the option of replaying a ball from where he had previously played, under penalty of stroke and distance, taking the ‘long, lonely walk’ back to the teeing ground.

Many golfers would question why, in these circumstances, Padraig didn’t play his provisional ball, which was lying in good shape in the middle of the fairway. The answer is that Rule 27-2c prescribes that if the original ball is neither lost nor out of bounds, the player must abandon the provisional ball and continue playing his original ball. Indeed, having found his ball, if he makes any further strokes at the provisional ball, he is playing a wrong ball and the provisions of Rule 15-3 apply. Once he deemed his ball unplayable and decided that Rule 28 options b) and c) would not give him sufficient relief, he had to take the only other option, 28-a), and return to where he had last played from, under penalty of stroke and distance, playing his third stroke off the tee.

The logic of this ruling is similar to that explained in my previous blog, immediately below this one. The Rules don’t give a player the opportunity to choose between alternative places to play his next stroke from unless he is taking relief under penalty.

Of course, if a player is happy with his provisional ball, even though it lies two strokes more than for his original ball, he may choose not to look for the original and continue play with the provisional. However, if his original ball is found by someone else, for example by an opponent, prior to him making his next stroke at his provisional ball, he must play the original ball, or deem it unplayable under penalty of one stroke.

Always play by the Rules,

Barry Rhodes

If you have an iPhone or iTouch, or if you know s.eone else who does who would like to learn more about the Rules, check out Golf Rules Quiz in the iTunes appstore, or click on this link

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Ball Dropped Under Unplayable Ball Rule Is Still Unplayable

Ernie Els considers whether to deem his ball unplayable

If a ball rolls back into a water hazard when taking relief under penalty of one stroke the player must re-drop without penalty – CORRECT (Rule 20-2c).

If a ball rolls back into ground under repair when taking free relief the player must re-drop without penalty – CORRECT (Rule 20-2c).

If a ball rolls back to where an immovable obstruction still interferes with a player’s area of intended swing when taking free relief the player must drop again without penalty – CORRECT (Rule 20-2c).

If a ball rolls back into the same pitch mark from where it was lifted when taking free relief for an embedded ball the player must re-drop without penalty – CORRECT (Rule 20-2c).

If a ball rolls back into the same unplayable lie when taking relief under penalty of one stroke from an unplayable lie the player must drop again – WRONG! In this case the player must either play the ball as it lies, or incur another one stroke penalty and drop a ball again under one of the three options available in Rule 28.

A few people have suggested to me that this is, “another anomaly in the Rules of Golf, which makes them so difficult to learn”. However, while not suggesting that I am in any way ‘in the know’ as to what goes on when the USGA and R&A meet to determine the Rules of Golf, I do have an opinion on why this apparent inconsistency actually makes perfect sense.

First, let us look at Decision 28/3, which describes the situation and how the player must proceed;
Q. A player deemed his ball unplayable and, under Rule 28c, dropped his ball within two club-lengths of the spot where it lay. The ball came to rest in the original position or another position at which the ball was unplayable. What is the ruling?

A. The ball was in play when it was dropped - Rule 20-4. Thus, if the ball came to rest in the original position, the player must again invoke the unplayable ball Rule, incurring an additional penalty stroke, unless he decides to play the ball as it lies. The same applies if the ball came to rest in another position at which it was unplayable, assuming that the ball did not roll into a position covered by Rule 20-2c, in which case re-dropping without penalty would be required.
Now, let me draw your attention to the fact that the first four situations have defined limits, the margins of the water hazard and ground under repair, the interference area of an immovable obstruction and the actual pitch mark where the ball was embedded. Whereas, because a player may deem his ball unplayable at any place on the course, except when the ball is in a water hazard, there is no such defined limit to take into consideration. Why does this make a difference? Well, imagine a player’s ball lies under a gorse bush, about one and a half club-lengths from the edge. Under Rule 28c the player opts to drop a ball within two club-lengths of the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole. Unfortunately, in dropping the ball in the half club-length area just clear of the bush it rolls the wrong way and disappears back under the bush. If the Rules permitted the player to deem his ball unplayable again and re-drop the ball without a penalty, he would effectively be given a choice as to whether to play his ball as it lay after the drop, or re-drop it in the hope of getting a more favourable lie.

Rule 28 is a self-regulated Rule, with three options as to where the player may drop his ball under penalty of one stroke and once he has chosen he must live with the result of this choice. An unplayable lie is not a ‘condition’ like a hazard or GUR, and an unplayable lie may be very playable for one player and impossible for another. For example, a right-handed player may be stymied by a condition that would not affect the stroke of a left-handed player. The Rules are totally consistent in not allowing players alternative places to play their next stroke from unless there is a penalty stroke incurred in taking relief.

Better knowledge of the Rules leads to better play of the game.

Barry Rhodes
P.S. If you are not sure about the options available under Rule 28 - Ball Unplayable then check out my short video on the subject. Click here: Ball Unplayable

Author of the book, ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’; the CD, ’99 Golden Nuggets Demystifying the Rules of Golf’; and the iPhone application, ‘Golf Rules Quiz’.

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Sunday, 6 September 2009

Every Golfer Is a Referee

John Paramor - European Tour Chief Referee (Photo Getty Images)

Since I attended the UK PGA’s Advanced Rules and Refereeing Course in March last year, many friends and fellow Rules enthusiasts have asked me whether I did so in order to become a golf referee. That was never my intention; I was taking the course, and the subsequent examination, to enhance my credibility as a Rules expert. I have never had any interest in officiating at golf events. My main objective is to help others improve their understanding of the Rules.

However, the truth is that I am a golf referee, and if you play competitive golf then so are you! What justification do I have for saying this? Because, in all stroke play competitions, the Rules impose a responsibility on you to protect the interest of every other entrant by ensuring that anyone that you are playing with fully complies with all the Rules. This does not just apply to the player’s marker but anyone else in the competition that witnesses a breach of the Rules by any other competitor.

Decision 33-7/9 spells this out;
Competitor Who Knows Player Has Breached Rules Does Not Inform Player or Committee in Timely Manner

The responsibility for knowing the Rules lies with all players. In stroke play, the player and his marker have an explicit responsibility for the correctness of the player's score card.
There may, however, be exceptional individual cases where, in order to protect the interests of every other player in the competition, it would be reasonable to expect a fellow-competitor or another competitor to bring to light a player's breach of the Rules by notifying the player, his marker or the Committee.
In such exceptional circumstances, it would be appropriate for the Committee to impose a penalty of disqualification under Rule 33-7 on a fellow-competitor or another competitor if it becomes apparent that he has failed to advise the player, his marker or the Committee of a Rules breach with the clear intention of allowing that player to return an incorrect score.
You will note, in the first sentence of this Decision, that as well as the player, the marker has an explicit responsibility for the correctness of the player’s score. And yet, we have all played rounds of golf where the marker has no clue as to how many strokes the player has taken on a hole. I am sure that we have all witnessed occasions where a marker has not filled in the player’s score card for several holes and just asks retrospectively how many strokes he had taken. Rule 6-6 says, “After each hole the marker should check the score with the competitor and record it”. Note the word ‘check’. The implication is that the marker should be counting the player’s strokes and confirming the total with him or her at the end of each hole.

Players do not have the same responsibility in match play, where there is no concept of protecting the interests of other competitors, because only the players on the two sides are involved. So, players may choose to ignore breaches of the Rules by their opponents. However, even in match play, players must not agree to exclude the operation of any Rule or to waive any penalty incurred, or they will be disqualified under Rule 1-3. An example of this is Decision 1-3/4;
Failure of Players to Apply Known Penalty

Q. In a match, a player discovers at the 2nd hole that he has 15 clubs in his bag contrary to Rule 4-4a, but his opponent refuses to apply the penalty. The extra club is declared out of play and the match continues. The Committee disqualifies both players. Is this correct?

A. Yes. Since the players agreed to waive the penalty, they should be disqualified under Rule 1-3.
I hope that this article encourages you to ‘referee’ your fellow competitors more diligently in stroke play competitions. It is your duty to all the other competitors. Of course the best way to do this, in order to avoid the risk of an unpleasant incident, is to stop a player before he breaches a Rule. Giving information on the Rules is not advice and is to be encouraged.

Wishing you good golfing,

Barry Rhodes

For information on my book - ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’, or my iPhone application – ‘Golf Rules Quiz’, please email me at rules at barryrhodes dot com.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Jim Furyk Penalised 4 Strokes For Carrying 15 Clubs

Jim Furyk and his caddie, 'Fluff' Cowan

When Ian Woosnam was penalised 2 strokes for carrying 15 clubs, as he led the 2001 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s, I thought that it would never happen again in tournament play, especially after he fired his caddie two weeks later. Well, on Saturday, at Liberty National, across the Hudson River from Manhattan, Jim Furyk’s experienced caddie, Mike ‘Fluff’ Cowan, who most of us will remember from when he was Tiger’s caddie, also forgot to count his player’s clubs on the first tee. Jim Furyk was penalised 4 strokes, which cost him a lot of prize money as he ended up in 15th place, just 6 strokes behind the winner.

So, why was Ian Woosnam penalised only 2 strokes and Jim Furyk penalised 4 strokes? It is Rule 4-4 that stipulates that a player must not start a round with more than 14 clubs. In stroke play the penalty, regardless of the number of excess clubs carried, is two strokes for each hole at which any breach occurred, with a maximum penalty per round of four strokes. In match play, at the conclusion of the hole at which the breach is discovered, the state of the match is adjusted by deducting one hole for each hole at which a breach occurred with a maximum deduction per round of two holes. As the Woosnam breach was discovered on the 2nd teeing ground, before a stroke had been made, he incurred a penalty of only two strokes for the breach of the Rule on the 1st hole. At the Barclay's Jim Furyk had already played his tee shot to the par-3 2nd hole when he realised that he had an extra wedge in his bag, which meant that he was carrying 15 clubs. If he had not discovered that he had more clubs in his bag than is permitted until after commencing play of the 3rd hole it would not have affected the penalty, which is capped at four strokes per round in stroke play. However, when a player realises that he is carrying more than 14 clubs he has to immediately declare which club(s) he is taking out of play and if he uses that club or clubs during the remainder of the stipulated round he will be disqualified.

The moral is to always count your clubs on the 1st teeing ground!

Good golfing,

Barry Rhodes

Author of ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’, a book that will help you understand the Rules the easy way.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Caddies at Solheim Cup

I was interested to see that some of the caddies at the Solheim Cup in Sugar Grove, Illinois, were lining-up their players, not just on the putting greens but for all shots. This is permitted by the Rules, of course, but it brings up an interesting Rules point, that many players are unaware of.

In January 2000 there was a change to Rule14-2, which now reads;
14-2. Assistance
In making a stroke, a player must not:
a. Accept physical assistance or protection from the elements; or
b. Allow his caddie, his partner or his partner's caddie to position himself on or close to an extension of the line of play or the line of putt behind the ball.
Most players are aware that their caddie, partner or partner’s caddie cannot stay behind them while they make a putt on the putting green, but that restriction now applies to strokes made from anywhere on the course. If you were watching the Solheim Cup matches you may have noticed that after checking the line of their player’s set-up, the caddies moved to the side before the stroke was made. If they had stayed where they were, behind the line of play, the player would have incurred a loss of hole penalty (two strokes in stroke play).

For amateur players, who rarely have the luxury of a caddie, this Rule is most often breached in 4-balls, foursomes or team competitions, when a player is playing a stroke into the setting sun and their partner stands immediately behind them, so as to follow the flight of the ball. This shouldn’t really be a problem, as you are permitted to stand behind your partner providing you stand just a pace or two off the line of play, or line of putt. Presumably, the reason for this seemingly harsh Rule is the same as for Rule 8-2, which requires a player to remove any mark indicating a line, which either they have placed, or that has been placed with their knowledge, before they make their stroke.

As I write this blog the 2009 Solheim Cup is all square at 8 matches to USA and 8 matches to Europe, with the singles to play. It has been great competition so far and I am looking forward to watching the final day’s play.

Barry Rhodes

For information on my book - ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’, or my iPhone application – ‘Golf Rules Quiz’, please email me at rules at barryrhodes dot com.

P.S. For those of you that have subscribed to receive notification of my new blogs by email I apologise for the superfluous 'Technorati' emails. I am having a problem with them recognising my content and have had to repeat the process three times.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Errata - '999 Questions on the Rules of Golf'

I am extremely grateful to those who have recommended changes to the first edition of ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’ to help clarify, and in a few cases correct, my questions, answers and explanations. In particular, UK-based, Rules enthusiast, David Cladingboel, was most helpful. Of course, these changes will be incorporated in future reprints of the book.

Barry Rhodes
September 2009


Errata last updated: 7th January, 2011

Amended 7th January 2011 (G2 reprint)
Q.6: Replace Rule “24-1” with Rule “24-2”.

Q.35: At the start of Note change the first word “A” to, “In most cases a” and add a new sentence at the end, “However, it is important to note that there are three exceptions listed in Rule 20-2c(vii).”

Q.50: In the second line of the Question remove the word “putting”.

Amended 7th July 2011 (G2 reprint)
Q.81: After the 4th word of the Question, "touches", add "the course side of a white", and change the Note to "A ball is not out of bounds when any of it is on, or overhangs the course,")

Q.114: In the last sentence of the Answer change “…may be removed” to “…may not be removed”.

Amended 20th October 2010 (G2 reprint)

Q.217: From the Note remove the words “if the ball does not lie in or on the obstruction.”

Amended 20th October 2010 (G2 reprint)

Q.270: From the Question remove “and is about to drop the ball over his shoulder behind him when his caddie says that he will be penalised if he continues in that manner.” and replace with “drops the ball over his shoulder and addresses his ball when his caddie says that he will be penalised if he makes the stroke.”

Q.249: Add the word “Rule” after the Answer and before “17-3.

Q.284: In the answer change “…penalty of two strokes” to “…penalty of one stroke” (N.B. This has already been corrected in some books).

Q.299: Add the word “free” before the word “relief” in the four question options A), B), C) and D) and also to the Answer C).

Q.304: In the last line of the Answer add, “and playing out the hole” after “…the correct spot”.

Q.325: Change the first line of the Question from “Which of the following is an obstruction?” to “Which of the following is defined as an obstruction in the Rules of Golf?”.

Q.358: In the Note Change “Rule 13-02” to “Rule 13-2”.

Q.382: Change the Answer from “True. Rule 2-4” to “False. Decision 2-4/9”; change the Note from “Once the concession has been made it cannot be withdrawn” to “Callum had already lost the hole before Stuart conceded it to him (Rule 15-3a)”.

Q.415: In the first line of the Note remove the word “also” between “…ball might” and “outside the”.

Q.426: In the Question change “V Par” to “Vs Par”.

Q.435: In the first line of the question remove “resting on his ball” and replace with “hovering close to his ball”

Q.502: In the final sentence of the Note change “Ella incurs a penalty of loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play.” To “Ella incurs a penalty of one stroke in either match play or stroke play.”

Amended 23rd November 2010 (G2 reprint)
Q.534: In the Question add, “to identify that a ball is his,” after “In match play”.

Q.558: In the Answer add the word “in” four words from the end.

Q.572: In the third line of the Question change “initialise” to “initial”.

Amended 23rd November 2010 (G2 reprint)
Q.614: In the Question add the word “accidentally” after “While in a hazard Zak”.

Q.619: In the Note, after “….or lie of his ball,” add “the area of intended stance or swing, or his line of play,” and remove the final sentence commencing “In other words….”.

Q.642: Remove the whole Q&A and Note and replace with;
Roger has been searching for his ball for three minutes when play is suspended. How much time is he allowed for further search when play resumes?
A) Five minutes.
B) Two minutes, providing he does not continue searching during the suspension of play.
C) Two minutes, even if he continues searching during the suspension of play.
D) No additional time, as the player could have been searching for his ball during the suspension of play.
Answer: B) Two minutes, providing he does not continue searching during the suspension of play. Decision 27/1.5.
Note: The suspension of play has no effect on the five-minute search period. So, even if Roger continues searching for his ball during the suspension of play, he is still only permitted a total of five minutes.

Q.650: In the questions A), B), C), D) and the Answer C) change the word “may” to “must”.

Q.655: Remove the whole Note and replace with, “Note: If it were match play Farrell has the option of replaying her stroke without penalty, or playing the ball as it lies under penalty of one stroke, as her ball had struck her own trolley.”

Q.665: Delete option B) of the Question and replace with “B) A player may exchange his ball with a different ball once he has declared it unplayable.”

Amended December 31st, 2010 (G" reprint)
Q.701: In the second line of the Note replace "opponent" with "player's caddie".

Q.714: Remove the whole Q&A and Note and replace with;
"A ball used by a player during his play of a hole is equipment when it has been lifted and not put back into play at that hole. True or False?
Answer: True. Definition of Equipment.
Note: A note to the definition confirms that a ball played at the hole being played is equipment when it has been lifted and not put back into play."

Q.715: In the Note add the words “so the stroke is cancelled” between “…outside agency” and “and the ball…”.

Q.740: Change the 5th word, “competitor” to “opponent”.

Q.762: Change the first words, “In a foursome competition Jan and Judy” to “Foursome partners, Jan and Judy,”

Q.772: Add to the Note before the final period “, except when the ball is in a water hazard or lateral water hazard”.

Q.774: In the third line of the Question change “Rule 28a” to “Rule 28c”. (N.B. This has already been corrected in some books).

Q.778: Change the Answer from “KK is disqualified.” to “KK incurs a penalty of four strokes.”; change the second sentence of the Note from “It does not matter that the non-conforming club was not used during the round the disqualification penalty still applies” to “The penalty in stroke play is two strokes for any hole at which the breach occurred, with a maximum penalty per round of four strokes. If KK had used the non-conforming club he would have been disqualified.” (N.B. This has already been corrected in some books).

Q.782: Replace the word “wrong” with the word “substituted” in all three occurrences, once in the question, once in the answer and once in the note.

Q.788: Remove the 1st sentence of the Question and replace with “During the 1st hole of a match Peggy has her daughter carrying her golf bag and her husband cleaning her ball, holding her glove and umbrella, assisting her to line up her putt and attending the flagstick.”

Q.791: Remove “If an opponent or his caddie, lifts a player’s ball without authority he incurs…” with “In match play, if a player or his caddie lifts an opponent’s ball without authority, the player incurs….”. Also, add “in stroke play” between “including a fellow competitor” and “, there is no penalty...”.

Q.800: After the first three words of the Question. “In match play,” add “through the green,”; at the start of the Note remove “The” and add “Through the green the”.

Q.812: Change the wording of the whole Question, Answer and Note as follows; “In a strokes competition, Roger wrongly thought that he could take relief for an embedded ball in the rough, picked up his ball, cleaned it and dropped it at the nearest point to where it was embedded. After completing his round he and his marker signed for his score and he returned the score card, which did not include the penalty. Before the competition closed the error was brought to the attention of the Committee. How should they rule?
Answer: The Committee must disqualify Roger as by omitting a penalty incurred he has returned a card with a score lower than it should have been. Rule 6-6d.
Note: Rule 6-6c does not permit any alteration of the score card after it has been returned to the Committee, and this includes any alteration by the Committee themselves.”

Q.818: Remove the Note and replace with “Chris may smooth sand or soil in the hazard, providing nothing is done to improve the position or lie of his ball, the area of intended stance or swing, or his line of play, with respect to his next stroke.”

Q.887: In the first sentence of the Question replace “Sarah notices” with “Adrienne notices” and then later in the same sentence “Adrienne’s line” with “Sarah’s line”. At the end of the first line of the Note remove Adrienne’s ball” with “Sarah’s ball”.

Amended 10th March 2011 (G2 reprint)
Q.899: Remove the third word, "lying".

Q.913: Remove “Rule 13-4 and Decision 1-4/12” and replace with “Decision 13-4/0.5”; remove the first two sentences of the Note and replace with this sentence, “Hilary’s digging into the sand with her feet several yards from where her ball lies to simulate her stance does not constitute testing the condition of the bunker, but her caddie smoothing her footprints by raking does.” Also, change the start of the second sentence of the Note from “Hilary plays four...” to “Hilary played four...”.

Q.919: Remove "Decision 7-1b/5" with "Decision 6-4/8."

Q.938: Remove the whole of the Note and replace with “Borrowing a club that has been selected for play by any other person on the course is not permitted. James incurs a penalty of two strokes for each hole at which any breach occurred with a maximum penalty per round of four strokes.”
Amended 21st February 2011 (G2 reprint)
Q.939: Remove the whole of the Note and replace with “When Sheila had her fresh air her ball was in play. By pushing her tee further into the ground, she moved the ball, incurring a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a and was required by that Rule to replace it. However, when she made her next stroke at the ball without replacing it, she effectively played under penalty of stroke and distance (Rule 27-1a) overriding the penalty of one stroke. Her next stroke from the tee was her third.”

Q.945: In option C) remove the end phrase “choose one of the options for relief as per Rule 28.” and replace with “proceed in accordance with Rule 28.”

Q.946: At the end of the last sentence of the Question after “…Barak lie” add “if he finds his original ball”; at the end of the Note after “…another ball” add “,which would be his 5th stroke”

Q.947: At the start of the Question add “Having addressed his ball” before “Chip”.

Q.962: At the end of the first sentence in the Question remove “as he makes a stroke at his own ball”. Also, change the 5th word of the Note from “agent” to “agency”.

Q.969: In the first sentence of the question remove “putting” from between “…through the” and “green”.

Q.974: In Option C) change the 2nd word from “must” to “may”. Also, remove option D) and replace with “Robin must play out the hole with both balls and report the situation to the Committee.”

Q.979: At the end of option C) remove “a wrong ball” and replace with “an incorrectly substituted ball”; make the same change in the Answer; in the Note insert “, under Rule 18,” after “…substituting a ball”.

Q.997: In the first word of option D) remove “Replace” and insert “Place”; repeat the same removal and replacement for the Answer.