Thursday, 11 June 2009

Four Rules of Golf that You Probably Don't Know

There are so many Rules and Decisions regulating the way that golf is to be played that it is well nigh impossible to know and remember them all. Most players only reference the Rules book when something happens on the course that is new to them and they want to understand the correct procedure. Here are four Rules that in my experience most players are not aware of;

1. You may ask anyone, including your fellow competitors, any question concerning distances. So, for example, you may say, “How far do you think my ball is from the flagstick?”, or “Is that ditch in front of us more than 200 yards away?” This has only been the case since 1st January 2008, when the definition of advice was amended to allow the exchange of information on distance, as it is not considered to be advice.
2. Strokes made in continuing the play of a hole, the result of which has been decided, are not practice strokes, Rule 7-2. For example, in match play, if a player has already had more strokes than his opponent has holed out in, he may still continue play of the hole. Or in a Stableford competition, a player may continue play of a hole even though he cannot score any points on that hole. However, please remember that under Rule 6-7 a player must play without undue delay and in particular, between completion of a hole and playing from the next teeing ground.
3. Most of us know that in stroke play if one ball putted from the putting green strikes another ball on that putting green there is a penalty of two strokes. What most players do not realise is that if the same thing happens in match play there is no penalty, Rule 19-5a.
4. Here’s one to watch. If you’re chipping or putting from off the green you should ensure that no-one is standing near enough to the flagstick to touch it. Why? Note 1 to Rule 17-1 states that if the flagstick is in the hole and anyone stands near it while a stroke is being made they are deemed to be attending it. So, if your ball then hits the flagstick you incur a two stroke penalty, even though you were playing from off the green. Not a lot of people know that!

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Wishing you good golfing,

Barry Rhodes

Author of ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’, published by Green Umbrella Publishing Ltd.
Rules at barryrhodes dot com
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Unknown said...

If you are in a hazard and your ball outside thge hazard but your club will strike the post can you move it or take an immovable obstruction drop? Is there a penalty?

Thank you.

Barry Rhodes said...


When your ball lies outside the margins of a water hazard you may take relief from an immovable obstruction that interferes with your stance or area of intended swing, even if it is located inside the margin of the hazard. There is no penalty. Rule 23-2b states, "Except when the ball is in a water hazard or a lateral water hazard, a player may take relief from interference by an immovable obstruction....".

Barry Rhodes