Last week, I received a query on the web site I use to promote my book, Golf Rules Questions. It was from Margaret, who said that she is still not sure when she incurs a one stroke penalty. This is an area of the Rules that puzzles many golfers. When I participated in the Royal & Ancient’s Quiz on the Rules for Golf Clubs in the UK and Ireland (discontinued in 2007), I put together a table, broken down into three distinct sections with catchy, descriptive headings to help me remember which breaches incur the penalty of one stroke. I have updated it for the changes introduced in January 2008 and am reproducing it here in the hope that it will assist readers.
‘Buying’ a Stroke:
Rule 26-1&2: Ball in Water Hazard.
Rule 27-1: Ball Lost or Out of Bounds.
The ‘stroke and distance’ penalty.
Rule 28: Ball Unplayable.
Rule 25-1: Abnormal Ground Condition.
When a player elects to take relief outside of a bunker filled with water they incur a penalty of one stroke.
Rule 14-4: Striking the Ball More than Once.
Rule 16-2 Ball Overhanging Hole.
Ball drops in after more than 10 seconds.
Rule 18-2 Ball at Rest Moved by Player, Partner, Caddie or Equipment.
Moving the ball (accidentally), or touching it purposely (except with a club in the act of addressing it).
Equipment of the player, or their partner, causes their ball to move.
Rule 18-3 Ball at Rest Moved by Opponent, Caddie or Equipment.
Unless it is moved accidentally during search.
Rule 19-2 Ball in Motion Deflected or Stopped by Player, Partner, Caddie or Equipment.
E.g. when, after making a stroke, the ball rebounds of an object and hits the player.
Rule 5-3: Ball Unfit for Play.
Failure to comply with the correct procedure (i.e. announcing intention to lift the ball to opponent or marker, marking its position and not cleaning it beyond the extent necessary to confirm that it is damaged).
Rule 6-8: Discontinuance of Play.
If a player lifts the ball without a good reason to do so (e.g. bad weather) fails to mark the position of the ball before lifting it or fails to report the lifting to the Committee.
Rule 12-2: Identifying Ball.
Failure to comply with the correct procedure, as above.
Rule 20-1 Lifting and Marking.
Lifting a ball under a Rule that requires it to be replaced, without first marking the position of that ball. N.B. Accidentally moving a ball marker incurs a one stroke penalty if it is not directly attributable to the act of marking the ball.
Rule 20-2: Dropping and Re-dropping.
Dropping the ball incorrectly (e.g. by the wrong person, or not at arm’s length or shoulder height).
Rule 20-3a: Placing and Replacing.
Wrong person places or replaces a ball.
Rule 21: Cleaning Ball.
When not permitted having lifted it correctly under the Rules to determine whether it is fit for play for identification because it is interfering with or assisting play.
(Edit: A subscriber has pointed out that Rule 25-2b(ii) permits a player, whose ball lies in causal water in a bunker to drop a ball outside the bunker, keeping the point where the ball lay 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, for a penalty of one stroke. )
An important point to remember regarding these one stroke penalties is that they apply to both stroke play and match play, whereas the general penalty in stroke play is two strokes and in match play is loss of hole. The other penalty is disqualification and I will cover this in a future blog.
Save strokes with a better knowledge of the Rules.
Barry RhodesAuthor of ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’ a book to help players of all capabilities to understand the Rules.
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