Monday, 10 May 2010

Facts: Golf Ball, Hole, Tee, Clubhead, etc.

Some of the Rules of Golf are wordy, some require reading several times over to determine the true meaning, some of the words are extremely precise, some are subjective and some are purely factual. It is this last category that is the subject of this week’s blog. A list of sizes, dimensions, times, etc. that form part of the Rules of Golf.
  • The hole must be 4¼ inches (108 mm) in diameter and at least 4 inches (101.6 mm) deep. If a lining is used it must be at least 1 inch (25.4mm) below the putting green surface.
  • The diameter of the ball must not be less than 1.68 inches (42.67mm) and the weight not greater than 1.62 ounces avoirdupois (45.93g) – it may be larger and lighter, but the player would obviously be playing at a disadvantage.
  • The flagstick must be circular in cross-section - you can imagine the deflections that could occur with square sticks. However, it may have sections of varying diameters.
  • A tee must not be longer than 4 inches (101.6mm).
  • The teeing ground is a rectangular area two club-lengths in depth, the front and sides of which are defined by the outside limits of the two tee-markers.
  • The overall length of the club must be at least 18 inches (0.457m) and, except for putters, must not exceed 48 inches (1.219m).
  • The volume of the clubhead must not exceed 460 cubic centimetres (28.06 cubic inches), plus a tolerance of 10 cubic centimetres (0.61 cubic inches).
  • When a ball is overhanging the lip of the hole a player is allowed enough time to reach the hole without unreasonable delay and an additional 10 seconds to determine whether the ball is at rest.
  • A player must find or identify his ball within 5 minutes after the player’s side, or his or their caddies, have begun to search for it.
  • A player must not start a round with more than 14 clubs. If a player starts with fewer than 14 clubs they may add any number, provided the total number does not exceed 14.
  • There are 34 Rules of Golf with 126 sub-sections.
  • There are over 1,200 Decisions on the Rules of Golf.
There may be other measurements incorporated in Local Rules. For example, during adverse course conditions there may be a Local Rule that permits a player to lift their ball, clean it and place it on a spot within a specific area (e.g., six inches, one club-length, etc.) of and not nearer the hole than where it originally lay.

Good golfing,

Barry Rhodes

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Swing Guru said...

It's interesting to note that a flagstick can have sections of differing widths--I wonder why.

Barry Rhodes said...

Swing Guru,

I have to admit that I don't know the answer to this. Decision 17/3 confirms;

Q. May a flagstick be tapered or have a slender metal ferrule at the base?

A. Yes. The Definition does not prohibit sections of varying diameters. The Definition requires that the flagstick be circular in cross-section. This is to prohibit non-circular features in the lower part of the flagstick.


Anonymous said...

when on the green if player one putts in hole, and leaves his ball in and player two putts into the hole. Is there a ruling on this?

Barry Rhodes said...

Yes, a ball is "holed" when it is at rest within the circumference of the hole and all of it is below the level of the lip of the hole. Therefore, it does not matter if it is at rest on top of another ball.

However, if a ball falls into the hole, hits another ball lying there and bounces out again, it is not holed as it did not come to rest below the circumference of the hole.


Our Farm said...

How tall is the flagstick, when it stands in the hole?

I was gifted a monocular that has gradiations, meant to tell a golfer distance to the hole. I want to give it to my son in Afganiston. He's w/ a Marine mortar unit & it seems it could come in handy to find the distance to a person standing, if we know how tall the gradiations are meant to mark.

Barry Rhodes said...

Our Farm,

There is nothing in the Rules of Golf regarding the length of a flagstick. You may have noticed that even on the same course flagsticks may vary in height to take into account local conditions, such as the prevailing wind or when the putting green is raised or sits in a hollow.


Anonymous said...

in respect of the hole size, anything more specific re the diameter?? eg holes are often not perfect circles(see below) so must it be a MINIMUM of 108mm at ANY point across the hole or just one point? Also when a hole is cut it could be correct size but after a few days of play/traffic i would think its feasible for the hole opening to reduce to 'squashing' from heavy foot traffic or even green keeper machinery. Any feedback appreciated thanks Barry

Barry Rhodes said...


The diameter of the hole must be 108mm, not more, not less. The diameter of a circle is constant from the central point. If the hole does not meet these requirements the Committee should arrange for it to be repaired, before further competitive play. A hole should not remain in the same place for "a few days of play/traffic".


The Arkie said...

7 feet give or take

Barry Rhodes said...

The Arkie,

I presume that your comment is in relation to the height of a flagstick. This may be the average length, but as I have already said, there is no standard requirement and there are many situations where a longer flagstick is used.