Tuesday, 6 January 2015

More Myths about the Rules of Golf

I have previously blogged on the subject of the many myths and misunderstandings that pervade the Rules of Golf. Here are 9 more;

You may not place your hand behind your ball on the putting green to test for wetness.
False. Decision 16-1d/4. The Rule only prohibits rolling a ball or roughening or scraping the putting surface for testing purposes.

You may not draw an unbroken line around the circumference of your golf balls.
False. There is no restriction as to how you personally identify your golf balls.

You may not use a tee pushed into the putting green to mark your ball.
False. Decision 20-1/16. However, whilst this method is permissible, it is not recommended.

You have to place a marker at the two club-lengths limit before taking a penalty drop for an unplayable ball under Rule 28c.
False. The permitted limit does not have to be marked, providing the ball is dropped within the permitted area.

When dropping a ball under the Rules you must face the hole.
False. There is no restriction as to the direction that a player may stand when dropping a ball.

You must use the back of your hand when removing loose impediments from your line of putt.
False. Loose impediments may be removed by any means, providing you do not press down on the line of putt. Decision 23-1/1.

It is against the Rules to have a wager on a game of golf during a stroke play competition.
False. This myth may arise from the fact that the Rules do not permit the play of a match, on which bets are commonly placed, at the same time as the players are participating in a stroke play competition.

In Stableford competitions you may not continue play of a hole if you cannot score any points.
False. Rule 7-2. Strokes made in continuing the play of a hole, the result of which has been decided, are not practice strokes.

A ball is not holed unless it is resting at the bottom of the hole, e.g. if it is at rest on another ball in the hole.
False. 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. Definition of Holed.

Good golfing,


P.S. I received several emails questioning the accuracy of Q4 and Q9 in last week’s Rules teasers. I am standing by my answers, but others are trying to get an official response from the Ruling Bodies.

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2015 and may not be copied without permission.


Unknown said...

I always though that touching the line of the put with the putter incurred a penalty? The reason was that by placing the putter on the ground you can better ascertain the turn on the ball? Am I mistaken in my belief?


Barry Rhodes said...


Rule 16-1a states that the line of putt must not be touched, but then list 7 exceptions.

I am confused as to why you are asking this question through the comments for this blog, in which I do not mention anyone touching the line of putt with their putter.


Anonymous said...

Hi Barry,

I understand that you cannot repair anything but ball marks and old hole plugs on the green according to the rules. But one time my friend accidentally dragged his feet and damaged the green that was nowhere near the hole and didn't affect anyone's play. Are you allowed to repair the damaged green before finishing the hole.

Barry Rhodes said...


Whilst it is probably safest not to repair such damage until all players in the group have completed play of the hole, no penalty would be incurred providing the damage was not on any player's line of putt, or in the vicinity of the hole.