This web site and all contents

 © HHDUGC 2016

Questions on the Rules of Golf - Page 1

Page 2 Page 3

You might be interested in these questions on the rules of Golf

if you know all the answers you're a star!



A fellow competitor's drive may have landed in a water hazard as it cannot be located. Your competitor asks to drop his ball behind the hazard and incur a one-stroke penalty. Should you allow this? More importantly, do the Rules allow it? ANSWER


While chipping onto the green from thick grass, Player A hits the ball twice. In attempting to remain within the rules, Player A counts the stroke and adds a penalty stroke, for a total of two. Player B objects, stating that since the ball was hit twice, two strokes should be counted and a penalty stroke added, for a total of three. Which player is correct? ANSWER


Bill was playing in a strokes competition on a Saturday afternoon. Just before putting across the green he tapped down three scuff marks in the vicinity of the hole, but not on his line of putt. They had presumably been made by the metal studs of the group playing in front. Did he break any Rule of Golf? ANSWER


During a round, a competitor adds a strip of lead tape to the back of her driver. She justifies this by stating the rules stipulate only that no foreign matter is to be applied to the clubface, which would impact the ball's spin and flight. Is she correct? ANSWER


A player's caddie is attending the flag stick while the player chips from just off the green. After making the stroke, the flag stick becomes stuck in the hole and the caddie is unable to remove it before the player's ball strikes it. Has there been a rules breach and, if so, what is the penalty? ANSWER


Two competitors' shots have come to rest within a few inches of each other inside the boundary of a water hazard, but not in the water. They both elect to play their shots from the hazard. Player 2's ball is interfering with the play of Player 1. Both players survey the lie of Player 2, noting the ground condition and lie of his ball. Player 2 then marks and lifts the ball. Has there been a penalty? ANSWER


On a par-three, Player A drives his tee shot into a thickly wooded area. Knowing the likelihood that the ball is lost, he declares he will play a provisional ball and plays a masterful shot from the tee that comes to rest within mere inches of the hole. He informs the other players that he will not look for the ball; however, Player B does not hear his declaration and finds the original ball. What does Player A now have to do? ANSWER


A player's approach shot to the green lands deep within a water hazard. The player then declares his ball as unplayable and drops a ball as nearly as possible to where he played his last shot. Has there been a breach of the rules? ANSWER


During a round played in a severe Texas wind, Player A's ball comes to rest on the green. As all four players in the match four ball approach the green, the ball begins to move, blown by the wind, away from the hole. Player A and his partner state the ball was moved by an outside agency and the ball is replaced near the spot where it rested before it began to move. Did they act correctly? ANSWER


While playing particularly fast greens, a player's ball comes to rest on a steeply sloped area of a green. She then marks the ball and awaits her turn to putt. After replacing the ball and taking her stance, she decides not to ground her putter, just as the ball begins to roll without her touching it. Has she addressed the ball and will she have to play the ball where it stops? ANSWER


During a hotly contested match, Player A pulls his tee-shot on a par-3 hole into some trees near an out of bounds area. Player B is safely on the green from the tee. Clearly frustrated, Player A concedes the hole before they leave the tee box. As they approach the green, Player A finds that his ball has miraculously come to rest just off the fringe of the green. He then decides he no longer wants to concede the hole, as he didn't know his ball was in play when he conceded. What are Player B's options? ANSWER


On the first tee of a fourball match, Competitor A makes the statement that the foursome should place in the fairway. (ie preferred lies) Competitor B says nothing. Competitor C agrees to place the ball. Competitor D says he will play it as it lies. Before a ball is put into play, are any of the competitors in violation of a rule? ANSWER


While playing from a bunker, without touching the sand, a player removes a leaf and twig lying in front of her ball. Has she violated a rule? ANSWER


A player has declared his ball as unplayable and decides to take the option of dropping his ball within two club-lengths, not nearer the hole, under penalty of one stroke. He prepares to drop the ball over his shoulder to the rear. His caddie informs him that if he drops the ball in that manner and then plays it, he will be penalized. Is the caddie correct? ANSWER


A young golfer is playing in his first competitive tournament. While taking practice swings preparing to putt he strikes the ball. What penalty, if any has the young golfer incurred? ANSWER


After a player is forced to take a drop, he finds the nearest point of relief, no closer to the hole of course, and drops his ball according to the rules. On the drop, the ball rolls approximately 25 feet from the place where it first struck the course when dropped. The ball didn't roll closer to the hole. So, is a re-drop necessary? ANSWER


Player A believes he may not find his ball having hit his tee shot into the woods, close to the out of bounds. He states his intention to hit a provisional ball. Player B tells him the ball may not be teed when playing a provisional ball from the tee. Which player is correct? ANSWER


On a par-5, the second shots of two players come to rest within a few inches of one another in the fairway. Player A's ball is merely inches past Player B, so Player A marks and lifts his ball as it would clearly interfere with Player B's next shot. Has Player A committed a rules violation? ANSWER


Your ball comes to rest touching a rake that prevented it from entering a hazard. You proceed to lift the ball, remove the rake, clean your ball, then drop it as nearly as possible to the spot where it rested. Have you committed any rules infractions? ANSWER


During a round, Susan's ball comes to rest on a path adjacent to the fairway. Neither Susan nor her playing partner is sure whether free relief is appropriate, as it generally is from a cart path. She tells her playing partner that she will play two balls for the remainder of the hole; taking a drop with one ball and playing the ball as it lies with the other. Susan told her partner that she will play the dropped ball if the rules allow. She also states that she will report to the rules committee when the round is finished. Is she allowed to play two balls? ANSWER


During a stroke play event, Dan asks Charlie where the flagstick is located on the upcoming green. Bill, another member of the foursome, took exception to Dan's question, believing his question to be a rules violation. Is Bill correct? ANSWER


Player A player witnessed a rules breach by Player B, his opponent in match play, during a round. After completion of the round, Player A went to the rules committee to inform them of the violation and seek a ruling. Did Player A proceed correctly to receive a ruling on the violation? ANSWER


In preparing for his afternoon match, Bill tries out a new driver on the practice range before heading for the first tee. After his practice session, he leaves the new driver in his bag and forgets to take it out before he begins play in his match. His problem is that the addition of the new driver leaves him with 15 clubs in his bag (Rule 4-4(a) states a maximum of 14). He discovered and reported his violation after completing the first hole, which he won. What is his penalty?



During a round, Ernie lips out a short birdie putt. As he is walking to the next tee, he angrily smacks his putter on the ground, which slightly bent the toe of the putter head upward. The putter was still usable and not otherwise damaged. How must Ernie proceed?



Julie and Kim both hit their shots into a bunker. Upon arriving at their next shots, Julie steps into the bunker and proceeds to hit her shot. As she exits the bunker, she sees what she believed to be Kim's ball and realized it was her own. She had hit the wrong ball. What is her penalty, if any?



After teeing-off on a hole, a player notices that his ball did not sound right leaving the clubface. Upon reaching his next shot, he found that the ball had been cracked. Does he have any options for proceeding?



The rules don't allow it and neither should you, especially if money or bragging rights are on the line. Seriously, Rule 26-1 states that in the absence of knowing or being virtually certain that a ball entered a hazard, it must be treated as a lost ball. In this instance, your competitor must make the long walk back to the tee and suffer a penalty stroke. BACK


According to Rule 14-4, Player A is correct in his assessment. Essentially, he only made one stroke at the ball. The penalty effectively makes up for the second contact with the ball BACK


Bill incurs a penalty of two strokes. Rule 16-1c states that on the green a player may only repair an old hole plug and any damage made by the impact of a ball. Nothing else can be repaired, including spike marks, if it might assist the player in his subsequent play of the hole. Of course, it would be good etiquette for Bill to repair damage to the green once he and his playing partners had holed out.BACK


Although she is correct about applying foreign matter that would affect ball flight to the club face, Rule 4-2(b), she's only partially right. Rule 4-2(a) states that the playing characteristics of a club must not be altered during a stipulated round. Lead tape certainly can alter the club's playing characteristics. She suffers the penalty of disqualification.BACK


Unfortunately, even though it was an accident on the caddie's part, Rule 17-3 dictates that a two-shot penalty is incurred in stroke play and the hole is lost in match play. A player can choose to have the flag attended before making a stroke from anywhere on the course. An example may be when he is playing from a position where he cannot see the flag as he is standing off the green but way below the hole. He can ask for the flag to be held up above the hole so that he can judge where the hole is. In this case, and any others where the player authorises the flag to be attended, whether his ball is on or off the green, there would be a two stroke penalty if the ball hits the attended flagstick (which includes the flag itself). BACK


Under Rule 20-3, the players have acted appropriately to that point. If the lie of Player 2 is altered, the ball must be replaced in the nearest spot most closely resembling the previous lie, not more than one club length away from the original spot, no nearer to the hole. If you knew that one, consider yourself a rules afficionado! BACK


Since Player B kindly found the original ball, it is neither lost nor out of bounds and, as a result, according to Rule 27-2, the provisional ball is no longer in play and the original ball must be played. Yes, even when an axe couldn't get to it, it is now the ball to be played.
An often asked question amongst Rules aficionados is whether Player B could run onto the green and tap his ball into the hole for a four before anyone else could find his ball in the thickly wooded area. The answer is that he can do so because in stroke play there is no penalty for playing out of turn, and once the ball is in the hole it is out of play and it does not matter if his original ball is later found. In match play his opponent has the right to ask him to replace his ball because he played out of turn. However, putting the ball into the hole meant that the ball was in play and the same result applies even though he has to putt it again when his turn comes. BACK


You cannot declare your ball unplayable when it is in a water hazard (Rule 28). It is a question of fact whether it is in the hazard. In order to obtain relief under penalty (Rule 26-1) it must be known, or virtually certain, that the ball is within the margin of the hazard. However, one of the options for taking relief for a ball in a water hazard is to play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played. The player therefore acted within the Rules, even though he did it for the wrong reason. 0nce it is agreed that the player's ball is in the water hazard and cannot be played he has the following options under Rule 26-1, all of which incur a penalty stroke;

a. Play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5); or

b. Drop a ball behind the water hazard, keeping the point at which the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind the water hazard the ball may be dropped; or

c. As additional options available only if the ball last crossed the margin of a lateral water hazard, drop a ball outside the water hazard within two club-lengths of and not nearer the hole than (i) the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard or (ii) a point on the opposite margin of the water hazard equidistant from the hole.
When proceeding under this Rule, the player may lift and clean his ball or substitute a ball. BACK


No, they did not. The Rules of Golf defines an "outside agency" as any agency not part of the match, not part of the competitor's side, and includes a referee, marker, observer and forecaddie. Wind and water are not considered outside agencies. The ball must be played from wherever the wind blew it to, whether that was nearer to, or farther from the hole. BACK


"Addressing the ball" is defined in the Rules of Golf as having taken a stance and grounding the club, except that in a hazard, the stance is all that is needed. The golfer in the question hasn't addressed the ball and she will not incur a penalty. However, the ball must be played as it lies. BACK


Rule 2-4 states that a concession may not be declined or withdrawn. This prevents Player B from allowing the hole to continue, unless, of course, he wants to also be in violation of the Rules. BACK


Competitors A and C are in violation and risk disqualification. Rule 1-3 states that players must not agree to exclude the operation of any Rule or to waive any penalty incurred. You might also like to know that you are only allowed to place your ball if there is a Local Rule in force that allows you to do so. There is nothing in the 34 Rules of Golf that allows you to do this, whatever the format of competition. Typically, clubs introduce 'placing on the fairway' during wet condition, or when the course is under repair (e.g. sanding of the fairways). Ideally, the Local Rule should follow the format given in Appendix 1 c. "Preferred Lies" and "Winter Rules" in the Rules of Golf book 2008-2011. BACK


If she's playing stroke play, she has incurred a two stroke penalty. If she's playing a match, she loses the hole. Rule 13-4 dictates a player may not touch or move a loose impediment lying in or touching a hazard. BACK


Yes. The caddie is correct. Rule 20-2 stipulates that the player must stand erect, hold the ball at shoulder height and arm's length and drop it. BACK


Although the young golfer did not intend to strike the ball, and has not therefore made a stroke, he does incur a one stroke penalty under Rule 18-2a for causing the ball to move except as permitted by a Rule. He must also replace the ball to where it was when he hit it accidentally. BACK


Rule 20-2 requires a ball to be re-dropped if it rolls more than two club-lengths from the spot where the dropped ball first touched the golf course. He must re-drop the ball. BACK


Rule 20-5 states that when a stroke is to be taken from where the previous stroke was made on the teeing ground, the ball to be played can be played from anywhere within the teeing ground and may be teed. So, Player A is correct. BACK


Player A was obviously acting courteously and sensibly, but he has incurred a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2(a). Without agreeing to move the ball with Player B, Player A should not have done so. The rule does not apply on the green. BACK


Yes, you are penalised two strokes for moving the ball whilst it is in play and then dropping it when it should have been replaced (See penalty statement under Rule 18 and Decision 18-2a/9). The correct procedure is to carefully remove the rake. If the ball moves, it must be replaced and there is no penalty. BACK


Susan made all the right decisions. Rule 3-3 provides that when there is a doubt as to procedure, the hole may be completed with two balls, without incurring a penalty. After the condition arose, she correctly announced her intention to play two balls, which ball she would count if the rules allow and that she would report the situation to the rules committee upon completion of the round. Had she not done as she did, she would have been disqualified. Note that any competitor that completes a hole with two balls must report the facts of the situation to the Committee before returning their score card, even if the score on the hole was the same with both balls. If they fail to do so they are disqualified. BACK


Bill needs to be certain of the Rules before questioning a fellow competitor. The Rules define "advice" as any counsel that could influence a player in determining his play. Information on the Rules or on matters of public information, such as flagstick position, is not within the definition of "advice". BACK


Player A will get nothing but "I'm sorry, the Rules of Golf were not followed in your reporting of the violation". According to Rule 2-5, the rules committee can only consider a claim if the reporting player has informed his opponent that he/she is making the claim, the facts of the claim, and his desire for a ruling. The claim must be made before any player in the match plays from the next teeing ground or, if the last hole, before all players have left the final green. .Player A missed several steps. BACK


As Bill was involved in a match play event, he must deduct one hole for each hole on which the breach occurred; with a maximum deduction in each round of two holes. As the violation was discovered after the first hole, which he won, the match stands at all square as they head to the second teeing ground. In stroke play, the penalty is two strokes for each hole on which the violation occurred, with a maximum of four strokes. BACK


Unfortunately, Ernie should have kept his cool. Rule 4-3 states that where a club is damaged, other than in normal course of play, and its playing characteristics are changed, as in Ernie's situation, it must be removed from play. Looks like the driver is his next "putter" option! BACK


As from 1st January 2008 a player is now allowed to lift their ball in a bunker or water hazard for identification purposes. There isa consequential change to Rule 15-3, whichintroduces a penalty for playing the wrong ball in these circumstances. Therefore Julie ispenalised two strokes for playing a wrong ball and must then play her own ball out of the bunker. Kim must replace her ball at the place where it was played from in the bunker and is entitled to restore her original lie as nearly as possible. BACK


Rule 5-3 states that a ball is unfitfor play if it is cracked, cut, or out of shape. The player may lift the ball, without penalty, to determine whether it is unfit. However, before lifting it the player must announce his intention to his opponent or fellow competitor and mark the position of his ball. If it is agreed that the ball is unfit for play then he can substitute another ball, placing it on the spot where the original ball lay. BACK

GO TO Q &A Page 2



In memory of David Perrin 1947 - 2013, designer of the original HHDUGC website


The HHDUGC is sponsored by



B M Howarth

Berties Catering

Best Impressions

Brand Consortia

Mr Bruce Firth

Circle Golf Insurance

Expressions Kitchens Ltd

Glenbrae Knitwear

Holiday Inn

Kelcol Bedding



Nield On Demand

Pacific Lifestyles

Pink Logo


Simply Lighting

Stromberg Menswear

T W Birks & Son Ltd

Tom Wild Golf Store


Click links above for further details of our sponsors


Further sponsorship invited - click here