Rule 10 - Preparing for and Making a Stroke; Advice and Help; Caddies

Purpose of Rule: Rule 10 covers how to prepare for and make a stroke, including advice and other help the player may get from others (including caddies). The underlying principle is that golf is a game of skill and personal challenge.

10.1  Making a Stroke

Purpose of Rule: Rule 10.1 covers how to make a stroke and several acts that are prohibited in doing so. A stroke is made by fairly striking at a ball with the head of a club. The fundamental challenge is to direct and control the movement of the entire club by freely swinging the club without anchoring it.

a. Fairly Striking the Ball

In making a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.:

b. Anchoring the Club

In making a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball., the player must not anchor the club, either:

If the player’s club, gripping hand or forearm merely touches his or her body or clothing during the strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball., without being held against the body, there is no breach of this Rule.

For the purposes of this Rule, “forearm” means the part of the arm below the elbow joint and includes the wrist.

c. Making Stroke While Standing Across or on Line of Play

The player must not make a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. from a stanceStance: The position of a player’s feet and body in preparing for and making a stroke. with a foot deliberately placed on each side of, or with either foot deliberately touching, the line of playLine of Play: The line where the player intends his or her ball to go after a stroke, including the area on that line that is a reasonable distance up above the ground and on either side of that line. or an extension of that line behind the ball.

For this Rule only, the line of playLine of Play: The line where the player intends his or her ball to go after a stroke, including the area on that line that is a reasonable distance up above the ground and on either side of that line. does not include a reasonable distance on either side.

Exception – There Is No Penalty If Stance Is Taken Accidentally or to Avoid Another Player’s Line of Play.

d. Playing Moving Ball

A player must not make a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. at a moving ball:

But there are three exceptions where there is no penalty:

Exception 1 – Ball Begins to Move Only after Player Begins Backswing for Stroke: Making a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. at a moving ball in this situation is covered by Rule 9.1b, not by this Rule.

Exception 2 – Ball Falling Off Tee: Making a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. at a ball falling off a teeTee: An object used to raise a ball above the ground to play it from the teeing area. It must be no longer than 4 inches (101.6 mm) and conform with the Equipment Rules. is covered by Rule 6.2b(5), not by this Rule.

Exception 3 – Ball Moving in Water: When a ball is moving in temporary waterTemporary Water: Any temporary accumulation of water on the surface of the ground (such as puddles from rain or irrigation or an overflow from a body of water) that: or in water in a penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if the player’s ball comes to rest there.:

In either case, the player must not unreasonably delay play (see Rule 5.6a) to allow the wind or water current to move the ball to a better place.

Penalty for Breach of Rule 10.1: General PenaltyGeneral Penalty: Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play..

In stroke playStroke Play: A form of play where a player or side competes against all other players or sides in the competition., a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. made in breach of this Rule counts and the player gets two penalty strokes.

10.2  Advice and Other Help

Purpose of Rule: A fundamental challenge for the player is deciding the strategy and tactics for his or her play. So there are limits to the advice and other help the player may get during a round.

a. Advice

During a roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee., a player must not:

This does not apply before a roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee., while play is stopped under Rule 5.7a or between roundsRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee. in a competition.

See Rules 22, 23 and 24 (in forms of play involving partnersPartner: A player who competes together with another player as a side, in either match play or stroke play., a player may give adviceAdvice: Any verbal comment or action (such as showing what club was just used to make a stroke) that is intended to influence a player in: to his or her partnerPartner: A player who competes together with another player as a side, in either match play or stroke play. or the partner’sPartner: A player who competes together with another player as a side, in either match play or stroke play. caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways: and may ask the partnerPartner: A player who competes together with another player as a side, in either match play or stroke play. or partner’sPartner: A player who competes together with another player as a side, in either match play or stroke play. caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways: for adviceAdvice: Any verbal comment or action (such as showing what club was just used to make a stroke) that is intended to influence a player in:).

b. Other Help

(1) Pointing Out Line of Play for Ball Anywhere Except on Putting Green. A player may have his or her line of playLine of Play: The line where the player intends his or her ball to go after a stroke, including the area on that line that is a reasonable distance up above the ground and on either side of that line. pointed out by:

(2) Pointing Out Line of Play for Ball on Putting Green. Before the strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. is made, only the player and his or her caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways: may point out the player’s line of playLine of Play: The line where the player intends his or her ball to go after a stroke, including the area on that line that is a reasonable distance up above the ground and on either side of that line., but with these limitations:

While the strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. is being made, the caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways: must not deliberately stand in a location on or close to the player’s line of playLine of Play: The line where the player intends his or her ball to go after a stroke, including the area on that line that is a reasonable distance up above the ground and on either side of that line. or do anything else (such as pointing out a spot on the putting green) to point out the line of playLine of Play: The line where the player intends his or her ball to go after a stroke, including the area on that line that is a reasonable distance up above the ground and on either side of that line..

Exception – Caddie Attending Flagstick: The caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways: may stand in a location on or close to the player's line of playLine of Play: The line where the player intends his or her ball to go after a stroke, including the area on that line that is a reasonable distance up above the ground and on either side of that line. to attend the flagstickFlagstick: A movable pole provided by the Committee that is placed in the hole to show players where the hole is. The flagstick includes the flag and any other material or objects attached to the pole..

(3) No Setting Down Object to Help in Taking Stance. A player must not take a stanceStance: The position of a player’s feet and body in preparing for and making a stroke. for the strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. using any object that was set down by or for the player to help in lining up his or her feet or body, such as a club set down on the ground to show the line of playLine of Play: The line where the player intends his or her ball to go after a stroke, including the area on that line that is a reasonable distance up above the ground and on either side of that line..

If the player takes a stanceStance: The position of a player’s feet and body in preparing for and making a stroke. in breach of this Rule, he or she cannot avoid penalty by backing away from the stanceStance: The position of a player’s feet and body in preparing for and making a stroke. and removing the object.

(4) Restriction on Caddie Standing Behind Player. When a player begins taking a stanceStance: The position of a player’s feet and body in preparing for and making a stroke. for the strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. and until the strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. is made:

Exception – Ball on Putting Green: When the player’s ball is on the putting greenPutting Green: The area on the hole the player is playing that:, there is no penalty under this Rule if the player backs away from the stanceStance: The position of a player’s feet and body in preparing for and making a stroke. and does not begin to take the stanceStance: The position of a player’s feet and body in preparing for and making a stroke. again until after the caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways: has moved out of that location.

[Clarification Available →]

See Rules 22, 23 and 24 (in forms of play involving partnersPartner: A player who competes together with another player as a side, in either match play or stroke play., a player's partnerPartner: A player who competes together with another player as a side, in either match play or stroke play. and the partner'sPartner: A player who competes together with another player as a side, in either match play or stroke play. caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways: may take the same actions (with the same limitations) as the player's caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways: may take under Rules 10.2b(2) and (4).

(5) Physical Help and Protection from Elements. A player must not make a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.:

Before the strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. is made, such help or protection is allowed, except as prohibited in Rules 10.2b(3) and (4).

This Rule does not prohibit the player from taking his or her own actions to protect against the elements while making a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball., such as by wearing protective clothing or holding an umbrella over his or her own head.

Penalty for Breach of Rule 10.2: General PenaltyGeneral Penalty: Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play..

10.3 Caddies

Purpose of Rule: The player may have a caddie to carry the player’s clubs and give advice and other help during the round, but there are limits to what the caddie is allowed to do. The player is responsible for the caddie’s actions during the round and will get a penalty if the caddie breaches the Rules.

a. Caddie May Help Player During Round

(1) Player Allowed Only One Caddie at a Time.

A player may have a caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways: to carry, transport and handle his or her clubs, give adviceAdvice: Any verbal comment or action (such as showing what club was just used to make a stroke) that is intended to influence a player in: and help him or her in other ways allowed during a roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee., but with these limitations:

Whether or not the player has a caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways:, any other person who walks or rides along with the player or who carries other things for the player (such as a rain-suit, umbrella or food and drink) is not the player’s caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways: unless he or she is named as such by the player or also carries, transports or handles the player’s clubs.

(2) Two or More Players May Share a Caddie. When there is a Rules issue involving a specific action of a shared caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways: and it needs to be decided which player the action was taken for:

See Committee Procedures, Section 8; Model Local Rule H-1  (the CommitteeCommittee: The person or group in charge of the competition or the course. may adopt a Local Rule prohibiting or requiring the use of caddiesCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways: or restricting a player’s choice of caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways:).

Penalty for Breach of Rule 10.3a:

b. What a Caddie May Do

These are examples of what a caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways: is allowed and not allowed to do:

(1) Actions Always Allowed. A caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways: may always take these actions when allowed under the Rules:

(2) Actions Allowed Only With Player’s Authorization. A caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways: may take these actions only when the Rules allow the player to take them and only with the player’s authorization (which must be given specifically each time rather than given generally for a roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee.):

[Clarification Available →]

(3) Actions Not Allowed. A caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways: is not allowed to take these actions for the player:

c. Player Responsible for Caddie’s Actions and Breach of Rules

A player is responsible for his or her caddie’sCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways: actions both during a roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee. and while play is stopped under Rule 5.7a, but not before or after a roundRound: 18 or fewer holes played in the order set by the Committee..

If the caddie’sCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways: action breaches a Rule or would breach a Rule if the action was taken by the player, the player gets the penalty under that Rule.

When application of a Rule depends on whether the player is aware of certain facts, the player’s knowledge is treated as including whatever is known by his or her caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways:.