2006 Revised Decisions
November 16, 2005
1-1/1 Two Balls in Play Simultaneously at Different
Two players on the 8
hole play their approach shots to the 8
green. They agree to tee off at the 9
hole and then putt out on the 8
green. This is to avoid having to walk back up a hill to the
tee and to save time. What is the ruling?
In match play, the players are disqualified under Rule 1-3 for
excluding the operation of Rule 2-1 by failing to play the
In stroke play, the competitors are disqualified under Rule 3-2
for failing to hole out. (Revised)
1-2/5.5 Player Purposely Stops or Deflects Ball; Where Next
Stroke Must Be Played From
A player's ball lies through the green. After playing a
pitch shot up a slope, the player sees his ball start to roll back
toward him. He places his club in front of the ball and stops
it. The ball would have rolled only a few yards more and
remained through the green. What is the ruling?
Since the player purposely stopped the ball, he is in breach of
Rule 1-2. As the breach was not serious, he would lose the
hole in match play or incur a two-stroke penalty in stroke
play. In stroke play, he must play the ball from the point
where he stopped it with his club.
If the player had purposely deflected the ball but not stopped
it, in match play, he would lose the hole. In stroke play, if
a serious breach has not occurred, he would incur a two-stroke
penalty and must then play the ball from its new position. In
stroke play, if a serious breach has occurred, the player is
1-2/6 Player Removes Loose Impediment Affecting Lie of
Opponent or Fellow-Competitor in Hazard
As a gesture of sportsmanship, a player removes a loose impediment
from a hazard, thus improving the lie in the hazard of the ball of
his opponent or fellow-competitor. What is the ruling?
Under Rule 1-2, the player loses the hole in match play or incurs a
penalty of two strokes in stroke play. The opponent or
fellow-competitor is not required to replace the loose
1-4/5 Removal of Obstruction in Hazard Would Move Loose
In a hazard, a player's ball lies against a movable
obstruction. A loose impediment lies on top of the
obstruction in such a position that the player cannot remove the
obstruction without also moving the loose impediment. The
player is entitled to move the movable obstruction under Rule 24-1
but is not entitled to move the loose impediment under Rule
23. What is the procedure?
The player may remove the obstruction as authorized by Rule
24-1. As the loose impediment will be moved in the process,
in equity (Rule 1-4), the player incurs no penalty and must place
the loose impediment as near as possible to the spot where it
originally lay. If the player fails to place the loose
impediment as required, in equity (Rule 1-4) and in view of the
purpose of Rule 13-4, he would lose the hole in match play or incur
a penalty of two strokes in stroke play. (Revised)
1-4/12 Player Breaches Rules More Than Once Prior to Stroke;
Whether Multiple Penalties Applied
Prior to making a stroke, there may be circumstances where a
player breaches a Rule more than once, or breaches different Rules
and it would seem that a penalty should be applied to each separate
breach. However, in the majority of cases and based on equity (
), it would not be appropriate to apply multiple penalties.
For the purpose of applying the principles in this Decision,
should be considered as separate Rules.
Below are the specific principles to be applied when determining
whether multiple penalties are appropriate when more than one
breach has occurred prior to a player making a stroke:
1. Single Act Results in One Rule Being Breached More Than
Once - Single Penalty Applied
Example: In stroke play, a competitor's ball on the putting
green strikes a fellow-competitor's ball in breach of
and then strikes another fellow-competitor's ball, also in
. The ruling would be a single two-stroke penalty (see
2. Single Act Results in Two Rules Being Breached - Single
Example: In stroke play, a competitor is considering putting his
ball from a bunker and rakes a footprint in the bunker on his line
of play. Both
have been breached. The ruling would be a single two-stroke
3. Multiple Occurrences of the Same or Similar Acts Result in
One Rule Being Breached More Than Once - Single Penalty
Example 1: In stroke play, a competitor takes several practice
swings in a hazard, touching the ground each time. The ruling would
be a single two-stroke penalty (see
Example 2: In stroke play, a player removes sand on his line of
play through the green and presses down a replaced divot that is
also on his line of play. The ruling would be a single two-stroke
4. Different Acts Result in Two Rules Being Breached, but
Breach of Second Rule Is a Direct Consequence of the Initial
Breach - Single Penalty Applied
Example: In stroke play, a competitor's ball moves prior to
address and while it is in motion it is accidentally stopped by the
competitor's club in breach of
. The competitor then moves the club and, therefore, moves his
ball, normally a penalty stroke under
. This would result in a single two-stroke penalty under
). If the ball is not replaced before the competitor makes his next
stroke, the failure to replace the ball is considered a separate
act and he incurs an additional penalty of two strokes under Rule
5. Different Acts Result in Two Rules Being Breached -
Multiple Penalties Applied
Example: In stroke play, a competitor (1) lifts his ball in play
and (2) substitutes another ball, both acts without authority, and
plays the substituted ball. The ruling would be a one-stroke
(lifting the ball in play) and a further penalty of two strokes
and the applicable Rule (substitution without correction), giving a
total penalty of three strokes (see
6. Different Acts Result in One Rule Being Breached More Than
Once - Multiple Penalties Applied
Example: In stroke play, a competitor (1) purposely steps on
another player's line of putt with the intention of improving
the line, and then (2) purposely stops his own ball in motion after
it began moving without apparent cause before address. The ruling
would be two separate penalties, each of two strokes, for breaches
, giving a total penalty of four strokes.
The following chart summarizes the principles of
Action of Player
Multiple Occurrence of Same or Similar Act
One Rule Breached More Than Once
See Principle 1
See Principle 3
See Principle 6
Two or More Rules Breached
See Principle 2
See Principle 5
Two or More Rules Breached, but Second and
Subsequent Breaches Only as Direct Consequences of
See Principle 4
See Principle 4
2-1/1.5 Players Agree to Consider Hole Halved During Play of
In a match, a player and his opponent play their second shots on a
par-5 hole. Unexpectedly, neither ball can be found. Rather than
proceeding under Rule 27-1, both players agree to a half. Is this
Yes. An agreement to halve a hole being played does not of itself
constitute an agreement to waive the Rules.
However, if the players agree to consider a hole halved without
either player making a stroke, they should be disqualified under
Rule 1-3 for agreeing to exclude the operation of Rule 2-1 by
failing to play the stipulated round. (Revised)
2-1/4 Two Holes Purposely Omitted in MatchQ.
The players in a match agreed to omit two holes, i.e., agreed to
settle the match over 16 holes. Is this permitted?
No. The players are disqualified under Rule 1-3 for excluding
the operation of Rule 2-1 by failing to play the stipulated
round. (Revised - Formerly 2-3/3)
3-3/0.5Guidelines for Determining Which Ball Counts WhenPlayerProceeds Under Rule 3-3
The purpose of Rule 3-3 is to allow a competitor to avoid a
penalty when he is in doubt as to the proper procedure. The
following are guidelines for determining the ball with which the
competitor scores in various situations:
(1) If both balls are played in accordance with the Rules, the
ball selected counts if the competitor announces in advance his
decision to invoke this Rule and announces in advance the ball with
which he wishes to score. If the competitor does not announce or
select in advance, the score with the original ball counts if
played in accordance with the Rules. Otherwise the score with the
second ball counts if played in accordance with the Rules.
(2) If the procedure with the ball selected in advance is not in
accordance with the Rules, the other ball must count (see Decision
(3) If neither ball is played in accordance with the Rules, the
(a) In a case where the competitor plays both balls from a wrong
place but is not guilty of a serious breach with either ball, the
score with the original ball counts, with an additional penalty
under the applicable Rule (see Rule 20-7c).
(b) In a case where the competitor is guilty of a serious breach
with one ball and not guilty of a serious breach with the other
ball, the score with the other ball counts, with an additional
penalty under the applicable Rule (see Rule 20-7c).
(c) In a case where the competitor is guilty of a serious breach
with both balls, the competitor is disqualified.
(4) If the original ball is played and then Rule 3-3 is invoked,
the score with the original ball must count, even if the Rules do
not allow the procedure adopted for that ball, i.e., Rule 3-3 is
not applicable in such circumstances. (Revised)
4-3/1 Meaning of Damage Sustained in "Course of Play"
In Rule 4-3a, what is meant by the term "normal course of
The term "normal course of play" is intended to cover all
reasonable acts but specifically excludes cases of abuse.
In addition to making a stroke, practice swing or practice
stroke, examples of acts that are in the "normal course of
play" include the
Â· removing or replacing a club in the bag;
Â· using a club to search for or retrieve a ball;
Â· leaning on a club while waiting to play, teeing a ball or
removing a ball from the hole; or
Â· accidentally dropping a club.
Examples of acts that are not in the "normal course of
play" include the following:
Â· throwing a club in anger or otherwise;
Â· 'slamming' a club into a bag; or
Â· intentionally striking something (e.g., the ground or a tree)
with the club other than during a stroke, practice swing or
practice stroke. (Revised)
4-3/7 Club Broken While Used as Cane
A player uses one of his clubs as a cane while climbing a hill and
the shaft breaks. May he replace the club during the round?
Yes. A club broken in such circumstances is considered to have
become "damaged in the normal course of play" as its use
as a cane is considered a reasonable act - see Decision 4-3/1.
4-3/9 Club Broken Due to Habit of Hitting Head of Club on
Rule 4-3a states that a club may be replaced if it becomes
"damaged in the normal course of play." A player has a
habit of hitting the head of his putter on the ground as he walks
to the next tee, especially after missing a putt. On one occasion,
after missing a short putt, the player hit the head of his putter
on the ground so hard that the putter broke. The player said that
he often taps the putter on the ground, and that it was not done in
anger or with the intention of breaking the club. Should he be
allowed to replace the club?
No. A club broken by hitting it hard on the ground or tapping it on
the ground is not considered to have become "damaged in the
normal course of play" as such actions are not considered
reasonable acts - see Decision 4-3/1. (Revised)
4-4a/13Player Practices with Another Player's Club
A player starts a round with 14 clubs. Between the play of two
holes he borrows another player's putter and makes several
practice putts on the putting green of the hole last played. What
is the ruling?
There is no penalty. Such practice putting is permitted by
. The borrowing of the putter does not breach Rule 4-4a since the
putter was not used to make a stroke that counted in the
player's score. (Revised)
6-6a/7 Different Score Card ReturnedQ.
At the end of a round in stroke play, a competitor returns to the
Committee a score card different from the one issued by the
Committee at the start of the round (e.g., because the original
score card was lost or illegible due to wet weather). The new
score card contained the competitor's name and scores and was
signed by both him and his marker. Should the score card be
6-6d/4 Competitor's Scores Recorded on Score Card with
Fellow-Competitor's Name and Vice Versa
A and B are playing together in stroke play. A is B's marker
and B is A's marker. A score card is distributed to each player
by the starter. When the score cards are returned, the score card
with A's name printed on it contains the correct scores of B
and vice versa. Each score card contains the signature of the
competitor whose scores are recorded together with the signature of
The mismatch of the competitors' printed names with the
reported scores is discovered after the score cards are returned.
What is the ruling?
Assuming that each competitor himself has signed the score card on
which his scores were recorded and that his marker has also signed
this score card, the Committee should strike the name printed on
the score card, enter the name of the competitor whose scores are
recorded on the score card and accept the score card without
penalty to either player. Administrative errors of this specific
nature are not contemplated by the Rules and the Committee should
correct such an error. There is no time limit for correcting such
an administrative error. Rule 6-6b implies that the competitor is
responsible only for the correctness of the scores recorded for
each hole, ensuring that the marker has signed the score card and
that the competitor has signed the score card himself.
The same principle would also apply in the case of a score card
returned without a name recorded on it. (Revised)
6-8d/2Lie in Bunker Altered Prior to Resumption of Play
After play is suspended by the Committee, a player marks the
position of and lifts his ball from a bunker as permitted by Rule
6-8c. When play is resumed and the ball is to be replaced, what is
the correct procedure given that the lie of the ball may have been
altered by the greenkeeping staff?
If the bunker has been prepared by the greenkeeping staff,
regardless of whether the ball-marker has been moved, the original
lie must be recreated as nearly as possible and a ball must be
placed in that lie (Rule 20-3b). The obligation to re-create the
original lie is limited to what is practical in the circumstances.
For example, a buried lie or footprints around the ball must be
re-created whereas the player is not required to replace loose
impediments or restore conditions such as washed out areas or
casual water that have been eliminated by the greenkeeping staff or
have changed naturally.
However, if the bunker has not been prepared by the greenkeeping
staff, the player is not necessarily entitled to the lie he had
prior to the discontinuance of play (see Decision 6-8d/1). The
player must place a ball on the spot from which the original ball
was lifted (
). If the ball-marker is missing when play is resumed (e.g., moved
by wind or water), and the spot where the ball is to be placed is
impossible to determine, it must be estimated and the ball placed
on the estimated spot - see Note to Rule 6-8d(iii) and Exception to
Rule 20-3c. (Revised)
6-8d/4 Ball Visible from Tee Disappears While Play
A player's tee shot came to rest and was visible from the tee
by all players in the match or group. At that point play was
suspended. The player took cover and did not lift the
ball. When play was resumed, the player's ball was
missing or was found some distance from where it was seen to come
to rest. What is the procedure?
As the player's ball was moved while play was suspended, the
player must place a ball on the spot from which his ball was moved,
without penalty (Rule 6-8d(iii)). If this spot is not
determinable, it must be estimated and a ball placed on the
estimated spot - see Note to Rule 6-8d(iii) and the Exception to
Rule 20-3c. (Revised - Formerly 18-1/2)
7-1b/5 Competitor's Caddie Practices on or Tests
Putting Green Surfaces of the Course Before Stroke Play Round
In stroke play, a competitor's caddie practices on or tests the
putting green surfaces of the course before the competitor tees
off. Is the competitor disqualified under Rule 7-1b?
No. A competitor is responsible for the actions of his caddie
only during a stipulated round (Rule 6-1). (Revised)
8-1/2 Exchanging Distance Information
Information regarding the distance between two objects is public
information and not advice. It is therefore permissible for
players to exchange information relating to the distance between
two objects. For example, a player may ask anyone, including
his opponent, fellow-competitor or either of their caddies, the
distance between his ball and the hole. (Revised)
9-2/2 Incorrect Information Given by Caddie or Partner
If incorrect information as to the number of strokes a player has
taken is given to an opponent, not by the player himself, but by
the player's partner or caddie, is the player liable to a
Yes, provided the error is not corrected before the opponent makes
his next stroke. (Revised)
9-2/3 Wrong Information on Strokes Taken Given Voluntarily
In a match between A and B, A voluntarily told B during play of a
hole that he had played three strokes, whereas in fact he had
played four strokes. A did not correct the error before B played
his next stroke. Was A subject to penalty under
Yes. When a player gives incorrect information, it is irrelevant
whether the error is contained in a response to a question from the
player's opponent or in a voluntary statement by the player.
Such an error must be corrected before the opponent's next
stroke is made. (Revised)
9-2/5 Incorrect Information Causes Opponent to Lift His
provides that, if during play of a hole a player gives incorrect
information to the opponent and does not correct the error before
the opponent makes his next stroke, the player loses the hole.
During play of a hole, a player gives incorrect information to his
opponent and the incorrect information results in the opponent
lifting the coin marking the position of his ball. Is the lifting
of the coin by the opponent the equivalent of the opponent making
his next stroke?
Yes; the player loses the hole. (Revised)
9-2/7 Incorrect Information Given by Player Corrected
Before Opponent Makes Next Stroke But After Opponent Has Conceded
In a match, A's ball was a few inches from the hole. B
asked A, "How many will that be in the hole?" A
answered "6," whereupon B, lying 5, conceded A's next
stroke. Before B putted, A informs B that he (A) had actually
scored 5. What is the ruling?
A loses the hole under Rule 9-2 for giving wrong information.
The principle of Rule 9-2 applies if, after receiving incorrect
information, a player picks up his ball, concedes his
opponent's next stroke or takes some similar action before the
mistake is corrected.
In this case, the answer does not turn on how close A's ball
was to the hole or on the fact that B could not have done any
9-2/14 Incorrect Information Causes Opponent Mistakenly to Think
He Has Putt for Half; Opponent Holes Putt and Then Error
In a match between A and B, A's ball was a few inches from the
hole. B conceded A's next stroke and then asked, "How many
strokes did you take?" A answered, "6." B, lying 5,
then holed a putt for a 6 and assumed that he had halved the hole.
At that point, A told B that he (A) had actually scored 5. The
Committee ruled that A won the hole. Was this correct?
Yes. The hole was over when A's putt was conceded and he had
won the hole with a 5. Since A corrected the error before either
player played from the next tee, no penalty was incurred - see
9-2/15 WrongInformation After Play of Hole; When Penalty Applicable
implies that, if A had not corrected the error before playing from
the next tee, he would have lost the hole under
. However, it would seem that A would not incur a penalty
because he won the hole, and therefore the incorrect information
did not affect the result of the hole. Which answer is correct?
There is a penalty for giving incorrect information after play of a
hole that is not corrected before play from the next teeing ground
unless the incorrect information does not affect the opponent's
understanding of the result of the hole just completed. Incorrect
information would not affect the opponent's understanding of
the result of the hole in the following circumstances: A and B are
playing a match. After play of a hole, A states that he scored 5
and B states that he (B) scored 7. After teeing off at the next
hole, A states that he was incorrect in saying that he scored 5 and
that, in fact, he scored 6.
, the incorrect information caused B to believe that the hole in
question had been halved, when in fact B lost the hole.
Accordingly, if A had not corrected the error before playing from
the next tee, under
the hole would have been awarded to B. (Revised)
12-1/5 Player Kicks Ball While Probing for It in Water in Water
A player is probing for his ball in the water in a water hazard and
accidentally kicks the ball , which is in fact lying in long grass
on the bank within the hazard. What is the ruling?
As the movement of the ball was not directly attributable to the
specific act of probing for the ball, the player incurs a penalty
for moving his ball in play. The player may replace the ball and
play it or, under an additional penalty of one stroke, proceed
. If the player proceeds under
, he is not required to replace the ball. (Revised)
13-2/26 Natural Object Interfering with Swing Moved to
Determine Whether It Is LooseQ.
A player cannot determine whether a long blade of grass, a twig, a
tumbleweed or some similar natural object interfering with his
swing through the green is loose or is attached. The player
moves the object to the extent necessary to make a determination
and discovers that the object is attached. What is the ruling?
A player is entitled to move a natural object for the specific
purpose of determining whether the object is loose, provided that
if the object is found not to be loose, (1) it has not become
detached and (2) it is returned to its original position before the
next stroke if failure to do so would result in a breach of Rule
Except as otherwise permitted in Rule 13-2 (e.g., in fairly
taking the stance), if a player moves a natural object other than
to determine whether it is loose and it is found to be attached,
the player cannot avoid a breach of Rule 13-2 by returning the
object to its original position. (Revised)
13-2/29 Worsening and Then Restoring Line of Play
There is a bunker between a player's ball and the hole.
The player walks through the bunker, for example, to remove a rake
on his line of play or determine the distance to the hole. On
his way back to the ball, he smoothes the footprints he made,
restoring his line of play
to its original condition. Is such smoothing permissible?
No. If a player worsens the lie of his ball, the area of his
intended stance or swing, his line of play or a reasonable
extension of that line beyond the hole, or the area in which he is
to drop or place a ball, he is not entitled to restore that area to
its original condition. If he does so, he is in breach of
Rule 13-2 and incurs a penalty of loss of hole in match play or two
strokes in stroke play (but see Decision 13-2/29.3).
13-4/25 Taking Firm Stance in Bunker Some Distance from
Where Ball Lies in Bunker to Simulate Next StrokeQ.
While waiting to play a bunker shot, a player went to another part
of the bunker, took a firm stance and simulated the bunker shot,
with or without using a club. Was he in breach of Rule 13-4?
Yes. The player tested the condition of the bunker in breach
of Rule 13-4a. (Revised)
13-4/35.7 PlayerDeemsBallUnplayable in Bunker, Lifts Ball and Then Removes Loose
Impediment from BunkerQ.
A player's tee shot comes to rest in a bunker. He lifts
his ball from the bunker after deeming it unplayable. Before
selecting an option under Rule 28, he removes a loose impediment
from the bunker. Since this action took place while his ball
was lifted, i.e., it was not lying in the hazard, was the player in
breach of Rule 13-4?
Yes. The prohibitions of Rule 13-4 apply when a ball is in a
hazard or when a ball, having been lifted from a hazard, may be
dropped or placed in the hazard. Under the unplayable ball
Rule, two of the player's options require him to drop a ball in
the bunker. The player would incur the penalty even if he
subsequently elected to put a ball into play outside the bunker
under Rule 28a. However, the player would not incur the
penalty if, before removing the loose impediment, he had indicated
that he would put a ball into play outside the bunker under Rule
28a and subsequently did so. (Revised)13-4/36 Smoothing Irregularities in Bunker After Stroke But
Before Ball Extricated
A makes a stroke in a bunker but fails to extricate his ball from
the bunker. He smoothes irregularities in the area where the
stroke was made. The smoothing does not improve the new lie
of the ball. However, B claims that the smoothing assisted A
in his subsequent play of the hole because it constituted testing
the consistency of the sand. Is B right?A.
No. Exception 2 to Rule 13-4 permits smoothing, provided that
the lie of the ball is not improved and the player is not assisted
in his subsequent play of the hole. The claim that A's
smoothing of the sand assisted him in his subsequent play of the
hole would only be valid if, as a result of a subsequent stroke in
the bunker, A's ball came to rest in the smoothed area.
14-2/4 Caddie Inadvertently Stands on Extension of Line of
Play Behind Ball
A player's caddie inadvertently stood on an extension of the
player's line of play behind the ball when the player made a
stroke. The caddie was watching another player play from the
next tee. Neither the player nor his caddie was aware that
the caddie was so located. Was the player subject to penalty
under Rule 14-2b?
No. The purpose of Rule 14-2b is to prohibit a caddie from
positioning himself behind the player while the player makes a
stroke in order to advise the player on alignment or otherwise
assist him. In this case, the caddie was not so positioned.
The same ruling would apply if the player's caddie
inadvertently stood on an extension of the line of putt behind the
ball during the stroke. (Revised)
14-3/1 Distance Meter Attached to Golf CartQ.
May a player attach a meter to his golf cart for the purpose of
measuring the distances of shots?
Use of such a meter during a stipulated round would be a breach of
Rule 14-3. However, see also Decision 14-3/0.5.
14-3/2 Pencil or Score Card Used to Assist in Gauging
It is possible to gauge distance to a putting green by holding a
score card or pencil at arm's length and comparing it with the
height of the flagstick. Is such a practice permissible?
Yes, provided the score card or pencil has not been specially
marked. Use of anything specially marked to gauge distance is
a breach of Rule 14-3. However, see also Decision
14-3/3 Standard Spectacles and Field Glasses
Neither standard spectacles nor field glasses that have no
range-finder feature are artificial devices within the meaning of
the term in Rule 14-3. However, see also Decision
14-3/5.5 Electronic Device Providing Distances Between
With regard to Decision 14-3/5, may a player use an electronic
device containing the same information?
Yes, although a player must not use a device with a distance
measuring or distance calculating function. However, see also
Decision 14-3/0.5. (Revised)
14-3/10 Use of Training or Swing Aid During RoundQ.
During a round, may a player make a stroke or a practice swing
using a club with a weighted headcover or "donut" on it,
or use any other device designed as a training or swing aid?
No - but see also Decision 4-4a/7 for the use of a weighted
training club. (Revised)
14-3/13.5 Golf Ball Artificially WarmedQ.
Is the use of a golf ball that was purposely warmed during a
stipulated round with a golf ball warmer, hand warmer or any such
device a breach of Rule 14-3?
Yes. However, it would not be a breach of Rule 14-3 to use a
ball that was artificially warmed prior to the stipulated
14-3/14 Electronic Instrument Used to FindBallQ.
A transmitter has been embedded in a golf ball. When used
with a special radio receiver, a player may find
such a ball readily because the transmitter emits a signal that
grows louder as the receiver moves closer to the ball. Is the
use of such a ball and receiver permissible?
No. Use of such a ball in conjunction with the receiver is a
breach of Rule 14-3.However, use of such a ball without the
receiver is permissible, provided the ball conforms to the Rules
and its use is in accordance with any conditions of competition
that may have been adopted (e.g., the List of Conforming Golf Balls
14-3/16 Use of Electronic Devices
As provided in the Etiquette Section, players should ensure that
any electronic device taken onto the course does not distract other
The use of an electronic device such as a mobile phone,
hand-held computer, calculator, television or radio is not itself a
breach of Rule 14-3. For example, the following uses of an
electronic device during a stipulated round are not a breach of the
Â· Using the device for matters unrelated to golf (e.g., to call
Â· Using the device to access information on advice-related
matters that were published prior to the start of the player's
round (e.g., an electronic yardage book, swing tips); or
Â· Using the device to obtain information related to the
competition being played (e.g., the leader board or projected
However, examples of uses of an electronic device during a
stipulated round that are a breach of Rule 14-3, for which the
penalty is disqualification, include:
Â· Using the device (e.g., a television or radio) to watch or
listen to a broadcast of the competition being played;
Â· Using the device to ask for or give advice in breach of Rule
8-1 (e.g., calling a swing coach at home); or
Â· Using the device to access information on advice-related
matters that were not published prior to the start of his round
(e.g., analysis of strokes made during that round).
15/5 Original Ball Found and Played After Another Ball
Put into Play
A player unable to find his ball after a brief search drops another
ball (Ball B) under Rule 27-1 and plays it. His original ball is
then found within five minutes after search for it began. The
player lifted Ball B and continued to play with the original ball.
Was this correct?
No. When the player put the substituted ball into play at the spot
of the previous stroke with the intent to play a ball under Rule
27-1, he proceeded under an applicable Rule. Therefore, Rule 20-6
does not apply, and he must continue with the substituted ball (see
Decision 27-1/2). The original ball was lost when Ball B was played
under Rule 27-1 (see Definition of "Lost Ball").
When the player lifted Ball B, he incurred a penalty of one
stroke under Rule 18-2a. When he made a stroke with the original
ball after it was out of play, he played a wrong ball (see
Definitions of "Ball in Play" and "Wrong Ball")
and incurred a penalty of loss of hole in match play or an
additional penalty of two strokes in stroke play (Rule 15-3). In
stroke play, the player would be disqualified if, before playing
from the next teeing ground, he did not correct his error (Rule
15/9 Ball Thrown into Bounds by Outside Agency and Played;
Caddie Aware of Action of Outside Agency
A's ball was found lying in bounds and A played a shot toward
the green. Then a man appeared and said that A's ball had
come to rest out of bounds in his garden. He said he had
thrown it onto the course and had told A's caddie what he had
done. The caddie had not reported this to A. What is
Under Rule 6-1, A is responsible for his caddie's failure to
tell him what the man had said.
A's ball was no longer the ball in play when it came to rest
out of bounds. Therefore, it was a wrong ball - see
Definitions of "Ball in Play" and "Wrong
Ball." When A made a stroke with the wrong ball, he
incurred the penalty prescribed in Rule 15-3 and, in stroke play,
was obliged to proceed under Rule 27-1. (Revised)
15/13 Stray Ball Dropped Under Unplayable Ball Rule But Not
A player finds a ball he believes is his original ball, deems it
unplayable and drops it under Rule 28b or c. He then
discovers that the ball is not his but is, in fact, a stray
ball. What is the ruling?
When the player dropped the stray ball, it became a substituted
ball. However, the player was not entitled to proceed under
Rule 28b or c without finding the original ball. Since a
stroke has not been made with the substituted ball, the player is
entitled to proceed under Rule 20-6 by abandoning the substituted
ball and resuming search for the original ball. If the player's
ball is lost, the player must proceed under Rule 27-1.
16-1a/11 Raised Tuft of Grass on Line of Putt Brushed to
Determine Whether It Is LooseQ.
A player cannot determine whether a raised tuft of grass on his
line of putt is loose or is attached to its roots. The player
brushes the raised tuft lightly with his hand to make a
determination and discovers that the tuft is attached. What
is the ruling?
A player is entitled to touch and move a natural object on his line
of putt for the specific purpose of determining whether the object
is loose, provided that if the object is found not to be loose, (1)
it has not become detached and (2) it is returned to its original
position before the next stroke if failure to do so would result in
a breach of Rule 13-2. The touching of the line of putt in
these circumstances is not a breach of Rule 16-1a.
Except as otherwise permitted in the Rules (e.g., in repairing a
ball mark), if a player touches or moves a natural object on his
line of putt other than to determine whether it is loose and it is
found to be attached, the player cannot avoid a breach of Rule
16-1a by returning the object to its original position.
16-1b/3 BallLifted from Putting Green;BallReplaced While Another Ball in Motion Subsequently
A's ball comes to rest on the putting green 20 feet from the
hole. He marks the position of and lifts his ball so that B,
whose ball is also on the putting green, but farther from the hole,
can play first. While B's ball is in motion, A replaces
his ball. B's ball strikes A's ball. What is
If A's action was unintentional, i.e., not for the purpose of
deflecting B's ball, Rule 19-5a applies. There is no
penalty to either player since A had lifted his ball and it was not
lying on the putting green immediately prior to B's
stroke. A must replace his ball, and B must play his ball as
If A's actions were for the purpose of deflecting B's
ball, A is in breach of Rule 1-2 (Exerting Influence on
Ball). In equity (Rule 1-4), B must replay his stroke,
without penalty - see Note under Rule 19-1. (Revised)
16-1d/6 Caddie Roughens Surface of Putting Green ButPlayerDoes Not Benefit
A player's caddie tests the surface of the putting green by
roughening the grass. The
player tells him immediately that he is not allowed to do that
under the Rules. The player receives no information from the
caddie about the condition of the green. Is the player
penalized under Rule 16-1d?
Yes. The reference to the player in Rule 16-1d includes his
caddie. Thus, the Rule prohibits the caddie, as well as the
player, from testing the surface of the putting green. Under
Rule 6-1, the player incurs the applicable penalty for a breach of
a Rule by his caddie. (Revised)
18-2a/12.5 PlayerEntitled to Relief Without Penalty from Condition Lifts Ball;
Chooses Not to Take Relief and Wishes to Proceed Under the
Unplayable Ball Rule
A player elects to take relief from an immovable obstruction or
abnormal ground condition and lifts his ball. He then
realizes that the only area in which he may drop under the Rules is
such that his ball, when dropped, will almost certainly be
unplayable. May the player deem the ball unplayable and
proceed under Rule 28?
Yes. The player has the following options:
1. replace the ball in its original position under penalty
of one stroke (Rule 18-2a) and then proceed under Rule 28,
incurring an additional penalty of one stroke; or
2. proceed directly under Rule 28b or c, without replacing
the ball and using the spot where the ball originally lay as the
reference point for the relief procedure, incurring a penalty
stroke under Rule 28 and an additional penalty stroke under Rule
3. drop the ball in accordance with Rule 24 or 25 and then,
using its new position as a reference point, proceed under Rule 28
incurring a penalty of one stroke; or
4. proceed directly under Rule 28a, without dropping the ball in
accordance with Rule 24 or 25, incurring a penalty of one stroke
under Rule 28 and no penalty under Rule 18-2a, as he does not need
to establish a new reference point before proceeding under Rule
18-2a/24 Ball Moved by Flagstick When
In measuring with the flagstick to determine the order of play, the
player accidentally moves his ball in play with the flagstick. What
is the ruling?
The answer depends on whether the movement of the ball was directly
attributable to the specific act of measuring.
If the player was holding or touching the flagstick in the act
of measuring when it touched and moved the ball, the movement of
the ball was directly attributable to the specific act of
measuring. There is no penalty and the ball must be replaced.
If the movement of the ball was not directly attributable to
the specific act of measuring (e.g. the player dropped the
flagstick on the ball), the player incurs a penalty stroke under
Rule 18-2a and the ball must be replaced. (Revised)
18-2b/10into Hole After Being Addressed
A player's ball overhangs the lip of the hole. He
addresses the ball and it falls into the hole. What is
The ball is not holed. The player incurs a penalty stroke and the
ball must be replaced. Although Rule 16-2 applies when a
player's ball overhangs the lip of the hole, Rule 18-2b, which
specifically applies when a player's ball moves after he has
addressed it, overrides Rule 16-2 in this case.
If the player does not replace the ball and hole out, in stroke
play he is disqualified under Rule 3-2. (Revised)
19-2/1.5 Ball Moves Prior to Address and Is Accidentally
Stopped by Player's Club; Player Removes Club and Ball Rolls
A player's ball lies on a steep slope through the green.
The player takes his stance but, fearing the ball might move, does
not ground his club and so has not addressed the ball. The
ball rolls backwards and is stopped accidentally by the
player's club. The player then removes his club and the
ball rolls farther down the slope. Is the player subject to
penalty under Rule 19-2?
Yes, and in stroke play the ball must be replaced on the spot at
which it was stopped. A further penalty under Rule 18-2a
(Ball at Rest Moved by Player) would not be appropriate in the
circumstances provided the player replaces the ball. If the
ball is not replaced before the competitor makes his next stroke,
the failure to replace the ball is considered a separate act and he
incurs an additional penalty of two strokes under Rule 18-2a.
20-3b/5 Lie of Ball to Be Replaced Altered and Spot WhereBallOriginally Lay Not Determinable
An outside agency accidentally steps on A's ball in tall grass
through the green and presses the ball into the ground. The
original lie of A's ball has been altered,
and it is impossible to determine the spot where A's ball
originally lay. Should A proceed under Rule 20-3b or Rule
If either the original lie or the spot where the ball lay is
not known, Rule 20-3c overrides Rule 20-3b. The player must
drop the ball as near as possible to where it lay but not in a
hazard and not on a putting green.
If both the original lie and the spot
where the ball lay are known, Rule 20-3b overrides Rule
20-3c. The ball must be placed in the nearest lie most
similar to the original lie that is not more than one club-length
from the original lie, not nearer the hole and not in a
20-7c/4 Competitor's Ball Played by
Fellow-Competitor; Competitor Substitutes Another Ball at Wrong
Place, Plays It and Then Abandons It and Plays Out Original Ball
from Right Place
In stroke play, A, B and C hit their tee shots into the same
area. After B and C have played their second shots, A
discovers that the remaining ball is not his and assumes that his
ball has been played by B. The final paragraph of Rule 15-3b
requires A to place a ball on the spot from which his ball was
played. A places another ball on the spot from which B played
his second shot and plays it to the green. There it is
discovered that it was C, not B, who wrongly played A's ball
and that A has therefore played the substituted ball from a wrong
place. A accepts a two-stroke penalty under the applicable
Rule (Rules 15-3b and 20-7c), but he then abandons the substituted
ball, thinking he must correct his error. A picks up his
original ball, goes back to the spot where C played his second
shot, plays it from there onto the putting green and takes two
putts to hole out. A then drives from the next tee.
What is the ruling, and what did A score on the hole?
A's procedure was correct up to the point he abandoned
the substituted ball. The substituted ball, albeit played
from a wrong place, was now A's ball in play, and his original
ball was out of play. Instead of abandoning the substituted
ball, A should have played out the hole with it (Rule 13-1) in
accordance with Rule 20-7c, adding to his score the two-stroke
penalty he had correctly accepted under Rule 15-3b.
When A went back and played his original ball from the right
place (i.e., from where C had wrongly played it), he was
substituting a ball for his ball in play in breach of Rule 15-2 as
well as playing from the wrong place. Therefore, he incurred
an additional penalty of four strokes (Rules 13-1, 15-2 and 20-7c)
for a total of six penalty strokes. A's score for the
hole was 11. (Revised)
21/3 WhetherBallCleaned Through Act of Caddie Throwing It to Player
A player is asked to lift his ball, which is lying through the
green or in a hazard, because the ball interferes with the play of
another player. The player authorizes the caddie to lift the
ball and, having marked its position and lifted the ball, the
caddie throws the ball to the player who catches it. Except
when the ball lies on the putting green, it is not permissible to
clean a ball lifted because of interference. Does the act of
throwing and catching the ball constitute cleaning it?
Whether the ball is cleaned is a question of
fact. The action described could result in a ball being
cleaned. Any doubt should be resolved against the
23-1/7 Loose Impediment Affecting Lie Moved WhenBallLiftedQ.
A loose impediment affecting a player's lie through the green
is moved when the player lifts his ball under a Rule that requires
him to replace the ball. In equity (Rule 1-4), should the
player be required to replace the loose impediment?
Yes. If he fails to do so, in equity (Rule 1-4), the player
incurs a penalty of one stroke. (Revised)
24-2b/20 Interference by Line orMarkon Ground Consisting of Lime or Paint
A ball comes to rest on a line or other mark on the ground
consisting of lime or paint that has been drawn for gallery-control
purposes or for providing fixed reference points relating to
yardage. Is the player entitled to relief under
No. Such lines or marks are not obstructions.
However, the Committee may, by Local Rule, declare such areas to
be ground under repair. (Revised)
25-1b/26 Player Unaware Ball in Water Hazard Takes
Relief from Interference by Burrowing Animal HoleQ.
A player, unaware that his ball is in a dry water hazard, lifts and
drops the ball under Rule 25-1b(i) believing he is entitled to
relief from a hole made by a burrowing animal. After dropping
the ball in the hazard, he discovers his mistake. What is the
As the player's ball lay in a water hazard, he was not entitled
to relief without penalty from a hole made by a burrowing animal -
see first paragraph of Rule 25-1b. However, as his ball lay
in a water hazard, he is not precluded from taking relief under
As the player had dropped the ball under an inapplicable Rule,
he may correct his error under Rule 20-6 by:
1. lifting the ball and replacing it where it originally lay in
the water hazard, in which case he incurs a penalty of one stroke
under Rule 18-2a - see Decision 18-2a/12; or
2. proceeding under Rule 26-1. He incurs a penalty
of one stroke under Rule 26-1, but no additional penalty is
25-1c/3 Ball Played in Ground Under Repair Area Lost in Same
In the illustration below, a player's tee shot comes to rest at
point A in a large area of ground under repair. He
makes a stroke at his ball from within the ground under
repair. He advances the ball to point B, which is still in
the ground under repair, and the ball never crossed the outermost
limits of the ground under repair. The ball cannot be
found. What is the ruling?
The player may drop a ball outside the ground under repair area,
without penalty, as provided in Rule 25-1c and make his third
stroke. In this case, the reference point is where the ball last
crossed the outermost limits of the ground under repair with the
player's tee shot (point C).