2006 Revised Decisions


November 16, 2005

1-1/1  Two Balls in Play Simultaneously at Different Holes

Q. Two players on the 8 th hole play their approach shots to the 8 th green.  They agree to tee off at the 9 th hole and then putt out on the 8 th green.  This is to avoid having to walk back up a hill to the 9 th tee and to save time.  What is the ruling?

A.  In match play, the players are disqualified under Rule 1-3 for excluding the operation of Rule 2-1 by failing to play the stipulated round. 

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

Q. 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?

A. 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 disqualified.  (Revised)


1-2/6  Player Removes Loose Impediment Affecting Lie of Opponent or Fellow-Competitor in Hazard

Q. 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?

A. 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 impediment.  (Revised)


1-4/5  Removal of Obstruction in Hazard Would Move Loose Impediment

Q. 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?

A. 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 ( Rule 1-4 ), it would not be appropriate to apply multiple penalties.

For the purpose of applying the principles in this Decision, Rules 4-3a , 4-3b , 4-3c , 13-4a , 13-4b , 13-4c , 14-2a , 14-2b , 17-3a , 17-3b , 17-3c , 18-2a and 18-2b 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 Rule 19-5 and then strikes another fellow-competitor's ball, also in breach of Rule 19-5 . The ruling would be a single two-stroke penalty (see Decision 19-5/3 ).

2. Single Act Results in Two Rules Being Breached - Single Penalty Applied

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 Rule 13-2 and Rule 13-4a have been breached. The ruling would be a single two-stroke penalty.

3. Multiple Occurrences of the Same or Similar Acts Result in One Rule Being Breached More Than Once - Single Penalty Applied

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 Decision 13-4/3 ).

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 penalty.

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 Rule 19-2b . The competitor then moves the club and, therefore, moves his ball, normally a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a . This would result in a single two-stroke penalty under Rule 19-2b (see Decision 19-2/1.5 ). 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.

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 penalty under Rule 18-2a (lifting the ball in play) and a further penalty of two strokes under Rule 15-2 and the applicable Rule (substitution without correction), giving a total penalty of three strokes (see Decision 15/6.5 ).

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 of Rule 1-2 , giving a total penalty of four strokes.

The following chart summarizes the principles of this Decision:

Action of Player

Rules Breach

Single Act

Multiple Occurrence of Same or Similar Act

Different Acts

One Rule Breached More Than Once

Single Penalty
See Principle 1

Single Penalty
See Principle 3

Multiple Penalty
See Principle 6

Two or More Rules Breached

Single Penalty
See Principle 2

X

Multiple Penalty
See Principle 5

Two or More Rules Breached, but Second and Subsequent Breaches Only as Direct Consequences of First Breach

X

Single Penalty
See Principle 4

Single Penalty
See Principle 4

(Revised)


2-1/1.5 Players Agree to Consider Hole Halved During Play of Hole

Q. 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 permitted?

A. 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 Match

Q. The players in a match agreed to omit two holes, i.e., agreed to settle the match over 16 holes.  Is this permitted?

A. 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 3-3/5).

(3) If neither ball is played in accordance with the Rules, the following applies:

(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"

Q. In Rule 4-3a, what is meant by the term "normal course of play"?

A. 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 following:         

· removing or replacing a club in the bag;

· using a club to search for or retrieve a ball;

· leaning on a club while waiting to play, teeing a ball or removing a ball from the hole; or

· accidentally dropping a club.

Examples of acts that are not in the "normal course of play" include the following:

· throwing a club in anger or otherwise;

· 'slamming' a club into a bag; or

· 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

Q. 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?

A. 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. (Revised)


4-3/9 Club Broken Due to Habit of Hitting Head of Club on Ground

Q. 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?

A. 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

Q. 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?

A. There is no penalty. Such practice putting is permitted by Rule 7-2 . 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 Returned

Q. 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 accepted?

A. Yes.  (Revised)


6-6d/4 Competitor's Scores Recorded on Score Card with Fellow-Competitor's Name and Vice Versa

Q. 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 his marker.

The mismatch of the competitors' printed names with the reported scores is discovered after the score cards are returned. What is the ruling?

A. 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

Q. 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?

A. 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 ( Rule 6-8d ). 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 Suspended

Q. 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? A. 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

Q. 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?

A. 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

Q.  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 penalty under Rule 9-2 ?

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

Q.  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 Rule 9-2 ?

A. 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 Ball-Marker

Q.  Rule 9-2 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?

A.  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 Player's Putt

Q. 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. 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 better.  (Revised)


9-2/14 Incorrect Information Causes Opponent Mistakenly to Think He Has Putt for Half; Opponent Holes Putt and Then Error Discovered

Q.  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?

A. 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 Rule 9-2 . (Revised)


9-2/15 WrongInformation After Play of Hole; When Penalty Applicable

Q. Decision 9-2/14 implies that, if A had not corrected the error before playing from the next tee, he would have lost the hole under Rule 9-2 .  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?

A. 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.

In Decision 9-2/14 , 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 Rule 9-2 the hole would have been awarded to B. (Revised)


12-1/5 Player Kicks Ball While Probing for It in Water in Water Hazard

Q. 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?

A. As the movement of the ball was not directly attributable to the specific act of probing for the ball, the player incurs a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a for moving his ball in play. The player may replace the ball and play it or, under an additional penalty of one stroke, proceed under Rule 26-1 . If the player proceeds under Rule 26-1 , he is not required to replace the ball. (Revised)


13-2/26 Natural Object Interfering with Swing Moved to Determine Whether It Is Loose

Q. 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. 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 13-2.

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

Q. 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?

A. 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).  (Revised)


13-4/25  Taking Firm Stance in Bunker Some Distance from Where Ball Lies in Bunker to Simulate Next Stroke

Q. 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?

A.   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 Bunker

Q. 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?

A. 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

Q. 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.  (Revised)

14-2/4  Caddie Inadvertently Stands on Extension of Line of Play Behind Ball

Q. 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?

A. 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 Cart

Q. May a player attach a meter to his golf cart for the purpose of measuring the distances of shots?

A. 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.  (Revised)

14-3/2  Pencil or Score Card Used to Assist in Gauging Distance

Q. 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?

A. 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 14-3/0.5.  (Revised)

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 14-3/0.5.  (Revised)
                                                                                               

14-3/5.5  Electronic Device Providing Distances Between Various Points

A. With regard to Decision 14-3/5, may a player use an electronic device containing the same information?

A.  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 Round

Q. 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?

A.   No - but see also Decision 4-4a/7 for the use of a weighted training club.  (Revised)


14-3/13.5  Golf Ball Artificially Warmed

Q. 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?

A. Yes.  However, it would not be a breach of Rule 14-3 to use a ball that was artificially warmed prior to the stipulated round.  (Revised)


14-3/14  Electronic Instrument Used to FindBall



Q. 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?

A. 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 Condition). (Revised)


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 players.

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 Rules:

· Using the device for matters unrelated to golf (e.g., to call home);

· 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

· Using the device to obtain information related to the competition being played (e.g., the leader board or projected "cut").

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:

· Using the device (e.g., a television or radio) to watch or listen to a broadcast of the competition being played;

· Using the device to ask for or give advice in breach of Rule 8-1 (e.g., calling a swing coach at home); or

· 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).  (Revised)


15/5 Original Ball Found and Played After Another Ball Put into Play

Q. 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?

A. 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 15-3b). (Revised)


15/9 Ball Thrown into Bounds by Outside Agency and Played; Caddie Aware of Action of Outside Agency

Q. 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 the ruling?

A. 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 Played

Q. 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?

A. 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.  (Revised)


16-1a/11 Raised Tuft of Grass on Line of Putt Brushed to Determine Whether It Is Loose

Q. 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. 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.  (Revised)


16-1b/3 BallLifted from Putting Green;BallReplaced While Another Ball in Motion Subsequently DeflectsBall

Q. 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 the ruling?

A. 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 it lies.

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

Q. 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?

A. 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

Q. 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?

A. 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 18-2a; or

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 28a. (Revised)


18-2a/24    Ball Moved by Flagstick When Measuring

Q. 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?

A. 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

    Q. A player's ball overhangs the lip of the hole.  He addresses the ball and it falls  into the hole.  What is the ruling?

    A.  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 Away

    Q. 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?

    A. 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. (Revised)


    20-3b/5 Lie of Ball to Be Replaced Altered and Spot WhereBallOriginally Lay Not Determinable

    Q. 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 20-3c?

    A.  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 hazard.  (Revised)


    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

    Q.   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.   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

    Q.  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?

    A.   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 player.  (Revised)


    23-1/7  Loose Impediment Affecting Lie Moved WhenBallLifted

    Q. 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?

    A. 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

    Q.  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 Rule 24-2b ?

    A. 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 Hole

    Q. 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 ruling?

    A. 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 Rule 26.

    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 incurred.  (Revised)


    25-1c/3 Ball Played in Ground Under Repair Area Lost in Same Area

    Q. 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?

    A.        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).

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