FORM AND MAKE OF CLUBS
Groove and Punch Mark Specifications Effective January 1, 2010 Including Condition of Competition
All new models of clubs manufactured on or after January 1, 2010 must conform to the groove and punch mark specifications described in Appendix II, 5c. However, Ping Eye2 irons manufactured before March 31, 1990 with a groove spacing to groove width ratio of 2.3 to 1 are permitted for play under the Rules of Golf, even in certain competitions when the Condition Requiring Clubs Conforming with Groove and Punch Mark Specifications Effective January 1, 2010 is in effect (see below).
A Committee that wishes to limit players to clubs manufactured with grooves and/or punch marks that conform to all aspects of the Rules of Golf, including those that are effective from January 1, 2010, may adopt the condition of competition detailed below. While this condition of competition may be adopted for any competition, it is recommended only for competitions involving expert players (e.g., professional golf or the highest level of amateur golf).
"The player's clubs must conform to the groove and punch mark specifications in the Rules of Golf that are effective from January 1, 2010.
*PENALTY FOR CARRYING, BUT NOT MAKING STROKE WITH, CLUB OR CLUBS IN BREACH OF CONDITION:
Match play – At the conclusion of the hole at which the breach is discovered, the state of the match is adjusted by deducting one hole for each hole at which a breach occurred; maximum deduction per round – Two holes.
Stroke play – Two strokes for each hole at which any breach occurred; maximum penalty per round – Four strokes.
Match play or stroke play – If a breach is discovered between the play of two holes, it is deemed to have been discovered during play of the next hole, and the penalty must be applied accordingly.
Bogey and par competitions – See Note 1 to Rule 32-1a.
Stableford competitions – See Note 1 to Rule 32-1b.
*Any club or clubs carried in breach of this condition must be declared out of play by the player to his opponent in match play or his marker or a fellow-competitor in stroke play immediately upon discovery that a breach has occurred. If the player fails to do so, he is disqualified.
PENALTY FOR MAKING STROKE WITH CLUB IN BREACH OF CONDITION:
Exception: Ping Eye2 irons manufactured before March 31, 1990 with a groove spacing to groove width ratio of 2.3 to 1 are permitted for play under the Rules of Golf, even in certain competitions when the Condition Requiring Clubs Conforming with Groove and Punch Mark Specifications Effective January 1, 2010 is in effect. It is the player's responsibility to refer to the condition of competition posted for the specific competition in which the player is playing to ensure compliance with the above exception and to provide proof of the date on which the club was manufactured. If the player cannot provide such proof, the club must conform with specifications described in Appendix II, 5c(i)." (Revised)
Material in Head of Metal Wood Club Broken Away from Shell
Q.A piece of material in the head of a metal wood club, which conformed with the Rules when manufactured, has broken away from the shell due to use, and it rattles around in the head. Appendix II, 1a states in part: "All parts of the club must be fixed so that the club is one unit." Is this metal wood club now non-conforming because of the loose piece of material?
A.No, because Rule 4-1b states in part: "A club that conforms with the Rules when new is deemed to conform after wear through normal use." The piece of material in the metal wood club in question broke loose from the shell due to wear through normal use.
Status of a Chipper
Q.What Rules apply to "chippers"?
A.A "chipper" is an iron club designed primarily for use off the putting green, generally with a loft greater than ten degrees. As most players adopt a "putting stroke" when using a chipper, there can be a tendency to design the club as if it was a putter. To eliminate confusion, the Rules which apply to "chippers" include:
- The shaft must be attached to the clubhead at the heel (Appendix II, 2c);
- The grip must be circular in cross-section (Appendix II, 3(i)) and only one grip is permitted (Appendix II, 3(v));
- The clubhead must be generally plain in shape (Appendix II, 4a) and have only one striking face (Appendix II, 4d); and
- The face of the club must conform to specifications with regard to hardness, surface roughness, material and markings in the impact area (Appendix II, 5).
Lead Tape Applied to Clubhead or Shaft Before Start of Round
Q.Before the start of a round, may a player attach lead tape to a clubhead or shaft for the purpose of adjusting weight?
A.Yes. The use of lead tape is an exception to Appendix II, 1b(ii).
Adhesive Bandage or Tape Applied to Clubhead to Reduce Glare or for Protection
Q.May a player put an adhesive bandage or tape on the clubhead to reduce glare or to protect the club from being damaged?
A.An adhesive bandage or tape added to the clubhead is considered an external attachment, rendering the club non-conforming (see Appendix II, Rule 1a but see also Decision 4-1/4). However, material attached to the clubhead that does not affect the performance of the club and is semi-permanent, durable, not easily removable and conforms to the shape of the clubhead may be permitted by exception, but an adhesive bandage or tape does not fall under that exception because such items are temporary in nature and easily removable. See "A Guide to the Rules on Clubs and Balls," Section 1a, for detailed criteria regarding permissible external attachments, such as alignment markings, protective coverings or decorative decals.
Additionally, adding such an attachment during the stipulated round would change the club's playing characteristics in breach of Rule 4-2.
• 14-2/2.5 Player Positions Bag for Purpose of Providing Shade for Ball.
• 14-2/3 Caddie Shields Player from Sun During Stroke.
Other Decisions related to Rule 4-1: See "Clubs: non-conforming club" in the Index.
CLUBS: PLAYING CHARACTERISTICS
Lead Tape Applied to Clubhead or Shaft During Round
Q.With regard to Decision 4-1/4, may a player remove, add or alter lead tape during a round?
A.No. However, lead tape that becomes detached from the club in the normal course of play may be placed back onto the club in the same location. If the lead tape will not remain on the club in the same location, new tape may be used. Every effort should be made to restore the club, as nearly as possible, to its previous condition. Alternatively, the club may be used in its damaged state (without the lead tape) for the remainder of the round (Rule 4-3a).
If the tape is altered or damaged other than in the normal course of play, the club may not be used for the remainder of the round, under penalty of disqualification (see Rules 4-2a and 4-3).
Playing Characteristics of Club Changed While Play Suspended; Error Discovered Before Play Resumed
Q.While play is suspended, a player changes the lie of four of his clubs. Before play is resumed, he becomes aware that Rule 4-2a prohibits purposely changing the playing characteristics of a club during a round. If the original lie of the four clubs is restored, or if the player discards them before play is resumed, can he avoid the penalty prescribed by Rule 4-2?
A.Rule 4-2a is intended to ensure that, apart from damage sustained in the normal course of play, the playing characteristics of the clubs with which the player starts the stipulated round will not be altered until he has finished it. It would be impossible to restore exactly the original lie of an altered club. Accordingly, although the stipulated round has been suspended and the player did not technically change the playing characteristics during the round, in equity (Rule 1-4):
- (1) the player incurs no penalty if he discards the clubs in question or declares them out of play to his opponent in match play or his marker or a fellow-competitor in stroke play before he resumes play and, assuming he started the round with 14 clubs, finishes the round with the remaining ten clubs, or
- (2) if the player resumes play carrying one or more of the four clubs without having declared the club or clubs out of play, in view of the purpose of Rule 4-2a, he is deemed to be in breach of Rule 4-2a, whether or not he has attempted to restore the original playing characteristics. The penalty will depend on whether the player uses any of the altered clubs – see penalty statement under Rule 4-2.
Other Decisions related to Rule 4-2: See "Clubs: playing characteristics of club changed" in the Index.
CLUBS: FOREIGN MATERIAL
Applying Chalk to Club Face
Q.During a round, may a player apply chalk to the face of an iron club in order to obtain more backspin?
Applying Saliva to Face of Club
Q.A player spat on the face of his club and did not wipe the saliva off before playing his next stroke. Is this permissible?
A.If the purpose of doing this was to influence the movement of the ball, the player was in breach of Rule 4-2b as saliva is "foreign material."
DAMAGED CLUBS: REPAIR AND REPLACEMENT
Meaning of Damage Sustained in "Normal 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 (except by throwing the club);
• 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 whether in anger, in retrieving a ball, 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.
Meaning of "Repair"
Q.During a round, a player may repair a club damaged in the normal course of play, or he may have it repaired by someone else. What does the term "repair" mean within the context of Rule 4-3a(ii)?
A.The term "repair" in Rule 4-3a(ii) means to restore the club, as nearly as possible, to its condition prior to the incident that caused the damage. In doing so, the player is limited to the grip, shaft and clubhead used to comprise the club at the beginning of the stipulated round or, in the case of a club later added, when the club was selected for play.
When a club is damaged to the extent that the grip, shaft or clubhead has to be changed, this change exceeds what is meant by the term "repair." Such action constitutes replacement and is only permitted if the club was "unfit for play" – see Rule 4-3a(iii).
Club Damaged in Normal Course of Play Breaks into Pieces When Repaired
Q.The shaft of a player's club is bent in the normal course of play. The player, in attempting to repair the damaged club as permitted by Rule 4-3a(ii), breaks the shaft into pieces. What is the ruling?
A.Since the player was entitled to repair the damaged club, the further damage to the club, which has rendered it unfit for play is also considered to have occurred in the normal course of play. Thus, Rule 4-3a permits the player to use the club in its damaged state, repair it or have it repaired, or replace it with any club.
Modifying Penalty for Holing Short Putt with Club Whose Playing Characteristics Changed Other Than in Normal Course of Play
Q.A player leaves a putt about an inch short of the hole. In disgust, he hits his shoe with the head of his putter. The impact bends the neck of the putter, changing its playing characteristics. The player then holes the one-inch putt with the putter.
Rule 4-3b states in part: "If, during a stipulated round, a player's club is damaged other than in the normal course of play ... changing its playing characteristics, the club must not subsequently be used or replaced during the round." The penalty for breach of Rule 4-3b is disqualification. Would the Committee be justified in waiving or modifying the disqualification penalty in these circumstances, provided the player does not subsequently use the altered putter during the round?
Changing Clubs Because of Wet Grips
Q.May a player change clubs during a round if the grips become wet?
A.No. A club is "unfit for play" if it is substantially damaged, but not if the grip becomes slippery – see Note to Rule 4-3a.
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.
Player Starting with 13 Clubs Breaks Putter in Anger and Replaces It
Q.A player who started a round with 13 clubs broke his putter in anger, i.e., other than in the normal course of play, during the first nine holes. He bought another putter in the pro shop after the first nine holes and used it for the remainder of the round. Rule 4-3a(iii) permits replacing a club only if it becomes unfit for play in the normal course of play. Was the player subject to penalty?
A.No. Since he started with 13 clubs, he was entitled to add another club under Rule 4-4a
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.
Club Rendered Unfit for Play By Outside Agency or Opponent's Side
Q.After reaching the putting green, a player places his clubs near the next tee. A greenkeeper's vehicle or an opponent's golf cart accidentally strikes the player's clubs, breaking several of them. What is the ruling?
A.Rule 4-3 does not contemplate a situation where the player's clubs are damaged by an outside agency or opponent. Therefore, in equity (Rule 1-4), the player may use the clubs in their damaged state, repair them or have them repaired, or replace them in accordance with Rule 4-3a(iii).
Replacement of Club Lost During Round
Q.A player who started a round with 14 clubs lost his putter. May he replace it during the round?
A.No. A lost club is not one which has become unfit for play in the normal course of play – see Rule 4-3.
Replacement of Club Broken on Practice Ground While Play Suspended
Q.Play has been suspended by the Committee. Prior to resuming play, a player is practicing on the practice ground. While hitting a ball, the shaft of his sand wedge breaks. In such circumstances, is the club considered to have become unfit for play in the normal course of play, in which case the player would be entitled to replace the broken club under Rule 4-3a(iii)?
Replacing Club for Stroke-Play Play-Off
Q.In stroke play, a competitor broke a club in anger, finished the round with 13 clubs and then learned that he would be involved in a hole-by-hole play-off. May the competitor replace his broken club for the play-off?
A.The play-off constitutes a new round – see Definition of "Stipulated Round." The competitor is therefore entitled to replace his broken club.
Other Decisions related to Rule 4-3:
• 4-4a/2 Changing Clubs Between Rounds in 36-Hole Match.
• 4-4c/2 Whether Player May Use Excess Club to Replace Club Damaged in Normal Course of Play.
MAXIMUM OF 14 CLUBS: SELECTION AND ADDITION
When Club Is Considered Added
Q.A player who started the stipulated round with 14 clubs is putting poorly. Between the play of two holes and without unduly delaying play, the player takes the putter out of his bag and replaces it with another putter that was in his locker. Before he makes a stroke with any club, the player is advised that he is not permitted to add or replace a club. Accordingly, he replaces the second putter with his original putter, leaves the second putter at the clubhouse and continues play. Does he incur a penalty?
A.No. Although the player was not entitled to add or replace a club, he is not considered to be in breach of Rule 4-4a until he makes a stroke with any club while the added putter is in his possession.
The answer would be the same for a player who starts the stipulated round with fewer than 14 clubs and wants to add clubs to bring the total number to 14. This player may select from several clubs that are brought to him, provided that (1) he does not make a stroke with any club before he chooses a club to add, (2) this process does not unduly delay play (Rule 6-7), and (3) none of the clubs he ultimately adds have been selected for play by any other person playing on the course.
Changing Clubs Between Rounds in 36-Hole Match
Q.In a 36-hole match, may a player who started with 14 clubs change putters after play of the first 18 holes and before the start of the second 18 holes?
A.Yes. Rule 4-4a prohibits such procedure only during a stipulated round. A 36-hole match comprises two stipulated rounds of 18 holes each – see Definition of "Stipulated Round."
Partners' Clubs Carried in One Bag
Q.In a foursome competition, is it permissible for partners to put both sets of clubs in one golf bag, provided each player uses only his own clubs?
A.Yes, provided each player's clubs are clearly identifiable.
Competitor Inadvertently Uses and Thereafter Carries Fellow-Competitor's Club
Q.In stroke play, A and B both started with 14 clubs. They were using the same model of clubs and similar golf bags. At the 4th hole, B's caddie inadvertently took one of A's clubs from A's bag and gave it to B who made a stroke with it. B's caddie placed the club in B's bag. At the 6th hole, B's caddie discovered the error. What is the ruling?
A.Rule 4-4a states: "The player must start a stipulated round with not more than 14 clubs. He is limited to the clubs thus selected ...". B complied with the first sentence of Rule 4-4a. However, when B made a stroke with A's club, he did not comply with the second sentence and was subject to penalty under Rule 4-4a for using a club selected for play by another person playing on the course. Upon discovery of the breach, B was required immediately to declare the club out of play under Rule 4-4c. He incurs a penalty of two strokes for making a stroke with that club on the 4th hole. As B did not intend to add the club to the clubs he had selected for the round, he incurs no additional penalty for having carried it until the breach was discovered on the 6th hole. A may retrieve the club to use during the remainder of the round.
Player's Club Put in Another Player's Bag by Mistake During Suspension of Play
Q.A and B both began the stipulated round with 14 clubs. During a suspension of play, one of B's clubs was placed accidentally into A's bag. After play resumed, A noticed B's club in his (A's) bag but he did not play a stroke with B's club. What is the ruling?
A.Both players complied with Rule 4-4a as they began the stipulated round with not more than 14 clubs. Since A did not play a stroke with B's club, there is no penalty to either player and B may have his club returned to him – but see also Decision 4-4a/5.
Excess Club Put in Player's Golf Bag
Q.A arrives at the 1st tee. After the match or group's starting time while A is preparing to play his tee shot, B, his opponent or fellow-competitor, by mistake places his driver in A's bag, which results in A having 15 clubs. A then drives from the 1st tee. During play of the 1st hole, A discovers that B's club has been put in his (A's) golf bag. Does A incur a penalty for starting the round with more than 14 clubs?
A.No. Although A started the round with more than 14 clubs, A is not considered to have selected B's club for play for the following reasons:
• the additional club was added to his bag by B on the 1st tee,
• the club was added after the match or group's time of starting, and
• the club had already been selected for play by B.
Therefore A incurs no penalty, provided he does not make a stroke with B's club. The club may be returned to B and used by him.
The decision would be different, and A would be penalized under Rule 4-4a, if:
• the additional club had belonged to a player in another match or group,
• the club had been added before A's match or group arrived on the tee, or
• the club had been added before A's match or group's time of starting.
Carrying Weighted Training Club
Q.May a player carry a weighted training club in addition to the 14 clubs selected for the round?
A.No, but a weighted training club may be selected as one of 14 clubs carried by a player, provided it conforms with Rule 4-1 (e.g., an excessively-weighted driver head may breach the limit on Moment of Inertia – see Appendix II).
• 14-3/10 Use of Training or Swing Aid During Round.
Retrieving Another Player's Lost Club
Q.A player carrying 14 clubs found another player's club on the course. He picked up the lost club, put it in his bag but did not use it, and handed it in at the pro shop when the round was completed. Was the player in breach of Rule 4-4a for carrying 15 clubs?
Clarification of Match-Play Penalty
Q.Please confirm that the following is a correct interpretation of Rule 4-4a in a match between A and B:
1. After the 1st hole, it is discovered that B has more than 14 clubs:
a. If B won the hole – The match is all square.
b. If the hole was halved – A is 1 up.
c. If A won the hole – A is 2 up.
2. After the 2nd hole, it is discovered that B has more than 14 clubs:
a. If B won both holes – The match is all square.
b. If B was 1 up – A is 1 up.
c. If the match was all square – A is 2 up.
d. If A was 1 up – A is 3 up.
e. If A was 2 up – A is 4 up.
3. Later in the match, but before the players leave the last green, it is discovered that B has more than 14 clubs:
a. If B was more than 2 up – 2 "ups" are deducted.
b. If B was 2 up – The match is all square.
c. If B was 1 up – A is 1 up.
d. If the match was all square – A is 2 up.
e. If A was 1 up – A is 3 up.
f. If A was 2 up – A is 4 up.
g. If A was more than 2 up – 2 "ups" are added to his "ups."
A.As the loss of hole penalty for a breach of Rule 4-4a is not applied to a specific hole, but to the state of the match at the conclusion of the hole at which the breach is discovered, your interpretation is correct.
• 2-5/5.5 Breach of 14-Club Rule Discovered After Match Concluded But Before Result Officially Announced.
Breach of 14-Club Rule in Stroke Play Discovered at 8th Hole; Where Penalty Strokes Applied
Q.In stroke play, A discovers during play of the 8th hole that he has 15 clubs in his bag and thus has incurred a penalty of four strokes under Rule 4-4a. How should the four-stroke penalty be applied?
A.A must add penalties of two strokes to his scores for the 1st and 2nd holes.
In four-ball stroke play, both A and his partner would add penalties of two strokes to their scores for the 1st and 2nd holes – see Rule 31-6.
Excess Club Discovered Before Player Plays from 2nd Tee But After Opponent or Fellow-Competitor Has Played
Q.A player starts a round with 15 clubs. He discovers his error at the 2nd tee after his opponent or a fellow-competitor has played but before he has played. Does the player incur the maximum penalty of (a) deduction of two holes in match play or (b) four strokes in stroke play?
A.No. Since the player has not started play of the 2nd hole, he incurs a penalty of (a) deduction of one hole in match play or (b) two strokes in stroke play.
Competitor Who Misplaces Putter Borrows Fellow-Competitor's Putter
Q.In stroke play, A, who had mistakenly left his putter at the previous green, borrows a putter from B, a fellow-competitor, and uses it. At the next tee, the Committee is advised of the situation. What is the ruling?
A.A was not entitled to borrow a club selected for play by any other person on the course – Rule 4-4a. A incurs a penalty of two strokes for a breach of Rule 4-4a and must immediately declare B's putter out of play as prescribed in Rule 4-4c. If A recovers his own putter, he may use it.
B may have his putter returned to him and use it for the remainder of the round.
Player 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.
• 4-4b/1 Borrowing Partner's Putter.
Player Carries Pieces of Broken Club
Q.A player starts a round with 14 clubs as well as a club that had been broken into pieces prior to the start of the round, but had not yet been removed from his bag. What is the ruling?
A.The Rules do not contemplate such a situation. In these circumstances, in equity (Rule 1-4), there is no penalty provided the broken club is not used during the stipulated round.
Assembly of Club Components During Stipulated Round
Q.Rules 4-3a(iii) and 4-4a provide that the replacement or addition of a club must not be made by assembling components carried by or for the player during the stipulated round. What is the ruling in the following situations:
- During a stipulated round, a player carries a clubhead and a shaft (i.e., components) that are capable of being assembled into a club, but he does not assemble the components?
- During the stipulated round, components from the clubhouse are assembled off the course and then brought to the player, who uses the assembled club as a replacement for a club that has been damaged in the normal course of play or as an additional club when the player started with fewer than 14 clubs?
- During the stipulated round, components brought to the player from the clubhouse are assembled on the course, and the assembled club is used as a replacement for a club that has been damaged in the normal course of play or as an additional club when the player started with fewer than 14 clubs?
A.1. A separate clubhead and shaft do not constitute a club. Therefore, the separate clubhead and shaft do not count towards the number of clubs the player may carry under Rule 4-4a. However, regardless of the number of clubs carried, it is not permissible to assemble a clubhead and shaft carried by or for the player during the stipulated round. Consequently, if the player did replace or add a club by assembling components carried by or for him during the round, the player would be penalized under Rule 4-3a(iii) or Rule 4-4a, as applicable.
2. As the components were not carried by or for the player on the course (i.e., the components were located and assembled off the course), there is no penalty under Rule 4-3a(iii) or Rule 4-4a.
3. Provided the components were not being carried by or for the player on the course at the time that the replacement club or additional club was requested by the player, there is no penalty under Rule 4-3a(iii) or Rule 4-4a.
Status of Additional Clubs Being Carried for Player and of Person Carrying Them
Q.A player begins his stipulated round with ten clubs carried by his caddie. The player has also asked another person to walk along with the group and carry eight more clubs. During the round, the player intends to add from the clubs carried by the other person. Is such an arrangement permissible?
A.No. As the player intends to add from such clubs during the round, the eight clubs count towards his total. The player is, therefore, in breach of Rule 4-4a for starting the stipulated round with more than 14 clubs. In addition, the other person is acting as a second caddie in breach of Rule 6-4.
As different acts have resulted in two Rules being breached, multiple penalties would apply (see Principle 5 of Decision 1-4/12).
Other Decisions related to Rule 4-4a: See "Clubs: breach of 14-club Rule" and "Clubs: excess club" in the Index.
PARTNERS MAY SHARE CLUBS
Borrowing Partner's Putter
Q.Neither A nor B, who were partners in a four-ball match, had 14 clubs, but between them they had more than 14 clubs. Several times during the round A borrowed B's putter. Is this permissible?
A.No. A and B should have had two holes deducted. The penalty would be applied to the state of the match at the conclusion of the hole at which it became known that a breach had occurred.
• 4-4a/12 Competitor Who Misplaces Putter Borrows Fellow-Competitor's Putter.
• 4-4a/13 Player Practices with Another Player's Club.
• 5-1/5 Whether Player May Borrow Balls from Another Player.
• 20/2 Borrowing Club for Measuring Purposes.
DECLARING EXCESS CLUB OUT OF PLAY
Excess Club Declared Out of Play Before Round and Placed on Floor of Golf Cart
Q.Before the start of a round, a player discovers that there are 15 clubs in his golf bag. He declares one of the clubs out of play, removes it from his bag, places it on the floor of his golf cart and begins the round. Is the player subject to penalty?
A.Yes, for starting the round with more than 14 clubs. Rule 4-4c has to do with declaring an excess club out of play on discovery of a breach after a round has started. There is nothing in the Rules to permit carrying, during a round, an excess club declared out of play before the round.
Whether Player May Use Excess Club to Replace Club Damaged in Normal Course of Play
Q.A player begins a round with 15 clubs. On discovering his error, he applies the appropriate penalty under Rule 4-4a and declares a club out of play in accordance with Rule 4-4c. Later in the round, the player damages one of his remaining clubs in the normal course of play to the extent that it is unfit for play. May the player replace the damaged club with the excess club he declared out of play in accordance with Rule 4-4c?
A.Yes. Rule 4-3a(iii), which states in part that a player may replace a club that is unfit for play as a result of damage that occurred in the normal course of play "with any club" overrides Rule 4-4c, which prohibits the use of a club declared out of play as a result of a breach of Rule 4-4a or b.
Other Decisions related to Rule 4-4c: See "Clubs: breach of 14-club Rule" and "Clubs: excess club" in the Index.