Rule 4 - The Player’s Equipment

Purpose of Rule: Rule 4 covers the equipment that players may use during a round. Based on the principle that golf is a challenging game in which success should depend on the player’s judgment, skills and abilities, the player:

Rule 4.1 Clubs

a. Clubs Allowed in Making a Stroke

(1) Conforming Clubs. In making a stroke, a player must use a club that conforms to the requirements in the Equipment Rules when:

But if the playing characteristics of a conforming club change because of wear through normal use, it is still a conforming club.

The “playing characteristics” of a club are any part, feature, or property that affects how the club performs or aids in alignment, including but not limited to, weighting, lie, loft, alignment features and permissible external attachments.

(2) Use, Repair or Replacement of Club Damaged During Round. If a conforming club is damaged during a round or while play is stopped under Rule 5.7a, except in cases of abuse, the player may repair it or replace it with another club.

But no matter what the nature or cause of the damage, the damaged club is treated as conforming for the rest of the round (but not during a play-off in stroke play, which is a new round).

For the rest of the round, the player may:

If the player replaces the damaged club with another club, the player must take the damaged club out of play before making another stroke using the procedure in Rule 4.1c(1).

“Damaged during a round” means when any part, feature, or property of a club is changed because of any act during the round (including while play is stopped under Rule 5.7a), whether:

But a club is not “damaged during a round” if its playing characteristics are deliberately changed by the player during the round, as covered by Rule 4.1a(3).

(3) Deliberately Changing Club’s Playing Characteristics During Round. A player must not make a stroke with a club when they have deliberately changed that club's characteristics during the round (including while play is stopped under Rule 5.7a):

Exception – Adjustable Club Restored to Original Position or Non-Permissible External Attachment Removed: There is no penalty and the club may be used to make a stroke in the following two situations: