Rule 4 - The Player’s Equipment

Purpose: 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:

“Performance characteristics” means any part of the club that affects how it performs in making a stroke, such as its grip, shaft, clubhead or lie or loft (including lie or loft of an adjustable club).

(2) Use or Repair of Club Damaged During Round. If a conforming club is damaged during a round or while play is stopped under Rule 5.7a, the player normally must not replace it with another club. (For a limited exception when the player did not cause the damage, see Rule 4.1b(3)).

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:

“Damaged during a round” means when the club’s performance characteristics are 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 performance characteristics are deliberately changed by the player during the round, as covered by Rule 4.1a(3).

(3) Deliberately Changing Club’s Performance Characteristics During Round. A player must not make a stroke with a club whose performance characteristics he or she deliberately changed during the round (including while play is stopped under Rule 5.7a):

Exception – Adjustable Club Restored to Original Position: If a club’s performance characteristics were changed by using an adjustable feature and, before the club is used to make a stroke, the club is restored as nearly as possible to its original position by adjusting the feature back to where it was, there is no penalty and the club may be used to make a stroke.