ASK JACK - About the Rules of Golf

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Comments: 113
  • #113

    Jack (Monday, 16 March 2020 03:42)

    Ref #112
    Sorry Ray for my late reply to your question.
    I can only reply generally as I have to imagine the area you describe with embedded stones.
    The Local Rule wording at such a situation will state that relief is available if any stone interferes with your stance or area of intended play. You must then find your nearest point of relief and drop your ball within one club-length of that spot, not nearer the hole.
    There is no choice as to where you drop the ball except somewhere within the club-length. Now, if you are lucky and this point gives you relief from a tree, that is OK, but you might be unlucky and you may have to drop behind a tree!!!
    This should be worked out before to take the relief as it may be better to play the ball where it lies by the stones with no trees in the way.
    I hope this explanation clears this issue for you Ray. Message me again if you need any more advicce.

  • #112

    Ray (Tuesday, 10 March 2020 22:51)

    Hi Jack; we have a local rule at our golf club where we can take a free drop from embedded stones; my enterpretation of the rule is that we can only get a free drop if there is no interference from anything else ; such as a tree or a bush in front or ajacent which would stop me from making my normal swing , too many times i have had players telling me they were lucky to be on stones and get a free drop from behind trees ,,

  • #111

    Jack (Tuesday, 10 March 2020 21:18)

    Ref #109 & 110
    In your first question Paul, where the ball played from the penalty area comes to rest in the same penalty area, this is fully covered under Rule 17.2a. You can drop another ball at the same point and take stroke-and- distance relief, or one of the other three options for relief from a red penalty area (Rule 17.1d).
    Ref # 110 is a similar situation for a ball lost after playing from the penalty area and this is detailed under Rule 17.2b.
    Paul you need to read all these Rules to fully answer all details. I hope you have access to a Rules of Golf book but if not go to:

  • #110

    Paul Sharples (Tuesday, 10 March 2020 01:36)

    Hi Jack,
    Taking my last query a bit further:-
    Player hits ball into red penalty area. Ball is playable & he hits it. Ball hits tree outside penalty area and then cannot be found. What are players options & penalties ?

  • #109

    Paul Sharples (Tuesday, 10 March 2020 01:32)

    Player hits ball into red penalty area. Ball is playable & he hits it. Ball stays in penalty area but now unplayable. What are players options & penalties ?

  • #108

    Jack (Sunday, 16 February 2020 16:50)

    Ref #107
    The definition of Four Ball Match Play is:-
    "A form of play where sides of two partners compete, with each player playing his or her own ball. A side’s score for a hole is the lower score of the two partners on that hole."
    The player who picks up his/her ball loses the hole being played, but the player's partner continues play and competes against the other players scores for the hole.
    Dayle, I hope this answers your question clearly.

  • #107

    Dayle lucas (Sunday, 16 February 2020 00:04)

    Hey Jack in a fourball match that is also playing single if one player picks up his ball what happens in fourball? Thanks

  • #106

    Jack (Tuesday, 11 February 2020 16:15)

    Ref #105
    Yes Ray, your opponent can ask that you mark your ball. I quote Rule 15.3a which applies only to a ball at rest on the putting green, not anywhere else on the course.
    "If a player reasonably believes that a ball on the putting green might help anyone’s play (such as by serving as a possible backstop near the hole), the player may:
    Mark the spot of the ball and lift it under Rule 13.1b if it is his or her own ball, or if the ball belongs to another player, require the other player to mark the spot and lift the ball (see Rule 14.1).
    The lifted ball must be replaced on its original spot (see Rule 14.2)."
    If you were playing Stroke Play:
    "A player who is required to lift a ball may play first instead."

  • #105

    Ray (Tuesday, 11 February 2020 01:38)

    Hi Jack, if in matchplay my ball is on the green close to the flagstick,can my opponent insist that i mark my ball even though he is about to play his shot from 120 metres away,

  • #104

    Jack (Friday, 24 January 2020 02:31)

    Ref #103
    Rule 22 covers all the issues with the form of play called Foursomes and the Rules of Golf are essentially the same as for individual play except that the partners play out each hole with alternate shots.
    Any penalties incurred are included in the score of the hole being played whether it is match play or stroke play.
    Rose, if you need any more information, please message me again.

  • #103

    Rose (Wednesday, 22 January 2020 19:50)

    In a 4some do you add the penalty at the end of the hole .

  • #102

    Jack (Tuesday, 21 January 2020 02:20)

    Ref #101
    To answer your question fully Ray, we need more information as to why the caddy removed the flagstick when the ball was in motion.
    Rule 13.2a(3) reads as follows - "The player and his or her caddie must not deliberately move or remove the flagstick to affect where the player’s ball in motion might come to rest (such as to avoid having the ball hit the flagstick). If this is done, the player gets the general penalty.
    "But there is no penalty if the player has the flagstick in the hole moved or removed for any other reason, such as when he or she reasonably believes that the ball in motion will not hit the flagstick before coming to rest."
    Only someone playing in that group can explain why the flagstick was removed and whether the player should have been penalised.
    Hope that answers your question Ray.

  • #101

    Ray (Monday, 20 January 2020 21:35)

    Ball played from off green to pin at speed to go past 3-4 yards. Player/caddy removes pin,ball goes past. Should pin have been removed?

  • #100

    Jack (Friday, 03 January 2020 01:29)

    Ref #98
    Thanks for your question Paul, and I think the best way to answer is to quote from the Rule Book which became effective January 2019.
    "In match play, the order of play is fundamental; if a player plays out of turn, the opponent may cancel that stroke and make the player play again."
    Rule 6.4a(2) - "If the player plays when it was the opponent's turn to play, there is no penalty but the opponent may cancel the stroke:
    This must be done promptly and before either player makes another stroke. When the opponent cancels the stroke, he or she cannot withdraw the cancellation.
    If the opponent cancels the stroke, the player must, when it is his or her turn to play, play a ball from where that stroke was made."
    As the stroke played out of turn has been cancelled, he/she will have no ball in play and if they don't play another ball they will, of course, lose the hole!

  • #99

    Jack (Thursday, 02 January 2020 21:10)

    Ref #97
    From your description Paul, I am unclear if all the balls were on the green! But to answer your question I have assumed that all balls were on the green.
    Player's ball on the green, he putts and strikes ball B. He only asked for ball A to be marked (which you did) so when he hit ball B, he incurs the General Penalty.
    The fact that he had a bad putt and hit your ball B is his error and in no way can he pass any blame on to you.
    (I hope I have understood your question correctly Paul.)

  • #98

    Paul Sharples (Thursday, 02 January 2020 04:02)

    Dear Jack.
    A player without the honor tees off first in Matchplay but refuses to replay his shot when asked to do so.
    Please what is the ruling ?

  • #97

    Paul Orange (Tuesday, 31 December 2019 05:15)

    Opponent to put from edge of green 30 feet away. Two balls within 8 feet of the green, 4 feet apart. He states he can't putt until ball A marked (my ball is ball B). So instead of marking my ball B I mark ball A (player of ball A still walking to green) so opponent can putt ( under Ready Golf). He hits a poor putt 4 feet off line and hits my unmarked ball. Rather than taking 2 shot penalty, he blames me for not carrying enough ball markers. Is this reasonable?

  • #96

    Jack (Thursday, 12 December 2019 02:10)

    Ref # 94
    Boundary Fences are classified as "Boundary Objects" Theuns, and you can read the details under "Definitions" in the Rule Book. As follows:-
    Boundary Object
    Artificial objects defining or showing out of bounds, such as walls, fences, stakes and railings, from which free relief is not allowed.
    This includes any base and post of a boundary fence, but does not include:
    Angled supports or guy wires that are attached to a wall or fence, or
    Any steps, bridge or similar construction used for getting over the wall or fence.
    Boundary objects are treated as immovable even if they are movable or any part of them is movable (see Rule 8.1a).
    Boundary objects are not obstructions or integral objects.
    There is a lot more on this subject covered under Rule 8 and it is worthwhile reading it in full.

  • #95

    Jack (Wednesday, 11 December 2019 14:43)

    Ref #93
    This matter is clearly covered under Rule 6.3c(2).
    "(2) What to Do When Player’s Ball Was Played by Another Player as Wrong Ball.
    If it is known or virtually certain that the player’s ball was played by another player as a wrong ball, the player must replace the original ball or another ball on the original spot (which if not known must be estimated)".
    So Richard, that's how I proceed. You however, receive the General Penalty - Loss of Hole in Match Play / 2-stroke penalty in Stroke Play.

  • #94

    Theuns Scheepers (Wednesday, 11 December 2019 14:09)

    Hi. I want to know if a player's swing is restricted by a border fence, does the player get a one club relief or does he get penalised and what is the reference to the R & A rule? The situation was that someone tee'ed off, his ball came to rest near the border fence but within the golf course boundaries, the player is a right handed player and had no swing.

  • #93

    Richard (Wednesday, 11 December 2019 05:23)

    If I hit your ball in error, how do you proceed?


  • #92

    Jack (Friday, 06 December 2019 20:02)

    Ref #91
    I cannot understand your playing partners's objection to your use of a glove finger to your injured finger. There is no Rule that prevents you using a golf glove on both hands therefore using part of a glove is legal also.
    Rule 4.3a(5) - " Gloves and Gripping Agents.
    Allowed. - Using a plain glove that meets the requirements in the Equipment Rules.
    Rule 4.3b(1) - Medical Exception. A player is not in breach of Rule 4.3 if he or she uses equipment to help with a medical condition, so long as:
    The player has a medical reason to use the equipment, and The Committee decides that its use does not give the player any unfair advantage over other players.
    Rule 4.3b(2) - Tape or Similar Coverings. A player may use adhesive tape or a similar covering for any medical reason but the tape or covering must not:
    Be applied excessively, or Help the player more than is necessary for the medical reason (for example, it must not immobilize a joint to help the player swing the club).
    Hope that answers your question Derek.

  • #91

    Derek Philipps (Thursday, 05 December 2019 19:05)

    Hi Jack,
    I recently went to play a round with a cut on my finger,to protect it I used a cut off piece off an old glove to protect my finger,(just on that finger)one of my playing partners stated that this was illegal,can you please confirm if he is correct or not
    Many Thanks

  • #90

    Jack (Thursday, 28 November 2019 02:18)

    Ref #89
    Ginnie, your question is clearly answered under the following two Rules.
    3.3b(1) Marker’s Responsibility: Entering and Certifying Hole Scores on Scorecard. After each hole during the round, the marker should confirm with the player the number of strokes on that hole (including strokes made and penalty strokes) and enter that gross score on the scorecard.
    3.3b(2) (2) Player’s Responsibility: Certifying Hole Scores and Returning Scorecard. During the round, the player should keep track of his or her scores for each hole.
    When the round has ended, the player should carefully check the hole scores entered by the marker. Make sure that the marker certifies the hole scores on the scorecard, and must not change a hole score entered by the marker. except with the marker's agreement.

  • #89

    Ginnie (Wednesday, 27 November 2019 00:02)

    Is it a Rule of golf, that I am obligated to count my opponents strokes during a game, or is the responsibility theirs to do that and then tell me once the hole is completed? Thanks in advance.

  • #88

    Jack (Tuesday, 19 November 2019 01:26)

    Ref #87
    When you talk of "placing on course" Heather, I assume you are referring to "Preferred Lies" which is the official title for what we all call "Clean & Place".
    Local Rules are the responsibility of the club committee who should clearly post them for all players to read before playing the course. Clean & Place is considered a Temporary Local Rule and should be removed when course conditions do not require such relief.
    The Match Committee of the day should decide when this Rule applies. For general play that would be the main Match Committee, but for special competition days or one-off competitions, the organising committee makes the decision.

  • #87

    Heather (Monday, 18 November 2019 22:03)

    Who,s responsibility to put placing on course

  • #86

    Jack (Saturday, 09 November 2019 16:09)

    Ref #85
    Good question Bari, but Rule 14.2b(1) clearly states:-
    The player’s ball must be replaced under the Rules only by:
    The player, or any person who lifted the ball or caused it to move (even if that person was not allowed to do so under the Rules).
    If the player plays a ball that was replaced by someone not allowed to do so, the player gets one penalty stroke.
    Applying that Rule to the second part of your question, only the player can replace a ball that does not stay on original spot.

  • #85

    Bari (Saturday, 09 November 2019 02:08)

    Rule 14 explains about marking, lifting, cleaning ball. But nothing is in this Rule who may place the ball. Rule 10.3b(3) bullet 4 says, "Caddie is not allowed to drop and place a ball in relief area". I come to a conclusion from this that only player is allowed to place a ball.
    When a moved ball by a fellow player is replaced by him (fellow player) does not stay on the original spot after two tries, can he (fellow player) place the ball on the the nearest spot where the ball will stay (Rule 14.2e).

  • #84

    Jack (Thursday, 07 November 2019 16:12)

    Ref #82
    This subject, as covered under Rule 14.1a, was discussed recently under the Local Rule - Preferred Lies. Although a player is not required to mark the spot before lifting the ball, it was pointed out that it could be a problem locating the reference point after lifting and cleaning a ball. It was therefore "recommended" that the point should be marked thus ensuring that the relief area is clearly established.
    As far as marking is concerned, as there is no fixed rule when dropping in a relief area, you can mark with any of the items you suggest Peter.

  • #83

    Jack (Thursday, 07 November 2019 15:18)

    Ref #81
    When you say "not levelled properly" I assume you are referring to damage on the putting green.
    Under Rule 13.1c(2) - A player may repair damage on the putting green without penalty by taking reasonable actions to restore the putting green as nearly as possible to its original condition. But if the player improves the putting green by taking actions that exceed what is reasonable to restore the putting green to its original condition the player gets the general penalty for breach of Rule 8.1a.
    “Damage on the putting green” means any damage caused by a person or outside influence, such as:
    Ball marks, shoe damage (such as spike marks) and scrapes or indentations caused by equipment or a flagstick, old hole plugs, turf plugs, seams of cut turf and scrapes or indentations from maintenance tools or vehicles, animal tracks or hoof indentations, and embedded objects (such as a stone, acorn or tee).
    If you were meaning something more than the above when you said "not levelled properly" then you cannot take any action - remember the old saying Gan -
    "Play the course as you find it"!!

  • #82

    Peter (Thursday, 07 November 2019 12:31)

    Taking relief and use of tee pegs. Rule 14.1 a. “When a ball is lifted to take relief under a rule the player is not required to mark the spot before lifting ball”. Is it then necessary to use tee pegs ( or similar ) to mark reference point and relief area before dropping ball? Or can relief area be indicated just by laying down longest club? Or, is it even necessary to use club if your drop is obviously within one club length of reference point? ( 2 club lengths if dropping under penalty ).

  • #81

    Gan (Thursday, 07 November 2019 01:35)

    If the ground around the hole is not levelled properly, are we allowed to tap around the hole before making a putt?

  • #80

    Jack (Sunday, 03 November 2019 16:30)

    Ref #79
    You should take this up with the Match Committee of your club Greg. This type of behaviour is not acceptable at any time. It may be difficult for you as he is on the committee, and I suggest you talk to the Club Captain, or another senior official.
    Regarding Rules of Golf, refer to Rule 3.3b which states the responsibilities of both Marker and Player in recording scores. This should have taken place when you had different scores for Hole 4.
    Regarding the match you were playing, I would definitely agree that the match was conceded when your opponent threw your card to you at hole 9 and left the course. Rule 3.2b(2) reads:-
    A concession is made only when clearly communicated. This can be done either verbally or by an action that clearly shows the player’s intent to concede the stroke, the hole or the match (such as making a gesture).
    His gesture was very clear!!

  • #79

    Greg (Sunday, 03 November 2019 07:24)

    playing a medal, on hole 4 my marker put me down for 7, I had a six and stated so. He flew off the handle, accused me of cheating and every attempt by me to calm him and suggest we count the strokes together was met with venom. we were also playing the club singles knock out which I was 3 up at the time. anyway he threw my card at me onafter 9 and drove away not to be seen again. he is on the committee so I signed my card and submitted it with match won by concession on it.. didnt go to prizegiving and waiting to hear.

  • #78

    Jack (Sunday, 27 October 2019 02:51)

    Ref #77
    From your question Christine, I suggest that you and this person who marks your card, should read Rule 3.3b "Scoring in Stroke Play" in the Player's Edition of the Rules of Golf. (This is the small book issued to all members of golf clubs from the R&A and USGA).
    Rule 3.3b(1) details the Marker's Responsibility: Entering and Certifying Hole Scores on Scorecard, and Rule 3.3b(2) details the Player's Responsibility.
    There should be no situation where one is telling the other that their score is wrong. It is just a matter of fact and should be discussed and agreed after each hole.
    I hope this helps you sort this matter out - or perhaps you need a different marker!

  • #77

    Christine (Saturday, 26 October 2019 17:36)

    Hi when I play with a certain person and they are not marking my card but keep telling me my score and sometimes tells me I’m wrong which upsets me, is this person allowed to tell me off?
    Thank you

  • #76

    Jack (Thursday, 24 October 2019 22:21)

    Re #75
    No Bob, as soon as the result of the hole is decided, in this case by a concession (or gimme), the player may practise putting or chipping on or near the putting green of the hole just completed and any practice green. ( Rule 5.5b).
    Strokes made by a player in playing out a hole whose result has been decided are not practice strokes. (Rule 5.5a).

    Strokes made by a player in playing out a hole whose result has been decided.

  • #75

    Bob (Thursday, 24 October 2019 11:07)

    In match play, when a player declares an opposing players upcoming putt to be good, in other words a gimme, is that player obligated to pick his ball up and not putt?

  • #74

    Jack (Saturday, 19 October 2019 00:36)

    Re Friday Newsletter Query
    There are some actions that result in penalties in a bunker, such as testing the sand, etc. (Rule 12.2b(1)), but in answer to the position of the player in your photograph, no penalty applies.
    Under Rule 12.2b(2) Placing clubs, equipment or other objects in the bunker (whether by throwing or setting them down) - no penalty. But the player gets the general penalty if his or her actions in touching the sand improve the conditions affecting the stroke.
    Please pass this answer to your readers. Jack

  • #73

    Jack (Thursday, 17 October 2019 18:32)

    Ref #72
    Good question Macke, and the best way to answer it is for me to quote Rule 18.2a :-
    "(1) When Ball Is Lost. A ball is lost if not found in three minutes after the player or his or her caddie begins to search for it.
    If a ball is found in that time but it is uncertain whether it is the player’s ball:
    The player must promptly attempt to identify the ball (see Rule 7.2) and is allowed a reasonable time to do so, even if that happens after the three-minute search time has ended.
    This includes a reasonable time to get to the ball if the player is not where the ball is found.
    If the player does not identify his or her ball in that reasonable time, the ball is lost."
    The main point here is that the 3-minute search time limit does not start until the player or caddie begin the search. The player cannot give anyone, other than the caddie, authority to search. Anyone else searching is only being helpful.
    If there are supporters and/or spectators it is normal for any nearby to start searching for any player's ball.

  • #72

    Macke (Thursday, 17 October 2019 01:23)

    Subject: search time for the ball .
    Almost in all cases when the player authorise somebody to do anything with his / her ball , the player is responsible for the action of that person, but this is not the case with search time , the player may authorise 10 people (friends and family members) to start searching as soon as the players Tee off and before the player reach the spot where the his / her ball may be found , and that may result in 10 people search for the player in around 5 minutes before the player join them and then continue all of including the player for additional 3 minutes which make it unfair search time to the fellow competitor who is alone and has 3 minutes search time. This situation is very common in amateur competition specially on club level.
    (it is different for PGA, LPGA etc where ther is always a lot of spectators who are volentary helps all players without authorisation from players) . Why couldn´t be the search time 3 minutes when any body start searching for the ball authorised by the player or his caddy. should it not be the game fair in all aspects even in search time.
    What is the reason that USGA and R&A has a good interpretation on this?
    Thankful for answer

  • #71

    Jack (Thursday, 10 October 2019 19:05)

    ref #69
    You are quite correct "golfing joe", but I did not considerate it necessary to go into the full relief procedure for a Red Penalty Area.
    To answer his question in detail I would have required a full description of the hole - including bunker, green and penalty area.

  • #70

    Jack (Thursday, 10 October 2019 18:55)

    ref #68
    You did not tell me whether you were playing Stroke or Match Play Roy, as the answers are covered under different Rules.
    Rule 11.2b A player gets the general penalty if he or she deliberately deflects or stops any ball in motion.
    General Penalty - Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.
    Stroke Play -
    Rule 11.2b(2) The stroke does not count, and the original ball or another ball must be replaced on its original spot and replayed.
    Match Play -
    Rule 3.2b(1) - The player may concede the opponent's next stroke by deflecting or stopping the opponent's ball in motion.
    For more information Roy, go to -

  • #69

    golfing_joe (Wednesday, 09 October 2019 16:39)

    Jack. Your answer #67 is strange. The guy does not say where the flagstick is, he just said he hit it over the green. It would have to be a very precise point of entry to not have a valid relief area. It would almost take some string measured from the flagstick to prove no point of the equidistant arc is further from the hole. I would always offer something, even if it was just a slither outside the penalty area.

  • #68

    Roy T. (Wednesday, 09 October 2019 04:10)

    My opponent stopped my putt deliberately with his club on the green, what is the penalty please.

  • #67

    Jack (Sunday, 29 September 2019 03:35)

    Ref #66
    Your ball is in - what is now called a Red Penalty Area - and from your description your only option is Stroke and Distance Kurtis. That is dropping a ball back in the bunker within one club-length of where your last stroke was made. Penalty one stroke.
    You can drop out from a penalty area within two club-lengths of where it entered, but in your case this would be nearer the hole, so not available.

  • #66

    Kurtis (Sunday, 29 September 2019 00:19)

    If i hit outta a bunker and it flew over the green into a red stake hazard can i drop the ball in line behind the bunker

  • #65

    Kathy (Thursday, 26 September 2019 07:01)

    Thanks for your answer.
    My understanding of Rule 1.3c(4) is that when multiple breaches of the same rule occur before an intervening event (i.e., her stroke), she would receive one penalty stroke - so if she did not mark her ball before lifting at 3 separate locations on a hole, she would receive an additional 3 penalty strokes for that hole under Rule 14.1. However, if each time she also played from a wrong place, she would receive the higher penalty of two strokes under Rule 14.7 for a total of 6 penalty strokes on the hole.
    Also, I don't think Rule 14.1b is applicable in this case because Rule 7.3 gives the player the authority to lift a ball if it "cannot be identified as it lies". I think what's at issue here is the phrase "cannot be identified as it lies" because we're talking about her ability to identify a ball without her glasses. The question becomes - is it reasonably necessary to lift the ball to identify it.
    Thanks again for your help. I think I'm pretty well armed to take this situation on the next time it arises.

  • #64

    Jack (Tuesday, 24 September 2019 18:36)

    Ref #63
    Kathy you will need a Rule book to understand my reply.... we have several Rules that apply to your question.
    First, the lifting to identify is covered under Rule 7.3 as your player gets a one-stroke penalty for not marking before lifting.
    Secondly, under the same Rule, she would incur another penalty if she cleaned the ball more than necessary to identify it.
    Thirdly, if she doesn't replace her ball on the same place, she can be penalised under Rule 14.7a with a two-stroke penalty for playing from a wrong place.
    Lastly, under Rule 1.3c(4) for multiple breaches of the same acts, she would incur only one of each penalty for the whole round.
    Finally, you must read Rule 14.1 which covers marking, lifting, cleaning and who may lift ball. The last one - Rule 14.1b - answers your question about lifting a fellow competitor's ball without authority.
    If you are playing Match Play, read Rule 9.5 for rulings.
    A bit of reading required Kathy, but I hope it all helps.