ASK JACK - About the Rules of Golf

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Comments: 243
  • #243

    Jack (Saturday, 28 November 2020 19:51)

    Ref #241
    This "hole out" situation is not covered in the Rules except that Rule 22 clearly states the order of play.

    Rule 22.3 - Side Must Alternate in Making Strokes
    "On each hole, the partners must make each stroke for the side in alternating order".

    The fact that one hole is out Richard, should not change the Alternate Shot routine. All it will mean is that the even tee player will become the odd tee player.

  • #242

    Jack (Saturday, 28 November 2020 17:26)

    Ref #240
    Hi Robyn. Yes, as learner, you will get advice but not always according to the Rules of Golf!

    To answer your question we need to look at the Definition of a "Stroke" which reads:-
    "The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.

    But a stroke has not been made if the player:
    Decides during the downswing not to strike the ball and avoids doing so by deliberately stopping the clubhead before it reaches the ball or, if unable to stop, by deliberately missing the ball.
    Accidentally strikes the ball when making a practice swing or while preparing to make a stroke."

    The main point is that the player must INTEND to strike the ball, and if he/she misses or hits the ground, it is still a stroke.

  • #241

    Richard (Saturday, 28 November 2020 10:12)

    I have a Question about Foursomes, in a competition if a hole is out of play should you keep the alternate teeing off nature of the game or say it’s the 16 hole out of play should the player taking odd holes tee off 15 and 17 two holes in a row. Thank you

  • #240

    Robyn (Friday, 27 November 2020 17:42)

    Hi if a player steps up and puts their club to the ball and knocks the ball off the tee is this counted as a shot ? Or only if they had pulled their club back to take a swing ? Also I always thought air shots and hitting ground instead of ball also counted as shots. Has that changed too ? Many thanks. Learner golfer. It seems to depend on whom I am playing what rules they are applying. I count everything !! Cheers.

  • #239

    Jack (Sunday, 22 November 2020 01:22)

    Ref 238
    Guides to the Rules of Golf have been around for many years Bruce and can be useful for a quick reference, but if a serious ruling is required during a game, they can only be "a guide".

    The only true reference is the official "Rules of Golf" and there are ways of delaying a ruling until the end of a round explained in his book.

  • #238

    Bruce Miller JD (Thursday, 19 November 2020 23:37)

    What do you think about guides to the rules of golf? They give quick answers rather than flipping pages and slow up play

  • #237

    Jack (Thursday, 19 November 2020 02:17)

    Ref 235
    Sorry for the late reply Ray.
    As your opponent asked you to lift the provisional ball, he incurs a one-stroke penalty under Rule 9.4b. It must be replaced as per 9.4a.

    The other Rule that now applies is 1.3c(4) it reads:-
    - Multiple Procedural Breaches. If a player’s single act or related acts breach more than one of the procedural requirements for marking, lifting, cleaning, dropping, replacing or placing a ball where the penalty is one stroke, such as both lifting a ball without marking its spot and cleaning the lifted ball when not allowed, the player gets one penalty stroke in total.

    This penalty is the same in Stroke and Match Play.

  • #236

    Jack (Tuesday, 17 November 2020 18:32)

    Ref #233
    I cannot find any reference to the drop you mention Cliff, but knowing the PGA, I cannot imagine there was anything wrong with the drop or he would have been spoken to.

    Perhaps the camera angle gave a wrong impression of the distances.

  • #235

    ray gormann (Monday, 16 November 2020 16:17)

    My opponent hit his tee shot into long grass (we thought) and played a provisional. He went to look for original tee shot, found it and asked me to pick up his provisional, which I did. Upon further investigation of the position of the original ball we discovered it was out of bounds and he should now be playing the provisional (which was in my hand). What penalties should apply - both in match play and stroke play?

  • #234

    Jack (Sunday, 15 November 2020 16:11)

    Ref #233
    Sorry Cliff, I haven't seen the incident you mention, but if I can find a replay I will give you my comments.
    Regards, Jack

  • #233

    Cliff Knowlden (Sunday, 15 November 2020 03:34)

    Hi Jack
    Just watching 3rd round coverage of Masters. Surely Justin Thomas drop on 15 was never hole than point of entry?

  • #232

    Jack (Thursday, 12 November 2020 18:16)

    Ref #231
    Rule 1.3c(4) gives the full answer to your question Joe. It is a long Rule not detailed in The Player's Edition of the "Rules of Golf" so I have copied it below:-

    Rule 1.3c(4) Applying Penalties to Multiple Breaches of the Rules.
    If a player breaches multiple Rules or the same Rule multiple times before an intervening event happens (such as making a stroke or becoming aware of the breach), the penalty that applies depends on what the player did:
    When Breaches Resulted from Unrelated Acts. The player gets a separate penalty for each breach.
    When Breaches Resulted from a Single Act or Related Acts. The player gets only one penalty; but if the act or acts breached multiple Rules involving different penalties, the higher-level penalty applies. For example:
    Multiple Procedural Breaches. If a player’s single act or related acts breach more than one of the procedural requirements for marking, lifting, cleaning, dropping, replacing or placing a ball where the penalty is one stroke, such as both lifting a ball without marking its spot and cleaning the lifted ball when not allowed, the player gets one penalty stroke in total.
    Playing Incorrectly Substituted Ball from a Wrong Place. In stroke play, if a player plays a substituted ball when not allowed in breach of Rule 6.3b and also plays that ball from a wrong place in breach of Rule 14.7a, the player gets two penalty strokes in total.
    Combined Procedural and Substitution/Wrong Place Breaches: In stroke play, if a player’s single act or related acts breach one or more procedural requirements where the penalty is one stroke and also breach one or both of the Rules against playing an incorrectly substituted ball and playing from a wrong place, the player gets two penalty strokes in total.

    But any penalty strokes a player gets for taking penalty relief (such as a one-stroke penalty under Rules 17.1, 18.1 and 19.2) are always applied in addition to any other penalties.

    I think we can agree Joe, that your player's actions fall into Multiple Breaches and incorrectly Substituted Ball, which means he gets Two Penalty Strokes in Total.
    Regards, Jack

  • #231

    Joe Keates (Thursday, 12 November 2020 04:27)

    A player plays from the tee. The ball fails to fly the expected distance and has a strange flight shape. He feels he hit it well and decides the ball must be damaged. On reaching the ball he marks its position, lifts it , cleans it , can see no damage but decides to sustitute another ball anyway. He drops the ball using the marker as his reference point and plays the ball. There are several infringements here - cleaning ball, wrongly substituting ball, dropping instead of placing and playing from a wrong place; all are related and so is the penalty the one general penailty of two points or are there multiple penalties?
    Would greatly appreciate your help.

  • #230

    Jack (Friday, 30 October 2020 17:44)

    Ref #229
    Good question John, and the answer depends on your club's Local Rules.

    Rule 11.1 If a player’s ball in motion accidentally hits any person or outside influence:
    There is no penalty to any player.

    Rule 11.1b If a player’s ball in motion accidentally hits any person or outside influence, the ball must be played as it lies..........

    I have abbreviated these Rules but you can read them in full in your Rule book.
    The power lines fall into the category of "outside influence".
    The answer therefore is that you must play from the hazard (now called a penalty zone).

    However, if the power lines are a permanent feature on your course the committee should have a Local Rule as below:
    Model Local Rule E-11
    "If it is known or virtually certain that a player's ball hit a power line [or tower or a wire or pole supporting a power line] during the play of [specify hole number], the stroke does not count. The player must play a ball without penalty from where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6 for what to do).

    This shows the importance of checking Local Rules before play John.

  • #229

    John Higson (Thursday, 29 October 2020 07:34)

    If you're ball strikes an overhead power line and ends up in an hazard. Are you entitled to a repeat shot without penalty

  • #228

    Jack (Wednesday, 28 October 2020 19:13)

    Ref #227
    Hi James. The details below are the recommendations from the R&A when Combining Match Play and Stroke Play

    "The combining of match play and stroke play is discouraged as certain Rules are substantially different between the two formats. But there will be times when players either request to combine the two forms of play or, having done so on their own, request a ruling.

    If a Committee chooses to allow players to play a match while competing in a stroke-play competition, it is recommended that the players be advised that the Rules for stroke play apply throughout. For example, no concessions are allowed and if one player plays out of turn, the other does not have the option of recalling the stroke.

    If the Committee is asked for a ruling when players have combined match play and stroke play, it should apply the Rules of Golf as they would apply to each of match play and stroke play separately. For example, if one player did not complete a hole for whatever reason then he or she is disqualified from the stroke-play competition for a breach of Rule 3.3c.
    But, for Stableford, & Maximum Score see Rules 21.1c(2), 21.2c

  • #227

    James (Tuesday, 27 October 2020 23:04)

    Hi Jack. Players A & B are in the match final and everyone else is in the daily S'ford comp. A & B pay to enter the daily comp and say they will hole how even if the hole has been decided, can they do this.

  • #226

    Jack (Tuesday, 27 October 2020 18:57)

    Ref #225
    The ruling you were given was correct Tom as no reference was made during the match about calling for a ruling.

    Please refer to:-
    Rule 20.1b Rules Issues in Match Play
    In particular - 20.1b(1) Deciding Issues by Agreement. During a round, the players in a match may agree how to decide a Rules issue.

    Also 20.1b(3) Ruling Request Made After Result of Match Is Final.
    When a player makes a request for a ruling after the result of the match is final.

    There is quite a lot of reading here Tom. I suggest you log into the R&A or USGA to read all the details.

    Finally regarding concessions Rule 30.2b (1) and (2) give you all the answers. Good luck!

  • #225

    Tom (Sunday, 25 October 2020 23:23)

    Sorry for my difficult message on 220. It became obvious that neither player knew the 'out of order play' rule but the player who called the penalty and who should have canceled the stroke insisted that 'out of order play' meant loss of hole. That player picked up his ball (didn't finish the hole), left the hole, went to the next hole and immediately played. When questioned about the rule the player who called the penalty was insistent that he was right and that he had seen this in match play before.

    The ruling was that as they went to the next hole and played, did not call for a referee, they therefore had agreed on the ruling. The player who won the hole by calling the incorrect penalty play (i.e. replace and putt over without loss of stroke) went on to win the match by that one hole.

    So what is your opinion of the player who won with respect to the overarching principle of fairness and integrity in the game of golf. This player found out immediately after the round that they had made the wrong call. Many feel that based on the effect the incorrect call had on the match that the winning player should have conceded the match to his opponent or at a minimum recused himself from the remaining rounds of tournament play.

    Can a player concede a match if he knows his incorrect call has influenced the win or recuse himself from remaining play as simply an ethical decision?

  • #224

    Jack (Wednesday, 21 October 2020 21:48)

    Ref #222
    Neil your question is easily answered by referring to :-

    Rule 9.6 Ball Lifted or Moved by Outside Influence
    If it is known or virtually certain that an outside influence (including another player in stroke play or another ball) lifted or moved a player’s ball:

    There is no penalty, and
    The ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated)

    So the answer is Neil, that you replace your ball back on the fairway, and your opponent plays from where his ball finished after it hit your ball.

  • #223

    Jack (Wednesday, 21 October 2020 21:33)

    Ref #220
    Tom, I must refer you the Rule that answers the question of the situation you described at the 17th hole.

    Rule 6.4a Match Play
    (1) Order of Play. The player and opponent must play in this order - The ball that is farther from the hole is to be played first.

    (2) Opponent May Cancel Player’s Stroke Made Out of Turn.
    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
    If the opponent does not cancel the stroke, the stroke counts and the ball is in play and must be played as it lies.

    Reading your description of play it shows that neither of you were fully aware of the Rule for playing out of turn and that your pro shop gave you the correct answer.

    I had to read your question several times Tom as I found it hard to follow. I hope the above is helpful.

  • #222

    Neil (Monday, 19 October 2020 00:11)

    In match play, my opponent plays his ball from the rough. His ball hits my ball, at rest on the fairway, sending my ball into the rough 20 metres away.
    From where do I play my ball?

  • #221

    Jack (Sunday, 18 October 2020 21:37)

    Ref #219
    This is answered in full Peter by the following Rule :-
    "11.1 - Ball in Motion Accidentally Hits Person or Outside Influence

    If a player’s ball in motion accidentally hits any person or outside influence:
    There is no penalty to any player.
    This is true even if the ball hits the player, the opponent or any other player or any of their caddies or equipment.

  • #220

    Tom (Sunday, 18 October 2020 21:18)

    Match Play - Calling incorrect rule.

    17th hole par 4 match even. Both players off the green by a few meters in 2. Player 1 is away with awkward stance and hits his shot a meter by Player 2. Player 2 putts and sinks the shot (lucky birdie from off the green). Player 1 calls Player 2 and says that he (player 1) is away from the hole and gets to putt first. Player 1 states that the out of order playing rule states that if you putt out of order you automatically lose the hole. Player 2 questions Player 1 about the rule but Player 1 is adamant that he is correct.

    Player 1 picks up his ball and walks to the 18th hole and tees off quickly. Player 2 did not call a referee. Player 2 did not say he was going to request a ruling when the match was over. 18th hole was tied. Player 1 wins by one hole.

    Player 2 asks at the pro shop what the ruling should be and was advised that Player 1 should have requested Player 2 to replay the shot without loss of stroke. However, because Player 2 did not request a referee before the start of the 18th hole that the 17th hole must remain as a win for Player 1.

    What do you think? Somehow if a player 1 calls a wrong rule and doesn't finish the hole and picks up where player 2 has finished the hole, regardless of a referee, if player 1 got the rule wrong then the scores on the hole should reflect the outcome. Birdie for player 2 and pick up for player 1 - thus loss of hole for player 1. If they both didn't finish then perhaps a different result but that was not the case. So it is an incorrect score card that should be fixed.

  • #219

    Peter (Saturday, 17 October 2020 17:57)

    Your ball hits a oponent

  • #218

    Jack (Friday, 16 October 2020 02:10)

    Ref #217
    A strange question Tom!!! Unless your referring to me, I have never heard of a "Jack" in any golf competition.

    Perhaps you should address this to your nearest bowling club.

  • #217

    Tom (Tuesday, 13 October 2020 20:12)

    What happens when the jack is knocked out of bounds

  • #216

    Jack (Monday, 12 October 2020 22:15)

    Ref #215
    You were right Brian! Refer to the following Rule:-

    Rule 5.5a No Practice Strokes While Playing Hole
    While playing a hole, a player must not make a practice stroke at any ball on or off the course.
    These are not practice strokes:
    A practice swing made with no intent to strike a ball.
    Hitting a ball back to a practice area or to another player, when done solely as a courtesy.
    Strokes made by a player in playing out a hole whose result has been decided.

    Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.5: General Penalty.

    I would also like to comment on the player's plan to go back and play a provisional ball.
    Rule 18.3a "When Provisional Ball Is Allowed" is the one to read.
    If the player's ball is lost, a ball played from where the previous stroke was made becomes the player’s ball in play under penalty of stroke and distance (see Rule 18.1).

  • #215

    Brian (Sunday, 11 October 2020 01:28)

    Hi, during a recent medal our partner lost his ball in some bushes. He looked for it but couldn’t find out so went back to play a provisional. Whilst walking back he dropped a ball and continue to hit it up the fairway to where he hit the original shot. We think this was against the rules he thought not. Who’s right. Thanks

  • #214

    Jack (Saturday, 03 October 2020 18:06)

    Ref #211 &212
    All very complicated Gary, but I will try to answer your question.
    First you played the wrong ball and were out for the hole. Your opponent "deemed" his ball lost, but then said it had been found.

    Question - How long did it take him to find the ball?
    If his ball had not been found within three minutes, the ball is lost. Therefore he cannot play it.
    See Rule 18.2a(1) When Ball Is Lost or Out of Bounds
    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.

    My understanding of the situation is that as you and your opponent were out, and the other opponent was also out, your partner should have been the winner.

    I hope I have understood this correctly Gary, but come back if I am wrong.
    Your additional information is not relevant to the ruling.

  • #213

    Jack (Saturday, 03 October 2020 17:25)

    Ref #210
    Alan, you state that your ball went into a stream that was a Penalty area. What happened to the ball after that is not important (except that it might be lost!).

    Your next action should have been to refer to Rule 17 and take the relevant relief:-

    Rule 17 Penalty Areas
    Penalty areas are defined as either red or yellow. This affects the player’s relief options (see Rule 17.1d).

    As a point of interest have a look at Rule 9.3.
    Rule 9.3 Ball Moved by Natural Forces
    If natural forces (such as wind or water) cause a player’s ball at rest to move:
    There is no penalty, and
    The ball must be played from its new spot.

  • #212

    Gary foo (Saturday, 03 October 2020 02:42)

    Re: 211. Additional information. My plugged ball is equidistant to my opponent’s ball which is about 180 meters from tee box. My second shot is about 160 meters. My amateur opponent and I are in our seventies and we are about equal in our distances.

  • #211

    Gary Foo (Saturday, 03 October 2020 01:50)

    I played in 4 ball match play. Opponent’s tee off shot headed towards out of bounds. Three balls were seen in fairway. One was plugged and found later after players finished that hole. I played opponent’s ball for my second shot. As there were only 3 balls opponent deemed his ball lost and declared he is out (instead of dropping and taking penalty) and left it to his partner to complete. I realised my mistake when I was about to play my third shot. My opponent then said his ball has been found and proceeded to play from where the ball came to rest from my second shot as his second shot. He squared with my partner as I was out and so was his partner. We returned later and found my ball plugged deep and could not be seen. May I have a ruling please. Thanks. Gary

  • #210

    Alan (Thursday, 01 October 2020 23:40)

    I hit a ball into a concrete lined stream that was a hazard and the ball was taken by the swiftly flowing water into an out of bounds area. What is the penalty?

  • #209

    Jack (Wednesday, 30 September 2020 21:20)

    Ref #208
    Rule 9.4b Exception 2 - Rule 7.4, also Exception 4 state there is no penalty if ball is moved accidentally.

    There is no detail as to what might be used to touch the ball - hand, foot, club, etc. therefore a "touch" of a ball without causing it to move, would be covered by the same Rules with no penalty applicable.

  • #208

    Peter (Wednesday, 30 September 2020 03:57)

    Thanks for the reply , however my question was not referring to accidental movement,
    It was referring to accidental touching with the club "without causing the ball to move"
    The 4 exceptions you refer to do not cover this point
    The rule only says "Deliberately" and my question was what if "Accidentally"


  • #207

    Jack (Tuesday, 29 September 2020 18:17)

    Ref #206
    I see your reference to Interpretation 9.4.b/1, but I suggest it is better Peter, if you go to the Rules of Golf and read in full Rule 9.4.

    In particular Rule 9.4b does advise there is a one stroke penalty if a player deliberately touches or moves his ball, but there are 4 exceptions detailed including accidental movement.

    This explains various situations and is worth proper study. Hope this answers your question.

  • #206

    Peter (Monday, 28 September 2020 03:51)

    There is a one stroke penalty if a player "Deliberately" touches the ball with a club in preparing to make a stroke. Rule 9.4b/1 interpretations
    Does the same apply if the player "Accidentally" touches the ball with a club in preparing to make a stroke. ?

  • #205

    Jack (Wednesday, 23 September 2020 18:20)

    Ref #203
    I am assuming Norman that your “alignment marker” is your ball marker with a line on it.

    In which case it is perfectly legal and must be removed before putting as per Rule 14.1a

  • #204

    Jack (Wednesday, 23 September 2020 18:04)

    Ref #202
    Hi Yahya.
    The first point to answer is when you moved your opponent's ball by mistake.
    Rule 9.5b Exception 2 reads:- Marking and Lifting Player’s Ball on Putting Green by Mistake:
    There is no penalty when the opponent marks the spot of the player’s ball and lifts it on the putting green in the mistaken belief that it is the opponent's own ball.
    However, if you didn't mark it the same Rule reads:-
    If the opponent lifts or deliberately touches the player’s ball at rest or causes it to move, the opponent gets one penalty stroke.

    This should not have changed the state of the match as your partner does not receive a penalty, and from your description it appears that he won the hole.

    I hope this helps Yahya but come back to me if you need any more information.

  • #203

    norman darby (Wednesday, 23 September 2020 05:21)

    have an alignment marker with line down middle is it ok to use in competitions if i remove it before i putt

  • #202

    Yahya Osman (Monday, 21 September 2020 09:42)

    Hello jack
    I had a situation in match play where i was on the putting green with my opponent in one yard who was putting the same number of shots with my partner
    I unintentionally moved hes ball thinking lt was Mine As our balls where with in one meter and i was out with shots on that whole
    Due to that they gave us a lost of hole?we won the hole oponent triple putted and my partner putted twice
    Whats the ruling?

  • #201

    Jack (Sunday, 20 September 2020 19:32)

    Ref #199
    When taking relief under this local rule Curtis, the normal procedure applies. Refer to Rule 14.3.

    That is that you find your nearest point of relief where the sprinkler head does not interfere with your line of play. You must drop your ball within one club-length of that point (not nearer the hole). If your ball rolls outside that drop area, you drop a second time, if it rolls out again, you place it where you last dropped.
    The ball is now "in play".

    No more running away 15 feet!! Good luck.

  • #200

    Jack (Sunday, 20 September 2020 19:16)

    Ref #198
    To answer your question Mike, I will quote the wording in Rule 4.1a(3) which reads:-
    " 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..........."
    "By applying any substance to the clubhead (other than in cleaning it) to affect how it performs in making a stroke."

    Wiping your club on the ground is a common method of cleaning while playing the game so, if that is all you are doing, I cannot see any violation of the Rules.

  • #199

    CURTIS (Saturday, 19 September 2020 05:30)


  • #198

    Mike Charvat (Thursday, 17 September 2020 20:52)

    I notice early in the morning when my driver has dew on it, I hit the ball straighter. Would intentionally wiping the face of my club on the wet ground be considered a rules violation?

  • #197

    ian (Thursday, 17 September 2020 05:57)

    Jack thanks for the ruling. He did play the ball before the original ball was found.

  • #196

    Jack (Wednesday, 16 September 2020 22:56)

    Ref #193
    Interesting situation Ian but you didn't give me quite enough information to fully answer the question.

    When you said "the player takes relief", I assume he dropped a ball BUT did he play it BEFORE his original ball was found?

    Under Rules 14.4 & 14.5 if he had dropped a ball and the first ball was found before he played it, he could have corrected the mistake.
    If he had played the dropped ball, then that became the ball in play including the penalty stroke for relief from the Red Penalty Area (no longer called Lateral Water Hazard!) and the original ball no longer counts.

    You should read these two Rules as they are very detailed.

  • #195

    Jack (Wednesday, 16 September 2020 18:08)

    Ref #192
    Your question is easily answered by Rule 9.6:-
    "Ball Lifted or Moved by Outside Influence"
    If it is known or virtually certain that an outside influence (including another player in stroke play or another ball) lifted or moved a player’s ball:
    There is no penalty, and
    The ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated) (see Rule 14.2).

    So Ball A, is replaced where it was on the fairway, and Ball B is played from where it lies.

    Stephe, it is important to understand the Definition of "Outside Inflence" -
    "Any of these people or things that can affect what happens to a player’s ball or equipment or to the course:
    Any person (including another player), except the player or his or her caddie or the player’s partner or opponent or any of their caddies,
    Any animal, and
    Any natural or artificial object or anything else (including another ball in motion), except for natural forces."

  • #194

    Jack (Wednesday, 16 September 2020 17:48)

    Ref #191
    Sorry Mark, no practising while playing a hole.
    Rule 5.5a :-
    "No Practice Strokes While Playing Hole"
    While playing a hole, a player must not make a practice stroke at any ball on or off the course.

    These are not practice strokes:
    - A practice swing made with no intent to strike a ball.
    - Hitting a ball back to a practice area or to another player, when done solely as a courtesy.

    Rule 5.5b also restricts practise between holes:-
    "Between two holes, a player must not make a practice stroke."
    Exception – The player may practise putting or chipping on or near:
    The putting green of the hole just completed and any practice green (see Rule 13.1e), and
    The teeing area of the next hole.

    But such practice strokes must not be made from a bunker and must not unreasonably delay play (see Rule 5.6a).