ASK JACK - About the Rules of Golf

If you would like to make a comment or ask Jack about the Rules of Golf,  please provide your name (First name will do) and question, then click SEND. Jack will respond on this page.

Comments: 127
  • #127

    Jack (Thursday, 04 June 2020 00:43)

    Ref #126
    From your description Wayne, I would define the area marked with red stakes, as a Red Penalty Area.
    If you refer to Rule 17.1d this defines the relief available if your ball is in this area. The fact that it is under construction and no entry allowed will mean that you have lost your ball!

  • #126

    Wayne (Monday, 01 June 2020 01:56)

    Water hazard being constructed but not yet finished between two holes. Sign on one side says that it is a construction site, sign on the other side says the area is closed for repairs. Also, the area is staked with RED stakes and entry has been prohibited. Is this are a hazard or GUR?

  • #125

    Jack (Monday, 25 May 2020 04:10)

    Ref #120
    Good to hear back from you Bill. Being stroke play, this is a very different picture from the last querie.
    As your ball was not found within three minutes it was lost and you were in for a 2-stroke penalty either returning to the tee to play another ball under "stroke and distance", or if the 2019 Local Rule for ball lost was available at the course, drop another ball, as you did, on the fairway for a 2-stroke penalty.
    However, the player who played your ball in error is in trouble. He cannot continue play with your ball and has to return to where his ball might have been and put another ball into play with a 2-stroke penalty on top of the 2-stroke he already incurred from playing the wrong ball. (Your ball).(Rule 6.3c(1))
    Having taken only the one penalty, this player will have returned an incorrect score for the hole and under Rule 3.3b(3) he is disqualified. He could have avoided the DQ if he had corrected the mistake before playing a stroke from the next hole. (Rule 3.3c)
    If this round was part of a competition, the player should report this to your committee for their decision.
    I hope this answer is clear Bill. You should refer to The Rules of Golf and read the Rule numbers quoted. Cheers!

  • #124

    Jack (Sunday, 24 May 2020 19:54)

    Ref #121
    Sorry Mat, there is no Rule of Golf that gives you relief from a surprise noise, also no free replay either. You can replay but that is stroke and distance which adds to your score!
    Nice place CHCH. Waitikiri was my home course many years ago.

  • #123

    Jack (Sunday, 24 May 2020 18:21)

    Ref #122
    Several things are wrong with your senario off the 1st tee!
    Rule 5.2 States "Practising on the Course" means playing A ball............. So "a" ball is very different from your 3 or 4 balls. A minor point that could be raised on the 1st tee of a match.
    Your in a match play event and I doubt if the fairway would be free of the group in front.
    I would expect your opponent to complain about your behaviour and it is certainly not in keeping with the Conduct Expected of Players (Rule 1.2)

  • #122

    Fred (Sunday, 24 May 2020 15:45)

    Hi Jack
    Given that one can practice on the course prior to a match play event, how does this sound: I take 3 or 4 balls to the starting tee a couple of minutes prior to tee-off time and whack them down the fairway to get my swing going comfortably. Then I drive my nominated 'real' ball at tee-off time. This may not sound fair, but legal or not? Thanks.

  • #121

    Mat (Sunday, 24 May 2020 03:12)

    Hi Jack; from CHCH here. Wondering if someone yells nearby in a downswing, do you have any recourse? Had a situation where someone just beyond a hedge yelled at someone hard of hearing about to play the wrong ball, and really put me off on the very close tee box. No hard feelings; it was not poor intention, but it was very startling. I played it out as-is, even though my group wanted me to retake it. Thoughts?

  • #120

    Bill (Friday, 22 May 2020 19:18)

    Thanks for your reply. It was stroke play. I had hit a drive and it was difficult to determine where it landed. I was in a foursome. The other three claimed there balls. I had thought that mine had landed in the frindge but as I walked toward a ball I thought could have been mine another player told me it was his ball and the other three proceeded helping me search for mine. My ball was not found. Rather than going back to the T I dropped in the fairway and took a two stock penalty. The others hit their balls. When we were on the green two stokes later one of the other players said he had made a mistake and had hit my ball when we thought it was lost. He took a two stoke penalty but so had I.

  • #119

    Jack`` (Thursday, 21 May 2020 19:59)

    Ref #118
    You haven't given me much detail about your game Bill, but from your question, I assume that if you had an opponent you were playing a match.
    In match play, if a player plays a wrong ball, the penalty is Loss of Hole. Rule 6.3c(1)
    If this was the case, you win the hole and head for the next tee. Message me again if things were different.

  • #118

    Bill (Wednesday, 20 May 2020 19:26)

    An opponent hits your ball on a fairway and since you now can not find your ball you assume your ball is lost you play a new ball. Are you both penalized?

  • #117

    Jack (Sunday, 26 April 2020 01:00)

    Ref #116
    An interesting question Jonie.
    When marking a ball on the green, various objects can be used, such as a coin, a tee, a small piece of equipment, or a specially made ball marker, all of which would make it hard to strike the ball if not first removed!
    However, Rule 14.1a reads as follows:-
    "If the spot is marked with a ball-marker, after replacing the ball the player must remove the ball-marker before making a stroke.
    "If the player lifts the ball without marking its spot, marks its spot in a wrong way or makes a stroke with a ball-marker left in place, the player gets one penalty stroke."

  • #116

    jonie (Thursday, 23 April 2020 02:58)

    Todays scenario is .......On the putting green, a player marks her ball. She does not remove the marker before hitting her putt.
    What is the ruling?

  • #115

    Jack (Wednesday, 08 April 2020 23:30)

    Ref #114
    Chris, I would expect any player, who climbs a tree to play his ball, to hold on to something when making his stroke. There is nothing in the Rules that prevents a player from playing with one hand, in fact Rule 10.2b(5) Physical Help and Protection from Elements States "This Rule does not prohibit the player from taking his or her own actions to protect against the elements while making a stroke, such as by wearing protective clothing or holding an umbrella over his or her own head."
    I guess that the video you saw, was from a tournament somewhere, and you would have expected Garcia to have been penalised at the time, if it was against the Rules.

  • #114

    Chris (Tuesday, 07 April 2020 22:35)

    Hi Jack just seen video of Sergio climbing tree to hit his ball as lodged between the branches.
    He used one hand to hold onto tree while hitting the ball
    My understanding is he should not be holding on while hitting the ball.

  • #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!