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.
Jack (Tuesday, 18 June 2019 17:46)
Yes Diane, if you read Rule 11.1 you will see all the Rules regarding a ball in motion striking something, and in answer to your question - YES, you are penalised 2-strokes.
This is clearly stated under Rule 11.1a Exception -
"Ball Played on Putting Green in Stroke Play:
If the player’s ball in motion hits another ball at rest on the putting green and both balls were on the putting green before the stroke, the player gets the general penalty (two penalty strokes)."
Diane (Monday, 17 June 2019 11:28)
Playing a tri-am is there a penalty if you hit a teammate’s ball when both balls are on the putting green?
Jack (Saturday, 01 June 2019 19:25)
The new Local Rule for a ball lost or out-of-bounds is only available to players if the golf club they are playing on has the Local Rule posted on a Rules Board (or similar).
NZ Golf has issued the following information on this subject:-
The purpose of this Local Rule is to allow a golf club or Committee to provide an extra relief option that allows a player to play on without returning to the location of the previous stroke.
It is New Zealand Golf’s recommendation that the Stroke and Distance Local Rule is introduced for all play at golf clubs in New Zealand, with the exception of elite play.
Elite play is defined as
• Club Championships
• Club and District Opens
• National Championships
While it is New Zealand Golf’s recommendation to introduce the Stroke and Distance Local Rule, it is still at the discretion of each District Association and individual golf clubs to introduce as and
when they choose to do so.
Kenmo you have stumped on the subject of a supplementary card! I can see references to it on some websites, but have never heard of it in New Zealand.
Kenmo (Friday, 31 May 2019 12:29)
New 2019 rule on lost ball is a local rule at my club. However, I have been told that it does not apply to competions or medals. When searching the web I can only find reference to professional
competitions and elite amateurs where the new does not apply.
Also, what about a supplementary card?
Jack (Monday, 27 May 2019 19:13)
The R&A / USGA issued three books covering the New Rules from 1st January 2019.
"The Player's Edition", "The Rules of Golf" and "Official Guide to the Rules of Golf". The first two make little or no reference to Local Rules, but the third book has large coverage of Model Local
Rules which includes the one you refer to with diagram. (It is MLR E-5).
This is all available at the R&A website as follows -
There's lots to read Barry, good luck.
barry vandenameele (Monday, 27 May 2019 15:42)
in the newest edition of the RULES OF GOLF, there is no mention of the optional local rule for ball out of bounds or ball lost.
Why aren't those options in the rule book?
Jack (Monday, 20 May 2019 00:57)
I have been unavailable the past week Barbara, but as a follow-up to your last message, I ask you to look at the following link to the "Official Guide to the Rules of Golf 2019" which lists
"Interpretations" not called "Decisions" now!
Read Interpretations - 3.3b(4)/1 - and - 3.3b(4)/2
It appears to me that this matter should have been fully checked out before the disqualification.
Barbara (Wednesday, 15 May 2019 10:46)
The adjustment made was to the net score for the first round ie upwards. The confusion seems to be around what the player was responsible for as regards recording her handicap on the card. I have now
found in Decisions on the Rules 6-2b/0.5 as to the meaning of ‘handicap’ in regards to the scorecard : “He(the player) must record his full handicap . It is the committee’s responsibility to apply
the conditions of competition to adjust his handicap”. The player in question put her NZGA handicap on the card for the first round and was disqualified for that!?
Jack (Wednesday, 15 May 2019 03:52)
Ref # 41
It is unclear from your message Barbara, what adjustment was made by the committee after the first round.
However, it was certainly a condition of the Tournament that the maximum handicap allowed was 40. Although you say the full conditions were not on display, it is up to players to check conditions and
Local Rules before playing.
I consider the committee made the correct decision based on Rule 20.2e (2) which details reasons for disqualification.
The main problem appears to be poor organisation by the committee in not ensuring that all the tournament information was clearly advised to all players before play.
Barbara (Wednesday, 15 May 2019 01:10)
In a national home links ladies 36 hole foursomes comp played over 2 days, a week apart, a 23 and 44 handicap player were paired up on the first day with the encouragement of the vice club captain. A
full notice of the conditions was not on display. The pair played well but it was realised after the results of the first round that the conditions of the comp allowed a maximum handicap of 40. Their
score was adjusted accordingly by the committee and they played the second round the next week with the correct handicap adjustment on their card for that round. They were announced as having won the
competition within their home club. Then a week later it was announced by the vice captain that they had been disqualified because they had played the first round with an incorrect handicap on their
card. Both players had entered their NZGA handicaps on the card for the first round not realising there was a maximum handicap condition for the competition. The club match committee was not
consulted. Should the pair have been disqualified?
Jack (Wednesday, 08 May 2019 03:13)
Ref # 39
There should be no confusion Peter as there is just the one Local Rule.
When we wrote the new Local Rules for the club, the wording was simplified to make it more easily understood compared to the original R&A document.
Check our Local Rules board for the details.
If you want to see the full wording go to https://www.randa.org/en/rog/2019/pages/local-rules-creator?localRulesCreatorId=359cfec3-3405-49a2-9158-b7baf60c1147 and read E5. (It need some carefull
reading !!). Cheers.
Peter (Wednesday, 08 May 2019 00:59)
Thanks Jack. As I thought ++! - Great explanation.
Are members perhaps confusing (1) the out of bounds rule and (2) the 'anywhere' lost ball rule that you describe? There would seem to have been a number of such instances recently, albeit with the
number of penalty strokes 'correctly' counted.
Jack (Tuesday, 07 May 2019 22:37)
Ref # 37
Two things are wrong in your question Peter. If his second shot went into "never never land" it is unclear where he dropped his new ball. Under the Local Rule for lost balls, you must determine the
spot where the ball is likely to be lost. That spot is the reference point for deciding where another ball can be dropped. Dropping "on fairway roughly in line with ball's last seen flight. (inside 2
club lengths of edge)" is completely wrong!!
Your score count is also incorrect. When his second ball was lost, the dropped ball meant his next shot to the green would be his fifth, then with a chip and a putt, the final score would be
Finally, the player should have been penalised under Rule 14.7b for playing from a wrong place, which would have meant disqualification.
Sorry Peter - tough call!!
Peter (Tuesday, 07 May 2019 18:30)
Please clarify WGC local rule.
Scene - Par 5 hole.
Tee shot - OK
2nd shot - Ball disappears into never-never land.
Player drops ball on fairway roughly in line with ball's last seen flight. (inside 2 club lengths of edge).
Player hits new ball to near edge of green.
Scores 6 on card.
Jack (Sunday, 21 April 2019 17:27)
Ref # 35
What a fun question Karen! It sounds that you were having an interesting game.
As far as the Rules of Golf are concerned the player did nothing wrong and no penalties would apply, but your suggestion that a visit to Specsavers should be on the cards makes sense.
The first Rule of Golf states "Golf is played in a round of 18 (or fewer) holes on a course by striking a BALL with a club." (As you said - it not a ball)
Karen (Saturday, 20 April 2019 18:34)
Playing her second shot from a tricky lie, to a par 3 hole, the player took her stance, and had a practice swing, then addresses the 'ball' to strike the 'ball' and had an 'air shot'. Re-positioning
herself she then struck the 'ball' which disintegrated- it was a mushroom. The players ball in play was located a few meters away, the hole was completed with the original ball. (After a few giggles
and a suggestion to visit spec savers), What would be the ruling here if any??? Hitting wrong ball, well it was a mushroom, or failing to identify the ball in play, or just good fortune the the
'ball' struck for her intended second shot was not a ball... Cheers
Jack (Thursday, 21 March 2019 03:51)
You say that the marker pole is defined on your course as a moveable obstruction. I assume that this definition has been issued by your club committee as a Local Rule, therefore your only relief is
by removing the pole. However, as this is not something that can be easily removed, it would be best if the Local Rule was amended to state that the pole is an immovable obstruction. Then full relief
is available under Rule 15-2. All Rules apply to all players - the ability to move an obstruction cannot be available to some players and not everyone.
You should discuss this with your club committee.
Nigel (Wednesday, 20 March 2019 04:14)
Black and white direction marker pole in middle of fairway defined as movable obstruction. However it is made of iron and cannot be easily removed if at all by female players. If you cannot remove it
do you get relief if interfering with stance or swing
Jack (Tuesday, 05 March 2019 01:25)
Interesting question Dave as I have never heard of a "Florida Ambrose" competition!! It is not covered in the Rules of Golf.
I have had to Google it for information. In most ambrose games, all players in a team play from the same spot, so to answer your question, I can see no reason why the third person cannot play.
However, I also don't understand why that person should "sit out the shot".
You need to check the competition rules not the Rules of Golf for your answer.
Dave (Sunday, 03 March 2019 21:46)
Hi. When playing a Florida Ambrose (3 people) and the 2 players hit their 2nd shots out of bounds, can the player who sat out the shot be permitted to have a shot from that same position?
Jack (Monday, 11 February 2019 02:07)
Patrick, your first obvious error was playing the wrong ball which you thought was your provisional. Under Rule 6-3c(1) the General Penalty applies, which is two-strokes in stroke play. As you did
not realise you had played the wrong ball until you reached the green, your original provisional ball would be deemed lost and you were very lucky that your first ball was found in bounds. If this
first ball had been OOB you would have had to retrace your steps back to your second shot and correct your error. This must be done BEFORE you play off the next tee, or you would be
Rule 18-3c confirms you can play a provisional ball more than once until you reach the estimated point of the original ball, but when you played the wrong provisional ball you received the penalty,
and I would therefore agree with your competition secretary’s decision.
Patrick (Sunday, 10 February 2019 17:11)
I played my tee shot to the fairway from where I hit my second shot which I pulled left and thought may have gone out of bounds.
So as not to cause delay, I played a provisional ball which I knocked down into the rough but still well short of the point where my original ball had reached.
I found what I thought was my provisional ball and played it on to the green and then moved on to where my I thought that my original ball had possibly gone out of bounds but found that it was still
in bounds and so I played it on to the green.
When I got to the green and picked up the provisional ball, I discovered that it was not in fact my ball and that I must have played a wrong ball when playing the provisional from the rough but as I
had found my original ball in play, within the allowed time, I finished out the hole with my original ball and disregarded the provisional.
When the competition secretary of my club heard about this, he penalized me two shots for playing a wrong ball regardless of the fact that I had found my original and that as such, I believe, that
any strokes played or penalties incurred whilst playing the provisional were null and void because the original had been found and was in play.
This cost me the monthly medal as I lost by a stroke due to the penalty that he applied.
Was he wrong in his actions ?
Jack (Thursday, 17 January 2019 15:11)
The procedure for a ball out of bounds :–
Determine the point where ball went out. Find a spot on the nearest fairway edge no closer to the hole, and drop a ball on the fairway within 2-club lengths of that spot. Penalty - 2-strokes.
This means that if the ball that went OOB was your drive, you will be playing you 4th shot from the fairway.
Finally, you cannot use this option if a provisional ball has been played.
(The wording in our Local Rule is being amended to clarify this procedure.)
Mike (Thursday, 17 January 2019 03:05)
Hi Jack. Re the 2019 local rule following:
ALTERNATIVE PLAY FOR A BALL LOST OR OUT-OF-BOUNDS
"For two penalty strokes, the player may take relief by dropping a ball in the fairway within two club-lengths of the estimated point of loss and no closer to the hole".
Question: If a ball has been hit out of bounds and the player knows roughly at which point it crossed the fence, two club lengths from the fence is still in the rough. Can he really take his ball
several meters further to the fairway and then drop it on the fairway two club lengths from the edge of the rough?
That is what one member was telling everyone today. Is he correct?
Jack (Tuesday, 06 November 2018 01:43)
Ref # 25
Hi Jerome. Sounds like you had great fun at your wolf and skins game, but I cannot even try to calculate your scores - you all made so many Rules errors, my glues is that you would (should) have been
For example, under the Rules of golf, you cannot drop a ball when the ball is lost and take a two stroke penalty. You have to return to the spot where the ball was last played from and also take a
two stroke penalty.
A provisional ball can only be played before you go forward to search.
I won't pick up your other errors, especially when I read that wolf is played with only 4 players.
Keep on enjoying your fun golf and if you get serious, I will be pleased to answerother questions on the Rules.
Jerome Padilla (Monday, 05 November 2018 06:43)
thank you in advance. facts
1. playing within a 5 some.
2. everyone playing wolf and skins.
3. lots of leaves on a par 5 hole.
me and 2 other players hit our balls into an area with many fallen leaves.
player 1 approaches his ball and hits it.
Player 2's ball is identified
I continue to search and after 5 minutes our group allows if a ball is lost to drop and take a 2 stroke penalty- stroke and distance. So i dropped hit and registered a 7 on the par 5.
my partner on wolf scores a 7 as well
my 3 opponents score 2 bogeys and the person who unknown to the group had hit my ball onto the green, putted out and scored a bogey.
Our opponents declared they won the hole with 4 carry overs.
Bummer for us.
Then we tee off on the next hole. we all hit , not leaves easy to find our balls, i hit left rough , the person that hit my .ball on the last hole resulting in my thinking by ball was lost, hit to
the right rough. we clearly saw the ball come to rest from the tee box.. I hit my ball on the green, well marked 8 with , my presumed lost ball was a well marked 3 . my opponents shot was short. At
this time we my opponent noticed and stated that this is your ball well marked as well. It turns out that he , played out my ball on the par 5, teed off on the next hole, hit his 2nd shot short and
then noticed the wrong ball scored.... what scored do i register on the par 5? am in penalized? we had a match with team play which presumed lost , but would have most likely tied, i played my
provisional from the point my ball was lost , group agreement, which was the spot that i would have dropped if we discovered the wrong ball error right away, but as stated we did not. how do we
correctly scored this scenario.
Jack (Sunday, 07 October 2018 21:31)
Ref # 23
Hi Frank. If you play a ball lodged in a bush or tree, no penalties would apply UNLESS there is a Local Rule at the course being played which prohibits play from a STAKED tree/bush. In which case,
you would be penalised 2-strokes (Stroke Play) or Loss of Hole (Match Play).
The message here is: ALWAYS read the Local Rules BEFORE you commence your round.
Finally, if you had declared the ball unplayable, you must proceed as described in Rule 28. The ball is always DROPPED not PLACED.
Frank (Thursday, 04 October 2018 21:57)
Hi Jack, question: If my ball is lodged in a bush about half meter of the ground can I make a play at it or do I need to take it out and place it on the ground and take a penalty stroke
Jack (Sunday, 02 September 2018 18:41)
Good one Mike. Here is my answer.
Under Rules 11-5 and 11-4b (Stroke Play), if a player plays from the wrong teeing ground he is penalised two-strokes and must correct this error before teeing off at the next hole, otherwise he is
As the 9th and 2nd Blue tees are close together and not clearly marked, I would refer to Rule 1-4 and make a decision in accordance with EQUITY. In other words - common sense! No penalties should be
applied in this competition.
The committee of the day should ensure that the course of the day is clearly marked, and it is something we will attend to with the upcoming BOP Open/North Island Stroke Play Tournament.
Thanks, we will ensure this confusion does not happen again.
Mike (Saturday, 01 September 2018 16:55)
Here's a good one Jack! It happened.
Scene - The combined 2nd & 9th tee area at Whakatane.
A group having just played the 1st, is hitting off to the 2nd between blue marker blocks on the road side of the area, as normal.
One of the group has already hit his tee shot.
Another group coming from the 8th green then arrives and points out that one of the blue tee blocks on the other side of the area, normally where 9th hole players hit off, has the number 2 inscribed
The people playing the 9th proceed to hit off from the blue blocks normally accepted as being the 2nd tee position on the road side.
The people playing the 2nd go across and hit off from what is normally the 9th side, where the blue block has a '2' on it. (One of the group of course tees off for the second time).
Question - Does the fact that the tee block has a '2' on it mean that it is identified officially as being the second hole tee position for the day?
Given that, as probably was the case, no one else in the field for the day noticed the numbered blue tee block, were the two groups involved the only ones correct in terms of the rule book, meaning
that the entire rest of the 'blue players' for the day should probably have been disqualified, or docked 4 strokes, or whatever?
No names, no pack drill. Just a teaser really, but strictly speaking are we obliged to check the identification of tee blocks in common tee areas? Or is common sense permitted?
Jack (Monday, 06 August 2018 03:54)
Ref # 19
From your description of the event, I would say that the other player was just too impatient! He should have waited until you had reached your ball to mark and lift it. If you were playing a match, I
would have expected him to give you the putt!!
There are two Rules involved here. Rule 18-5 reads "If a ball in play and at rest is moved by another ball in motion after a stroke, the moved ball must be replaced." which means you have to replace
your ball on the lip of the hole.
But then Rule 19-5a reads "If a player’s ball in motion after a stroke is deflected or stopped by a ball in play
and at rest, the player must play his ball as it lies." As his ball went into the hole he has finished the hole with that last stroke. As he played from off the green, there are no penalties to
Finally, under Rule 22-1a, you could have requested that the other player waits as you wish to lift your ball. If he ignored that request, he would have been penalised 2-strokes or
Thanks Pat - an interesting situation.
Pat (Friday, 03 August 2018 11:43)
In a fourball match. I chipped stone dead. I was heading up to mark the ball as it was on the lip but the other player chipped on as I was approaching my ball. His ball hit mine and went in. Was he
wrong to play or just bad etiquette
Jack (Sunday, 06 May 2018 17:50)
The answer to your question lies in Rule 19, but I need to know if you were playing Stroke play or Match play?
In Stroke play, Rule 19-1 applies. "If a player's ball in motion is accidentally deflected or stopped by any outside agency, it is a rub of the green, there is no penalty and the ball must be played
as it lies."
("Outside agency" includes another player, etc.)
In Match play Rule 19-3 applies. "If a player’s ball is accidentally deflected or stopped by an opponent, his caddie or his equipment, there is no penalty. The player may, before another stroke is
made by either side, cancel the stroke and play a ball, without penalty, as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (Rule 20-5) or he may play the ball as it
As you can see in both cases, no penalty applies. It looks like your friends were right!!
P.S. For full details, read Rule 19. The above is just a brief summary.
Paul wilcock (Friday, 04 May 2018 12:36)
If a ball strikes a player who has just played the shot is this a penalty again the player who played the shot....my friends say it not...but l think it is...could you clarify for me please. Regards
Jack (Saturday, 24 March 2018 22:59)
A ball is out of bounds when it lies out of bounds. Your ball in question finished on the fairway and it is played as it lies. No penalty!!
(See Definition of Out-of-Bounds)
Tim (Friday, 23 March 2018 11:50)
Ball hit out of bounds hits a house and bounces back onto the fairway. Is that OB or play the ball where it lays on the fairway?
Jack (Thursday, 16 November 2017 17:39)
Interesting question Mike.
Under Rule 7-1b it is stated that practice is NOT permitted when two rounds are to be played on CONSECUTIVE DAYS but with your club's competition being the Saturday and Sunday over two weekends, this
does not prevent players playing, or practicing, on the course from the Monday to Friday of the intervening week.
As you admitted Mike, your disqualification was correct but the Friday one was legitimate.
Mike (Sunday, 12 November 2017 14:42)
Our stroke play is held over consecquitive days over two weekends. (4 rounds)
On the Saturday of the second weekend I practiced on the course after play, and was rightly disqualified for the final round.
The were no conditions of play issued by the match committee.
A player practiced on the Friday for the before the final weekend and was not disqualified
Why was he okay please. Thanks
Jack (Thursday, 09 November 2017 02:15)
Yes Alex under Rule 24-2b. In the circumstances you describe it is reasonable for you to play in the direction which allowed you to avoid hitting the tree. When you took your stance which caused you
to stand on the water system deemed as an immovable obstruction, you were entitled to take free relief. After finding your nearest point of relief and dropping within one club length, you may be
lucky enough to play in a better direction - all for no penalty.
Good knowledge of the Rules can be a big advantage!!
Well done. Regards Jack
Alex Rugen (Wednesday, 08 November 2017 01:56)
My ball has come to rest against a tree. The tree is preventing me from hitting a shot towards the green and the only shot I feel that I can play is backwards to try and get my ball back on to the
fairway. If I take this shot I will be standing on a water irrigation pipe. The local rules state that the entire water system is deemed an immovable obstruction. Can I have a free drop away from the
Jack (Friday, 19 May 2017 23:14)
Sorry about the delay in replying to your query Kaye. The website did not advise me!!
You did not say whether your Foursomes were Match play or Stroke play, so I will cover both.
In Matchplay, if a player plays a wrong ball the penalty is Loss-of-Hole.(Rule 15-3a). That applies only to the hole being played.
In Stroke play, the penalty is 2-strokes (Rule 15-3b) and the side must play a correct ball from the same spot. This error must be corrected BEFORE making a stroke from the next tee or the side is
disqualified (Rule 29-3)
The second part of your question makes me think you were playing Stroke play. If you are in this situation you should apply Rule 3-3, This allows you (and your foursomes partner) to play a second
ball and advise which one you wants to count if the Rules permit. You then advise the committee before signing your card at the end of the round.
Ask me again Kaye if you need any more information.
Kaye (Saturday, 06 May 2017 19:18)
A pair playing in a foursomes
Player 2 played the second shot and played the wrong ball. None of the group knew the rules but one very vocal player was telling them they were disqualified!
What do you do if you get in this situation and there is no-one handy to give you a ruling - obviously you can't stay there but if you tee off at the next hole without resolving the issue you are
Jack (Friday, 09 December 2016 19:23)
Good question Bonny, but the fact that the cable was out of bounds means NO RELIEF. The cable would come under the definition of "Obstructions" and in the Rules this reads as follows:-
"An obstruction is anything artificial, including the artificial surfaces and sides of roads and paths and manufactured ice, except:
a. Objects defining out of bounds, such as walls, fences, stakes and railings;
b. Any part of an immovable artificial object that is out of bounds; "
Under Rule 24-2 aplayer can obtain relief from an immovable obstruction, but, as mentioned above, not if it is out of bounds,.
Hope this answers the question for you.
Bonny (Thursday, 08 December 2016 10:13)
My opponent's ball landed just next to the OB line marked with stakes. Just beyond this line was a cable supporting an electric pole. It was beyond the OB line and outside the course (It did not mark
the OB line). His back swing was interfered by the cable. We had a great discussion, but came to no conclusion. One view was that he deserved relief as his swing was interfered by an immovable
obstruction. The other view was that since the obstruction was outside the course, no relief was permitted. Later I searched the net but found nothing. What could be the ruling?
Jack (Tuesday, 07 June 2016 19:49)
Ref # 5
This is a very interesting question, especially regarding the contact lenses when obviously thousands of golfers wear them!!
However, the golfer in question should be taking a penalty each time she lifts her ball from a bunker. Whilst highly unusual you would DROP using the procedure and penalty described in
All scores added to date have been unacceptable, as defined in the handicap manual, and when a player ignores one or more Rules of Golf and fails to post an adjusted hole score or fails to record the
appropriate penalty for a breach of a rule - Rule 6-6b - the penalty is disqualification.
Hope this helps Mary. (I have checked this reply with NZ Golf as it was a little strange!!)
Mary (Saturday, 04 June 2016 09:56)
A golfer habitually removes her ball from the sand bunkers and places it (not drops) it in the grass, supposedly because sand may get in her eyes. Said golfer had eye surgery well over a year ago and
the surgery was not a success and requires her to wear contacts. Not an excuse, says I. What concerns me is the fact that she posts her score for handicapping purposes without adding penalty
stroke(s) for each time she does this during a round. What is the rule pertaining to this? Thanks!!
Jack (Monday, 21 March 2016 04:14)
Ref # 3
Yes Ron, you are correct. Player B receives the penalty.
Ron (Sunday, 20 March 2016 05:17)
None of the 7 listed situations applied. As I understand the team to consist of 4 partners, if one of the partners accidentally moves a ball belonging to any one of the other 3 partners, then it is
the owner of the moved ball who incurs the penalty; ie in my original scenario player B incurs the penalty - correct?
Jack (Sunday, 20 March 2016 03:20)
Ref # 1
This is covered in Rule 18 "Ball at Rest Moved"
18-2. By Player, Partner, Caddie or Equipment - and it covers several instances where the ball might be moved and no penalty applies, however I need more detail to rule if a penalty applies in this
Go to page 90 in the "Rules of Golf" and read the seven listed situations and if none applies to your question, then, because he replaced the ball, a 1-stroke penalty is incurred by the player.
This is one of the times you need a Rule book in your golf bag Ron!
Ron (Saturday, 19 March 2016 15:47)
Team of 4 players A, B, C, D playing best 3 scores per hole. Player A accidentally moves ball of player B. Player B replaces ball prior to playing his next stroke. Which (if any) player incurs a