Rule of the Month

July 2022


Question: I have been administering a Four Ball Stroke Play Competition – Medal – and have a problem because on one hole the lower score was attributed to the wrong player. It was on a short hole. The higher handicapped player had a 2 and the player with the lower handicap had a 4, but they were wrongly attributed. What is the Ruling?

Answer: If they are transposed Rule 23.2b applies.

(1) Side's Scorecard in Stroke Play

• Each score on the scorecard must be clearly identified as the score of that individual partner who made it; if this is not done the side is disqualified.

(2) Committee's Responsibility

>> If those scores are different the lowest (gross or net) score for that hole counts for the side

>> If both scores are the same, the Committee may count either score. If the score used is found to be wrong for any reason, the Committee will count the other score. (Only when both have the same score 2 2s or 2 4s in this case)

If the score that counts for the side is not clearly identified as the score of the individual partner who made it, or, if the partner is disqualified relating to the play of the hole, the side is disqualified.

It is disqualification as you cannot take the other score as it was not the same score.

This Ruling would be the same in Stableford or Par/Bogey.

Rules bookSee also for confirmation Rule 23.8b Disqualification Penalties

(1) When Breach by One Partner Means Side Is Disqualified?

Rule 3.3b(3) Wrong Score for Hole


June 2022



Club Length is defined as: - “The length of the longest club of the 14 (or fewer) clubs the player has during the round other than a putter.” It will probably be a driver length but it depends on what each player has in their golf bag, so will vary from player to player.
Club-lengths are used in defining the player’s teeing area on each hole and determining the size of the player’s relief area when taking relief under a rule.


relief areaWith a free drop it is recommended that you use the club with which you would have expected to play the next shot, to find the Nearest Point of Complete Relief, if the Abnormal Course Condition / Immovable Obstruction had not been there, and then use your longest club, excluding your putter, to measure the club length.
Here a free drop is being taken from an Abnormal Course Condition. The reference point is the Nearest Point of Complete Relief not nearer the hole and then you can measure your club length either way and behind, not nearer the hole, resulting in a semi-circle in which you can drop the ball.


When taking lateral penalty relief for an unplayable ball measure your 2 club lengths from the position of the ball not nearer the hole (if the ball is off the ground mark a point vertically below the ball on the ground not nearer the hole for the reference point). Drop under penalty of one in the relief area. The relief area will be a semi-circle two-club lengths in radius.
When taking penalty relief for an unplayable ball, back on a line with the ball and the pin, mark your reference point and measure out one club length in any direction not nearer the hole. Drop under penalty of one In the relief area.


When taking penalty relief back on line from a penalty area mark your reference point on a line with the point where the ball crossed the edge of the penalty area and the pin and measure your club lengths from there not nearer the hole. Drop under penalty of one.
If the penalty area has yellow lines or posts there is no lateral relief, but if it has red lines or posts you do get lateral relief 2 club lengths from where the ball crossed the edge of the penalty area no nearer the hole. Drop the ball in the relief area under penalty of one.


May 2022

Rule 10.2a Advice

During the Round you must not:
• Give advice to anyone in the Competition who is playing on the course, or
• Ask anyone for advice other than your Caddie or partner in foursomes or fourball.
• Touch another player’s equipment to learn information that would be advice if given by or asked of the other player.

playersAdvice is: Any verbal comment or action (such as showing what club was just used to make a stroke) that is intended to influence you or another player in choosing a club, making a stroke, or deciding how to play during a hole or round. BUT Advice does NOT include public information, such as the location of things on the course, the distance from one point to another, or the Rules.

April 2022


5.6a Unreasonable Delay of Play

You must not unreasonably delay play, either when playing a hole or between two holes.

Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.6a:
• Penalty for first breach: One penalty stroke.
• Penalty for second breach: General Penalty (Loss of Hole in Match Play and 2 strokes in Stroke Play).
• Penalty for third breach: Disqualification.

If you unreasonably delay play between two holes, the penalty applies to the next hole.

5.6b Prompt Pace of Play

buggyA round of golf is meant to be played at a prompt pace. Your pace of play is likely to affect how long it will take other players to play their rounds, including both those in the group and those in following groups. You are encouraged to allow faster groups to play through.

PACE OF PLAY RECOMMENDATIONS – You should play at a prompt pace throughout the round, including the time taken to:
• Prepare for and make each stroke,
• Move from one place to another between strokes,
• Move to the next teeing area having completed the hole.

You should prepare in advance for your next stroke and be ready to play when it is your turn. placing ball

When it is your turn to play:
• It is recommended that you make the stroke in no more than 40 seconds after you are (or should be) able to play without interference or distraction, and
• You should usually be able to play more quickly than that and are encouraged to do so.


In stroke play, play “ready golf” in a SAFE AND RESPONSIBLE WAY.

In match play, you and your opponent may agree that one of you will play out of turn to save time. Otherwise you would not play out of turn in Match Play.


March 2022

Rule 16.2 Dangerous Animal Condition

Rule 16.2a When relief is allowed

snakeA “dangerous animal condition” exists when a dangerous animal (such as poisonous snakes, stinging bees, alligators, fire ants, bears, and rutting deer) near the ball could cause serious physical injury to the player if he or she had to play the ball as it lies.
A player may take relief under Rules 16.2b from interference by a dangerous animal condition no matter where his or her ball lies on the course, except that relief is not allowed:
• When playing the ball as it lies is clearly unreasonable because of something other than the dangerous animal condition (for example the player is unable to make a stroke because of where the ball lies in a bush), or
• When interference exists only because the player chooses a club, type of stance or swing or direction of play that is clearly unreasonable under the circumstances.

Rule 16.2b Relief for Dangerous Animal Conditiondeer

Free relief is allowed One Club Length from the Nearest Point of Complete Relief, not nearer the hole, in the area where the ball lies (General Area, Bunker, Putting Green, or Penalty Area). For the purposes of this rule, the nearest point of complete relief means the nearest point (not nearer the hole) where the dangerous animal condition does not exist. This may not be possible in the Penalty Area and, if that is the case, the player must take Penalty Relief in the usual way.

February 2022


13.3a Waiting time to see if Ball Overhanging Hole Will Fall into the Hole

If any part of a player’s ball overhangs the lip of the hole
• The player is allowed a reasonable time to reach the hole and ten more seconds to wait and see whether the ball will fall into the hole.
• If the ball falls into the hole in this waiting time, the player has holed out with the previous shot.
• If the ball does not fall into the hole in this waiting time; the ball is treated as being at rest. If the ball then falls into the hole before it is played, the player has holed out with the previous stroke, but gets one penalty stroke added to the score for the hole.

13.3b What to do if Ball Overhanging Hole is Lifted or Moved Before Lifting time has ended

overhangingIf a ball overhanging the hole is lifted or moved before the waiting time under the Rule 13.3a has ended, the ball is treated as having come to rest:
• The ball must be replaced on the lip of the hole and
• The waiting time under Rules 13.3a no longer applies to the ball.

If the opponent in match play or another player in stroke play deliberately lifts or moves the player’s ball before the waiting time has ended:
• In match play, the player’s ball is treated as holed from the previous stroke, and there is no penalty to the opponent.
• In stroke play the player who lifted the moved ball gets the general penalty of 2 strokes. The ball must be replaced on the lip of the hole.

January 2022


umbrellaThere is nothing in the Rules of Golf that would prohibit a player borrowing an umbrella from someone else on the course be it another player, official, or spectator. The Rules of Golf even allow you to use an umbrella to protect yourself from the elements while making a stroke but it must be the player holding the umbrella so it only works when tapping in a putt. Under the Rules of Golf you can borrow anything you want from others apart from CLUBS. clubsetc2

A player is limited to those clubs they have started with, or added when allowed, and must not make a stroke with a club borrowed from someone else playing on the course.

Exception: In Foursomes or Four-ball players can share clubs as long as their total number of clubs does not exceed 14.

buggySince 2019 there has been no penalty if a ball accidentally hits or is deflected or stopped by any player, partner, caddie or equipment but you have to play the ball as it lies. (Rule 11.1).

If a ball is deliberately deflected or stopped by a player the General Penalty applies – Loss of Hole in Match Play and 2 Strokes penalty in stroke play. (Rule 11.2). On the Putting Green replace the ball and play again from there. Anywhere else on the course estimate where the ball would have come to rest, put a marker down as a reference point, drop a ball within a club length of the reference point and play from there.

December 2021

RULE 18.1 Relief Under Penalty of STROKE-AND-DISTANCE allowed any time.

Tee shotAt any time, a player may take Stroke-and-Distance relief by adding one penalty stroke and playing the original ball or another ball from where the previous stroke was made. You always have this option no matter where your ball is on the course.

Once you put another ball into play under penalty of Stroke and Distance the original ball is no longer in play and must not be played even if found within 3 minutes. This does not apply if you announce you are playing a Provisional Ball.

RULE 14.6 Making Next Stroke from Where Previous Stroke Made

This Rule applies whenever a player is required or allowed under the Rules to make the next stroke from where the previous stroke was made. If the original ball or another ball was played from the Teeing Area the original or another ball must be played from anywhere inside the Teeing Area and may be teed.

If the previous stroke was made from the General Area, a Penalty Area or Bunker, the spot where the previous stroke was made is the Reference Point, and the size of the Relief Area is within one-club length of the Reference Point not nearer the hole. It must be in the same area of the course as the Reference Point (i.e. in the General Area, Penalty Area or Bunker). The ball must be dropped not nearer the hole.

Ball placingIf the previous stroke was made from the Putting Green the original or another ball must be placed on the spot where the previous stroke was made on the Putting Green which if not known must be estimated.