Rule of the Month

January 2021

Rule 17 PENALTY AREAS – Allowed and Prohibited Actions

Penalty area 1Penalty Area Penalty Relief Options were shown previously in the June 2020 Rule of the Month Blog but allowed and prohibited actions were not explained at that time. When the ball is in the Penalty Area a player may ground their club (not allowed in a bunker) and play the ball as it lies, if it is physically possible, without penalty.

As long as it is known or virtually certain that the ball is in the Penalty Area (95% sure) the player may use all the Options available depending on whether the Penalty Area has yellow or red stakes or lines.

penalty area 2 Penalty area 3


Permitted Actions include – Removing Loose Impediments (natural objects) and Movable Obstructions (man-made, artificial objects). However, if a player causes the ball to move when moving Loose Impediments (natural objects) they will have to add a Penalty Stroke to their score and replace the ball. If the ball moves when moving a Movable Obstruction (man-made object) there is No Penalty but the ball must still be replaced.
When the ball is in a No-Play Zone in a Penalty Area the player must not play the ball as it lies, but must take Penalty Relief under 17.1d or 17.1e.