WITH SUMMER FINALLY HERE golfers are anxious to get back on the course to enjoy time with family and friends. As golfers dust off their game, many may forget to do the
same with their Rules book. The start of a new season is a
great time to brush up on the Rules of Golf and to do away
with some of the myths and misconceptions out there.
There are many, but some are more widespread than
others. Here are five of the most common ones.
1. You cannot share a rangefinder with a fellow
competitor or an opponent.
Information regarding the distance between two objects
is considered public information by the Rules and not advice – see Definition of Advice. Therefore, two players may
freely ask for and give information relating to the distance
between two objects – see Decision 8-1/2. In fact, provided
the Local Rule permitting the use of distance measuring
devices is in effect (see the Note to Rule 14-3), players can
share a rangefinder during the stipulated round.
However, there is no requirement for a player to share distance information or his rangefinder. So if you ask what
distance your fellow competitor got with his rangefinder,
he has no obligation to share that information, though it is
2. There is a penalty for moving the flagstick out
of the way of a ball in motion.
When a ball is in motion, an obstruction that might influence the movement of the ball must not be moved. However, the flagstick when attended, removed or held up is
an exception to this Rule – see Rule 24-1. This means if
the flagstick is lying on the ground and a ball looks like it
may strike it, a player incurs no penalty for moving it and
saving themselves or someone else from a penalty. Now
that’s good etiquette!
3. Bumping your ball off the tee counts as a
“That’s one!” We’ve all heard this at least once when a ball
was accidentally bumped off the tee before someone hit a
tee shot. The definition of a stroke clarifies such a bump is
not a stroke and Rule 11-3 clarifies there is no penalty and
the ball may be re-teed.
4. When taking relief from a water hazard, you
must re-drop your ball if your stance after you
drop is in the water hazard.
When taking relief from a water hazard, a player is only
guaranteed relief for the lie of his ball. A player’s stance being in a water hazard, of itself, is not a reason to re-drop the
ball under Rules 26-1 and 20-2c. This means you may be
required to stand in the water hazard after you have taken relief from it. Keep this in mind when you are deciding
where you will drop your ball under the water hazard Rule.
5. Your opponent controls your ball on the green
and whether you may lift it in match play.
Except when a ball is in motion, Rule 22-1 permits a player
to lift his ball if he considers it might assist any other player.
Therefore, an opponent may not stop a player from marking the position of and lifting his ball on the putting green or
anywhere else on the course - see Rule 22-1.
Interestingly, this myth has historical roots dating back to
1960. Between 1960 and 1983, an opponent was able to
control the player’s ball. During those years, a ball nearer the
hole could only be lifted upon request of the player whose
turn it was to play. However, this has not been a feature of the
Rules since 1984 yet the myth lives on. m
THER U L E SOFGOLF
BY KATHRYN BELANGER _______________
USGA Rules of Golf Associate