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RULES CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE – FEBRUARY 6, 2020
The USGA publishes several articles about the rules of golf. Here is one article that outlines the majority of the rules relevant to most golfers. I hope you find these 15 rules helpful. Don’t forget golf is a game and should be enjoyed by all.
15 Rules every golfer should know:
- Ball Moved During Search
● If you move any player’s ball (even your own) while searching for it, there is no penalty, just replace the ball.
- Ball Moved on Putting Green
● If you accidentally move any player’s ball (even your own) on the putting green, there is no penalty, just replace
● Once you have lifted and replaced your ball on the putting green, your ball owns that spot. If it then moves, you will always replace your ball no matter what caused the movement, including wind or gravity.
- Repairing Damage
● You can repair almost any damage on the putting green, including: ● Spike marks ● Animal damage ● Any damage from a person or a ball.
- Touching Line of Play
● You are allowed to touch your line of play for any reason (including on the putting green).
● If your ball hits an unattended flagstick in the hole, there is no penalty.
- Relaxed Restrictions in Bunkers
● You can touch or move loose impediments in a bunker, but be careful you don’t move your ball when doing so or you’ll get one penalty stroke.
● You cannot touch the sand with your club next to your ball, or during the backswing for your stroke.
● You also cannot touch the sand anywhere to test its condition or when making a practice swing.
- Actions Allowed in Penalty Areas
You are allowed to:
● Ground your club
● Take practice swings
● Take penalty area relief
● Touch water
● Remove loose impediments
- Dropping and Measuring Relief Area
● Drop your ball from knee height so that it lands in and comes to rest in the relief area.
● Your relief area is either one or two club-lengths, measured from the reference point (based on the Rule you are taking relief under).
● Measure club-lengths using the longest club in your bag other than your putter.
Summary: Here’s a good “rule of Thumb” when taking relief with NO penalty stroke, ONE club length. When taking relief with a one or more penalty strokes, TWO club lengths.
- Penalty Area Relief
● For one penalty stroke, you have two relief options from a yellow penalty area and three relief options from a red
- Stroke-and-Distance (red or yellow) Play from the relief area based on where your previous stroke was made.
- Back-On-the-Line (red or yellow) Drop a ball within one club-length to either side of a straight line from the hole through the point where your ball last crossed the edge of the penalty area, going back as far as you’d like.
- Lateral Relief (red only) Drop a ball within a two club-length relief area measured from where your ball last crossed the edge of the penalty area, and no closer to the hole than that point.
Summary: Yellow penalty areas (marked with yellow lines or yellow stakes) give the player two relief options (Rules 17.1d (1) and (2)). Which are listed above in points 1 and 2. Note: On Quail 8 there is an additional option, a drop area. This is listed under the Local Rules Point number #2 “ Quail #8 drop area may be used as an option.”
Red penalty areas (marked with red lines or red stakes) give the player an extra lateral relief option (Rule 17.1d (3)), in addition to the two relief options available for yellow penalty areas. Listed above as point number 3.
- Changing Balls Allowed When Taking Relief
● You can use your original ball or another ball when taking either free relief or penalty relief.
- Accidental Deflections
● There is no penalty if your ball in motion is accidentally deflected, including by:
● Your equipment
● Your partner
● Your caddie
● A double hit
● Generally, your ball will be played from where it comes to rest.
- Search Time
● You have three minutes to find your ball before it is lost.
- Help with Alignment
● Your caddie or partner is not allowed to stand on or close to a line behind your ball while you are taking your
stance and until your stroke is made.
● If you begin taking your stance with your caddie or partner behind your ball, you can back away and start over without penalty.
- Club Damage
● You cannot replace any club that you damage during the round.
● Check to see if Model Local Rule G-9 is in effect, which would allow you to replace a broken or significantly damaged club.
- Yardage Books
● There are limits on the size and scale of green-reading materials that you are allowed to use.
● This applies to all materials, including yardage books, but only when you use them to read the green when you’re playing from it, or when using a putter from anywhere else.
● If you have questions, you should ask the Committee prior to your round.
The message will also be posted on the QCMGA website. At the top under Golf Rules, Rules Chairman’s Message. In addition, and for more information on the Rules of Golf, please visit usga.org/rules.
Don’t forget The Player’s Edition for the Rules of Golf is available FREE at the Pro Shop. The Full Rules of Golf will be available soon for a price.
George W. Lamping
Committee – Joel Jaress, Jeff Carmien, Wally Howard, Russell Adamson