Do the Professionals Play by the Same Rules We Do?

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Published 16/12/2013 06:33:00
 

How often does one hear your average Saturday afternoon player say that something is allowed or not, referring to the fact that that is how things are done on the professional tours. It would seem that the natural thing to do is to copy what the top players do and, when it comes to swing technique, work ethic and course management, you can seldom go wrong if you do. But be a little circumspect when it comes to the rules, for the simple reason that the special local rules in play on the tour are quite different. What follows is a list of some of the more common differences to look out for.

Rule Differences
Situation Professional Tour Normal Play
Embedded ball In play through the green at all times Only applies on closely mown areas
One ball rule During any specific round, players are restricted from changing the type or brand of ball they play. Example: if a player starts a round with a Titliest Pro V1 ball he must continue playing with a Pro V1 for the rest of the round Whenever the rules allow it (after the completion of a hole, if a ball is taken out of play or lost etc) a player may change it for any brand or type he wishes to
Line of putt Restricted from using the head of a club when removing loose impediments from his line on the putting green Rule 16-1 allows a player to remove sand and loose soil on the putting green and other loose impediments by picking them up or by brushing them aside with his hand or a club. By the way, a towel, glove etc cannot be used
Practice between holes No practice putting is allowed on the green after a hole has been played Between the play of two holes a player may practise putting or chipping on or near the putting green of the hole last played provided he does not hold up play - Rule 7-2
Late for starting time If a player arrives at his starting point, ready to play, within five minutes after his starting time, the penalty for failure to start on time is loss of the first hole in matchplay or two strokes at the first hole in strokeplay instead of disqualification Unless special provision has been made by the committee, a player who misses his starting time in both matchplay or strokeplay is disqualified - Rule 6-3
Line of sight relief The existence of temporary obstructions such as television towers, grandstands, scoreboards etc require a special set of local rules. It is in this reference that we come across what is commonly known as "line of sight" relief. This occurs when the obstruction intervenes directly between the players ball and the hole. A local rule allows players relief from these situations without penalty The important consideration here is that these obstructions are temporary and are found only during the playing of special tournaments. They are simply not part of normal, everyday golf, so no reference to this type of interference will be found in any of golfs 34 rules. Relief from a common obstruction is granted only when it interferes with your stance or the area of your intended swing. If it is in your line to the hole, you must play over it, under it or around it - no relief for "line of sight"
Equipment As from the 1 January 2003 all players (amateurs or pros) competing in professional golf tournaments anywhere in the world will be restricted from using clubs with a CoR (coefficient of restitution) greater than 0.83 Except in America and Mexico, amateur golfers may for everyday play up to the year 2008, use clubs with a CoR of up to 0.86
Stones in bunkers A special local rule is in play which states that "stones in bunkers are movable obstructions - Rule 24-1 applies Stones are by definition loose impediments and when a players ball is in a bunker a stone lying in the bunker may not be touched or moved - Rule 13-4

So next time you have a wager with your golfing buddies over a rule of golf, don’t base your argument on the fact that you saw the pros doing it on television and assume it must be right. As can be seen in a number of cases, you will be doing the paying.




Comments


1.  The section re the difference between pro and amateur local rules contains a number of inaccuracies. Notably the 'stones' in bunkers. It is widely used in both pro and amateur golf, both at international and club level.

comment by Doug Howell - 07/01/2015 22:16

2.  Further, although the embedded ball through the green local rule is on most pro hard cards, it is available to all competition committees to invoke.

comment by Doug Howell - 07/01/2015 22:19

3.  Well researched post on golf. It is very rare to see someone write in such in depth. Great comparison!

comment by Leon - 17/01/2016 07:30

4.  Rule 16-1 allows a player to remove sand and loose soil on the putting green and other loose impediments by picking them up or by brushing them aside with his hand or a club. By the way, a towel, glove etc cannot be used

Nonsense. He may use any method.

comment by Doug - 31/01/2016 22:13

5.  Restricted from using the head of a club when removing loose impediments from his line on the putting green.

More Nonsense

comment by Doug - 31/01/2016 22:16

6.  Late starting. Rule 6-3 applies equally to the pro events.

comment by Doug - 31/01/2016 22:16

7.  Interesting comparison. Eye opener for the casual golfers.

comment by Hitting The Golf Ball - 11/05/2016 17:18

8.  this leads on to the debate about whether the rules should be completely different for pros and amateurs too, doesn't it?
There has been a lot of talk about changing things like COR limits or ball specs for pros given that they are making some great courses obsolete.

comment by Nicholas F - 23/05/2016 18:27

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