Golf Rules That Can Help You

Published 03/10/2013 17:11:00

It's not all about penalties and punishment. Many times the rules are there to help you - if you know them.

Rough to fairway

In taking relief from an abnormal ground condition such as casual water or ground under repair, the nearest point of relief is determined without regard for fairway or rough. So if your ball is in the rough in such a relief situation and the nearest point of relief is back onto the fairway, this is your good luck. But remember, this can be a double-edged sword - if your ball is on the fairway, the nearest point of relief might be in the rough or even under a bush. There is only one nearest point and you cant go looking for the best option.

Out from under a tree

If your ball is under a tree, but also in a situation that allows free relief (such as with interference from a cast made by a burrowing animal) you can take relief even if you are physically able to swing at the ball. If your drop puts you in a position where you are able to play at the green instead of chipping out sideways, that's fine.

Fairway to rough

I am often asked if, when a local rule allowing placing on fairways is in play, a player may place his ball from the fairway into the rough. If the original position of the ball was covered by the rule, and the distance that the player places the ball is within that which has been specified, then the player is quite within his rights to place from the fairway to the rough. The same applies if in placing the ball the player gets some advantage in terms of his stance or line of play. Again that is his good luck. Remember that the R&A and the USGA are opposed to the introduction of placing and believe the ball should rather be played as it lies.

Replacing a club

A player may replace a club that is broken or damaged in the normal course of play. So if you have a hit at a ball that is lying up against a tree and your club breaks or bends, you can replace it. However, in replacing it, you are not allowed to unduly delay play.

Place ball after two drops

If, when you drop a ball under any rule of golf, it rolls away twice to where a re-drop would be required, you get to place the ball on the spot where it hit the ground on the second drop. If you're proceeding under a rule which gives you an area to drop into and you think you will end up placing a ball after two drops, you should scout for an area of nice turf before dropping.

Don't look for your original ball

If you hit a great shot with a provisional ball and/or you think your first ball might be in a truly awful place, you are not obliged to look for the original ball. Once you play the provisional ball from the area the original ball is likely to be (or from a point nearer the hole than that place), the provisional ball becomes the ball in play, obviously under penalty of stroke-and-distance. However, if somebody finds your original ball before your provisional ball becomes in play, you have to play the original. If on a short hole a player holes out with his provisional ball (a score of three - taking into account the stroke and distance penalty) the provisional becomes the ball in play as soon as the player takes it out of the hole. Again you do not have to go and look for the original ball. However, if the original ball is found before the provisional is taken out the hole, then it (the original) is the ball in play.

Play from the previous spot

If you somehow skull an easy chipshot from a greenside position or hit a putt into a water hazard or an unplayable position on the other side of the green or hole, remember that one of your options is to return to the spot of your previous stroke, under penalty of one stroke. It could leave you in a better position. Always consider all your options.

Practice at halfway

After playing the front nine a player may practise his putting on the practice green while waiting to tee off for his second nine, as long as he does not delay play. So if he decides to spend 10 minutes practising his putting rather than joining his fellow players for the delights of the halfway house, that's his prerogative.


1.  This is very awesome post. These rules is very essential for Golf Players. As a golf player I have to know about this.

comment by Jahid Khan - 22/10/2013 17:21

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