Getting soaked on the greens? Our Rules of Golf expert outlines what you can and can’t do with a brolly

Ah, the good old British summer. One minute it’s scorching, the next it’s absolutely tipping down. And getting caught in a downpour on the course led Dave McGinlay to email me the following question…

“Playing a casual round the other day, it started raining as we were walking to the green. One of our players had hit his approach shot to about six inches.

“He walked up to his ball with his umbrella in one hand and his putter in the other and proceeded to putt one-handed while holding the brolly aloft to keep himself dry. This led to long discussion. Would this be allowed in a competition?”

Can you wield your umbrella in this way, or are you going to come a cropper? Let’s reveal all…

Rules of Golf explained: Our expert says…

Yes, it’s fine. Rule 10.2b (5) allows a player to hold an umbrella over their head while making a stroke.

Where it becomes a problem is if someone else is holding the brolly.

If a caddie, or any other person, was to hold the umbrella over the player’s head while they putted – or deliberately position it in any other way to give protection – it’s an action that’s going to come with the general penalty attached.

That’s two strokes, or loss of hole in match play – quite a sanction to keep a few rain drops off for a couple of seconds.

If you read this rule, it goes a bit wider than just a small shower. It covers sun, wind, or any other element and any object or person that could give protection. So while you can shield yourself against the vagaries of Mother Nature, don’t let anyone else get involved when you’re making a stroke.

Have a question for our Rules of Golf expert?

Despite the simplification of the Rules of Golf at the beginning of 2019, there are still some that leave us scratching our heads. And as I’ve passed the R&A’s level 2 rules exam with distinction, I am more than happy to help.

If you’ve sent me an email and are yet to hear back from me, I will try to answer your query. I have been inundated with requests in recent weeks and am working hard to try and get through them but it might take a little time!

In recent weeks, I’ve received a number of emails from players hoping I can intervene in a club rules dispute. For fairly obvious reasons, I can’t do that and would direct those players either to their county or to the rules department at the R&A for a definitive judgement.

Click here for the full Rules of Golf explained archive and details of how to submit a question to our expert.

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