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playing golf in the wind

What am I allowed to use to measure the wind?

Bit breezy? Our rules guru explains what you can and can’t do when it comes to working out where the gusts are coming from

 

We’ve all been stumped by that swirling breeze – not quite knowing whether it’s helping or hindering. Conquering Mother Nature’s breath when playing golf in the wind can be a big part of getting out of a round in one piece.

We all know we can snatch a handful of grass and throw it up into the air – as dramatically as possible, of course – to try and work out the puzzle.

But what if we wanted to use a handkerchief, a tissue, or a towel to do the same job? After all, we could hold that in a hand and watch the gales rush through it.

Let’s get stuck in…

playing golf in the wind

Playing golf in the wind

There are all sorts of things covering wind, and other weather conditions, and we’ll get into some of those in a second.

But let’s cut to the chase. Don’t use artificial objects to get wind-related information. Rule 4.3a (2) says you can’t use them – and it sets down what some of these objects are. Powder, handkerchiefs, ribbons – they all fall foul if you’re using them to assess wind direction.

Coming a cropper can get messy. You’ll get the general penalty for the first breach (two shots or loss of hole in match play) and if you do it again in an act that’s unrelated to the first breach – say if you repeated the trick on another hole – the sanction is disqualification.

Now I’ve lectured you on what not to do, what can you do?

You are allowed to get any type of weather information, and that includes wind speed, you can find in a forecast and you’re also allowed to measure both temperature and humidity at the golf course.

But don’t do anything that actually measures the wind speed where you’re standing.

Got a question for our expert?

Despite the changes to the Rules of Golf in 2019 and 2023, there are still some that leave us scratching our heads. I’ll try to help by featuring the best of your queries in this column.

What do you think about these rules about playing golf in the wind? Let me know by leaving a comment on X.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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