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Rules of Golf 2022

Seven common Rules of Golf we all still break

There are a number of rules club golfers are guilty of getting wrong. So what are they, and are you guilty of breaking them?

 

There are so many Rules of Golf that it is almost impossible to know each one inside out. But there are some very common rules that golfers constantly break. So what are they and are you breaking them?

Rules of Golf 2022

We would recommend you watch the video for the best explanation, but if you would prefer to read the article, just keep on scrolling…

Rules of Golf mistakes we all make

There are so many Rules of Golf that it is almost impossible to know each one inside out. But there are some very common rules that golfers constantly break. So what are they and are you breaking them?

Advice on the course

Deciding your own course strategy and tactics is considered a fundamental part of the challenge of golf. This means in competition play, there is certain advice that you can’t give or receive from your playing partners.

The main part of this that golfers constantly break is discussing club selection. In individual stroke play, before you hit a shot you must not give anyone advice on what club to hit or ask them for advice on what you should hit.

Unless of course, you have a caddie with whom you can discuss this…

This advice doesn’t just stop at club selection though. You can’t discuss anything that influences how a player picks a club, hits a shot or decides how to play the hole.

This comes under Rule 10.2, a breach would mean loss of hole in match play or a two-shot penalty in stroke play.

Moving Out of Bounds Markers

Lots of posts and artificial objects on the golf course are moveable obstructions, so it would be easy to presume out-of-bounds posts fit under this same rule. Any boundary object, be it a wall, fence or post is treated differently.

Even if these are physically moveable, they are ‘artificial objects defining or showing out of bounds’ and therefore are treated as immovable. They have to stay put and you also can’t get free relief if they impede on your stroke.

You will either have to take a penalty drop or find a different way to hit the golf ball.

This comes under Rule 8.1a, a breach would mean loss of hole in match play or a two-shot penalty in stroke play as you are deemed to have ‘improved the conditions affecting the stroke’.

Moving sand on the fringe of the green

If there is sand or loose soil on the putting green which affects your stroke you are allowed to remove it. But if the sand or soil lays off the green, leave it where it is as under the rules it cannot be removed.

Rules of Golf 2022

There is an exception to this rule, though. Players are entitled to the conditions affecting their stroke when the ball comes to rest. If there was no sand on the fringe affecting your shot when your ball landed, but your playing partner took a stroke and subsequently added some, you can create the original lie you had by removing the sand.

Improving conditions that affect the stroke

The Rules of Golf state that the course must be played as it is found. Rule 8.1 restricts any actions which improve the conditions affecting your stroke. Most golfers are aware they can’t improve the lie immediately around their golf ball. But this also applies to anything in your line of play.

If you stand behind your ball and look down your intended line to the target you can’t alter anything on this line. So if there is a divot just in front of your ball that hasn’t been replaced its best to leave it there until after you have played your shot.

Rules of Golf 2022

You may think this rule doesn’t come in often, but at final qualifying for The Open, one player lost his spot at St Andrews by raking a bunker in his line of sight before hitting his shot!

This comes under Rule 8.1a, which prohibits a player from improving conditions affecting the stroke. A breach would mean loss of hole in match play or a two-shot penalty in stroke play. It is important to note this does not apply to the removal of loose impediments or movable obstructions.

Known or virtually certain

A player can take penalty relief from a penalty area as long as it is known or virtually certain that the golf ball is in the penalty area. This is often categorised as having 95% certainty the ball is in the penalty area.

Rules of Golf 2022

If it is not known or virtually certain that the ball is in the penalty area, it is considered lost. You must take stroke-and-distance relief under Rule 18.2. This would be the case if there is somewhere else your ball could reasonably be, such as in grass, bushes or trees that aren’t inside the penalty area.

This comes under Rule 14.7a. A breach would mean you have played your shot from the Wrong Place. The penalty for this is loss of hole in match play or a two-shot penalty in stroke play.

Lifting ball without marking it

Not sure if the ball you have found is yours? You are allowed to lift the ball for identification purposes, BUT the spot of the ball must be marked before the ball is moved.

This comes under Rule 14.1a. A breach would lead to a one-shot penalty.

Nearest point of relief

Under Rule 16, you are entitled to free relief if you have interference from an abnormal course condition such as the path below. In this scenario, you get a free drop, but it must be taken at the nearest point of full relief.

The nearest point of relief is the nearest place you can get complete relief for the next shot. This means the ball and your stance must no longer be impeded by the abnormal condition. While most golfers understand this, they still end up taking relief in the wrong place as they simply drop to the side that will give them the nicest lie and or angle for their next shot.

My ball has come to rest on a path in the example above. My ball is effectively in position B1, demonstrated in the diagram below. This means my nearest point of complete relief is P1. Unfortunately for me, this is in a bush.

So think carefully before you race to pick up your ball if you see it on a path. You may be better off playing it as it lies. Alternatively, you can take an unplayable drop, giving you two club lengths, no nearer the hole, or a stroke and distance option.

Rules of Golf 2022

Hannah Holden

hannah holden

Hannah Holden is the Equipment and Instruction Editor here at National Club Golfer. If you’re looking to improve your game, by changing your golf swing or upgrading your golf equipment she’ll have the answers.

As well as writing lots of features and reviews you can find her on our YouTube channel giving you insights on the latest rules, clubs and tips to improve your golf game.

Hannah is a member at Alwoodley golf club. You will either find her here or driving up and down the country playing in a variety of elite amateur events.

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