See If You Can Distinguish A Rules Violation From Something That’s Perfectly Allowable

1. Your ball is resting on the edge of a slope on the green. After you mark and replace your ball, you’re afraid it might start rolling down the slope while you wait for your turn to putt. So you mark it and lift it again. When it’s your turn, you quickly replace the ball in its proper spot and putt before it can roll down the slope.

2. Your ball lands and stops next to some fresh paint in the fairway used to mark ground under repair. It’s all over the ball, so you mark it, lift it and try to scrub off the paint with your towel.

3. You teed your ball in front of the markers (a two-shot penalty) and it goes out-of-bounds (a penalty of stroke and distance). Your opponent says you’re hitting your fourth shot when you re-tee.

4. A hill blocks your view of the green. After walking up the hill to see where the flag is, you go back to your ball, adjust the position of a stick in front of you to indicate your target line, and then hit your shot.

5. Your opponent hits into a lateral water hazard. Instead of dropping another ball near where the original entered the hazard, he goes to the opposite side and drops by a spot that is the same distance from the hole as where his ball entered.

6. Your opponent’s tee shot hits a power line over the fairway and bounces into the rough. He says the course has a Local Rule that gives him the option of playing the ball as it lies or re-teeing without penalty, so he’s going to inspect his lie before choosing the better option.

7. Your ball might be sitting in casual water, so you jump up and down to see if the ground is saturated. Water appears after you’ve jumped, so you want to take free relief.

8. You’ve lost all the balls in your bag, so you ask your opponent if you can have one of his to continue play.

9. Your playing partner’s ball comes to rest next to an irrigation-control box in the rough that will interfere with his next shot. He correctly measures for the drop but plops the ball into the fairway and not the rough.

10. Your club crashes into turf behind the ball, causing it to move. You then strike the moving ball during the through-swing. You think it’s one stroke because you hit the ball only once.          






1 OK. If you properly mark your ball, you can lift it multiple times on the green, provided you don’t unduly delay play. (Decision 16-1/b/1)

2 Not OK. Unless the ball can be lifted under the rules and cleaned, you have to play it with the paint on it. Take a stroke penalty for lifting your ball and replace it. (Decision 21/1)

3 Not OK. You’re penalised two strokes for playing outside the teeing ground. That ball wasn’t in play, so the ensuing shot didn’t count. (Decision 11-4b/6)

4 Not OK. Anything placed to indicate line of play must be removed before the stroke, or it’s a loss of hole in match play or two-shot penalty in stroke play. (Rule 8-2a)

5 OK. One option after hitting into a lateral water hazard (marked red) is to find the point equidistant from the hole on the opposite side of the hazard, and take a drop within two club-lengths, no closer to the hole. (Rule 26-1c)

6 Not OK. Unless a Local Rule requires you to replay the stroke without penalty if it hits a power line, play it as it lies. You don’t have an option of choosing one or the other. (Decision 33-8/13)

7 Not OK. Water that’s visible through undue effort with the feet is not considered casual water. Play it as it lies. (Decision 25/4)

8 OK. Examples of items you can borrow include a ball, a tee, a glove and a towel. (Decision 5-1/5)

9 OK. There is no distinction made between fairway and rough. (Decision 24-2b/8)

10 Not OK. The ball moved when the club struck the ground (counts as a stroke). When it made contact with the ball, it was a one-stroke penalty for striking a moving ball. (Decision 14-4/3)