Golf Rules Q&A

Can I play other holes interspersed during the match?

  • Q: To save distance, two players attack the green on hole 4, tee off on the adjacent hole 5, and then return to the green on hole 4 to finish their putts. This allows them to walk directly to the fairway of No. 5 and play the second shot of the hole. Is that OK?

  • A: No. According to the rules, "The game of golf is the process of using a club to hit a ball into the hole in one or more consecutive strokes from the tee under the rules." This rule clearly states that players must hit the ball into the hole in successive strokes what they did violate this rule.

What should a player do when they follow the lost ball process to find out that the initial ball is already in the hole?

  • Q: A player hits a ball toward the green, but he walks to the green and does not find the ball. So he disposes of the ball as if it was lost and puts the other ball into use condition. After that, he discovers that his initial ball was actually in the hole. What is the verdict?

  • A: "The game of golf is the process of getting it into the hole." This player has completed the hole when the initial ball is in the hole, so the initial ball score is valid.

Should I receive a penalty for hitting the wrong ball after the initial ball has gone in?

  • Q: A player hits a ball toward the green. He walks up to the green and puts the ball on top into the hole, but then realizes that the initial ball he just hit to the green was already in the hole, and the ball he put on the green before was wrong. What is the verdict?

  • A: Since play on the hole is over after the initial ball has gone in (Rule 1 - 1), the player's subsequent errant putt does not violate the rule). Therefore, he will use the score of the initial ball to calculate his score for the hole.

Does hitting a hole-in-one and then leveling the edge of the hole before the other players in the same group hit the ball constitute an impact on the ball?

  • Q: After hitting the ball into the hole, a player notices that the hole's edge is a bit uneven, so he lightly taps the edge of the hole with his hand and smooths out the unevenness. However, his opponent, fellow competitor, or partner has not yet hit the ball into the hole. Should this player be ruled to have affected the movement of the ball?

  • A: Whether or not a rule was violated depends primarily on whether the player consciously or intentionally took some action to affect the ball's motion. In this case, if the player's action in smoothing the edge of the hole was merely a courtesy to the back group or to protect the course, he did not violate Rules 1-2. However, if his primary purpose in smoothing the hole's edge was to affect the ball of an opponent, fellow competitor, or partner, he violated the rules.
    Since the player has already hit the ball into the hole, he has completed play on that hole. Therefore there will be no penalty for touching or improving the line of putt.

What is the penalty for intentionally blocking a ball that rolls back down the slope with a club?

  • Q: A player chops the ball up an uphill slope at the green approach, only to have the ball go up, not stop and start rolling back. The player then puts his club in front of his body and stops the ball. Judging from the circumstances, had he not done so, the ball would have continued to roll forward a few yards and come to rest in the greenway. What is the verdict?

  • A: This player intentionally stopped the ball, so it was a movement that affected the ball. Since the violation was not serious (only a few yards of error and the ball would not have stopped in the hazard), he should be awarded a loss on the hole in the stroke play and a two-stroke penalty in the stroke play. In stroke play, he must then play the ball where it stops.
    If a player intentionally deflects the ball instead of stopping it, he shall be awarded a loss on that hole in stroke play. If the violation is not severe in stroke play, the player receives a two-stroke penalty and must continue to play the ball in its new position. On the contrary, if the violation is severe, the player is disqualified.

Is there a penalty for a rule that is applied but not enforced by agreement between players?

  • Q: After play has begun, two players, A and B, negotiate and agree with each other to throw a ball out of bounds at the spot where it went out of bounds and take a two-stroke penalty, even though they know that the penalty should be to return to the spot where the ball was the last hit and take a one-stroke penalty. Someone overheard their conversation and told them they couldn't arrange it that way. Neither had hit the ball out of bounds before that. What should be the ruling?

  • A: Even though A and B have not yet acted as agreed, once they agree in a regulation round, they have violated the rules.

Can you agree to mutually acknowledge all short putts made by each other in a stroke play tournament?

  • Q: In a stroke play tournament, two players agree in advance that all putts shorter than the length of the putter grip are automatic "OK," i.e., approved for the next hole-in-one. Is this against the rules?

  • A: Yes. These two players negotiated to exclude the application of Rule They should have been disqualified under the rule
    It may be argued that the rules of stroke play allow a player to acknowledge an opponent's shot. However, that rule refers to the "next" shot, and in this case, the players recognized many of their opponents' shots in advance of each other.