Here at GolfMagic, we endeavour to make sure you're always aware of the up-to-date rules, so here are five important ones to save you strokes.
1. Embedded golf balls
We've all been there, we've managed to find contact somewhere near the middle of the big stick and we've found a fairway. Only you walk up to the ball and see it is embedded.
Don't try and be a hero and hack it out. The rules now allow for free relief for any embedded ball in the "general area" in the rough or the fairway. Apart from bunkers.
The full exchange as Patrick Reed takes embedded ball relief on No. 10. pic.twitter.com/gSPH6PrAoW— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 30, 2021
Did you know that drops don't have to be in the same condition? You probably are aware if your ball lands on a sprinkler head near the green you get free relief, but that doesn't mean you have to drop it back on a tight lie.
Your drop simply has to be the nearest point of relief at one club length no nearer the hole. Always keep in mind what your best options are.
3. Water hazards
The updated rules define the now-defunct water hazards as in fact a penalty area. Before, if your club touched a blade of grass inside the hazard it was deemed a stroke.
Now, you can move loose impediments with your club or hand providing you are not improving your lie or conditions of the stroke.
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4. Accidentally hitting yourself with a golf ball
It might sting a bit, but if you accidentally hit yourself with the ball after your shot ricochets off a tree or your equipment, there is no penalty. This is similar to the double hit, which is also not a penalty.
However, if you deliberately place your equipment as a backstop on the green to stop your ball then you can still incur a penalty.
5. Practice strokes on the green
If you're lining up a putt and practising a stroke and accidentally hit the ball causing it to move, you can just replace it to where it was.