Golf rules. Complicated little chaps. Twist your melon with this lot.

Andy Roberts's picture
Wed, 9 Dec 2015


Answers (correct answers in bold)

1. Player A in stroke play asks Player B to hold up the flagstick to indicate the position of the hole while playing a pitch up a steep bank. The ball strikes the flagstick whilst being held up by Player B.

A Player B is penalised two strokes and the stroke must be replayed
B Player A is penalised two strokes and the stroke must be replayed
C Player A is penalised two strokes and the ball must be played as it lies (Rule 17-3)

2. In stroke play a player substitutes his ball in play as he deems it unfit for play as the surface is scraped.

A He is penalised one stroke
B He is penalised two strokes (Rule 5-3)
There is no penalty, the ball is unfit for play

3. A player's ball lies in a bunker. There is a discarded banana skin next to the ball.

A The player may not remove the banana skin as it is a loose impediment (Rule 13-4c)
B The player may remove the banana skin as is not a loose impediment
C Whilst technically the banana skin is a loose impediment in equity (Rule 1-4), as it a discarded food item it may be removed without penalty

4. A player competes in the Club Championship (stroke play) off a handicap higher than that to which he was entitled. There was a prize for both nett and gross scores. He was disqualified from the nett competition (Rule 6-2b), but claimed he was entitled to the gross prize.

A He is entitled to win the gross prize (Decision 33-1/13)
B He is disqualified from the gross prize
C The committee may decide if he should be disqualified from the gross prize

5. Two players begin a match at 10.00 and complete 3 holes before they are informed that the course was closed at 09.00, but no notice had been placed on the 1st tee.

A Both players are disqualified
B The match should be replayed, resuming at the 4th hole
C The match should be replayed in its entirety (Decision 33-2d/4)

6. In a match, a player begins to search for his ball and after two minutes finds a ball which he believes to be his opponent's ball and resumes his search. The five minute search period elapses and thereafter it is discovered that the ball which he found and believed to be his opponent's was in fact his ball.

A The player's ball has been found and remains the ball in play. His opponent's ball is lost
B The player did not identify the ball as his and therefore the player's ball is, by definition, 'lost' (Decision 27/5.5)
The player's ball is in play and his opponent is allowed another three minutes to search for his ball

7. A player replaces his ball on the putting green but does not remove his ball-marker. Subsequently the wind moves his ball to a new position.

A The ball was in play so it must be played from its new position (Decision 20-4/1)
B The ball was in play and must be replaced without penalty
C The ball was not in play and must be replaced without penalty

8. In stroke play a player's ball lies just in front of a divot which is folded over but not completely detached and interferes with his backswing. He replaces the divot and plays his shot.

A As the divot is a loose impediment it may be removed or replaced
B The divot is not a loose impediment as it is still partly attached but in equity (Rule 1-4) it may be replaced as the poor etiquette of another player should not hinder the play of a fellow competitor
C The divot is not a loose impediment as it is not completely detached so its replacement is a breach of Rule 13-2 (improving area of intended swing) so he is penalised two strokes (Decision 13-2/5)

9. A player who started his round with 14 clubs loses his 9 iron. Is he entitled to replace it during the round

A As the club was lost and not damaged he may replace the club
B As the club has not become unfit for play during the normal course of play it may not be replaced (Decision 4-3/10)
The club may be replaced under a penalty of 1 stroke in either stroke play or match play

10. In a fourball match where A & B are partners. A deliberately putts away from the hole, further away and on the same line as B's ball to putt first and give him a 'read' for his putt, which he subsequently does. Is this allowed?

A Yes, there is no Rule that prohibits this action
B No, in equity (Rule 1-4) as this action is contrary to the spirit of the game Player A is disqualified from the hole. Player B may continue play of the hole.
C As above, but both A & B are disqualified from the hole (Decision 30-3f/6)

About our resident golf referee Ashley Weller...

Ashley Weller is a PGA Advanced Professional and has been a member of the PGA Rules Panel for nearly 10 years.

Having passed the prestigious R&A Rules School with a class topping 94% in 2011, Ashley has gone on to referee at European Tour level and this year officiated at the Women's British Open at Trump Turnberry.

Having combined life as a Club Pro with his tournament duties since 2006, he is shortly to turn his attention full time to his passion for the Rules and Tournament Administration, combined with course consultancy and Rules evenings, passing on his extensive knowledge to club golfers.

If you are a club golfer and would be interested in Ashley hosting a Rules evening at your club please email him at for further details. 

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