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Test Your Rules Knowledge

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In stroke play, a ball comes to rest against a rake. The player removes the rake and the ball rolls a few inches away. The player plays the ball from its new position. What is the ruling? A. No Penalty B. One-Stroke Penalty C. Two-Stroke Penalty D. Two-Stroke Penalty and the player must correct the error

In stroke play, a player plays a provisional ball for a tee shot that may be lost. In the fairway, the player fi nds and plays a ball and picks up the provisional. The player then discovers the ball that was played was a wrong ball. The player cannot fi nd his original ball. How many penalty strokes has the player incurred? A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4

In single match play, which of the following does NOT result in a penalty? A. After conceding the hole, a player drops a ball in a bunker and makes a stroke.

B. After conceding the hole, a player plays the ball from where it had come to rest in the bunker.

C. After conceding the hole, a player rakes his ball back into the bunker and makes a stroke from his previous spot.

D. Prior to completing the hole, a player practices putting off to the side of the putting green.


In match play, prior to making a stroke from within a water hazard, a player touches the water in the water hazard with a club when setting up to the ball, and this is observed by the referee. What is the ruling? A. No Penalty B. One-Stroke Penalty C. Two-Stroke Penalty D. Loss of Hole

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FALL 2013 / NCGA.ORG / 63

The Rules of Golf

Stump the Rules Expert

PENALTY ON THE PUTTING GREEN Tino writes: Q: On the putting green, who gets the penalty if I putt and hit another player’s ball? The other player had neglected to mark the ball. A: If a player makes a stroke on the putting green and hits another player’s ball in play on the putting green, the player making the stroke is penalized two strokes in stroke play. There is no pen- alty in match play–Rule 19-5.

PLAYING FROM A WATER HAZARD Keith writes: Q: When playing from a water hazard where the grass is two feet or taller, can I place my club about 1–2 inches from the ball and take my stance prior to hitting the ball? Would I be allowed to insert the club into the grass to make a stroke and not incur a penalty, or do I have to try to use a baseball swing to hit the ball from 2 feet? A: Rule 13-4 does not permit you to ground your club in the hazard when your ball lies in the hazard. You may,

however, place the club behind the ball and touch grass or any growing thing in the hazard so long as you do not ground the club (Note to Rule 13-4). You have ground- ed your club when the grass is supporting the weight of the club (Decision 13-4/8).

HITTING FROM UNDER A TREE Robert writes: Q: A player hits a ball by a tree. The player walks under the tree and is able to stand up by the ball, but does not address it. The player tests his or her swing arc to see if it would be impeded by the branches. The swung club touches a branch, and some dead pine needles fall off. Would the player be penalized for improving his or her lie? A: Rule 13-2 prohibits a player from improving his or her area of intended swing. Whether or not he or she should be penalized depends on whether or not the area was improved. Several pine needles being knocked down in an area of hundreds of pine needles would not warrant a penalty. Several pine needles in an area where those were the only pine needles impeding the swing would warrant a penalty. See Decision 13- 2/0.5 for clarifi cation.

Edited by RYAN FARB, assistant director of rules and competitions. To submit questions, email or visit the Stump the Rules Expert page of (under the Rules menu).

ANSWERS: 1-C, Rule 24-1. Player was required to replace the ball; 2-D, Decision 27-2b/9; 3-B, Decision 7-2/1.7. Strokes made in continuing the play of the hole are not practice strokes; 4-D, Rule 13-4b

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