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Golf Ball

The Rules of Golf

The Rules of Golf Have Changed

A new era begins as the biggest changes to the Rules of Golf take effect for golfers and officials at all levels of the game. For everything you need to know about the changes, visit USGA.org/rules.

Q & As About the New Rules

Question #1

Q.  A player drives her ball into the fairway, and when making her second stroke accidentally hits the ball a second time and the ball lands some distance behind a tree.  The ball hits the tree on her next shot, is deflected and then hits her.  From that point, she hits the ball on to the putting green and takes two putts to hole the ball.  What is the players score for the hole, including any penalty strokes, if applicable?


a.   6

b.   7

c.   8


Answer:

The answer is a. 6.  One stroke for the drive, one stroke from the fairway, one stroke from behind the tree, one stroke to get on the putting green and two putts.  In the Rules of Golf beginning January 1, 2019, there is no longer a penalty for accidentally hitting the ball more than once during a stroke, nor is there a penalty if the ball accidentally hits the player (or her caddie, the person attending the flagstick, or the attended or removed flagstick). 

Question #2

The player must drop the ball straight down from knee height (the height of the player’s knees when in a standing position).  If the player is uncomfortable, she may drop from several inches higher or lower than knee height because knee height varies from player to player.  


True or False?

Answer: 

The answer is False.  The player must drop the ball exactly as stated in the first sentence. 

Question #3

Q.  A player may repair all damage on the putting green, including spike marks, animal damage and natural imperfections. 


True or False?


Answer: 

The answer is False.  A player may repair almost any damage (including spike marks and animal damage but not natural imperfections) on the putting green.

Question #4

In stroke play, player A putts and her ball hits B’s ball which is on the putting green.  What is the ruling?


A.  A receives a two-stroke penalty and must play the ball as it lies.

B.  No penalty to either player and A must play the ball as it lies.  

C.  A receives a one-stroke penalty and must play the ball as it lies. 

D.  B receives a two-stroke penalty and A must replay her putt.

Answer:

The answer is A.  A receives a two-stroke penalty and must play the ball as it lies.  See Rule 11.1a  

Exception – Ball Played on Putting Green in Stroke Play:  If the player’s ball in motion hits another ball at rest on the putting green and both balls were on the putting green before the stroke, the player gets the general penalty (two penalty strokes).

Question #5

A player, having reached the putting green in two strokes, walks past the hole and notices that the flagstick has caused an indentation to the lip of the hole.   Before putting, she repairs the hole as best she can with a tee marker and her hand, but it is still not round.  She then putts the ball into the hole.  What is her score?


A.  She is disqualified for using something other than an object to repair the hole.

B.  4  

C.  3 

D.  5


Answer:


The answer is C. 3.   The new Rules of Golf allow a player to repair the hole without penalty using her hand or other normal equipment before or after putting; since she took two strokes to get onto the green and one stroke to putt out, her score is 3.  See Rule 13.1c(2) and Interpretation of that Rule to include Damaged Hole is Part of Damage on the Putting Green.

Question #6:

A player hits her ball into a bunker and decides that her ball is unplayable.  One of her four relief options is to take a 2-stroke penalty and take back-on-the-line relief outside the bunker.  True or False?

Answer:

True.  For a total of 2 penalty strokes, the player may take back-on-the-line relief outside the bunker based on a reference line going straight back from the hole through the spot of the original ball.   See Rule 19-3.

Q & As About the New Rules

Question #9:

A player accidentally moved her ball on a putting green while taking a practice swing.  There is a penalty. 

True or False?

 

Answer:

False.  There is no penalty for accidentally moving the ball on the putting green with a practice swing.  See Rule 13.1d.  The player must replace the ball. If this situation had happened in the fairway there would have been a one-stroke penalty and the ball must be replaced. See Rule 9-4.

Question #10:

While another player’s ball is in motion from a putt on the putting green, I think her ball might hit my ball which is also on the putting surface.  I put a marker down and lift my ball.  Have I incurred a penalty?  Yes or No.

 

Answer:

No. There is not a penalty for marking and lifting a ball while another player’s ball is in motion on the putting green.  See Rule 11-3 Exception-Moving Flagstick, Ball at Rest on Putting Green and Other Player Equipment, which in part says: This Rule does not prohibit a player from lifting or moving….a ball at rest on the putting green.

Question #1

Q.  A player drives her ball into the fairway, and when making her second stroke accidentally hits the ball a second time and the ball lands some distance behind a tree.  The ball hits the tree on her next shot, is deflected and then hits her.  From that point, she hits the ball on to the putting green and takes two putts to hole the ball.  What is the players score for the hole, including any penalty strokes, if applicable?


a.   6

b.   7

c.   8


Answer:

The answer is a. 6.  One stroke for the drive, one stroke from the fairway, one stroke from behind the tree, one stroke to get on the putting green and two putts.  In the Rules of Golf beginning January 1, 2019, there is no longer a penalty for accidentally hitting the ball more than once during a stroke, nor is there a penalty if the ball accidentally hits the player (or her caddie, the person attending the flagstick, or the attended or removed flagstick). 

Question #2

The player must drop the ball straight down from knee height (the height of the player’s knees when in a standing position).  If the player is uncomfortable, she may drop from several inches higher or lower than knee height because knee height varies from player to player.  


True or False?

Answer: 

The answer is False.  The player must drop the ball exactly as stated in the first sentence. 

Question #3

Q.  A player may repair all damage on the putting green, including spike marks, animal damage and natural imperfections. 


True or False?


Answer: 

The answer is False.  A player may repair almost any damage (including spike marks and animal damage but not natural imperfections) on the putting green.

Question #4

Q: In stroke play, player A putts and her ball hits B’s ball which is on the putting green.  What is the ruling?

 

A.  A receives a two-stroke penalty and must play the ball as it lies.

B.  No penalty to either player and A must play the ball as it lies.  

C.  A receives a one-stroke penalty and must play the ball as it lies. 

D.  B receives a two-stroke penalty and A must replay her putt.

Answer:

The answer is A.  A receives a two-stroke penalty and must play the ball as it lies.  See Rule 11.1a  

Exception – Ball Played on Putting Green in Stroke Play:  If the player’s ball in motion hits another ball at rest on the putting green and both balls were on the putting green before the stroke, the player gets the general penalty (two penalty strokes).

Question #5

A player, having reached the putting green in two strokes, walks past the hole and notices that the flagstick has caused an indentation to the lip of the hole.   Before putting, she repairs the hole as best she can with a tee marker and her hand, but it is still not round.  She then putts the ball into the hole.  What is her score?


A.  She is disqualified for using something other than an object to repair the hole.

B.  4  

C.  3 

D.  5


Answer:


The answer is C. 3.   The new Rules of Golf allow a player to repair the hole without penalty using her hand or other normal equipment before or after putting; since she took two strokes to get onto the green and one stroke to putt out, her score is 3.  See Rule 13.1c(2) and Interpretation of that Rule to include Damaged Hole is Part of Damage on the Putting Green.

Question #6:

A player hits her ball into a bunker and decides that her ball is unplayable.  One of her four relief options is to take a 2-stroke penalty and take back-on-the-line relief outside the bunker.  True or False?

Answer:

True.  For a total of 2 penalty strokes, the player may take back-on-the-line relief outside the bunker based on a reference line going straight back from the hole through the spot of the original ball.   See Rule 19-3.

Question #7

A player hits her ball into an animal hole in a bunker.  Which two of the following statements are correct?

 

A. The player must take a one-stroke penalty and play the ball from where she hit the last stroke.

B. The player must take a two-stroke penalty and play under the Unplayable Ball rule.

C. The ball may be played in the same manner as if it were in the general area (in the fairway or in the rough).

D. An animal hole is an abnormal course condition and the player may take free relief by dropping a ball within one club length of the nearest point of complete relief no nearer the hole.

Answer:

C and D (See Rule 16.1)

Question #8

Two players are on the putting green.  Player A marks her ball with a small stone before lifting it, while player B puts the toe of her putter behind her ball before lifting, cleaning and replacing her ball.  Which statement is correct?


  1. Player A marked her ball correctly.

  2. Player B marked her ball correctly.

  3. Each player marked her ball correctly.

  4. Each player marked her ball incorrectly.

Answer:

The Answer is B. See Rule 14.1a and the definition of Ball Marker in the Definition section of the Rules. 

Question #11:

A right-handed player’s ball has come to rest just against the right side of a cart path on the right side of the fairway.  She may take relief without penalty under the Rule for an immovable obstruction.  In finding her nearest point of complete relief, does she measure the one-club length from:      

 

1) where her feet are 

or

2) where the ball will lie when she assumes her stance?

 

Answer:

The reference point for taking complete relief is 2) where the ball will lie when she assumes her stance.  The player should then measure the one-club length from that point to find the relief area where she may drop.  This is illustrated in Diagram 16.1a on p.94 of the Rules of Golf book (look at the last sentence in the description about B2 and P2). The player should proceed by getting her feet off the cart path, putting her clubhead down, and measuring one-club length no nearer the hole from that point. It’s worth noting that the one-club length measurement is from where the ball would rest when she takes her stance and puts her clubhead down, NOT from the player’s feet.

Question #12:

In stroke play, a player putted to 2 inches from the 4th hole, marked her ball and picked it up.  When it was her turn, she picked up her ball and marker, went to the 5th hole, and teed off.  Which of the following is correct?

 

A.          She incurs the general penalty (two strokes in stroke play)

B.           She incurs a one-stroke penalty

C.           She is disqualified from the round

D.          She should be warned

 

Answer:

C. She is disqualified from the round.  Rule 3.3c Failure to hole out in stroke play: You must hole out at each hole in a round.  If you fail to do so, you must correct that mistake before making a stroke to begin another hole, or for the final hole of the round, before returning your scorecard.  If you do not correct your mistake in that time, you are disqualified.