Rule Tip of the Week #7: Then & Now

Hopefully, as an American citizen, you took the time and exercised your right to vote in the 2018 mid-term elections!  Whether or not you fulfilled your civic duty by filling out your ballot, here’s your chance to vote Yea”or Nay concerning the following statements.  Vote Yea if the statement is true under the new Rules that will come into effect on January 1, 2019.  Vote Nay if the statement is false under the 2019 Rules.






  1. If your ball comes to rest touching the line defining the edge of a red penalty area (currently known as a lateral water hazard), but your ball is also touching the putting green, you may treat the ball as lying either in the penalty area or on the putting green.


  1. In stroke play, if you mistakenly enlist the services of two caddies for the first nine holes of your round before finding out at the turn that having more than one caddie at any time is contrary to the Rules, you incur a maximum penalty, i.e., a two-stroke penalty will be added to your scores for only the first two holes of your round.


  1. Equipment of the player includes any ball used or carried by the player.


  1. In playing a ball from the back of a bunker, you touch a bare earthen wall with your club during your backswing.As a result, you incur a loss of hole penalty in match play or a two-stroke penalty in stroke play.


  1. After having marked, lifted and replaced your ball on the putting green, a gust of wind causes your ball to roll and disappear into the hole! You are in luck because the ruling under these circumstances is that you have holed out with your previous stroke!


  1. You are not permitted to replace your ball if it becomes out of shape during the play of a hole.


  1. In Foursomes (alternate shot) stroke or match play, when your drive has come to rest in an area of ground under repair, in taking relief, you are permitted to drop a ball in the relief area even though your partner will be playing the next stroke.




  1. Nay   Per new Rule 2.2c [Determining Area of Course Where Ball Lies], a ball is always treated as lying in only one area of the course.  If part of your ball is in both the general area and one of the four specific areas of the course (namely, the teeing area; a penalty area; a bunker; or the putting green), it is treated as lying in that specific area of the course.  Whenever part of your ball is in two specific areas of the course, it is treated as lying in the specific area that comes first in this order: penalty area, bunker, putting green.


  1. Nay   The penalty statement associated with new Rule 10.3a(1) [Player Allowed Only One Caddie at a Time] states, “• The player gets the general penalty for each hole during which he or she is helped by more than one caddie at any time.  • If the breach happens or continues between two holes, the player gets the general penalty for the next hole.”  In the scenario as described, you would incur a total of 20 penalty strokes, two penalty strokes applied to each of the first nine holes, plus an additional two penalty strokes applied to the 10thhole of your round since the breach continued after completion of the 9thhole!!


  1. Yea   Per the definition of “Equipment” in the 2019 Rules, equipment is “Anything used, worn, held or carried by the player or the player’s caddie.”      


  1. Nay   Per the definition of “Bunker” in the 2019 Rules, “A lip, wall or face at the edge of a prepared area and consisting of soil, grass, stacked turf or artificial materials …” is not part of a bunker.  Therefore, you are not penalized under new Rule 12.2b [Restrictions on Touching Sand in Bunker].


  1. Nay   The Exception to new Rule 9.3 [Ball Moved by Natural Forces] states, “If the player’s ball on the putting green moves after the player had already lifted and replaced the ball on the spot from which it moved: • The ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated). … • This is true no matter what caused it to move (including natural forces).


  1. Yea   According to new Rule 4.2c [Ball Becomes Cut or Cracked While Playing Hole], you may not substitute another ball simply because your ball is out of round.  Also, you may not substitute another ball when your ball is only scratched or scraped or its paint is only damaged or discolored.  Substitution is permitted only when your ball is cut or cracked. 


  1. Yea   New Rule 22.2 [Either Partner May Act for Side] states, in part, “As both partners compete as one side playing only one ball … (e)ither partner may take any allowed action for the side before the stroke is made, such as to mark the spot of the ball and lift, replace, drop and place the ball, no matter which partner’s turn it is to play next for the side.”







November 2018 Rules