Rule of the Month: Beg, Borrow or Steal | Oregon Golf Association

Rule of the Month: Beg, Borrow or Steal

By Sr. Rules Officials: Pete Scholz and Terry McEvilly
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Rule 4 - The Player’s Equipment: Clubs and Balls

Equipment of the player is defined as “anything used, worn, held or carried by the player or the player’s caddie.” Literally, the shirt off your caddie’s back is your equipment. Additionally, objects such as rakes are also the equipment of the player while they are being carried by the player or his or her caddie. Rule 4, which covers Rules regarding the player’s equipment, expands this definition by classifying equipment into three categories: Clubs, Balls and Other Equipment. This month we focus on the clubs and balls and next month we will cover a player’s other equipment.

Test your knowledge of the Rules regarding a player’s clubs and golf balls with the following questions.

Questions:  True / False

  1. A player may never start or carry more than 14 clubs during a round.
  2. A player may borrow a club from another player in match play only.
  3. Golf balls may be borrowed from another player.
  4. If a clubhead comes loose during the play of a hole, the player may repair the club or have it repaired but must restore it as near as possible to its condition before the damage occurred.
  5. During a stroke at a ball near a tree, the player bends the shaft of his or her club.  The player may continue to use the damaged club for the remainder of the round, but must not replace it. 
  6. After starting a round with only 12 clubs, a player is prohibited from adding clubs during the round.
  7. A player may not change brands of golf balls during a round. 
  8. If a player becomes aware that they are carrying more than 14 clubs in breach of Rule 4.1b during the play of a hole, he or she must declare the extra club or clubs out of play after completing the hole and before teeing off at the next hole.
  9. Partners in a four-ball or foursome competition may not share clubs unless the total number of clubs between them is no more than fourteen.
  10. If a club is designed to be adjustable, a player may change the settings during the round and use it provided that play is not delayed. 
     

Answers:

  1. False.  Rule 4.1b and 4.1c(2).  A player is generally not allowed to start a round or carry more than 14 clubs.  However, there are times when a player may have additional clubs, such as when carrying another club left behind by a player or when the player discovers shortly before the start of the round that he or she is carrying more than 14 clubs.  In that case, if the player isn’t able to leave the additional club behind, he or she may declare it out of play and may carry it without penalty but must not use the club. 
  2. False.  Rule 4.1b(2) and (4).  A player is not allowed to use another player’s club in either match or stroke play (See Rule 22.5 & 23.7 for a limited exception in partner events).  This is true even if the player started with fewer than 14 clubs.  In that case, the player may add additional clubs up to 14 but must not add or borrow a club from another player playing on the course.
  3. True.  Rule 4.2a(1).  Golf balls may be borrowed from anyone on or off the course. 
  4. True.  Rule 4.1a(2).   Provided that play is not delayed and the player doesn’t repair damage that existed prior to the round, a damaged club may be repaired.  The same grip, shaft and clubhead must be used and if the club is adjustable, it must be restored to the original settings.
  5. True and False.  Rule 4.1b(3) and Model Local Rule G-9.  Under Rule 4, a player may continue to use a damaged club for the remainder of the round, but the club must not be replaced.  However, when the Model Local Rule G-9 is in effect (which we recommend that every golf club include on their hard card), a player may replace a damaged club provided the damage didn’t occur due to abuse. 
  6. False.  Rule 4.1b(1) and (4).  A player who starts the round with fewer than 14 clubs may add additional clubs.  When adding clubs, the player must not delay play and may not borrow any club from anyone playing on the course.  This Rule also restricts the player from building a club from parts carried by anyone for the player during the round. 
  7. False.  Rule 6.3a.  Unless there is a Local Rule in place prohibiting a player from changing the brand or model of ball, a player may always change balls between the play of two holes or anytime substitution is permitted. 
  8. False.  Rule 4.1c(1).  When a player discovers that he or she is carrying more than 14 clubs, they must declare the extra club or clubs out of play immediately.  This may be done verbally or by taking some other clear action (such as turning the club upside down in the bag).  Failure to declare the clubs out of play immediately will result in the player being disqualified. 
  9. True.  Rules 4.1b(2), 22.5 and 23.7.  A player is limited to the clubs he or she started the round with or added as allowed by Rule 4.1b.  Therefore, partners must not share clubs unless the total number of clubs carried by the partners is no more than fourteen.  For example, in an alternate shot format, the general penalty will be incurred if one of the partners misses a putt and the other partner borrows and uses the same putter to tap in. 
  10. False.  Rule 4.1a(3)  If a player purposely changes a club by using an adjustable feature and subsequently makes a stroke with the club, he or she is disqualified.  If the player learns, prior to making a stroke with the club, that it isn’t permissible to adjust a club and use it, he or she may return the club to its original settings and continue to use it for the remainder of the round without penalty.

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