Rule of the Month: A Golfer, Caddie and Rules Official Walk Into A Club...
By Sr. Rules Officials: Pete Scholz and Terry McEvilly
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Rule 4 The Player’s Equipment — Clubs
As you can imagine, the Rules pertaining to equipment a player may use are quite extensive and can be somewhat difficult to understand. To begin with, Equipment is defined as anything used, worn, held or carried by the player or the player’s caddie.
While this seems simple enough, further reading of the definition reveals that even rakes on the course are treated as the player’s equipment when being used or carried by the player or his or her caddie.
In this month’s article we have focused only on the player’s clubs and will focus on other equipment the player may use during a round in a coming article. Test your knowledge with the following True/False questions regarding your clubs.
- If a player starts a round with fewer than 14 clubs, he or she may add any number of clubs, provided the total number of clubs carried by the player is not greater than 14.
- While warming up on the driving range twenty minutes before teeing off, a player counts 15 clubs in his or her bag. On the way to the first tee, the player grabs another sleeve a balls from his or her vehicle and continues to the tee. He or she may declare one of the 15 clubs out of play at the first tee and is not penalized for having more than 14 clubs.
- A player may have a club with a molded grip for finger alignment in their bag, but must not make a stroke at a ball that counts in his or her score or a practice swing. The club counts as one of his or her fourteen clubs allowed.
- In an individual stroke play competition, a player must not make a stroke that counts in their score with another player’s club. In a partner event, partners may always share clubs.
- During a stroke or a practice swing, the player’s club strikes a tree branch and bends the shaft rendering it non-conforming to the Equipment Rules. The player must not use the club for the remainder of the round.
- In a competition with no Local Rules in place, a club damaged while making a stroke may not be replaced.
- During a round, if the head of a driver becomes loose, the player is not allowed to tighten it with a tool.
- During a round, a player is not allowed to adjust a club to a different degree of loft and make a stroke.
- When a player is required by a Rule to take a club out of play, he or she must inform another player which clubs are being taken out of play.
- If lead tape falls off of a clubhead during the round, the player may continue to use the club for the remainder of the round or may repair the club by using new lead tape.
- True. Rule 4.1b(1). A player must not purposely begin a round with more than 14 clubs selected for play. If a player starts a round with less than 14 clubs, he or she may add any clubs, provided the total number of clubs carried by the player is not greater than 14.
- False. Rules 4.1b and 4.1c(2). In this situation, the player had every opportunity to leave the extra club behind and is, therefore, penalized for starting the round with more than 14 clubs. if the player accidentally arrived at the first tee with too many clubs and wasn’t able to leave the extra clubs behind before starting, then the extra clubs could be declared out of play without penalty.
- True. Rules 4.1a(1) and 4.3a(6) and Interpretation 4.1a()/1. A club with a molded grip to align the player’s hands is a training aid and must not be used for a stroke during the round. Additionally, a practice swing must not be made with the club during the round. And even though it is a non-conforming club, it still counts as one of the maximum 14 clubs allowed.
- False. Rule 4.1b(2).The first part of this question is true, in that, a player may not make a stroke that counts in his or her score with another player’s club. However, partners may only share clubs if the total number of clubs between them is 14 or less.
- False. Rule 4.1a(2). When a conforming club becomes non-conforming during a round, the player may continue to use the club. This is the case no matter what caused the damage, even if it was caused by abuse. 6.
- True. Rule 4.1a(2). This question highlights the importance of having Local Rules in place and written down for all players to view. In this case, the player may continue to use the club but must not replace it. However, if Model Local Rule G-9 in effect for the competition, the player would be allowed to replace the club with any club. It is important to note that a club face or clubhead is not “broken or significantly damaged” solely because it is cracked. When replacing a club, the player must immediately take the damaged club out of play.
- False. Rule 4.1a(2) and Interpretation 4.1a(2)/1. When a conforming club is damaged during a round, the player may repair it or have it repaired but must not delay play or repair damage that existed before the round. In this situation, the player may tighten the head of the club with a tool to restore it to as nearly as possible to the condition before the damage happened.
- True. Rule 4.1a(3). While a damaged club may be repaired, the player is not allowed to purposely adjust a club to any other setting that the club wasn’t set to prior to starting the round.
- False. Rule 4.1c. One method of taking a club out of play is to tell another player which club is out of play, but the player may also take an action such as placing the club upside down in the bag or giving the club to another person. There is no requirement that the player declare this to anyone, but doing so would be a good idea.
- True. Rule 4.1a(2) and Interpretation 4.1a(2)/1. The player may always continue to use a club that is damaged during the round and may also repair or have it repaired. Repair is limited to still using the original grip, shaft and clubhead. When repairing the club in this situation, the player should attempt to use the original lead tape. But if it won’t remain in place, or is lost, the player may use new lead tape.