8 most misunderstood rules of golf— Part 2

  1. Unplayable lie in a bunker

Option 1 – Take a drop of no more than two club lengths no closer to the hole, but still in the bunker incurring a one-shot penalty; Option 2 – Replay the shot from the original position incurring a stroke and distance penalty; Option 3 –Go back as far as you like in the bunker and drop keeping that spot where your ball laid between you and the hole. This incurs a one-shot penalty.

  1. Removing objects in a bunker

You may not move or remove any loose impediments in the bunker unless they are foreign to the area. Example—you may remove a candy wrapper but not a pine cone or tree branch.

8.Number of allowed clubs


You are only allowed to carry 14 clubs in your bag. The penalty for carrying more than 14 clubs: Match Play—Loss of hole— maximum of two holes Stroke Play – two strokes per hole up to a maximum of two holes or four shots.

  1. Casual water

Find your nearest point of relief no closer to the hole where neither you or your ball lie in water that can be seen without pressing your feet up and down. You may then drop your ball within one-club length from that point no nearer to the hole at no penalty

  1. Grounding your club in a hazard

Practice swings may be taken inside a hazard as long as you don’t touch the ground, sand or water with your club. The top of the grass may be touched during a practice swing. The penalty for grounding your club is loss of the hole in match play or a two-shot penalty in stroke play.

  1. Accidentally moving your ball

There is a one-stroke penalty for accidentally moving your ball and it must be replaced in its original position before hitting. There is another one-stroke penalty for hitting the ball from the wrong place if it is not replaced. There is no penalty for accidentally moving the ball when on the tee.

12.Removing loose impediments

If, in moving loose impediments, you accidently move your ball, you must return the ball to its original position and penalise yourself one stroke.

  1. Asking for advice

It’s against the rules of golf to ask an opponent what club they have hit. The penalty for this breach is loss of hole in match play, or a two-shot penalty in stroke play.

  1. Ball on a cart path

You are entitled to free relief. Step 1— Determine the “nearest point of relief”. This is the point where the ball would lay affording the player both swing and stance from the cart path. Step 2 – you are entitled to one-club length relief from the point where the ball would lie once full relief is taken. Step 3—After dropping, the ball may roll up to two-club lengths no closer to the hole.

The author is a R&A certified tournament administrator and referee. He is a founding member of the Professional Golfers Association in Malawi, a teaching professional and a member of the Professional Golf Association of South Africa. For feedback, E-mail: or call 0888 346 510.

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