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Clarifying the penalty statements

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Bewlo is an explanation of the wording of penalty statements, marked with an asterisk, underneath some of the 34 Rules of Golf. Such statements appear under Rules 1, 4, 6 and 18.

Usually, the wording of the statement is self-explanatory, e.g. under Rule 1-2;

*In the case of a serious breach of Rule 1-2, the Committee may impose a penalty of disqualification.

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Rule 1-2 covers situations where a player exerts influence on a ball in motion, or intentionally alters physical conditions with the intent of affecting the playing of a hole (e.g. by deliberately creating spike marks on another player’s line of putt).

A player is deemed to have committed a serious breach of this Rule if the Committee considers that a player’s action has resulted in them or another player obtaining a significant advantage, or being placed at a significant disadvantage.

One penalty statement under Rule 4 relates to the different penalties that are incurred, depending on when during a round the breach is discovered (e.g. 1st, 2nd or subsequent holes).

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Another relates to the requirement that any non-conforming club, or club(s) carried in excess of the permitted maximum of 14, must immediately be declared out of play by the player to their marker or a fellow-competitor in stroke play, or their opponent in match play. If the player fails to do so, they are disqualified.

Rule 5-3 covers the circumstances concerning a ball that a player deems unfit for play. The penalty statement is as follows;

*If a player incurs the general penalty for a breach of Rule 5-3, there is no additional penalty under this Rule.

So, if a player claims that their ball is unfit for play and continues play of the hole with a different ball, if it is subsequently ruled that the original was not, after all, unfit for play, the player incurs the general penalty for the breach of Rule 5-3, but not an additional penalty for wrongly substituting a ball.

The penalty statement under Rule 6-4, Caddie, states;

*A player having more than one caddie in breach of this Rule must immediately upon discovery that a breach has occurred ensure that he has no more than one caddie at any one time during the remainder of the stipulated round. Otherwise, the player is disqualified.

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