THE 10 MOST BROKEN RULES
In many years of playing golf, I’ve observed closely how the average club golfer treats the Rules of Golf. In my experience, these are the 10 most broken rules in the game. They are either done innocently, or unfortunately sometimes knowingly. 1 Tamping down spike or other marks on the green. You can repair pitch marks, but Rule 16 says “any other damage to the putting green must not be repaired if it might assist the player in his subsequent play of the hole.” 2 Unplayable lie. Under penalty of one stroke you are allowed to drop the ball within two club-lengths of the spot where the ball play not nearer the hole. How often do you see golfers drop the ball within two club-lengths of the bush from where the ball was recovered? 3 Lateral hazard. Players wrongly take relief opposite where the ball ended up. Remember that the margins of water hazards extend vertically upwards. If the ball crossed the margin in front of the tee, then that is the place to drop. 4 Ball moved after address by player. Golfers don’t realise that the ball must be replaced, otherwise there is an additional one-stroke penalty. 5 Repairing pitch marks off the green. These cannot be repaired if they are on the line of a player putting from off the green. Rule 13 says nothing may be done to improve the line of play by eliminating irregularities of surface (two-stroke penalty). Also, sand and loose soil are not loose impediments off the green, and may not be touched. 6 Improving area of intended stance or swing. A player may not bend branches behind his back, and weekend golfers break Rule 13 by knocking leaves off trees or breaking branches trying out their practice swing. However, in fairly taking a stance, you are allowed to move, break or bend anything growing. 7 Provisional ball. You cannot play a provisional ball if you find your original ball, and discover that it is unplayable and the only option is returning to the tee. 8 Lifting, dropping and placing. On the putting green players fail to mark their ball when moving it away from another player’s putting line. They move the ball one putterhead to the side and only then do they mark it. A ball to be lifted, or even touched, must first be marked. 9 Preferred lies. Before lifting a ball on the fairway, the player must mark its position. The player can only place his ball once. Yet players often place the ball, fetch a club, and then place it again. Be careful when placing to ensure that the ball is not so precariously placed on a tuft of grass that it falls over at address. That is a penalty stroke, and the ball must be replaced. 10 Nearest point of relief. This is often wrongly interpreted as the NICEST point of relief. You must drop the ball at the point nearest to where the ball lies that is not nearer the hole and gives the player the desired relief. This can mean dropping where you don’t necessarily have a clear sight of your target or an unimpeded swing.
MUDBATH Mowbray golfer Gary Coombe explodes spectacularly out of a