THE RULES EVERY GOLFER SHOULD KNOW
Practice – Rule 7
However, as mentioned, the above applies to stroke play only. Perhaps surprisingly, there is no penalty at all for committing any of the abovementioned ‘offences’ before a match play competition – possibly the starkest contrast in the Rule book between stroke play and match play Rules!
Interestingly, the Committee does have the remit to modify or reverse both these elements of Rule 7-1 via the conditions of a competition with reference to Rules 33-1 and 33-2c. This is useful when there is no practice ground available, or to permit more than one stroke play competition to be played on the same day or over several days.
In such scenarios, the Committee may permit practice on the competition course or part of the competition course on any day of a competition. All recognised practice areas within the bounds of the course may be used by players for practice on any day of the competition. You are not allowed to practise during a round if it will unduly delay play
What about mid-round – surely you can’t practice at all, then, other than practice swings? Actually, you can, but only in very specific circumstances and places as highlighted in Rule 7-2. Those places are between the green of the hole just completed and the next tee, where you are allowed to practise putting or chipping on or near the green just played, on or near the next tee, or on or near any practice putting green, should you happen to pass one!
This applies to stroke play and match play competitions, but a couple of words of warning: you can’t make a practice stroke from a hazard, and you can’t practise at all if it will delay play.
Breaches of the above will cost you a two-stroke penalty in stroke play and loss of hole in match play. If the breach occurs between the play of two holes, the penalty is applied to the next hole you’re about to play… which could mean a fruitless 500-yard walk if your next match play hole is a par 5!
ractice makes perfect, some say; practice makes permanent, others say; practice on the course before or during a round and you may end up with a penalty, the Rules of Golf say… but not always! So it’s important you know what you can and can’t do preand mid-round to avoid falling foul of Rule 7, which addresses practice.
In stroke play, the greatest penalty of all is disqualification for practising on the competition course before a competition round. This also applies between rounds on any competition course you haven’t yet played in an event of two or more rounds over consecutive days. Before a round, you aren’t allowed to test the surface of any putting green on the competition course by rolling a ball or roughening or scraping the surface either. The only exception is that you may practise putting or chipping on or near the 1st tee.