Declaring your ball unplayable: Golf quiz answer

Last Friday Aussie Golfer posed this question on the rules of golf:

You putt your ball past the hole, off the green and ends up 20 metres away down the middle of the fairway. Bad putt, but can you declare it unplayable, take a one shot penalty and replay your shot from on the green?

Crazy putt, I know, but it could have been downhill and real fast right? Anyway, the answer?


According to Rule 28:

The player may deem his ball unplayable at any place on the course, except when the ball is in a water hazard. The player is the sole judge as to whether his ball is unplayable.

If the player deems his ball to be unplayable, he must under penalty of one stroke and he may play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played.

It feels against the spirit of the game somehow to be declaring it unplayable (when it isn’t), taking a shot and trying again – closer to the hole.

Still, it’s not against the rules.

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