9 (make that 8) things you cannot do during a round of golf

Just a little rules reminder on a few things you cannot do during a round of golf.

Golf is a simple game that comes with a big set of complicated rules. The rule book gets bigger every few years and it’s worthwhile being reminded of the can’s and cannot’s during a competition round of golf.

If you’re playing with your mates (as opposed to a full field of golfers) feel free to do whatever you like but to avoid any penalties, loss of hole, disqualification or worst of all, disapproving looks from fellow members it’s best to adhere to the following no-no’s on the golf course.

1. You cannot change the configuration of an adjustable club during a round.
It’s remarkable how many times I’ve seen or heard golfers imply the rule regarding adjustable drivers is allowed. So don’t adjust the angle or weights on that new driver just because you’re hitting a low slice or there is some tree you need to get around for one particular hole. (Rule 4-2a)

2. You cannot practice on the golf course you are about to play (Unless your playing matchplay)
By all means hit a lot of golf balls and practice your putting, just don’t do it on the course you are going to play that day. You are allowed to practice your putting on the hole last played or on a practice putting green, so long as your not holding up the group behind you. (Rule 16-1d)

3. You cannot use a damaged golf club if it was damaged other than during the normal course of play.
If you damage your golf club during a fit of anger you can no longer use it. If you damage the club while playing a golf shot you are allowed to use it for the rest of the round or have it repaired or replaced, as long as it doesn’t hold up play.  (Rule 4-3)

4. You cannot make a stroke while being shielded from the sun or rain by your partner, opponent or caddie.
With winter on the way, you may be tempted to have your playing partner hold your umbrella over you while making that all-important final putt. Don’t do it, you’ll be penalised two strokes. (Rule 4-2a)

5. You cannot use a compass.
Unless you’re lost in deep rough, I’m still not sure why you may want to use a compass. But it’s in the rules so don’t even think about it. (Rule 14-3)
It turns out that since we wrote this article, you are now allowed to use a compass during a round of golf. Again, we’re not sure why you would – how lost do you have to be? 🙂
Thanks to rules guru Barry Rhodes for pointing this out to us.

6. You cannot ask other golfers what club they used for the purposes of making a decision about your own shot.
Feel free to look in their golf bag though, but don’t touch it or the clubs!  (Rule 8-1)

7. You cannot make a purposely misleading statement about the club you just used within earshot of a player who has a similar shot.
I also wouldn’t play with this golfer again. (Decision 8-1/9)

8. You cannot declare your ball lost.
It is only lost if it is not found after five minutes of searching or when you’ve put another golf ball in play. (Rule 27)

9. You cannot deliberately use your ball as a backstop for another golfer.
We’ve covered this before but essentially it comes down to this – don’t mention that’s why the ball is there and you’re in the clear. (Rule 22)

3 thoughts on “9 (make that 8) things you cannot do during a round of golf

  • Phil Mickelson adjusted his driver on the 17th hole of the masters about 4 years ago and did not receive a penalty. My wife and I said together,” if he win now, that club will be a best seller.” Maybe there is a rule that overrides the rule you mentioned?

    • I know Mickelson has often had two drivers in the bag at Augusta to assist different shot shapes, but I haven’t heard that he adjusted them mid-round in any way.

  • In match play one player walked and the other had a pull cart for the first nine holes. Because of pace of play the two players took a riding cart at the turn. The competitors declared they must be DQ’d for changing equipment. I cannot see any reference to this situation causing an equipment change DQ!!???


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