Can Knowing the Rules of Golf Help You During a Competition?

You are a competitive golfer. You play well, you know all the great courses, the great players, the latest in golf club technology but how well do you know the rules of golf and how they may assist you in your competitive rounds?

First off, realize that the officials running your events are volunteers giving up their time, traveling at their own expense to contribute to the game and officiate your event. Very few officials have extensive training and/or are paid experts. So be appreciative and thank them at all your events and expect that they probably have some limited knowledge of the rules and you need to be your own advocate and have an excellent working knowledge of the rules of the so you may ask the right questions about the options available to you in any given situation encountered on the course.

Two important items are to have a physical copy of the rules book in your golf bag and/or have the USGA Rules app downloaded onto your phone. There are over 70 defined terms (for example, abnormal course condition, general area, etc.) and these form the foundation around which the Rules are written. A good working knowledge of these defined terms (which are italicised throughout the book and contained in one section near the back of the book) is very important to the correct application of the Rules. Knowing these definitions will allow you to navigate the book quickly and accurately when in a difficult situation.

Here is a real on course scenario, let’s see if you know your options. A right handed player finds his/her ball adjacent to a boundary object on the left side of the golf course that requires a left handed stroke to play towards the hole. In making a left handed swing, the players stance is interfered with by an immovable obstruction.

  • Is the right handed player allowed relief for a left handed swing?
  • If allowed relief, may the player play the shot right handed after receiving relief?

Send your answers to AKA “RulesGuy” correct answers including the specific rule will be entered for a GPC Swag drawing.

The RulesGuy

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