Why not read our latest post about “The History of Golf”.
The underlying principle of golfing rules is fairness, as keen golfer Fahad Al Rajaan will attest. The ball should be played where it lies, on the course as the player finds it, but where this is impossible, then the player must do what is fair. Here, we take a look with Kuwaiti businessman and golf enthusiast Fahad Al Rajaan at some of the sport’s more unusual rules.
- Spider’s webs, even when attached to something, are considered loose impediments.
- Similarly, a log is considered a loose impediment. If, however, the log was mounted on legs (i.e. a bench) it would be considered an obstruction.
- Players are not permitted to move insects (also considered a loose impediment) in a hazard, though it is permissible to swat them before playing the hazard. Touching a loose impediment in a hazard incurs a two stroke penalty.
- If a gust of wind moves a player’s ball, they are allowed to play it from its new position. Nevertheless, if the ball is moved by artificially propelled air, it must be replaced without penalty.
- Where a ball ends up in a club house, the player may play the ball out of an open window or door.
- Where a player hits the ball into a creek and the ball moves, they are allowed to make a stroke at it, though delaying in order that the current may improve the position of the ball is prohibited.
- Where a ball has been hit into a bunker and the player is unable to find it, he or she may sweep away some sand in order to locate it, though they must re-cover the ball once more with sand once it is identified (they may leave a small part of it visible). Failure to adhere to this rule incurs a two stroke penalty.
- In heavy rain, a bunker may fill completely with water. A player’s only relief is to move the ball to a part of the bunker which is not submerged (if applicable) or drop the ball outside of the bunker and incur a one stroke penalty (the ball must be dropped directly between where it lay and the hole).
- Where confusion arises over which ball belongs to who, according to golfing rules, both balls must be regarded as lost and the players must return and play from their last shots.
- According to golf rules, holes made by burrowing creatures such as rabbit burrows are subject to relief as they are regarded as abnormal ground conditions. Conversely, holes dug by dogs and other non-burrowing creatures do not bring such relief as they are not regarded as abnormal. Unless the culprit is caught in the act, it could be difficult to ascertain which type of animal is responsible.
- A player is allowed to spit on their clubface in order to clean it before taking a shot, but not if their intention is to reduce spin in order to hit a straighter shot.
- Where a player’s ball lands in a cactus, the player is permitted to wrap their arm or leg in a towel in order to protect themselves from the spines. They are not however allowed to place the towel on the cactus itself.
- A player is not allowed to place a bottle of water on the green in order to estimate how their putt will break.
- When a player is putting or chipping from the green, he or she must ensure that no one is standing within touching distance of the flagstick, otherwise they will be deemed to be attending it, incurring a two stroke penalty for the player.
- An amendment to the rules of golf makes it acceptable for a player to ask their competitors questions regarding distances. Though asking the advice of competitors (and offering your own) remains prohibited, golfing rules were amended on 1st January 2008 to allow the exchange of public information such as information on distance.
- Where a player cleans the ball by rubbing it on the green, this incurs a one stroke penalty as it is deemed to be testing the surface. A player must not test the surface of the green by scraping, roughening or rolling the ball. The only exception is where a player is between two holes, then they are permitted to test the surface of the practice green and that of the hole last played (unless this is specifically prohibited by the presiding golf committee).
- If a ball is deflected by themselves, their partner or any of their caddies or equipment, the player automatically incurs a one stroke penalty.
Some of the world’s greatest professional golfers have been known to slip up – a simple mistake such as not signing or having a scorecard stamped properly costing them an entire tournament. Penalties range from one stroke penalties to disqualification in the case of serious infractions of golfing rules.