Rules in Focus - During the Round

Rules in Focus

During the Round

Recent Rules in Focus articles have focussed on factors relating to the Rules before the player starts the round.  This month we take a look at some factors during that can occur during the round:

ADVICE

RulesDuring the stipulated round, don’t ask for advice from anyone except from your partner (i.e. a player on your side) or your caddie.  Also, don’t give advice to anyone except your partner (Rule 8-1). 

Advice is any counsel or suggestion that could influence a player in determining his play, the choice of club or the method of making a stroke.  For example, seeking guidance from a fellow-competitor as to the type of shot to play or the most suitable club to use for the next stroke is not permissible. 

However, information regarding the distance between two objects is public information and is not advice and it is permissible for players to exchange information relating to the distance between two objects.  For example, a player may ask anyone the distance between a bunker and the hole.  Equally, providing information on the Rules of Golf or the position of a hazard or the flagstick, is not advice.

While it is not possible to ask or receive advice from anyone except your caddie, partner or partner’s caddie, it is worth noting that in team competitions the Note to Rule 8 allows the Committee to include a condition of competition to permit each team to appoint one person who may give advice to the members of that team. 

For example, during the Ryder Cup, the team captain is appointed to give advice to the members of his team.  So while team members not involved in a match are prohibited from giving advice to those playing on the course, the team captain can pass advice to anyone playing. 

PRACTICE

RulesDuring the round, don’t play any practice shots during the play of a hole; a player must not practise during the play of the hole.  However, between the play of two holes, a player may practise putting or chipping on or near the putting green of the hole last played, any practice putting green or the teeing ground of the next hole to be played (Rule 7-2).

If a player chooses to practise in this manner, he must not play a practice stroke from a hazard and he must ensure that he does not delay play.   It is worth noting, that in order to keep the play flowing, the Committee may, in the conditions of competition, prohibit practice on or near the putting green of the hole last played. 

At the 2010 Ryder Cup, Captains Corey Pavin and Colin Montgomerie took the decision to prohibit practice during the round in an effort to ensure that the matches could be completed in the diminishing autumn daylight.  The condition of competition was therefore introduced to prohibit practice on or near the putting green of the hole last played (see Note 2 to Rule 7-2) A condition of competition such as this is also adopted at The Open Championship and on most professional tours.

DEVICES

Distance Also, during the round, don’t use any artificial devices, unusual equipment or use your equipment in an unusual manner (Rule 14-3). 

While there is no restriction on listening to music or other broadcasts while practising, listening while making a stroke or for a prolonged period during a stipulated round could assist the player in making a stroke or in his play.  Therefore, the use of an artificial device to listen to music or a broadcast while making a stroke or for a prolonged period of time during a round would result in a breach of Rule 14-3, the penalty being disqualification (see Decision 14-3/17). 

Although a course guide providing distances is actually an artificial device, its use has been traditionally accepted and is permitted; however, the use of a device that can gauge distance is contrary to Rule 14-3.  Only when the Committee has established a Local Rule allowing players to use devices that measure distance – and distance only – are such devices permitted (see Appendix 1, Part B, 9 for the recommended Local Rule.) Click here to read more on DMDs.

It is worth noting that if the Committee has established a Local Rule for the use of distance-measuring devices, information on distance obtained from such a device can be shared as this is public information.  Equally asking for information which has been obtained by a distance-measuring device is not a breach of Rule 8-1.  However, there is no obligation on the person who has the device or yardage book to share it.  

Key Points:

  • Don’t ask for advice from anyone except your caddie and if applicable, your partner or your partner’s caddie
  • Don’t give advice to anyone except your partner
  • Don’t play any practice strokes during the play of a hole
  • Don’t use any artificial devices or unusual equipment