Preparing for and Making a Stroke; Advice and Help; Caddies
Purpose: Rule 10 covers how to prepare for and make a stroke, including advice and other help the player may get from others (including caddies). The underlying principle is that golf is a game of skill and personal challenge.
Preparing for and Making a Stroke; Advice and Help; Caddies
Making a Stroke
Examples of Pushing, Scraping or Scooping
These terms have overlapping meanings but can be defined through these three examples of using the club in a manner not allowed by the Rule:
A player holes a short putt by striking the ball with the bottom of the clubhead, using a motion similar to that used in making a shot in billiards or shuffleboard. Moving the ball like this is a push.
A player moves the club along the surface of the ground pulling it towards him or her. Moving the ball like this is a scrape.
A player slides a club beneath and very close to the ball. The player then lifts and moves the ball by use of a forward and upward motion. Moving the ball like this is a scoop.
Player May Use Any Part of Clubhead to Fairly Strike Ball
In fairly striking a ball, any part of the clubhead may be used, including the toe, heel and back of the clubhead.
Other Material May Intervene Between Ball and Clubhead During Stroke
In fairly striking a ball, it is not necessary for the clubhead to make contact with the ball. Sometimes other material may intervene.An example of fairly striking a ball includes when a ball is lying against the base of a fence defining out of bounds and the player makes a stroke at the out-of-bounds side of the fence to make the ball move.
Player Must Not Anchor the Club with Forearm Against Body
Holding a forearm against the body during a stroke is an indirect means of anchoring the club.For an "anchor point" to exist, two things must happen: (1) the player must hold a forearm against the body; and (2) the player must grip the club so that the hands are separated and work independently from each other.For example, in making a stroke with a long putter, the player's forearm is held against his or her body to establish a stable point, while the bottom hand is held down the shaft to swing the lower portion of the club.However, a player is allowed to hold one or both forearms against his or her body in making a stroke, so long as doing so does not create an anchor point.
Deliberate Contact with Clothing During Stroke Is a Breach
Clothing held against the body by a club or gripping hand is treated as if it is part of the player's body for the purpose of applying Rule 10.1b. The concept of a free-flowing swing may not be circumvented by having something intervene between the player's body and club or hand. For example, if a player is wearing a rain jacket and is using a mid-length putter, and presses the club into his or her body, the player is in breach of Rule 10.1b.Additionally, if the player deliberately uses a gripping hand to hold an article of clothing worn on any part of the body (such as holding the sleeve of a shirt with a hand) while making a stroke, there is a breach of Rule 4.3 (Prohibited Use of Equipment) since that is not its intended use and doing so might assist the player in making that stroke.
Inadvertent Contact with Clothing During Stroke Is Not a Breach
Touching an article of clothing with the club or gripping hand and making a stroke is allowed.This might occur in various situations where a player:
Wears loose fitting clothes or rain gear,
Has a physical size or build that causes the arms naturally to rest close to the body,
Holds the club extremely close to the body, or
For some other reason touches his or her clothing in making a stroke.
Advice and Other Help
Player May Get Information from Shared Caddie
If a caddie is being shared by more than one player, any of the players sharing that caddie may seek information from him or her.For example, two players are sharing a caddie and both hit tee shots into a similar area. One of the players gets a club to make the stroke, while the other is undecided. The undecided player is allowed to ask the shared caddie what club the other player chose.
Player Must Try to Stop Ongoing Advice that Is Given Voluntarily
If a player gets advice from someone other than his or her caddie (such as a spectator) without asking for it, he or she gets no penalty. However, if the player continues to get advice from that same person, the player must try to stop that person from giving advice. If the player does not do so, he or she is treated as asking for that advice and gets the penalty under Rule 10.2a.In a team competition (Rule 24), this also applies to a player who gets advice from a team captain who has not been named an advice giver.
Setting Clubhead on Ground Behind Ball to Help the Player Take a Stance is Allowed
Rule 10.2b(3) does not allow a player to set down an object (such as an alignment rod or a golf club) to help the player take a stance.However, this prohibition does not prevent a player from setting his or her clubhead behind the ball, such as when a player stands behind the ball and places the clubhead perpendicular to the line of play and then walks around from behind the ball to take his or her stance.
Examples of When Player Begins Taking His or Her Stance
Rule 10.2b(4) does not allow a player to have his or her caddie deliberately stand behind him or her when the player begins taking a stance because aiming at the intended target is one of the challenges the player must overcome alone.There is no set procedure for determining when a player has begun to take a stance since each player has his or her own set-up routine. However, if a player has his or her feet or body close to a position where useful guidance on aiming at the intended target could be given, it should be decided that the player has begun to take his or her stance.Examples of when a player has begun to take a stance include when:
The player is standing beside the ball but facing the hole with his or her club behind the ball, and then starts to turn his or her body to face the ball.
After standing behind the ball to determine the target line, the player takes a step forward and then starts to turn his or her body and puts a foot in place for the stroke.
Clarification: Meaning of “Begins Taking a Stance for the Stroke”
Rule 10.2b(4) does not allow a player to have his or her caddie deliberately stand on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball for any reason when the player begins taking a stance for the stroke. Reference to “the stroke” means the stroke that is actually made.The player begins to take the stance for the stroke that is actually made when he or she has at least one foot in position for that stance.If a player backs away from the stance, he or she has not taken a stance for the stroke that is actually made, and the second bullet point in Rule 10.2b(4) does not apply.Therefore, if a player takes a stance when the caddie is deliberately standing on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball, there is no penalty under Rule 10.2b(4) if the player backs away from the stance and does not begin to take a stance for the stroke that is actually made until after the caddie has moved out of that location. This applies anywhere on the course.Backing away means that the player’s feet or body are no longer in a position where helpful guidance on aiming at the intended target line could be given.(Clarification added 2/2019)
Clarification: Examples of Caddie Not Deliberately Standing Behind Ball When Player Begins Taking Stance for Stroke
Rule 10.2b(4) does not allow a player to have his or her caddie deliberately stand on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball for any reason when the player begins taking a stance for the stroke.The use of the term “deliberately” requires the caddie to be aware that (1) the player is beginning to take a stance for the stroke to be played, and (2) he or she is standing on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball.If the caddie is unaware of either of these two things, the caddie’s action is not deliberate and Rule 10.2b(4) does not apply.Examples of when a caddie’s action is not considered to be deliberate include when:
The caddie is raking a bunker or taking some similar action to care for the course and is not aware that he or she is doing so on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball.
The player makes a stroke and the ball comes to rest near the hole and the player walks up and taps the ball into the hole while the caddie is unaware he or she is standing on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball.
The caddie is standing on an extension of the line of play behind the ball but, when the player moves in to begin taking a stance, the caddie is facing away from the player or looking in a different direction and is unaware the player has begun to take his or her stance.
The caddie is engaged in a task (such as obtaining a yardage) and is unaware that the player has begun to take the stance.
But, in the examples given above, when the caddie becomes aware that the player has already begun to take a stance for the stroke to be played and he or she is standing on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball, the caddie needs to make every effort to move out of the way.Common acts that caddies take unrelated to the player setting up to the ball, such as checking to see if a player’s club will hit a tree, whether the player has interference from a cart path or holding an umbrella over a player’s head before the stroke, are not treated as deliberate actions under Rule 10.2b(4). After helping the player with such an act, there is no penalty so long as the caddie moves away before the stroke is made.If either the player or caddie is attempting to circumvent the primary purpose of Rule 10.2b(4), which is to ensure that aiming at the intended target is a challenge that the player must overcome alone, the caddie’s actions are treated as being deliberate.(Clarification added 2/2019)
Clarification: Alignment Help Before Player Has Begun Taking Stance for Stroke
Interpretation 10.2b(4)/1 explains that the primary purpose of Rule 10.2b(4) is to ensure that aiming at the intended target is a challenge that the player must overcome alone. In a situation where a player has not yet begun to take his or her stance for the stroke but:
the player’s feet or body are close to a position where useful guidance on aiming could be given and
the caddie is deliberately standing on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball,
the player is treated as having begun to take a stance for the stroke (even though his or her feet are not in that position) only if the caddie gives the player help with alignment.If alignment help is given but the player backs away before making the stroke and the caddie moves out from behind the line of play, there is no breach of the Rule. This applies anywhere on the course.Alignment help includes when the caddie gives help by standing behind the player and moving away without saying anything but, by doing so, is giving a signal to the player that he or she is correctly aimed at the intended target.(Clarification added 2/2019)
Player May Ask Another Person Who Was Not Deliberately Positioned to Move or Remain in Place
Although a player may not place an object or position a person for the purpose of blocking the sunlight from the ball, the player may ask a person (such as a spectator) not to move when that spectator is already in position, so that a shadow remains over the ball, or may ask that spectator to move, so that his or her shadow is no longer over the ball.
Player May Wear Protective Clothing
Although a player must not improveconditions affecting the stroke to protect against the elements, he or she may wear protective clothing to protect against the elements.For example, if a player's ball comes to rest right next to a cactus, it would breach Rule 8.1a (Actions That Improve Conditions Affecting the Stroke) if he or she placed a towel on the cactus to improve his or her area of intended stance. However, a towel may be wrapped around the player's body to protect him or her from the cactus.
Player Transports Clubs on Motorized Golf Cart and Hires Individual to Perform All Other Functions of a Caddie
A player whose clubs are transported on a motorized golf cart that he or she is driving is allowed to hire an individual to perform all the other duties of a caddie, and this individual is considered to be a caddie.This arrangement is allowed provided the player has not also hired someone else to drive the cart. In such a case, the cart driver is also a caddie since he is transporting the player's clubs, and the player gets a penalty under Rule 10.3a(1) for having more than one caddie.
Player May Caddie for Another Player When Not Playing a Round
A player in a competition may caddie for another player in the same competition, except when the player is playing his or her round or when a Local Rule restricts the player from being a caddie.For example:
If two players are playing in the same competition but at different times on the same day, they are allowed to caddie for each other.
In stroke play, if one player in a group withdraws during a round, he or she may caddie for another player in the group.
Clarification: Caddie May Lift Ball When Player Will Take Relief
So long as it is reasonable to conclude that the player is taking relief under a Rule, his or her caddie is treated as being given authorization to lift the ball and may do so without penalty.(Clarification added 12/2018)