Print Section
Preparing for and Making a Stroke; Advice and Help; Caddies
Purpose of Rule: 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 them. 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.
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 their 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 their 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 their 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 their 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 the caddie. 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 their caddie (such as a spectator) without asking for it, they get 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, they are treated as asking for that advice and get 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.
Use of Self-Standing Putter for Alignment Help Is Not Allowed
[Note: A delay of implementation is in effect until January 1, 2025 that applies to certain uses of self-standing putters. For more information, see Clarification 10.2b(3)/2] (Added December 2022) Provided a self-standing putter conforms to the Equipment Rules, it may be used to make a stroke (Rule 4.1a(1)). But the player (or their caddie) is not allowed to set such a putter down to get help in any way that would breach Rule 10.2b. For example, the player must not set the putter down in a standing position right behind or right next to the spot where the ball lies on the putting green to show the line of play or to help the player in taking their stance for the stroke in breach of Rule 10.2b(3). (New)
Setting Clubhead on Ground Behind Ball to Help the Player Take a Stance is Allowed
[Note: A delay of implementation is in effect until January 1, 2025 that applies to certain uses of self-standing putters. For more information, see Clarification 10.2b(3)/2] (Added December 2022) 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 positioning their 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, while still holding the club, walks around from behind the ball to take their stance.
Delay of Implementation for Certain Uses of Self-Standing Putters
A two-year delay of implementation in relation to certain uses of self-standing putters under Rule 10.2b(3) is in effect as follows:
  • Until January 1, 2025, a player may use a self-standing putter by setting it down right behind or right next to the spot on which the ball came to rest to help aim or to take a stance or position their feet.
  • From January 1, 2025, Rule 10.2b(3) will apply to self-standing putters and the acts described in the previous paragraph will no longer be allowed. But a player will still be allowed to use a self-standing putter that conforms to the Equipment Rules to make a stroke or take other actions allowed by the Rules. (Added December 2022)
Caddie in Restricted Area Provides Help Before Player Begins To Take Stance
Rule 10.2b(4) prevents a caddie from deliberately standing in the restricted area to provide the player help with aiming. This ensures that aiming at the intended target is a challenge the player must overcome alone. In a situation where a player has not yet begun to take their stance for the stroke but:
  • The player’s feet or body are close to a position where help with aiming could be given, and
  • The caddie is deliberately standing in the restricted area and gives the player help with aiming,
the player is treated as having begun to take a stance for the stroke (even though their feet are not in that position). (New)
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 their shadow is no longer over the ball.
Player May Wear Protective Clothing
Although a player must not improve conditions affecting the stroke to protect against the elements, they 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 they placed a towel on the cactus to improve their area of intended stance. However, a towel may be wrapped around the player's body to protect them 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 they are 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 they are 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 their 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, they may caddie for another player in the group.