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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

Purpose: Rule 10.1 covers how to make a stroke and several acts that are prohibited in doing so. A stroke is made by fairly striking at a ball with the head of a club. The fundamental challenge is to direct and control the movement of the entire club by freely swinging the club without anchoring it.

Fairly Striking the Ball

In making a stroke:
  • The player must fairly strike at the ball with the head of the club such that there is only momentary contact between the club and the ball and must not push, scrape or scoop the ball.
  • If the player’s club accidentally hits the ball more than once, there has been only one stroke and there is no penalty.

Anchoring the Club

In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either:
  • Directly, by holding the club or a gripping hand against any part of the body (except that the player may hold the club or a gripping hand against a hand or forearm), or
  • Indirectly, through use of an “anchor point,” by holding a forearm against any part of the body to use a gripping hand as a stable point around which the other hand may swing the club.
If the player’s club, gripping hand or forearm merely touches his or her body or clothing during the stroke, without being held against the body, there is no breach of this Rule. For the purposes of this Rule, “forearm” means the part of the arm below the elbow joint and includes the wrist.

Making Stroke While Standing Across or on Line of Play

The player must not make a stroke from a stance with a foot deliberately placed on each side of, or with either foot deliberately touching, the line of play or an extension of that line behind the ball. For this Rule only, the line of play does not include a reasonable distance on either side. Exception – There Is No Penalty If Stance Is Taken Accidentally or to Avoid Another Player’s Line of Play.

Playing Moving Ball

A player must not make a stroke at a moving ball:
  • A ball in play is “moving” when it is not at rest on a spot.
  • If a ball that has come to rest is wobbling (sometimes referred to as oscillating) but stays on or returns to its original spot, it is treated as being at rest and is not a moving ball.
But there are three exceptions where there is no penalty: Exception 1 – Ball Begins to Move Only after Player Begins Backswing for Stroke: Making a stroke at a moving ball in this situation is covered by Rule 9.1b, not by this Rule. Exception 2 – Ball Falling Off Tee: Making a stroke at a ball falling off a tee is covered by Rule 6.2b(5), not by this Rule. Exception 3 – Ball Moving in Water: When a ball is moving in temporary water or in water in a penalty area:
  • The player may make a stroke at the moving ball without penalty, or
  • The player may take relief under Rule 16.1 or 17, and may lift the moving ball.
In either case, the player must not unreasonably delay play (see Rule 5.6a) to allow the wind or water current to move the ball to a better place. Penalty for Breach of Rule 10.1: General Penalty. In stroke play, a stroke made in breach of this Rule counts and the player gets two penalty strokes.

Advice and Other Help

Purpose: A fundamental challenge for the player is deciding the strategy and tactics for his or her play. So there are limits to the advice and other help the player may get during a round.


During a round, a player must not:
  • Give advice to anyone in the competition who is playing on the course,
  • Ask anyone for advice, other than the player’s caddie, or
  • Touch another player’s equipment to learn information that would be advice if given by or asked of the other player (such as touching the other player’s clubs or bag to see what club is being used).
This does not apply before a round, while play is stopped under Rule 5.7a or between rounds in a competition. See Rules 22, 23 and 24 (in forms of play involving partners, a player may give advice to his or her partner or the partner's caddie and may ask the partner or partner's caddie for advice).

Other Help

(1) Pointing Out Line of Play for Ball Anywhere Except on Putting Green. A player may have his or her line of play pointed out by:
  • Having his or her caddie or any other person stand on or close to the player’s line of play to show where it is, but that person must move away before the stroke is made.
  • Having an object (such as a bag or towel) set down on the course to show the line of playbut the object must be removed before the stroke is made.
(2) Pointing Out Line of Play for Ball on Putting Green. Before the stroke is made, only the player and his or her caddie may point out the player’s line of playbut with these limitations:
  • The player or caddie may touch the putting green with a hand, foot or anything he or she is holding, but must not improve the conditions affecting the stroke in breach of Rule 8.1a, and
  • The player or caddie must not set an object down anywhere on or off the putting green to show the line of play. This is not allowed even if that object is removed before the stroke is made.
While the stroke is being made, the caddie must not deliberately stand in a location on or close to the player’s line of play or do anything else (such as pointing out a spot or creating a shadow on the putting green) to point out the line of play. Exception - Caddie Attending Flagstick: The caddie may stand in a location on or close to the player's line of play to attend the flagstick.
(3) No Setting Down Object to Help in Taking Stance. A player must not take a stance for the stroke using any object that was set down by or for the player to help in lining up his or her feet or body, such as a club set down on the ground to show the line of play. If the player takes a stance in breach of this Rule, he or she cannot avoid penalty by backing away from the stance and removing the object. (4) Restriction on Caddie Standing Behind Player. When a player begins taking a stance for the stroke and until the stroke is made:
  • The player’s caddie must not deliberately stand in a location on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball for any reason.
  • If the player takes a stance in breach of this Rule, he or she cannot avoid penalty by backing away.
Exception – Ball on Putting Green: When the player’s ball is on the putting green, there is no penalty under this Rule if the player backs away from the stance and does not begin to take the stance again until after the caddie has moved out of that location. [Clarifications available:

Meaning of “Begins Taking a Stance for the Stroke”
Examples of Caddie Not Deliberately Standing Behind Ball When Player Begins Taking Stance for Stroke
Alignment Help Before Player Has Begun Taking Stance for Stroke]
See Rules 22, 23 and 24 (in forms of play involving partners, a player’s partner and the partner's caddie may take the same actions (with the same limitations) as the player’s caddie may take under Rules 10.2b(2) and (4)). (5) Physical Help and Protection from Elements. A player must not make a stroke:
  • While getting physical help from his or her caddie or any other person, or
  • With his or her caddie or any other person or object deliberately positioned to give protection from sunlight, rain, wind or other elements.
Before the stroke is made, such help or protection is allowed, except as prohibited in Rules 10.2b(3) and (4). This Rule does not prohibit the player from taking his or her own actions to protect against the elements while making a stroke, such as by wearing protective clothing or holding an umbrella over his or her own head. Penalty for Breach of Rule 10.2: General Penalty.


Purpose: The player may have a caddie to carry the player’s clubs and give advice and other help during the round, but there are limits to what the caddie is allowed to do. The player is responsible for the caddie’s actions during the round and will get a penalty if the caddie breaches the Rules.

Caddie May Help Player During Round

(1) Player Allowed Only One Caddie at a Time. A player may have a caddie to carry, transport and handle his or her clubs, give advice and help him or her in other ways allowed during a round, but with these limitations:
  • The player must not have more than one caddie at any one time.
  • The player may change caddies during a round, but must not do so temporarily for the sole purpose of getting advice from the new caddie.
Whether or not the player has a caddie, any other person who walks or rides along with the player or who carries other things for the player (such as a rain-suit, umbrella or food and drink) is not the player’s caddie unless he or she is named as such by the player or also carries, transports or handles the player’s clubs. (2) Two or More Players May Share a Caddie. When there is a Rules issue involving a specific action of a shared caddie and it needs to be decided which player the action was taken for:
  • If the caddie's action was taken at the specific direction of one of the players sharing the caddie, the action was taken for that player.
  • If none of those players specifically directed that action, the action is treated as taken for the player sharing the caddie whose ball was involved.
See Committee Procedures, Section 8;Model Local Rule H-1 (the Committee may adopt a Local Rule prohibiting or requiring the use of caddies or restricting a player’s choice of caddie). Penalty for Breach of Rule 10.3a:
  • The player gets the general penalty for each hole during which he or she is helped by more than one caddie at any one time.
  • If the breach happens or continues between two holes, the player gets the general penalty for the next hole.

What a Caddie May Do

These are examples of what a caddie is allowed and not allowed to do: (1) Actions Always Allowed. A caddie may always take these actions when allowed under the Rules:
  • Carry, transport and handle the player’s clubs and other equipment (including driving a cart or pulling a trolley).
  • Search for the player’s ball (Rule 7.1).
  • Give information, advice and other help before the stroke is made (Rules 10.2a and 10.2b).
  • Smooth bunkers or take other actions to care for the course (Rules 8.2 Exception and 8.3 Exception, and 12.2b(2) and (3)).
  • Remove sand and loose soil and repair damage on the putting green (Rule 13.1c).
  • Remove or attend the flagstick (Rule 13.2b).
  • Mark the spot of the player’s ball and lift and replace the ball on the putting green (Rules 14.1b Exception and 14.2b).
  • Clean the player’s ball (Rule 14.1c).
  • Remove loose impediments and movable obstructions (Rules 15.1 and 15.2).
(2) Actions Allowed Only With Player’s Authorization. A caddie may take these actions only when the Rules allow the player to take them and only with the player’s authorization (which must be given specifically each time rather than given generally for a round):
  • Restore conditions that were worsened after the player’s ball came to rest (Rule 8.1d).
  • When the player’s ball is anywhere except on the putting green, lift the player’s ball under a Rule requiring it to be replaced or after the player has decided to take relief under a Rule (Rule 14.1b).
[Clarification available:  Caddie May Lift Ball When Player Will Take Relief] (3) Actions Not Allowed. A caddie is not allowed to take these actions for the player:
  • Concede the next stroke, a hole or the match to the opponent or agree with the opponent on the match score (Rule 3.2).
  • Deliberately stand on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the player’s ball when the player begins taking a stance for the stroke and until the stroke is made (Rule 10.2b(4)) or take other actions prohibited by Rule 10.2b.
  • Replace a ball, unless the caddie had lifted or moved the ball (Rule 14.2b).
  • Drop or place a ball in a relief area (Rule 14.3).
  • Decide to take relief under a Rule (such as treating a ball as unplayable under Rule 19 or taking relief from an abnormal course condition or penalty area under Rule 16.1 or 17); the caddie may advise the player to do so, but the player must decide.

Player Responsible for Caddie’s Actions and Breach of Rules

A player is responsible for his or her caddie's actions both during a round and while play is stopped under Rule 5.7a, but not before or after a round. If the caddie's action breaches a Rule or would breach a Rule if the action was taken by the player, the player gets the penalty under that Rule. When application of a Rule depends on whether the player is aware of certain facts, the player’s knowledge is treated as including whatever is known by his or her caddie.
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