Posted on: 27 February

Rules. Rules. Rules

Earlier this month I took a trip down memory lane. I played in the Vic Open at 13th Beach on the flat bellies tour – an event I won back in 2016 as a 46-year-old! A tournament with a unique format that sees the men and women playing in the same event. Great atmosphere and for me, great memories

This is where the theme of this article kicks in.

During the first round I incurred a rules breach which resulted in a two shot penalty. I breached Rule 6.3 – Playing the wrong ball. I can hear your question – how could a golfer who has played all around the world for 30+ years make such a basic mistake like that? A lot of players will use the same brand, and even same number but we all mark our balls with distinctive markings to avoid such a penalty. On this occasion I didn’t take the time to properly identify my ball in the rough, only realising my error once I got ready to hit my next shot. It’s not a nice feeling and what’s more I had to trudge back up the fairway to find my original ball and play that.

Identifying your ball is such a basic rule of golf. As are these:

  • 14 club rule
  • Tee your ball behind the tee markers
  • Do not give or ask for advice from player partners
  • Not grounding your club in the bunker
  • Marking and replacing your ball correctly
  • Signing a scorecard. 

A total lapse in concentration but of course I only have myself to blame. So then I began to think of a few other rules that you may or may not know about. And what’s more they may work to your advantage.


  • Penalty for accidentally moving your ball – If you accidentally hit your ball on the putting green or on the teeing area with a practice swing, or move the ball when looking for your ball, there is no penalty. Anywhere else it’s a one-shot penalty. 
  • Ball accidentally hits you after you have played a shot – If a ball ricochets off a tree or a bunker face and accidentally hits you there is no penalty.
  • Ball won’t stay at rest on the putting green – Imagine your ball plugs on a slope on a putting green (such as a tier), but once you repair the plug mark and try to replace the ball it won’t stay there. You must make two attempts to replace it in the usual way (you can’t push it down). If the ball won’t remain still you must find the nearest point not nearer the hole. This could be on the putting green, the fringe, fairway or even in the rough.
  • Play with a damaged club –Once upon a time if you damaged or bent a club in a round whether by throwing a club in a fit of pique or in the normal course of play (e.g. hitting a shot from behind a tree and the shaft gets bent) the club characteristics were deemed to have changed and you could not use that club again. But now the rule has changed. You can keep on using it or even get it repaired or replaced during the round.
  • Any part of the ball is considered in the hole – If any part of the ball in the hole is below the surface of the putting green, the ball is treated as holed even if the entire ball is not below the surface.
  • Still in the teeing area? Just tee it up again and play your second – You tee the ball up, have a swing and the ball just moves off the tee. You have two options. Play it as it lies or just pick it up and put it back on the tee. As long as the ball doesn’t go past the tee markers or outside the teeing ground you are fine. Unfortunately, it still counts as a shot.

This last one is a classic……….

  1. Your ball is embedded in an orange lying under an orange tree. What’s the rule???
  2. The player must play the ball as it lies or deem the ball unplayable and take a penalty shot. Since the orange was adhering to the ball, it was not considered a loose impediment. 


Whilst there are many rules of golf that one might consider a bit extreme (even silly) they are in place to ensure consistency, equality and fairness. If you would like to learn more about your golf game book a lesson at 

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