VSWGA Office - PO Box 8235, Essex, VT 05451 - 802-375-8091 - vswga@comcast.net

Do you know that a "sand trap" does not exist in the Rules of Golf?




You will not find a "sand trap" mentioned anywhere in the Rules of Golf - the correct term is a "bunker". Golfers "in the know" will never use the term "sand trap" or "trap". Get used to using the proper term "bunker" and you will impress those "in the know" with your savvy!

Rules Tips

Does the location of the ball on the course, i.e., the fringe, a bunker or the putting green, have a bearing on determining the order of play?

No. The order of play is determined solely by the distance from the hole of each ball. In other words, if a ball on the fringe lies ten feet from the hole and another ball on the putting green lies fifteen feet from the hole, the player whose ball is on the putting green would play first. This is MANDATORY in match play situations. If the player on the fringe chipped first, then the opponent whose ball lies on the green would have the right to recall that stroke and make the player chip the ball again in the proper order (no penalty). This also means that there is no "putting out" in match play. If a player putts the ball to within a few inches of the hole, the player MUST mark the ball unless the putt is conceded.


Stroke play is a different situation. In the above situation, the player whose ball is on the putting green is the person whose turn it would be to play first; however, the person on the fringe could play before the person putting in order to speed up play, especially if the person chipping wants the flagstick left in. However, if the players agree to have the perosn chip first in order to give one of them an advantage, they would both be disqualified.


This does not apply if the two people involved are partners - the partner who is away and whose turn it is to play, can let her partner who is closer to the hole play first. This would be true in both stroke play and match play.


May a player have the flagstick attended even if her ball is not on the putting surface?

Yes. The provisions of Rule 17-1 apply regardless of the location of the ball. However, be aware that if the player's ball strikes an attended flagstick, OR the person attending that flagstick, whether the ball is on or off the green, the player incurs a penalty of loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play and the ball is played as it lies. *** This only applies if the person attending the flagstick is doing so with the player's authority or prior knowledge. In other words, if Player A is off the green and is chipping to the hole and Player B walks over to the hole and tends the flagstick in plain site of Player A, then Player B is deemed to be attending the flagstick for Player A regardless of whether Player A asked her to or not. Player A is clearly aware that Player B is attending that flagstick, so if Player A's ball strikes the attended flagstick, or Player B or anything that Player B is holding or carrying, the Player A incurs the penalty. If Player A is off the green and doesn't want Player B attending the flagstick, the Player A has the right to ask Player B to move away from the flagstick.

If a player runs out of golf balls during a round, can she borrow a ball from another player?

Yes. There is nothing in the Rules of Golf that prohibits a player from borrowing a golf ball from an opponent or fellow-competitor. A player who runs out of golf balls may get a new supply from any source, provided that she does not unduly delay play (Rule 6-7) in the process. Although golf balls are part of a player's equipment, the only type of equipment that the Rules prohibit the borrowing of is clubs (Rule 4-4a).

Do you know that a player may putt with one hand while holding the flagstick with the other?

Yes, provided that:

   (1) the player does not use the flagstick to support himself (see Decision 14-3/9) and

   (2) the ball does not strike the flagstick.

Do you know the proper procedure for taking relief from a cart path?

Many players feel they can take relief on either side of the cart path.   Actually, the player has no choice.

Notice in the above 2 pictures, the ball lies in the center of the cart path.   The player simulates an address position on either side of the cart path in order to determine the nearest point of relief.  As you can see above, the point on the left side of the cart path is the NEAREST point of relief where interference from the cart path ceases to exist.

The player then gets 1 club length of relief from that nearest point of relief - no nearer the hole.


NOTE:  If you are not sure whether you want to take relief from the cart path, then don't touch the ball!  Let's say that you pick up the ball from the cart path and then determine that the nearest point of relief puts you in some bushes.  In order to play the ball from the bushes, you would have to take an unplayable lie.  So you decide you want to play the ball from where it originally lie on the cart path.  Under the Rules, you are only allowed to pick up your ball (i.e. touch it) if you are taking relief under a specific rule.   Once you decide NOT to take that relief (i.e. play it from its original lie) you have negated your right to touch the ball.   You would incur a one stroke penalty for touching or moving your ball at rest and you must then replace it.  So, make sure you know where your nearest point of relief is before you pick up your ball.

Note: in using Rule 24, don’t over-read the word “relief”.  It doesn’t mean you always get what you want.  By no means does it guarantee you’ll be able to play directly at the hole or that you will have a good lie when you take relief.

How much relief?

When measuring relief, many people are unsure whether they get 1 club length of relief or 2 club lengths. Here's an easy way to remember...




In other words... PENALTY  = 2 club lengths ,  NO PENALTY = 1 club length