Only the other day I spied a golfer on another fairway dropping a ball from shoulder height. I’m sure most of you will immediately have recognised that he/she was in the wrong, but maybe not everyone will have remembered that this was one of the rules that changed last year. If you’ve recently returned to the game you may have missed the fact that 1st January 2019 saw that most significant changes to the Rules of Golf in many decades.  If this is news to you, this link will take you to the new rules and this link highlights the 20 major changes in the rules.

If you’ve been playing under the new rules for the past year, how well do you know them?  I’m sure it took most of us a few weeks to get out of the habit of lifting the ball to our shoulders to drop it, but hopefully dropping from knee height is second nature now.  The current Covid-19 regulations have banished the “whether to leave the flagstick in or take it out” dilemma, but what about the rest of the rules?

I’ve taken a few quiz questions from the Today’s Golfer website so you can test how well you know the rules.  I must admit to have used some of these in a previous blog, but as we’ve got a significant influx of new members and readers I thought this would be a good time to use them once again.  The answers are at the bottom, but don’t cheat!  Scribble your answers on a piece of paper and don’t look at the bottom until you’ve answered them all!

1. When dropping a ball under a Rule, a player drops the ball from knee height twice and both times the ball comes to rest just outside the relief area, no nearer the hole. What is the ruling?

A) The player must place a ball on the spot where the ball first touched the ground from the second drop.

B) The player must continue dropping until a ball comes to rest in the relief area.

C) The player must place a ball anywhere in the relief area.


2. In stroke play, player A looks into player B’s bag without touching or moving anything to see which club B used for his last stroke. What is the ruling?

   B) A is disqualified.

   C) A gets a penalty of two strokes.


3.  In match play, a player’s ball lies in a penalty area and they take a practice swing in the penalty area, grounding their club in the process. What is the ruling?

A) There is no penalty.

B) The player loses the hole.

C) The player gets a one-stroke penalty.


4.  A ball is out of bounds when any part of it lies out of bounds.

A) False

B) True


5.  In stroke play, when playing out of a bad lie, a player accidentally hits the ball a second time on their follow through. What is the ruling?

A) The double hit counts as one stroke only and there is no penalty.

B) The double hit counts as two shots but there is no additional penalty.

C) The double hit counts as one shot and the player gets an additional one stroke penalty


6.  In stroke play, a player’s ball comes to rest on a gravel surfaced road. They are entitled to relief from the road but decide to play the ball as it lies. They remove some gravel that might interfere with his stroke. What is the ruling?

A) No penalty.

B) One stroke penalty.

C) Two-stroke penalty


7.  A player may place a club on the ground during the stroke to aid in alignment.

A) False

B) True


8.  In match play, a player mistakenly believing they have won a hole, picks up their ball marker. What is the ruling?

A) The player loses the hole.

B) There is no penalty and the player must replace the ball or ball marker.

C) The player gets one penalty stroke and must replace the ball or ball marker.


9.  In a stroke-play competition, the Committee issues the scorecards containing a player’s handicap in addition to their name and the date. The Committee mistakenly records the player’s handicap as seven instead of six and this affects the number of strokes received. The error remains unnoticed until after the card is returned, but before the competition has closed. What is the ruling?

A) The player’s correct handicap should be applied to his score.

B) The player is disqualified.

C) As it was a mistake of the Committee, the player should not be disqualified, however, the player’s handicap should be considered to be seven for the basis of the competition.


10.    A player finds their ball by stepping on it in thick rough after searching for it for two minutes, causing it to move. What is the ruling?



11.   A player makes a practice swing and accidentally moves their ball in play on the fairway with their club. What is the ruling?



12.   A player is entitled to free relief when his ball is embedded in the rough

1.   A | Explanation: If a ball has been dropped in the right way twice and both times comes to rest outside the relief area, the player must complete taking relief by placing a ball on the spot where the ball first touched the ground from the second drop (Rule 14.3c).

2.   A | Explanation: Information obtained by observation is not advice.

3.   A | Explanation: A player may ground his or her club anywhere in a penalty area without penalty (Rule 17.1b).

4.   A | Explanation: A ball at rest is out of bounds only when all of it is outside the boundary edge of the course. A player may stand out of bounds to play a ball on the course.

5.   A | Explanation: As per Rule 10.1a, an accidental double hit counts as one stroke.There is no penalty and the ball must be played as it lies.

6.   A | Explanation: Gravel is a loose impediment and a player may remove loose impediments without penalty anywhere on the course under Rule 15.1.

7.   A | Explanation: A player must not take a stance for the stroke using any object, such as a club, that was set down by or for the player to help in lining up his or her feet or body (Rule10.2b).

8.  C | Explanation: The player gets one penalty stroke (Rule 9.7b) and must replace his ball on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated).

9.  B | Explanation: If the Committee provides players with scorecards containing their handicaps, each player must make sure that the right handicap is shown on his or her scorecard before returning it. If such a scorecard mistakenly has a player’s handicap being higher than it actually is, and this affects the number of strokes he or she gets,the player is disqualified under Rule 3.3b if this mistake is not corrected before returning the scorecard.

10.  B | Explanation: There is no penalty if a player causes their ball to move while trying to find or identify it. If the ball is moved during the search, the ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated). If the ball was under growing grass it must be replaced under that grass (Rule 7.4).

11.  A | Explanation: If a player causes their ball in the general area to move without making a stroke, there is a one-stroke penalty (Rule 9.4b).

12.  A | Explanation: Relief is available for a ball that is embedded in the general area (except when it is embedded in sand in the general area).


How did you do?

10 – 12    Excellent work!  You’ve got a great understanding of the new rules.

7 – 9       Pretty good.  You’ve got a good knowledge of some of the rule changes, but you should have another look at the rule book to brush up on some areas.

4 – 6        Not great!  It looks like you need to go back to the rule book and start reading…

3 or less   Oh dear!!!  Let’s hope that your playing partners are keeping you right on the course.  It’s time to start reading the rule book!