Top 10 Misused Rules

Learn from others’ mistakes

I asked my fellow referees which rules they see misused, misapplied, or broken most frequently by the normal club golfer – here they are!

Relief from a Path Parallel to Direction of Play

A quick revisit on request to a topic covered a while ago. This is really a reminder that there is just one NEAREST Point of Complete Relief. The rules do not allow you to choose the nicest point of complete relief! Recommendation is to always determine your nearest point of complete relief before you pick…

DO NOT TOUCH YOUR BALL (without marking its position first)!

A rule I see broken with astonishing regularity. Keep your eyes open and I’m sure you’ll find someone does it during your next friendly fourball. Rule of Thumb (but not a rule of golf): MARK YOUR BALL FIRST if you ever need to touch or lift it. And please remember that if you do need…

Misunderstood Rules 1: Improving your Lie

This is maybe an inadvertent giving yourself a “chance” of getting the ball out from heavy rough. You are not allowed to improve any of Conditions Affecting the Stroke. But what are they? the lie of the ballthe area of intended stancethe area of intended swingthe line of playthe relief area where the player will…

Misunderstood Rules 2: Giving or Receiving Advice

Often well meaning comments made by another player in your group, but you can also inadvertently ask for advice without thinking. A player may not give or seek advice to or from anyone except their caddie, partner or partner’s caddie (or a nominated “advice giver”, if allowed, in a team competition). Interestingly, the Advice Giver…

Misunderstood Rules 3: Nearest or Nicest Point of Relief?

Perhaps every golfer is tempted by this with the following thought process: “It can’t be relief if I can’t get a swing at it, so I’ll find the nearest point where I can actually play the ball” Commonly known as finding the “nicest” rather than “nearest” point of relief. Sorry – but that isn’t correct.…


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2 thoughts on “Top 10 Misused Rules

  1. Hi was looking for definition of relief area re the following. On my course there is a channel 2’ wide of gravel from which relief is available. The nearest point of relief is in bad rough: can the club length extend across the gravel to a better playing area not nearer flag?


    1. Hi Tim
      Yes, the club length can bridge across the gravel, but you must take complete relief. Unless the relief has been defined in your local rules as “for lie only”, then you may not be standing on the gravel or have it interfering with the area of your intended swing after taking relief. With a 2 foot wide channel this might be tricky – it would be possible to have the lie of the ball one side of the band and your stance on the other – this might give you a nearest point of relief on the more advantageous side.
      Kind regards


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