8 Commonly Misunderstood & Unknown Golf Rules

Once you get the hang of it, there’s nothing quite like spending the weekend enjoying a few rounds of golf. The problem is golf is a tough sport to learn. Not only is it hard to get your swing right and learn the skills side of golf, but it can also be tough to understand all the rules. Here are some of the most commonly misunderstood and overlooked golf rules.

  1. Removing Dew

If you enjoy playing golf early in the morning, chances are you deal with a lot of morning dew on your ball. As tempting as it may be to remove that dew so you can get a cleaner hit on the ball, there are stipulations that come with that. Removing the dew from your ball is a violation of rule 13-2, which means you have to penalize yourself two strokes. The only time you’re allowed to remove dew or frost with no penalty is on the tee box before you’ve hit your ball.

  1. Ball Moving in Water

Hitting your ball into the water is bad enough, but what happens if the ball is moving once it’s in the water? According to rule 14-6, you can make a swing at the ball if it’s moving in the water. However, you aren’t allowed to wait for the ball to keep moving into a more favorable position before taking your stroke.

  1. Who’s Ball Is It?

One of the big reasons people invest in custom golf balls is to avoid mixing their ball up with somebody else’s during a round of golf. If you and your friend are both using the same generic Nike golf ball, there’s no way of knowing whose ball is who’s on a long shot. If you’re not sure which ball belongs to which golfer, both balls are considered lost and both players are penalized a stroke and required to play the last shot again.

  1. Red vs. Yellow Water Hazards

There are two types of water hazards: red and yellow. It’s important to understand the differences between the two, including how they’re played differently if you land in them.

A yellow water hazard is an area that was designed as a water hazard within the golf course. When you hit your ball into a yellow water hazard, you have three options:

  • Play the ball as it lies without a penalty
  • Play from the spot of your last shot with a one-stroke penalty
  • Drop a ball behind the hazard, in a straight line between the hole and where the ball crossed into the hazard, with a one-stroke penalty

Red water hazards aren’t necessarily designed to be a part of the course, and are usually creeks, lakes, and marshy areas. You may also find the point where the ball crossed into the hazard and place the ball within 2 club lengths on either side of the hazard, although it can’t be any closer to the hole.

  1. Accidentally Moving the Ball

When you’re playing golf, there are times when you’re going to accidentally move the ball a little bit. If you accidentally move your ball on the tee, there’s no penalty for that. If you accidentally move your ball after you’ve hit it off the tee, you will have to move it back to its original spot and take a one-stroke penalty. If you fail to move your ball back to the correct spot and hit it again, you will be penalized another stroke for that hit.

  1. Unplayable Lie

For the most part, you’re supposed to play the ball where it lies. However, there are going to be times when you simply can’t play the ball from the lie, otherwise known as an unplayable lie. If you can’t play the ball from where it lies, you have three different options:

  • Move the ball up to two club lengths without moving closer to the hole and take a one-stroke penalty
  • Replay the last shot from where you hit it and take a one-stroke penalty
  • Take the ball as far back as you want in a straight line with the hole and the spot of the unplayable lie and take a one-stroke penalty
  1. Number of Allowed Clubs

While some players don’t enforce rules like this, there is a limit to the number of clubs you’re allowed to have when you’re playing golf. According to the rules, you’re only allowed to carry a maximum of 14 clubs in your bag during a round of golf. If you do carry more than 14 clubs, you’re required to take a loss of hole (up to 2 holes) in match play or 2 strokes per hole (up to 4 strokes total) in stroke play.

  1. Dropping a Ball

When it comes time to drop a ball, there are procedures you have to follow to make sure you’re doing it right. You can find a video of a proper golf ball drop on YouTube, but the basic idea is this:

  1. Hold the ball in your hand and extend your arm straight out
  2. Fully extend your arm at shoulder’s height and drop the ball

Golf is a lot of fun once you get the hang of it, and part of that is figuring out how all the rules work. These are some of the most commonly misunderstood and unknown rules that you need to know if you want to play golf right. If you’re looking for help perfecting your shot, you can pick up a new or used golf mat from Rawhide Golf Ball Co. We’ve also got great deals on used golf balls and golf practice mats so you can perfect your shot without spending a fortune.