RULE 14 - STRIKING THE BALL
All defined terms are in italics and are listed alphabetically in the Definitions section – see pages 30-45.
a. Fairly Striking the Ball
The ball must be fairly struck at with the head of the club and must not be pushed, scraped or spooned.
b. Anchoring the Club
In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either “directly” or by use of an “anchor point.”
Note 1: The club is anchored “directly” when the player intentionally holds the club or a gripping hand in contact with any part of his body, except that the player may hold the club or a gripping hand against a hand or forearm.
Note 2: An “anchor point” exists when the player intentionally holds a forearm in contact with any part of his body to establish a gripping hand as a stable point around which the other hand may swing the club.
a. Physical Assistance and Protection from Elements
A player must not make a stroke while accepting physical assistance or protection from the elements.
b. Positioning of Caddie or Partner Behind Ball
A player must not make a stroke with his caddie, his partner or his partner’s caddie positioned on or close to an extension of the line of play or line of putt behind the ball.
Exception: There is no penalty if the player’s caddie, his partner or his partner’s caddie is inadvertently located on or close to an extension of the line of play or line of putt behind the ball.
PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 14-1 or 14-2: Match play – Loss of hole; Stroke play – Two strokes.
14-3. Artificial Devices and Unusual Equipment; Abnormal
Use of Equipment
Rule 14-3 governs the use of equipment and devices (including electronic devices) that might assist a player in making a specific stroke or generally in his play.
Golf is a challenging game in which success should depend on the judgement, skills and abilities of the player. This principle guides the USGA in determining whether the use of any item is in breach of Rule 14-3.
For detailed specifications and interpretations on the conformity of equipment and devices under Rule 14-3 and the process for consultation and submission regarding equipment and devices, see Appendix IV.
Except as provided in the Rules, during a stipulated round the player must not use any artificial device or unusual equipment, or use any equipment in an abnormal manner:
a. That might assist him in making a stroke or in his play; or
b. For the purpose of gauging or measuring distance or conditions that might affect his play; or
c. That might assist him in gripping the club, except that:
(i) gloves may be worn provided that they are plain gloves;
(ii) resin, powder and drying or moisturizing agents may be used; and
(iii) a towel or handkerchief may be wrapped around the grip.
1. A player is not in breach of this Rule if
(a) the equipment or device is designed for or has the effect of alleviating a medical condition,
(b) the player has a legitimate medical reason to use the equipment or device, and (c) the Committee is satisfied that its use does not give the player any undue advantage over other players.
2. A player is not in breach of this Rule if he uses equipment in a traditionally accepted manner.
PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 14-3: Match play – Loss of hole; Stroke play – Two strokes.
For subsequent offense – Disqualification.
In the event of a breach between the play of two holes, the penalty applies to the next hole.
Note: The Committee may make a Local Rule allowing players to use a distance-measuring device.
14-4. Striking the Ball More Than Once
If a player’s club strikes the ball more than once in the course of a stroke, the player must count the stroke and add a penalty stroke, making two strokes in all.
14-5. Playing Moving Ball
A player must not make a stroke at his ball while it is moving.
• Ball falling off tee – Rule 11-3
• Striking the ball more than once – Rule 14-4
• Ball moving in water – Rule 14-6
When the ball begins to move only after the player has begun the stroke or the backward movement of his club for the stroke, he incurs no penalty under this Rule for playing a moving ball, but he is not exempt from any penalty under Rule 18-2 (Ball at rest moved by player).
(Ball purposely deflected or stopped by player, partner or caddie – see Rule 1-2)
14-6. Ball Moving in Water
When a ball is moving in water in a water hazard, the player may, without penalty, make a stroke, but he must not delay making his stroke in order to allow the wind or current to improve the position of the ball. A ball moving in water in a water hazard may be lifted if the player elects to invoke Rule 26.
PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 14-5 or 14-6: Match play – Loss of hole; Stroke play – Two strokes.