Rules of the Game

By Alan Jeffery

QUESTION: Roman and Mike are playing in a tournament. On the 5th hole. Roman, who started with 13 clubs, misses his short putt. In a moment of anger, he slams his club into the ground. The shaft on the club breaks. He then putts with his 3-wood. After the 9th hole, he goes into the clubhouse and rents a new putter. He finishes the round with the new putter. Mike says Roman cannot replace his putter as it was not broken in the normal course of play and therefore, is subject to penalty. Is Mike correct?

ANSWER: Because Roman started with 13 clubs, one less than the maximum 14 clubs, he may add another club at any time. Even though the replacement was for a putter damaged in anger, he may add any club.  Mike is incorrect. See USGA Decisions on the Rules of Golf, 2014-2015, 4-3/8.

Golf clinics continue on Saturday mornings, 10:30-12-noon. Individual concerns are covered. Remember, the swing’s the thing and continuous improvement is what it’s all about.

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