Rules School: How do you proceed if your club is damaged during the round?

player with broken club

What's the rule on broken clubs?

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From time to time, every player has broken a club. It can be as innocent as slightly bending the shaft when striking a tree root to the more aggressive and deliberate snapping of a club over your knee. No matter the cause, it’s a given that your equipment will take some damage from time to time.

But what’s the proper protocol when your club is damaged during the round? Rules school has you covered.

Scenario: Your club is damaged during the course of the round, but it is still useable.

Old rule: Under the previous editions of the Rules of Golf, if your club was damaged you were not allowed to use it during the round. Even if the damage was so slight that the club wasn’t rendered unusable, you were not allowed to keep using it and were required to remove it from the bag immediately.

New rule: Now, under Rule 4.1, players are permitted to keep using the damaged club, or attempt to repair the club.

The full rule states, “if your conforming club is damaged during your round, you may continue to make strokes with the damaged club for the rest of the round, or have your club repaired by restoring it as nearly as possible to its condition before the damage happened.”

This includes damage that was made to the club in a fit of anger.

This rule greatly simplifies the complexity of rules on damaged clubs, so next time your clubs take some damage, worry not and play on.


Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at