Rules Guy: Is it permissible to use a weight to warm up before hitting each shot?

Are you allowed to use a weight like a dumbbell as a part of your pre-shot routine?

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The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.

Can you use a weight to warm up before each shot? Before the tee shot, and then again in the fairway? Does it matter if it’s a weighted club or just, say, a dumbbell? —Ambrose Rivera, via email

Ambrose, Rules Guy is here to (clap, clap) pump you up! Or at least pump up your Rules knowledge.

ball move at address
Rules Guy: Is it a penalty if your ball moves as you prepare to address it?
By: Rules Guy

You cannot swing a weighted club under Rule 4.3(a)/6, as it gives you a potential advantage by helping you prepare to make a stroke. You’d get the general penalty of two strokes in stroke play and loss of hole in match play for the first offense and be disqualified for the second offense.

Likewise, you’d be running afoul by swinging a dumbbell as if it were a golf club. If instead you were using the dumbbell (or rubber tubing, or whatever) merely to stretch out/limber up, you’re probably in the clear.

Still, per Rule 20.2b, you should check with the Committee beforehand whenever you’re unsure of whether you can use a particular piece of equipment in a particular way. As Hans and Franz would say, “Hear me now and believe this later!”

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Got a question about the Rules? Ask the Rules Guy! Send your queries, confusions and comments to We promise he won’t throw the book at you.

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