Rules Guy: Can my playing partner block the sun for me if I’m blinded on the green?

April 21, 2019

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.

Living in Southern California has its advantages, like playing winter golf, but also its drawbacks. Late one afternoon, I had a 40-foot eagle putt where the sun was directly behind the pin at ground level — standing at my ball, looking at the pin, the glare meant I couldn’t see the pin, much less read the green. Could I have had the other players in the foursome stand to block the sun, or would that have been a Rules violation? Needless to say, I three-putted for par. —TONY FINA, CAMARILLO, CALIF.

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Though often misattributed to Mark Twain, it was Twain’s friend and fellow writer Charles Dudley Warner who said, “Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”

Maybe that’s because everybody knows Rule 10.2b(5), which prohibits players from using anyone as protection from the elements — sunlight, wind, rain, what have you— lest they incur the general penalty of two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play. Or maybe not.

Either way, you’re in California…shouldn’t you always have cool sunglasses at the ready?

Got a rules question? Of course you do! Whatever it may be, send yours to and the question may be answered in an upcoming issue of GOLF. Until then, play by the Rules!