Rules Guy: Is it permissible to hold a club in one hand while taking a stroke with the other?

February 4, 2020

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.

A guy in our foursome took both his wedge and putter to his ball in the fringe. Instead of dropping a club after making his choice, he hit a one-handed chip while leaning on his putter with his free hand. Legal?
—DWIGHT NICHOLS, SUN CITY WEST, ARIZ.

He sounds like one very relaxed fellow, and there is no penalty if indeed this is just a casual act. If, however, he intended to assist his play, that incurs the general penalty of two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play under Rule 4.3.

A discreet inquiry as to the player’s motivation — laziness or crutch — should provide the necessary insight.

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