Rules Guy: How much are you allowed to touch the ball with your club on a tee box?
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.
On par 3s, some players like to drop a ball in the teeing area, then roll it with their club until they find their ideal lie. But when is the ball actually in play? — Kurt Matthews, Denver, Colo.
You are looking for trouble, Kurt!
But there’s none to be found since we’re on the tee and the hole hasn’t commenced.
Under Rule 6.2b, as well as the definition of “in play,” the ball isn’t in play here until a stroke has been made.
For more teebox guidance from our guru, read on …
Here was a new one on me. Tee-shot downswing, my foot slips and I whiff. This stroke counts, I know — but can I take my next swing with the ball still on the tee? What if, theoretically, I’d knocked the ball off the tee with my body when I fell over? —David Vecht, Los Altos, CA
Theoretically? Really? Regardless, Rules Guy searched YouTube for footage of your misadventure but came up empty — too bad, as we needed a laugh.
If the ball stays within the teeing area you can then play the ball from anywhere else within the teeing area, and the ball may be teed or not — your choice.
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There is also no penalty for accidentally moving the ball when you fall over — again, so long as the ball is still in the teeing area after your whiff. You are indeed playing your second stroke. Stay balanced.
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Got a question about the Rules? Ask the Rules Guy! Send your queries, confusions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. We promise he won’t throw the book at you.