Rules Guy: Is it legal to use your cart to strategically shade your ball?

golf cart shadow

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.

Beautiful sunny day, match play. I drive up next to my ball in the fairway, and the shadow from my cart is over my ball. My opponent tells me I need to move my cart, that the shadow over the ball was improving my lie. Is he joking? He is not. I move my cart and play on. Is he right — or crazy? —Daniel Kramer, Scottsdale, Ariz.

So, your opponent threw shade at you, eh?

Let’s put it this way, Daniel: He’s half-right, at least in the rules sense. “Shading” the ball isn’t improving the lie, which relates to Rule 8.1.

But a player can’t deliberately position an object for the purpose of blocking sunlight; doing so breaches Rule 10.2b(5) [see interpretation 10.2b(5)1] and garners the general penalty of two strokes in stroke play and loss of hole in match play. If you didn’t deliberately put the cart there for that purpose, there’s no breach under this rule.

In the future, though, find a parking spot farther away from your ball — a little more exercise never hurt anyone.

For more shade-related guidance from our guru, read on …

Rules Guy: Can I spray a grip with water and dry it to make it sticky before a stroke?
By: GOLF Editors

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.

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?

Need help unriddling the greens at your home course? Pick up a custom Green Book from 8AM Golf affiliate Golf Logix.

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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