Rules Guy: Can you take a practice swing with a tee in the fairway?

October 8, 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.

Is there a rule against taking a practice swing at a tee placed in the fairway to check one’s swing, alignment and so on? —OTTO VAN DIEREN, ARUBA

And thus completes our diptych, named “Equipment/Aid.” In a recent post, we informed loyal readers that a flagstick may be used on the green to practice one’s stroke but that alignment rods, being a swing or training aid, may not.

As it is defined as equipment, a tee is legal to use in this case since it doesn’t eliminate or reduce the need for a skill essential to the challenge of the game — we hope its efficacy proves larger than its size. That said, don’t forget about Rule 10.2b(3), which prohibits setting down an object to help take the stance for the stroke to be made. Working on your alignment in general? The tee is OK. Aligning for your upcoming shot? Verboten.

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