This Rules Guy question about taking relief from the green’s collar was the year’s most-read

ball on fringe

Readers were fascinated by the question about taking relief from the green's collar.

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One of the best things about the Rules of Golf is the fact that, when utilized properly, their intent is to help and not hurt.

But as all golfers know, playing the game can surface a myriad of situations that involve a thorough consultation of the Good Book — and plenty of opportunity for misinterpretation.

Such was the case with one reader’s question, posed to GOLF’s Rules Guy in April all the way from South Africa.

two balls on green
Rules Guy: What do you do when two balls collide after being hit at the same time?
By: Rules Guy

Roger Gant wanted to know if his partner’s insistence that he could take relief from a ball resting against the green’s collar was in fact legal. And he wasn’t alone. Plenty of others were curious about the answer to this question as well, making it the year’s most-read Rules Guy post.

As it turns out, the partner was applying an incorrect rule for his situation. If you aren’t yet acquainted with this particular conundrum, you can read the full question and answer below, or in its original form here. And for more Rules Guy, check out his column every Tuesday and Friday right here on

The most-read Rules Guy question of the year

During a recent round, a playing partner’s ball finished on the green, but against the cuff. He said the new rules allow players to take relief without penalty by moving the ball off the green and placing it onto the cut, next to where his ball had been resting against the cuff. I have been unable to find anything supporting this in the Rules. Am I missing something?
— Roger Gant, Western Cape, South Africa

“Cuff”? “Cut”? Rules Guy is a sucker for foreign lingo and proud to have a global readership!

Assuming “cuff” is what we in the U.S. call collar and “cut” your version of fringe, then the answer is, no, you’re not missing anything.

While in miniature golf you get a putter-head worth of relief from the bumper, there’s no equivalent in real golf. It’s possible that your playing partner was confusing the Rules with Model Local Rule F-19, which provides relief from edging grooves using the procedures in Rule 16.1 based on where the ball lies. If (a) it was an edging groove, (b) his ball was on the putting green and (c) the Model Local Rule was in effect, he’d have been required to place the ball at the nearest point of complete relief — and that point could be in the general area (conceivably, the fringe) … but it doesn’t sound like this was the case.

Thanks for writing, my boet! (That’s “brother,” dear American readers.)

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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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