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

March 17, 2020
A golfer carries a range bucket and a water bottle out to the course.

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.

Do the rules permit me to carry a spray bottle with water for the purpose of spraying the club’s grip prior to making a stroke? After spraying, I vigorously towel-dry the grip to make it feel sticky. It’s a “tacky” thing to do, I know…but is it legal? —Bruce Elwell, via email

Good news! Spraying water to clean your club’s grip during play is perfectly permissible. Indeed, under Rule 4.3a, even resin powders and other drying agents are hunky-dory for this purpose. Rules Guy only asks that you perform your drying act in a timely fashion, perhaps while others are making their strokes, because a pre-shot routine that involves toweling rivals watching paint dry for excitement.

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.

Want more Rules Guy?
Can I use glasses to access the materials in my green-reading book?
Are you allowed to walk up and watch the group ahead putt?
What do you do when several balls deflect off each other?
Can you check a bunker’s depth with a tee?