Rules Guy: This question about taking a practice swing with a tee in the fairway was one of the year’s most read

December 17, 2019
club hitting tee

In every issue of GOLF Magazine, our readers are invited to submit their most confounding rules conundrums to our resident expert, the Rules Guy. In 2019, Rules Guy covered just about every angle of the game we all love, from the legality of employing a drone to get an inside look at a hole location to using a shadow on the green as an alignment aid.

But there are some topics that piqued our readers’ interest more than others. A question about using a tee for a practice swing in the fairway was published online in October, and became the third most-read Rules Guy question of the year. You can revisit both the question and Rules Guy’s answer in its entirety below.

Love reading about the rules? Remember, you can always send your rules-related queries, confusions and comments to We promise he won’t throw the book at you.

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

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.

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