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Rules Guy: Is a two-way chipper legal?

February 3, 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.

Several players in our local golf group have a two-way (right-hand/left-hand) chipper in the bag, and this type of club has suddenly become controversial. Some players say it’s illegal. Others argue that it can be used but must count as two clubs toward the 14-club limit. Still others say it’s just a normal club. Is there a specific rule that covers it? —CHARLES SCOTT, ROTONDA WEST, FLA.

Two-way chipper
Is a two-way chipper legal? The answer lies in the clubface — or rather, clubfaces.

Being two-faced is never a good thing, right? But if you need more proof, just check Decision 4-1/3, which informs us that a single-faced chipper can be A-OK (not to mention delightfully retro), but a chipper with two striking faces is nonconforming.

Make just one stroke with this or any nonconforming club, and the offending player is disqualified. If it remains unused in the bag? In stroke-play, that’s a two-stroke-per-hole penalty, with a maximum of four strokes total. In match play, an adjustment is made to the state of the match — one hole is deducted for each hole where the club was present, maximum of two holes. Talk about facing the music. 

Got a rules question? Of course you do! Whatever it may be, send yours to rulesguy@golf.com and the question may be answered in an upcoming issue of GOLF. Until then, play by the Rules!