Rules Guy: What do you do when the hole location changes after you’ve already hit?

hole cutting

What happens when you're the victim of mid-round course maintenance?

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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.

My tee shot landed 6 inches from the cup … but by the time we reached the green, the superintendent had changed the hole location — now my ball was 35 feet away! This led to a heated debate. My partners said that I had to play to the new location; I argued that I should be able to use my judgement about whether I would have made my putt to the hole’s original spot.
—Don Pearson, Portland, Ore. 

To make plain the folly of permitting one’s “judgement” to govern the situation, let’s pretend your ball was six feet from the hole rather than six inches. Now, are you going to make it, or miss it?

Jason Day
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By: Nick Piastowski

Correct answer: Who the heck knows? Here’s the proper way to handle it: Play to the new hole and consider yourself lucky to have a truly great sob story to tell in perpetuity.

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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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