Rules School: Accidentally hit your ball twice in one stroke?

No matter your skill level, every golfer has experienced a double hit in their career. The ball pops up perfectly into the path of your follow through and you clip it again, changing its path. And while this might be a cool party trick, it’s quite embarrassing when it happens on the golf course. But how do you proceed when the dreaded double hit occurs? Rules school has got you covered.

Scenario: A player unintentionally hits the ball twice with a single stroke.

Old rule: The player was dinged twice. Once for the initial stroke and then assessed a one-stroke penalty for hitting a ball that was still in motion.

New rule: Now players are granted much more leniency under Rule 10.1a which states, “If your club accidentally hits the ball more than once, there has been only one stroke and there is no penalty.” 

impossible lie in the bunker
Rules School: Use this rule next time you have an impossible lie in a bunker
By: Zephyr Melton

Their explanation is a simple one: “Accidental deflections are, by definition, an accident,” the USGA says. “The outcome in such cases is random and unpredictable, and it results in a disadvantage for the player as often as it results in an advantage.”

This rule is consistent with the change they made for balls accidentally deflected by part of the player’s body when the ball is in motion, which also now holds no penalty.

“Treating all accidental deflections the same no matter who or what caused them will simplify the Rules by providing consistency.”

So while a double hit might still make you blush, don’t worry about it adversely affecting your scorecard.

Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at