Teeing up your ball on consecutive shots? Under this little-known rule, it’s legal

a golfer tees up a golf ball

Good news, golfers who might struggle to get off the tee. Thanks to the USGA, we recently learned of this handy little-known rule.

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Good news, golfers who might (literally) struggle to get off the tee. Thanks to the USGA, we recently learned of a little-known rule in which you can tee your ball up on consecutive shots.

Sound crazy? Just wait. In a video recently posted on the USGA’s Instagram (which you can watch below), the governing body broke down the (slightly embarrassing) situation in which this scenario might come into play.

For starters, to use this rule you need to top the ball. Or sky it. Or basically just hit it so poorly it doesn’t leave the “teeing area.” Embarrassing? Maybe. But you can make up for a bad swing by flexing your Rules of Golf knowledge and telling your buddies you can tee it up again for your second shot.

Here’s how that works.

First, as the video says, you have to figure out if the swing counts. If it was actually intended to be a practice swing — something we’ve seen a few times from U.S. Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson — then you can simply tee it up and hit it again with no penalty.

But, if you tried to hit the ball and make a stroke like the player in this video, then it counts. You are now hitting your second shot.

But here’s the good news! If the ball is still in the teeing area — which is defined as the small box between the two tees and measuring two club-lengths back — then a player can pick it up and move it to anywhere within that teeing area. The kicker? You can even tee it up for that second shot.

a diagram of the teeing area on a golf hole
USGA

This is Rule 6.2, When Ball in Play Lies in Teeing Area. So now you know.

But let’s remember an important part of this sneaky rule: if you have to use it, you might have bigger problems. To help, here are the 5 biggest mistakes amateurs make off the tee.

Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

Josh Berhow is the managing editor at GOLF.com. The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.