Monday, April 11, 2011

Ask Linda #289-15th club on cart

Dear Linda,

Yesterday my friend borrowed his daughter's ride-on golf cart when playing golf.  After a few holes he discovered that she has a long tube on the cart where she parks her (extra long!) driver.  As he had 14 clubs in his bag, the question is: Does he get penalized for now realizing there are 15 clubs on the cart?  Lotsa discussion regarding this after the game, as you can imagine, so a ruling will be much appreciated!


Dear Lulu,

A player is not permitted to start a round with more than 14 clubs [Rule 4-4a]. Your friend started the round with 15 clubs. Since he discovered the 15th club after playing more than two holes, the penalty in stroke play is 4 strokes. He will have to add 2 strokes to his scores for the 1st and 2nd holes.

In match play, the state of the match will be adjusted by deducting two holes. For example, if your friend were 2 up on his opponent, the match would be all square; if he were 1 up, his opponent would now be 1 up.

If your friend had discovered the extra club before teeing off on the second hole, the penalty would be 2 strokes (stroke play), or a one-hole deduction in match play. (Note that in match play, if his opponent had won the first hole, he would now be 2 up, even though only one hole had been played.)

Here are a couple of similar situations to consider:

1. Two players have both begun the round with 14 clubs. On the third hole, Player A accidentally puts a club in Player B’s bag. B notices the extra club on the sixth hole. B returns the club to A. If B did not use A’s club, there is no penalty to either player. However, if B used A’s club by mistake, B will be penalized under Rule 4-4a.

2. If a player with 14 clubs finds another player’s club on the golf course, he may carry it in his bag until he drops it off at the pro shop. There is no penalty unless he uses the club.

Copyright © 2011 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.