Friday, April 21, 2017
Ask Linda #1515-Too many clubs
Can you help me with this ruling please? Playing four-ball better ball match play, players A&B vs. players C&D. Here is the scenario; when the two pairs reached the 9th green, player A discovered that player C was carrying 15 clubs in his bag. Therefore he has played 9 holes with 15 clubs. When I looked up the rule, which is 4-4, it says that in match play you lose a hole for every hole you played with this amount of clubs, but then it states for a maximum of 2 holes. Could you be so very kind and interpret this rule more clearly to me please?
Thanks ever so much,
Lou from Wales, UK
P.S. I congratulate you for making it easier to understand these rules.
Certainly. Rule 4-4 states that players may not carry more than 14 clubs during their round. In match play, if a player has 15 clubs or more, the state of the match is adjusted by deducting one hole for each hole where he carried more than 14 clubs. The maximum adjustment is two holes. The players in your narrative made the discovery on the 9th green. They would finish playing the hole, record the result of the hole, and then make the two-hole adjustment. So if A&B were two holes up after the 9th hole, they would now be four holes up; if A&B were two holes down, the match would now be all square.
As soon as the breach is discovered, the player must immediately declare the extra clubs out of play, and he may not use them for the rest of the round. If he does not make an immediate declaration, or he uses one of the clubs he declared out of play, he is disqualified. If he has a partner, both players are disqualified.
In stroke play, the penalty is two strokes for each hole where the player carried too many clubs. The maximum penalty for this breach is four strokes. Thus, if a player is discovered carrying 15 clubs on the 9th hole, his penalty is four strokes. Assuming he had 15 clubs when he started the round, the penalty would be assessed on the first two holes. He would add two strokes to his score on the first hole, and another two to his score on the second hole. In a four-ball format (better ball), both players are penalized, even if only one player carried extra clubs [Rule 31-6].
If the extra club is discovered before either player tees off on the second hole, the penalty is a one-hole adjustment in match play and two strokes for both players in stroke play.
While we’re on the topic of carrying extra clubs, I would like to explain what is meant by partners sharing clubs. If you want to use any of your partner’s clubs, the total number of clubs carried by you and your partner must not exceed 14. This means, for example, that if your partner carries ten clubs, you may only carry four if you wish to share (10+4=14). If your partner carries 12 clubs, and you carry 13, there is no option to share clubs (12+13=25; 25 is well over the limit of 14).
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