Understanding the rules of golf is extremely important to playing well. Knowing what you can or cannot do on the course can make the difference between winning or losing a tournament.
Over the years, I have used the rules to insure I was not disadvantaged during play. There is one particular rule, I think, all players should know: Rule 24 – Obstructions.
While playing yesterday, I hit my ball down the middle of the fairway. This shot worked out exactly as planned because I was aiming at the red stake (100 yard marker).
As I walked towards my ball, I realized that the red stake might be in my way. Arriving at my ball, I realized that I had a clear shot to the green or at least I thought I did.
When I was taking my practice swing, my follow through was restricted because I was very close to hitting the marker. I did not take a full swing, but slowly simulated my stroke and confirmed I was going to hit the post.
With this in mind, rule 24 has three options.
- Modify my swing and play on – no penalty;
- remove the post, play my ball where it lies – no penalty; or
- if the post cannot be removed, take full relieve, no closer to the hole – no penalty.
I took option 2 and removed the obstruction. I hit my gap wedge to the center of the green and two putted for par.
The reason I am mentioning this rule is that I have watched players modify their swing to avoid an objective with very poor results. They were unaware that they could remove the post or take relief and as a result shot a higher score on the hole.
Understanding the rules og golf is important to lower scores. Using Rule 24 – Obstructions at the appropriate time will offer relief when needed. Next time you are faced with the same situation, you will be armed with the knowledge you need to give yourself a chance to shoot a lower score.
Have you ever used Rule 24?
I am a grateful golfer. See you on the links!