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 Jan Rules Quiz

Here is a little quiz to see how well you know the words used within the Rules and the Decisions on the Rules of Golf.


1.  In what context is the word “brick” used?  (a) Example of a movable obstruction.   (b) Example of a type of artificial surfacing of a road or path.  (c)  Example of building one’s stance.  (d) Part of an integral part of the course.


2.   Which of these words is used to describe a type of artificial surfacing of a road or path?  (a) macadam  (b) tar  (c) cobblestone  (d) asphalt.


3.   Which of these words is NOT found in the Decisions on the Rules of Golf?  (a) birdie  (b) double bogey  (c) eagle  (d) albatross  (e) All of the above.


4.   Which of these words is NOT used to describe the “elements”?  (a) sunlight  (b) rain  (c) hail  (d) wind  (e) snow


5.   Which of these words is found in the Decisions on the Rules of Golf? (a) sand trap  (b) pin  (c) tee box  (d)  planks.


6.   Which of these plants is NOT found in the Decisions on the Rules of Golf? (a) cactus  (b) stinging nettles  (c) poison oak  (d) tumbleweed  (e) mushroom  (f) poison ivy  (g) moss  (h) creeper.


7.   Which fruit is NOT mentioned in the Decisions on the Rules of Golf?  (a) apple  (b) banana  (c) orange  (d) pear?


8.   Which of these words is NOT used to describe a person who might be on the course?  (a) marker  (b) forecaddie  (c) friend  (d) referee  (e) coach  (f) parent  (g) spectator  (h) sibling or (i) volunteer.




1.   (c)   Decision 13-3/5 [Player Builds Stance But Corrects Error Before Playing Stroke] states, in part, “If a player builds a stance through the use of an object such as a golf cart, stone or brick, he incurs no penalty if he removes the object before playing his next stroke.”


2.   (b)   Decision 24/9 [Artificially-Surfaced Road or Path] points out that, “A road or path to which any foreign material, e.g., concrete, tar, gravel, wood chips, etc., has been applied is artificially surfaced and thus an obstruction.”


3.   (e)   The words “par” and “bogey” appear in the Decisions on the Rules of Golf in the context of types of stroke play competitions.  The word “par” also appears occasionally to denote the par for a hole, e.g., a par 4.


4.   (c)   Decision 14-2/0.5 [Meaning of “Elements”] advises, “Elements include sunlight, rain, wind, snow and other weather conditions.”


5.   (d)   The word “bunker” is always used instead of “sand trap.”  The word “flagstick” is always used instead of “pin.”   The phrase “teeing ground” is always used instead of “tee box.”  Decision 24/12 [Wooden or Earthen Steps] indicates that “Steps which have been cut into a steep bank but which have not been covered with any artificial material such as wooden planks are not obstructions.” 


6.   (c)   Decision 1-4/11 [Meaning of “Dangerous Situation”] notes that plants such as poison ivy, cacti, and stinging nettles do not constitute dangerous situations.  Decision 1-2/10 [Player Wraps Towel Around Self or Places Towel on Cactus Before Taking Stance] indicates that it is permissible for a player to wrap a towel around himself to protect himself from cactus needles.  However, it would be a breach of Rule 1-2 for altering physical conditions it the player placed a towel on a cactus for protection.  Mushroom is mentioned in Decision 16-1a/15 [Mushroom Growing on Line of Putt]; tumbleweed is mentioned in Decision 18-1/6 [Ball at Rest Moved by Blowing Tumbleweed]; and moss and creepers are mentioned in Decision 13-2/37 [Status of Moss or Creepers in Tree].


7.   (a)   For “banana,” see Decision 23/4 [Fruit Skins]; for “orange,” see Decision 23/10 [Ball Embedded in Fruit], and for “pear,” see Decision 23/3 [Half-Eaten Pear]


8.   (i)    There are numerous occurrences of the words “marker,” “spectator,” and “referee” in the Decisions on the Rules of Golf.  The word “coach” appears in three Decisions, the word “friend” appears in two Decisions, and the word “forecaddie” appears in the Definitions and in one Decision.  The words “parent” and “sibling” are found in Appendix I Part B regarding the Committee’s ability to restrict whom a player may select as his caddie.

December Rules Quiz

The ancient Roman calendar is thought to have been invented by Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome, around 753 BC and, despite its flaws, it remained in effect until about 44 BC. This early Roman year was grossly inaccurate as it only had 304 days! Moreover, their calendar had only ten months with December being the final month. The name of December is derived from the Latin “decem” which was the Roman word for the number ten. In recognition of the fact that December is associated with the number ten, your task in this month’s quiz is to determine whether or not your score for each of the following scenarios is 10, counting all strokes and any applicable penalty strokes.

1. On the 1st hole, you mistakenly play from outside the teeing ground and your ball comes to rest out of bounds. You then play another ball from within the teeing ground. This drive comes to rest against a pine cone in a fairway bunker. When you remove the interfering pine cone, you accidentally cause your ball to move ever so slightly. You then successfully play your ball from its new position in the bunker onto the green, and two-putt to complete play of the hole.

2. On the 3rd hole, your fifth stroke splashes into a lateral water hazard near the green. When you take relief, you correctly drop a ball within two club-lengths of the hazard margin, but the ball rolls down the slope and nearly comes to rest in the hazard. When you take your stance, you notice that your feet are positioned within the hazard, so you re-drop the ball, and this time it comes to rest where you can take your stance without your feet being inside the hazard. You then play an excellent wedge shot onto the green, and one-putt to complete the hole.

3. On the 7th hole, your second shot ends up in the rough just behind a movable post marking 100 yards to the center of the green. You take relief from the post by dropping within one club-length of, and no nearer the hole than, the post. After playing a wedge to the green, you discover that you have 16 clubs in your bag. At the green, while your first caddie is carrying your clubs, you enlist the temporary help of a second caddie who is the local green-reading expert and he helps your read your putt, which you drain from 60 feet to complete play of the hole!


1. Your score for the hole is 10 = 4 talent strokes + 6 penalty strokes. Per Decision 11-4b/6 [Ball Played from Outside Teeing Ground Goes Out of Bounds], you are penalized two strokes under Rule 11-4b [Playing from Outside Teeing Ground: Stroke Play]. Because the ball played from outside the teeing ground was not in play, the fact that the ball ended up out of bounds is irrelevant and the stroke itself does not count. You incurred two more penalty strokes when you removed the pine cone, a loose impediment, from a hazard with your ball lying in the same hazard. See Rule 13-4 [Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Actions]. When you failed to replace your ball prior to making your next stroke, you incurred another two-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2 [Ball at Rest Moved by Player …]. See Decision 13-4/15 [Ball in Hazard Moves When Loose Impediment Removed].

2. Once again, your score for the hole is 10 = 7 talent strokes + 3 penalty strokes. You incurred one penalty stroke in taking relief from the lateral water per Rule 26-1 [Relief for Ball in Water Hazard]. If your ball is outside of the water hazard, you are not entitled to take relief from a water hazard if you happen to be standing within the hazard. Since your ball did not enter the hazard when you dropped it the first time, you were not entitled to pick it up and re-drop it. See Rule 20-2c [When to Re-Drop]. When you mistakenly picked up your ball and did not replace it, you incurred a two-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2. See also Decision 18-2/9 [Ball Lifted Without Authority Dropped Instead of Being Replaced].

3. This time, your score for the hole is not 10, but 8 = 4 talent strokes + 4 penalty strokes. You were not permitted to lift your ball and drop it away from the post since the post is not an immovable obstruction. Instead, you should have removed the post, a movable obstruction, and then played the ball as it lay as provided in Rule 24-1 [Movable Obstruction]. When you lifted your ball without authority under the Rules, you incurred a one-stroke penalty per Rule 18-2 and you were required to replace your ball before playing your next stroke. When you failed to do so, you incurred a total penalty of two strokes per the penalty statement under Rule 18. See Decision 18-2/4 [Ball Lifted and Dropped Away from Movable Obstruction]. There is a penalty for carrying more than 14 clubs during a stipulated round, but the penalty statement for Rule 4-4 [Maximum of Fourteen Clubs] indicates that the penalty in stroke play is “Two strokes for each hole at which any breach occurred; maximum penalty per round – Four strokes (two strokes at each of the first two holes at which any breach occurred).” Thus, you incur no penalty strokes for the 7th hole for this breach. On the other hand, two penalty strokes would have been added to your scores for the first two holes of your round. As for the breach of having more than one caddie while playing the 7th hole, you incur a two-stroke penalty for breaching Rule 6-4 [Caddie] which states, “The player may be assisted by a caddie, but he is limited to only one caddie at any one time.” Please note that in either case of carrying too many clubs or having more than one caddie, upon discovery of the breach, you must immediately rectify the situation or you will be disqualified!