Don't Clean That!
Golf Rules Are Stupid, Part 324
By Kickntrue on 1/9/09
Have I ever mentioned that there are golf rules that I think are stupid?
I recall an instance in the first stage of the PGA Tour Qualifying when a player came up short of the green and found mud on the side of the ball. Another player asked him to mark it since it was in the way. He lifted the ball and put it in his pocket. Then he replaced it and holed out. However, one of the other competitors asked for a ruling, thinking that it was a violation of the rules. It turns out he was correct. The PGA Tour official on hand to assist us ruled the player incurred a one-stroke penalty. He cited the "Decisions on the Rules of Golf' where a player in a similar circumstance threw a ball to his caddy and it was deemed such action could result in the ball being cleaned. Any doubt should be resolved against the player.
Golf isn't a hard game or anything. I mean, seriously, can you believe the guy put the ball in his pocket? The sneak!

The rules are the rules, which means he was rightly penalized in this case- but the rules around this in general are so dumb. In what situation SHOULDN'T you be able to wipe mud off a ball?

I can't wait to golf again!


[ comments ]
TaylorFade says:
I tapped in today with my wedge in my hand. Guess what? 2 stroke penalty. Nice double. Thanks rulebook boy.

"Rule 14-1 requires that the ball be struck at with the GÇ£head of the club;GÇ¥ the word GÇ£clubGÇ¥ is in the singular. The player was in breach of this Rule when he swung at the ball using two clubs."
Kurt Ehlert says:
Ok, I'll take the side of the old-timers. If you're in a tournament, the officials should decide ahead of time if conditions are so bad that you should play lift, clean, and place. If they don't think it is that bad, then the places your ball will pick up mud are places you probably shouldn't have hit the darn thing anyway. Hit it on the green, then clean it. So I don't have a problem with the mud on the ball thing. So, by extension, the player shouldn't do anything to take a chance that the ball might be "cleaned" if it does have mud on it. Hey, golf is tough and unfair. Wind for me and not later in the day; rain on the 9th and 10th and not on the first (I saw it yesterday) - all unfair. If you don't like it, you can play pool where the table is always flat and the conditions always the same, I guess.
onedollarwed says:
I once eagled with a large gob of mud on the ball.
Modern golfers are way too coddled.
Bring back the stymie!

...well... maybe not. At least it would simplify the game. Hit it as it lies!
falcon50driver says:
Two questions, mr fade. Were you swinging both clubs? Or tapping in with one hand and holding the other club in the other hand? And why would you penalize yourself if you thought it was a penalty beforehand. You mentioned several months ago that you thought it was a 2 stroke penalty to putt while holding another club or the flag while putting.
ToddRobb says:
Let it go with the rules... pleeeaassee!!!! Pro golf is in another world than the golf we play on any given Sunday. These guys get paid to know the rules period. By the way, I would be willing to bet a pretty large amount cash that they guy that put the ball in is pocket knew EXACTLY what he was doing. Who puts a ball in their pocket that has mud all over it? The other player knew exactly what that guy was doing, that's why he called him on it.
jerdman says:
thats all I could think about is why in the world would you put a muddy golf ball in your pocket.
TaylorFade says:
I just tapped in with my putter while holding my wedge. I do it all the time. I know it's a penalty, but I'm not calling it on myself or any of my partners because I don't feel it's an unfair advantage and it's speeds us off the green that much faster. Speaking of which, acknowledging a rule and agreeing to waive it is a penalty also. Geez, I'll be in the hundreds before i get done with the rule book. Anyway, I looked into putting while holding the flagstick and it's legal as long as you don't strike at the ball with it or have the ball touch it in any way while you are holding it.
BlaqShamrokk says:
okay i was in a tournament and we had a rules question that nobody has ever figured out (even the usga!!) okay here it is: this guy hits a drive and it ends up in between the red line and water (he's on land still) he hit his shot and he shanks it in the water. WHERE WOULD HE DROP??? he never crossed a red line, he couldn't play it as it lied, he couldnt replay it cuz you can't drop in a hazard, the only option we had was to replay the whole entier hole!!! try and find a solution to that!!!
singleshot54 says:
Wait a minute, TaylorFade you said you putted a ball with one club in your off hand and the putter in you playing hand and you accessed yourself two strokes,why? I read through the rules of golf and decisions on the rules of golf and could find anything on accessing a penalty for what you said you did. Please point me in the right direction.
Robtihanyi says:
TeeThom: You will find your answer to that question at In short, you CAN drop the ball in the hazard, or choose to play it from the spot the ball was played from before it originally entered the hazard the first time - with additional penalty naturally.

With regard to the original article, I must admit that its a bit confusing that there are certain conditions where marking and lifting the ball does not also include cleaning it. I suppose common sense should prevail - if the opportunity to mark/lift is not provided by a rule of golf but rather by another players request, then you cant clean.
TaylorFade says:
Technically, TeeThom, he was already in the hazard by having crossed the line on demarcation. Being a lateral hazard he played the ball legally from inside the red. After then hitting into the water he should have taken a penalty stroke and dropped outside the red markers on the line at which it last crossed.

SingleShot, that ruling is found in the verbage of the ruling I quoted. Where "club" is singular. Even if you don't strike at the ball with the club in your off hand you are deemed to be using two clubs.
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