The Weirdest Rules in Golf

You’re most likely up to speed with the basic rules of golf, but there are some rules you probably didn’t know existed. But, although they’re obscure, they might come in handy one day. Over the years, the R&A and the USGA have introduced (and abandoned) many golf rules. We’ve handpicked some of the weirdest…

A cactus gets in the way

We’ve all been there. When you’re playing on the golf course and your ball lands directly next to a cactus. What do you do?

Well, you can wrap your arm or leg in a towel if you think you might touch the cactus when hitting your ball. However, you can’t cover the cactus with a towel.

(Rule 1-2/10)

Somehow, your ball lands in the clubhouse

If your shot lands in the clubhouse and the clubhouse isn’t out of bounds, it’s fair game. You can hit the ball from where it resides.

Simply open a window or door and play your next shot to get it back onto the fairway without penalty. Easy as that.

(Rule 24-2b/14)

You encounter a snake

You’d be extremely unlucky if you encountered a snake on the golf course, but it can happen.

Golf rule 23/6 states you can’t move a live snake to play your ball as it’s considered an ‘outside agency’. But, we’re guessing most people wouldn’t take the risk anyway.

This rule also states that a dead snake is a loose impediment, which means you’re permitted to move it to take your shot.

(Rule 23/6.5)

You have a dewy ball

If you enjoy playing golf early in the morning, you’ll have probably experienced a ball covered in morning dew or frost. However, you might not know that wiping your ball after the first shot of a hole carries a two-stroke penalty. So, in future, you’ll have to refrain from wiping that pestering dew off your ball. 

(Rule 13-2)

You hit your golf mate

Hopefully, you haven’t hit your golf mate yet, but it can happen.

Luckily, though, there’s no rule to penalise you for hitting another golfer. Plus, if you hit an out of bounds golfing opponent and your ball rolls out of bounds, you can just replay the shot with no penalty strokes accumulated.

However, there are, of course, unwritten rules. For example, you should shout “fore” to warn someone of an incoming ball.

(Rule 19-3/1)

Your ball lands inside a piece of fruit

This rule makes you realise just how extensive the golfing rulebook is – it really has considered every possible outcome.

If your ball is embedded inside a piece of fruit –whether it be an orange, apple or even a passion fruit – you can’t take relief without penalty. You should play the ball and/or fruit as it lies or pronounce it unplayable.

(Rule 23/10)

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