What are the rules around a tap-in in golf?



Golf is a game in which a ball is struck with a club from a prepared area, known as the "teeing ground", across fairway and rough to a second prepared area, which has a hole in it, known as the "putting green". The object of the game is to complete what is known as a hole by playing a ball from the teeing ground into the hole on the putting green in the fewest possible number of strokes. A "round of golf' consists of playing 18 such holes.

There are basically two forms of play, one which is decided by holes won and lost (match play) and the other which is decided by the total number of strokes taken to complete the round (stroke play).

There are three important principles to remember when playing golf:
Play the course as you find it. Play the Ball as it lies.
And if you can't do either, do what's fair."
To do what's fair you need to know the Rules. The following is a summary of the Rules of Golf, simplified where...

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The aim of golf is simple: hit a small ball into a hole with the fewest possible shots, 18 times.

Unlike other sports, a golfer's real enemy is never his or her opponent but him/herself and more importantly, his or her surroundings.

That is one reason why the game has managed to keep a sense of sportsmanship at its heart - because even at the highest level golfers are united in their battle against the course as much as each other.

If you're new to the sport, either as a player or spectator, our guide to the basics will provide an insight into what it's all about.


A standard golf course is made up of 18 holes.

That is just about the only thing all golf courses have in common.

The first shot on each hole is played from a teeing area (known as a tee) with the ball usually being placed on a plastic or wooden peg (also known as a tee).

The rest of the hole consists of a mixture of long grass called rough or a...

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You may only have 14 clubs in your bag during one round of competition golf. The penalty for more than 14 is a 2 shot penalty per hole the extra club was carried, in 2009 this rule was ammended so the maximum penalty was 4 shots, although if you have already signed your score card and then notice yo…

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55 Degrees 55 degrees is the loft, not the bounce. The bounce is the angle of the trailing edge (heel) of the club to flat (0 degree bounce). In the Sure Out the bounce probably high, in the 12 to 14 degree range. I just researched and purchased the Hogan Sure-Out sand wedge. The loft …

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I would say it depends on whether or not you are riding in a cart, pulling a hand cart, carrying your clubs, or using a caddy. It really is a matter of personal preference. Group short to long so that they accessible and dont bang short irons against longer clubs with graphite shafts.You could "just…

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Depends on the tournament....

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By Brent Kelley

Updated August 23, 2016.

"Stipulated round" is a term used in the Rules of Golf (and also in handicap systems) that basically just means playing the holes of a golf course in full (18 holes) and in their correct order (No. 1 through No. 18), unless otherwise authorized.

Let's provide the official definition plus compare the use of "stipulated round" to the more commonly used "round" and "round of golf."

Official Definition of Stipulated Round

Golf's governing bodies, the R&A and USGA, provide this definition of stipulated round in the rule book:

"The 'stipulated round' consists of playing the holes of the course in their correct sequence, unless otherwise authorized by the Committee. The number of holes in a stipulated round is 18 unless a smaller number is authorized by the Committee. As to extension of stipulated round in match play, see Rule 2-3."

(The reference to match play and Rule 2-3 means that in a...

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According to USGA rules, a player is not allowed to interfere in any way with a ball that is in play. Likewise, he may not change physical conditions around a hole and thereby interfere with the playing of that particular hole. The penalties for breaching these rules may include loss of the hole, an assessment of two strokes or disqualification.

A player can start a particular round with a maximum of 14 clubs. During the round, he is limited to the clubs with which he began unless he started the round with less than 14. Partners may share clubs if the total number between the partners is 14 or less.

If a player's club is damaged in some way during the course of play, he may use it as it is or repair it if doing so does not delay the game. If the club is so damaged that the player cannot use it, he may replace the club.

A ball cannot be altered to affect the way it plays. Balls may not be cut, cracked or misshapen, but a ball is not deemed unfit due to mud or...

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A game that is played

by the Rules of Golf.

Rules of Golf

Many golfers break the Rules of Golf because they have never learned them. Others ignore them because they consider certain rules to be stupid.

However, if you play in an official competition you have a duty to the field to abide by the rules and to penalise yourself for any infraction.

There are 34 Rules and a multitude of Decisions that cover every aspect of the game.

Around the Putting Green there are occasions when you could incur an unnecessary penalty for a moment of carelessness.

Occasion 1

You hit your approach shot to the green and mark your ball in order to clean it.
You replace your ball using a line on it to orient it in the desired direction.
You pick up your marker and step back to check that the line is pointing to your target.
Not satisfied you rotate the line on the ball without first replacing your marker.
YOU have just...
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courtgolf said...

This is a rule I have never understood. Spike marks are not naturally occuring - and they are left as a result of someone elses carelessness.

Thankfully, the days of soft spikes, the "pine trees" in the way of the ball are pretty much gone except on the PGA and European Tours.

But we still see scrapes and marks on greens compliments of golfers who don't pick up their feet as they walk. It doesn't seem reasonable to punish the players behind someone who doesn't care about the green surface.

(I played with a guy once who twisted his feet into the green when setting up for a putt, leaving huge circular gouges in the surface. We were horrified and rode him until he stopped doing it.)

14 June 2010 at 20:33 Barry Rhodes said...


"Spike marks are not naturally occurring" - and nor are divots, footprints in bunkers, pitch-marks, course signage, rakes, stakes, sprinklers, etc., all of which can affect the run of a...

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Get a lesson! You've probably been to the driving range with your friends who are golfers, and that's how you decided you wanted to get into the sport..correct? That's a great introduction to the game, however if you want to start learning the basic mechanics of the golf swing, you'll want to take a lesson from a certified teaching professional (PGA or WGTF). Most decent golf courses and driving ranges will have a teaching professional and they usually have good package deals for beginner golfers, and will often have group lessons for discounted rates. Consider setting up an individual lesson, where the professional will go over the basics such as grip, stance, posture, and swing mechanics. Don't fall into the temptation to allow your friends to teach you. While their intentions are good, they will do your golf swing more harm than good. Golf professionals know how to teach a golf swing, that's why they are professionals. Get some lessons and learn properly.

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• Got a Rules question? Zip it to rulesguy@golf.com

DEAR RULES REVELER: After my friend hit a shot from the fairway, the ball split in two mid-flight and the two halves ended up in different locations. He felt that he should get to replay his stroke without penalty, but I thought he should play a new ball from the spot where the largest piece landed. He gave in, but he wasn't happy about it. Who was right?
S. Hurwitz, via e-mail

In this split decision, you come out on the losing end. According to Rule 5-3 (which deals with the so-called "fitness" of golf balls), a stroke that results in a split or shattered ball should be replayed as close as possible to the spot of the original stroke without penalty. You owe your buddy an apology start by buying him a few Pro V1s to replace the gutta-perchas he's apparently lugging around.

DEAR RULES GUY: Recently, I was hitting my third shot into a long par-4. I hit a line drive that took a high hop off the green...

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If you repair a pitch mark badly it can actually do a lot more harm than if you had left it alone, so it's essential you know how to do it correctly

If you repair a pitch mark badly it can actually do a lot more harm than if you had left it alone, so it’s essential you know how to do it correctly.

It’s not just for the sake of the greens either, there is nothing more infuriating for a golfer than to see a perfect putt knocked off line, especially through no fault of their own.

But it is alarming how many golfers seemingly neglect to repair a pitch mark, don’t know how to repair a pitch mark in the correct way, or perhaps think they are not allowed to because of the Rules of Golf.

As you can see below, the end product of a badly repaired pitch mark is an ugly brown scar left on the green that not only looks awful, but that also affects the roll of yours and other peoples’ putts.

A badly repaired pitch mark

Successfully repaired pitch marks...

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A tap on the shoulder and a few specks of sand.

It was another big year for the USGA but not in the way the organization had hoped, as both of its two biggest events were marred by curious rules infractions.

While Dustin Johnson won the U.S. Open, the tournament’s defining moment wasn’t the striped 6-iron he sent to the 72nd green. Instead it was the walking rules official carefully approaching Johnson to inform him that a stroke he maybe, possibly, probably made during the final round was officially under review.

Had he caused the ball to move ever so slightly on the fifth green? Was it an action that fell under the purview of Rule 18-2? No one seemed to know for sure, and what played out was a surreal scene as a major championship concluded without the field being certain of where the leader stood.

Social media erupted, from fans and players alike, as Johnson attempted to capture the most difficult event on one of the hardest courses in the country...

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This usually happens when the ball is very close (just a few inches) and the player is almost guaranteed (99+%) to make it. In non-professional play, players will sometimes just pick up the ball without tapping it in, but in professional play the ball must go into the cup, no matter how close it is.

As gbianchi says in the comments, the player who is farthest away is usually the next to go (Rule 10-1b), but he's not entirely correct in that someone closer is not allowed to go first. The relevant rules are 22-1 and 22-2.

Rule 22-1 and 22-2 allow for any player lifting any ball (lifting means you remove it but replace it in exactly the same spot after the other player shoots) if the ball may assist another player (Rule 22-1) or the shooting player having another ball lifted if it will interfere with his/her own shot (Rule 22-2). They both have the same clause in them:

"In stroke play, a player required to lift his ball may play first rather than lift the...

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When playing golf, you must play the ball as it lies, whether your ball is in a good lie or a bad lie, unless the Rules allow you to do otherwise. For example, the Rules allow you to move natural objects like leaves and twigs – the Rules call these “loose impediments”.

The Rules also permit you to lift and move your ball if you have interference from certain conditions. Sometimes you can move your ball without penalty, e.g. when you have interference due to a man-made object – called “obstructions” - such as a road or path, or when you have interference by an abnormal ground condition, such as casual water and ground under repair. At other times, you may incur a penalty if you wish to move your ball, e.g. when your ball is in a water hazard.

Have a look at the sections below to learn more:...

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Rule 16-1

Reaching Across Hole to Tap in Short Putt

Q. A player reaches across the hole to tap in a short putt (the hole is between the player and the ball). Is this a breach of Rule 16-1e, Standing Astride or on the Line of Putt?

A. No. The line of putt does not extend beyond the hole. There is no penalty for making a stroke in this manner, provided the ball is fairly struck at and not raked into the hole. (Definition of "Line of Putt" and Rule 16-1e).

Below you can view videos related to this Rule.

Ball overhanging the lip of the hole

While Meg Mallon was leading during the second round of the 1996 Jamie Farr Classic, her birdie putt on the 17th hole stopped, overhanging the lip of the hole.

Below you can view videos related to this Rule.

Putt came to rest overhanging the lip of the hole.

At the 1999 Spanish Open, Alvaro Salto's putt...

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Questions and Answers about Golf Rules and Etiquette for Everyone

Below are the Questions and Answers about the Rules and Etiquette that people have posed during a round of golf. I hope they help you enjoy this marvelous game we call GOLF.

We golfers like to think of ourselves as honorable, ergo lies the spirit of the game. The USGA and the PGA Tour both embrace this idea and sponsor golf etiquette rules. Hence if you golf it is a great idea to learn golf rules and etiquette rules.

When you venture out to the local golf course, there are a few things you might want to know that will make your experience a great one.

Tee Times are when you should be on the tee box ready to take your first stroke. Phone ahead to reserve your tee time and get to the golf course a good half hour early, it is recommended that you reserve your tee time to insure that you are getting the time you want, it all depends on which day and what time you...
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By Ron Kaspriske

Sergio Garcia did not tap down spike marks on his putting line on Thursday at the HSBC Championship in Abu Dhabi. But what if he had? And what's the big deal with tapping down spike marks, anyway? To answer the first question: It's a violation of Rule 16-1a and comes with a two-shot penalty in stroke play (loss of hole in match play).

Related: The 9 Most Notable Rule Changes

The tournament committee could have also disqualified Garcia if they felt he had gained a significant advantage by tapping down the spike marks. That would be considered a serious breach of the rules. The European Tour's Simon Dyson was disqualified at the BMW Masters in October after tapping down spike marks.

To answer the second question: It's a big deal because you're essentially...

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It is disappointing to look up “scramble” in the wonderfully researched Historical Dictionary of Golfing Terms and find no mention of the four-player, one-ball competitive format now so prevalent in charity tournaments and corporate outings. At least according to popular memory, scramble golf (originally known by such colorful terms as “Miami Scramble” or even “Hullabaloo”) gained popularity in the 1950s and ’60s. Golf was enjoying a spike in popularity and country clubs for the middle class were cropping up throughout America’s new subdivisions. Behind the pillared facades of the old-line clubs, tradition-bound members disdained the scramble as a mindless romp–even an outright corruption of the game.

Examining this format, in which the members of a four-player team all play shots from the same spot and only the best shot is selected and advanced, they saw something other than golf. But the scramble caught on, despite (or in part because of?) the disapproval of the...

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The following is a glossary of the terminology currently used in the sport of golf. Where words in a sentence are also defined elsewhere in this article, they appear in italics. Old names for clubs can be found at Obsolete golf clubs.

19th hole The clubhouse bar. Ace When a player hits the ball directly from the tee into the hole with one stroke. Also called a hole in one. Address The act of taking a stance and placing the club-head behind the ball. If the ball moves once a player has addressed the ball, there is a one-stroke penalty. Unless it is clear that the act of the player did not cause the ball to move on purpose. If the player addresses the ball and places the head of the club behind it and in doing this causes the ball to move, a one shot penalty does not occur in this case. Aerosol A player who rarely hits the ball in a consistent line. One who sprays the ball. Aggregate Refers to a score made over more than one round of play, or by two or more players playing as...
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