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Home / Journal / 5 of the strangest rules in golf

5 of the strangest rules in golf

Published on 02 January 2020
We love golf, but some of the rules leave us scratching our heads. Here’s our pick of five of the oddest…
5 of the strangest rules in golf

The gentlemen’s game is riddled with quirks and confusing customs from the people in charge, past and present. Read on for golf’s most unusual rules…

1. Fruit is fair game…
The golf rule book has everything covered, including the highly improbable idea that your ball may end up embedded in fruit. Rule 23/10 states that you must play the ball and/or fruit as it lies, or declare it unplayable. Forget avoiding a round near an orchard and start putting pears and sinking Granny Smiths.

2. Strict dress codes
Every club is entitled to choose its own dress codes, but some go so far as to outright ban certain clothing. Men can forget wearing jeans, t-shirts and trainers on many fairways, while women are banned from wearing strappy tops, short skirts and certain types of shoes.

3. Cacti will cost you…
According to rule 10.2b(5)/2, if a player’s ball lands next to a cactus or other hazard, the player can wear protective clothing but cannot make any adjustments to the hazard itself (e.g. throwing a towel over the cactus). The rule is rarely followed in practice. Just ask Geoff Ogilvy, who was allowed to substitute an unplayable ball in a prickly situation with a one-stroke penalty.

4. Ball in the clubhouse? Just open the window…
According to rule 24, if your ball lands in the clubhouse or any other building and is not considered out of bounds, it must be played where it lands. That could make for a situation where a player has to play their shot from the saloon of the bar, either through an open door or window. Of course, you’ll probably want to move any expensive furniture out of the way first…

5. Why move the ball when you could just move the car?
As clearly stated in rule 24: “Obstructions are considered movable if they can be easily moved without unduly delaying play or causing damage.” So, if your ball were to land under someone’s car or golf buggy, you can’t declare the ball lost until you have tried to move the object.