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Add penalty stroke when club hits ground

POSTED: May 25, 2011 10:07 a.m.
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Graham Lewis is a golf pro at Sapelo Hammock Golf Club

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Golf is fun, whether playing solo or with others. Having a basic understanding of the game’s rules makes it easier to enjoy the experience and improve your skills. In this periodic column, I provide brief explanations of golf rules and answer commonly asked questions
Question: Steve and John are playing a practice round for their upcoming tournament. On the fourth hole, Steve has a short chip shot. His club strikes the ground several inches behind the ball and does not come into contact with the ball. However, the ground is struck with enough force to cause the ball to move. Steve’s club continues and strikes the ball while it is moving. John tells Steve that he must replace the ball and add a penalty stroke. Is John correct?
Answer: John is partially correct. Steve is in violation of rule 14-4 and he must count the stroke and add a penalty stroke, but he does not replace his ball.
As always, have fun playing and practicing golf. Email me at if you have any questions or suggestions.

Graham Lewis is a golf pro at Sapelo Hammock Golf Club and writes a regular column on golf rules for the Coastal Courier.

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