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Smooth the surface then tee up
Golf news
Graham Lewis

Playing 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: Janet and Sylvia are playing in a tournament. On the first hole, Janet tees up the ball and then notices there is a clump of grass behind the ball. She removes some of the grass and presses the ground down with her foot. Sylvia says that Janet has violated the rules and there is a penalty. Correct?

Answer: A player is allowed to eliminate irregularities of the surface on the teeing ground. Therefore, there is no penalty. It is important to remember that the teeing ground is the only place where you can eliminate such irregularities of the surface.

Etiquette tip of the week: In the spirit of the game, we are reminded that golf does not have a referee. The game relies on the integrity of the individual to show consideration for other players and to abide by the rules. We should demonstrate courtesy and sportsmanship at all times.

Enjoy yourself while playing and practicing.

Lewis is a certified teaching professional at Sapelo Hammock Golf Course and a member of the United States Golf Teachers Federation. E-mail him at

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