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Understanding stroke penalties
Rules of Golf
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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: Judy and Bob are playing in a stroke play tournament. On the 15th hole, Bob tees his ball in front of the tee markers and then hits it out of bounds. Because his ball is out of bounds, Bob hits another ball from within the teeing area under the stroke and distance penalty. Judy tells Bob that he is penalized another two strokes for teeing and hitting his ball from in front of the tee markers. Is Judy correct?
Answer: When Bob hit his ball from in front of the tee markers, his ball was not in play, and where it landed is unimportant. Thus, the only penalty is two strokes for hitting his ball from in front of the tee markers. Judy is incorrect.
Great news: I have received numerous e-mails regarding the future of Sapelo Hammock. My next article on the rules of golf will bring some happy news on the future of this golf course.
As always, have fun playing and practicing. E-mail me at with any questions or suggestions.

Lewis is a certified teaching professional and a member of the United States Golf Teachers Federation.
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