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Calm down, keep clubs in one piece
Graham Lewis - photo by Photo provided.

Playing golf is fun, whether 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.

Johnny and Bob are playing in a tournament. On the ninth hole, Johnny misses a short putt and, in an unusual fit of anger, he throws his putter at his cart. He misses the cart but breaks his putter. Since he and Bob are near the parking lot, Johnny replaces his broken putter with one he had in his car. Bob says he can’t replace the broken putter since he broke it in a fit of anger and not in the normal course of play. Johnny disagrees and says that since he started the round with 13 clubs instead of the allowed maximum of 14, he can replace any club for any reason. Who is correct?

Answer: Johnny may throw a club every now and then but he knows his rules. Since he started the round with less than 14 clubs, he can replace the broken one if, in so doing, he does not unduly delay play. Bob would have been correct if Johnny had started the round with the maximum of 14 clubs.

Tip of the week: Don’t throw your clubs.

As always, have fun playing and practicing the game of golf.


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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