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Learning the rules of golf
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Playing the game of golf is fun, whether playing by yourself or with others. Having a basic understanding of the rules of golf can make it easier to have fun and improve your skills.  For this reason we are starting a series of short examples of how to apply the rules when we play the game
Ball Falling off Tee
If a ball, when not in play, falls off a tee or is knocked off a tee by the player in addressing it, the ball may be re-teed, without penalty.  However, if a stroke is made at the ball in these circumstances, whether the ball is moving or not, the stroke counts, but there is no penalty. See USGA Rules of Golf 11-3.
Question: Bob and Martha are teeing off on the 3rd. hole. Bob tees his ball within the teeing ground and takes a swing, but misses the ball. He addresses the ball again and accidentally knocks if off the tee. Martha tells Bob that he must replace the ball on the tee and that he now lays 2. Bob says she is wrong because he did not attempt a swing and that he can replace the ball without penalty and that he only lays 1 due to his whiff on his first swing.
Answer: Martha is correct. Since Bob had already made a stroke at the ball (whiffed), the ball was now in play and Rule 11-3 no longer applied. When he then knocked the ball off the tee accidentally, he incurred a penalty stroke for moving a ball a rest and he must replace the ball where it was (on the tee). Bob was then laying 2 on the tee.
The Sapelo Hammock Junior golf clinics will begin on June 21-24. Ages 6 and up. Call 832-GOLF to inquire. Golf is meant to be fun so enjoy. If you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions, E-mail me at

Lewis is a certified teaching professional at Sapelo Hammock.

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