Can you use a damaged club? Golf Rules

Earlier this summer, an unusual rule was broken – LPGA

In a fit of frustration, South African Pro golfer Lee-Anne Pace, hit her sand wedge against a stake following a poor shot during the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

She did not realise that her action had caused damage to the wedge until she used it to make another stroke later in the round. After explaining the circumstances to a Rules official she was disqualified for a breach of this Rule 4-3b;

If, during a stipulated round, a player’s club is damaged other than in the normal course of play rendering it non-conforming or changing its playing characteristics, the club must not subsequently be used or replaced during the round.Penalty for Breach of Rule 4-3b: Disqualification.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this incident is that following the change to the new Rules of Golf in January 2019, playing with a damaged club will no longer get a penalty, New Rule 4.1a confirms that, providing a club is conforming when the player commences their round, they may continue to use it, or have it repaired, no matter what the nature or cause of the damage.

This is a sensible and welcome change, because there is certainly no advantage for a player using a damaged club, so in any circumstance similar to that of Lee-Anne Pace it seems obviously unfair that the player should be so harshly penalised (disqualified) for using one. This is a good example of how one of the new Rules will eliminate unnecessary complications and will make perfect sense to most golfers, who for the most part are just looking for Rules that apply in a logical, equitable and easy to remember way.

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2 Responses to Can you use a damaged club? Golf Rules

  1. Joseph Pauly September 19, 2018 at 8:47 am #

    I say it’s a horrible irresponsible rule change.

    Changes in shaft strength can cause failure at a later time. It is no danger to the golfer, but what about the spectator that gets hit by a flying clubhead? I’ve seen clubheads fly over a 100 yards.

    Would you also recommend players take practice swings with someone standing directly in front of them? Same scenario… Stuff happens.

    It is juvenile of a golfer to be hammering things in frustration at himself. “It’s not the hammer! It’s the carpenter”

  2. Ken Roy September 25, 2018 at 11:15 am #

    Accountability for immaturity is quickly disappearing from our society. Punishment preventing further use of the club is extremely fair and reasonable. Knowledge of the rules is also required of participants in a sporting activity. Some rules needed attention but this wasn’t one of them. 😢

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