What golf rule do you knowingly break?

In my opinion, the overwhelming majority of golfers do not faithfully follow every rule of golf - if for no other reason, than that there are so darn many rules that the average player simply cannot know all of them.

Moreover, in my experience the vast majority of golfers choose to break certain rules consistently, whether it be something as innoccuous as not returning to the tee after a lost drive for stroke and distance, simply to speed up play. Others play generous “winter rules.” Certain folk justify their “local rules” to the fact that our courses are not as immaculately groomed as the pros’ - and we don’t have the benefit of spotters and officials.

I was wondering if any of you knew of a particular golf rule, yet chose to ignore it.

For me, I’ll start off with this one. On occasion I will intentionally watch other players’ putts for the line - including standing behind my opponent (so long as he doesn’t object).

How bout you?

I don’t think that’s against the rules as long as you don’t solicit advice. On TV they’re always saying that “he/she will get a good look at the line when x putts first”.

I really try hard to follow the rules. I do play “ready golf”, meaning I hit the ball when I’m ready, regardless of whether someone else had “honors”. Then again, I am not sure that is a rule or just etiquette. Sometimes I’ll putt with the flag still in the hole if my playing partners are futzing around.

Ugggh!! Don’t add anymore strokes to my game please!! Like you said, there are way to many rules for me to remember. However, it is a two way street. There are rules I don’t take advantage either (ex: I may not know I can move my ball w/o penalty). I say it all work out in the end.

I only used the “provisional ball” rule (returning to tee after lost drive) once, in a serious/drinkfest tournament. They insisted we do it. Otherwise, it makes more sense to take a drop than slowing up the pace of play for the others behind you. I guess technically you should be hitting 4 from your drop but I play hitting 3 from the drop.

Are you saying I can’t read someone elses line? Or that I can’t stand behind him while he putts?

Oh yeah I forgot about the “special clubs” and balls people use (I don’t). If they are not PGA approved I guess you shouldn’t be using them, right? And how many clubs do you carry in you bag? Or are these rules specific to PGA tournaments and handicapping?

Lamar, I think honors may be a rule. Yesterday at Doral on the second playoff hole, Hoch and Furyk were measuring the distances of each others putts to see you was to put first (Hoch). It bacame too dark (in Hoch’s mind) and he decided not to put until today for the better lighting. Furyk said he could have putted after Hoch declined but he decided to wait until today as well.

When I whiff the ball, I don’t count it as a stroke. :frowning:

And I’ve had more Mulligans than an Irish phonebook.

My understanding is that positioning yourself so as to precisely see the line, such as standing or crouching behind, is prohibited. But if you are off to the side, you are not required to close or avert your eyes.

A quick glance at the rules did not clarify this.

I also tend towards “ready golf.” And I tend to favor provisional balls when I feel a drive is lost. Do you know what the rule is if your ball is stricken by another players’ while on the green. Or all of the variables for ball in a water hazard?

Moreover, the game is tough enough as it is. If I accidentally hit a beautiful drive into the middle of a fairway, and it lands in a divot, I’ll put it on grass. Or if I’m on the green, and there’s a big scar in front of me, I’ll move the ball over. Or if a trap is a mess, I may give myself a re-rake.

How about this one? I generally carry a spare ball in my pocket. May or may not be the same brand as I’m hitting. If my ball is on the green and it is really dirty, I may simply put it in my pocket to clean it later, replacing it with my spare. Again, I understand this is against the rules. But such a rule is ridiculous with respect to how I - and the vast majority of other duffers out there - play the game.

The player whose ball is “struck” has the option of replacing the ball in it’s original position or keeping the new position. The player who hit the shot plays it as it lies.

I’m with [Max Carnage**. Not contact, no stroke.

Apparently, just talking about golf gets me all wound up.

The rule I break without any guilt is moving my ball out of footprints in the traps. In fact, the thought of some lazy golfer not raking drives me absolutly nuts!!

Speaking of driving me nuts, what is the point of duffers paceing off yardage down to the inch when most, if not all cant control their shots within ten yards. Just look and find the 150 or 200 marker and estimate the distance. If a yard or two makes a difference in the club your going to hit then you should go out on the Tour instead of torturing me as you pace your way to a cool 102.

Man I cant wait for golf season to start!!

Man - the power of golf, to draw a-n-i-t-b to pop his/her cherry.
See ya on the links, bro. (At least as soon as this white shit melts. Current temp in Chi - 15.
My first golf date, 4/12, 8:50.

I don’t play often enough to be in passionate competition with the guys I’m playing against, nor do I bet on the holes or the final score.

For that reason, if my ball’s lying somewhere that hitting it wrong might cause me to connect with a rock or cartpath, I might move the ball to a softer surface… not improving my lie but just protecting my clubs.

I guess my opinion comes down to there needing to be a certain enjoyment factor for most golfers. For example, if someone is relatively new to the game and not capable of hitting a consistent shot, I often say, “Don’t penalize yourself - give yourself a shot.”

I mean, how many shots should the duffer have to hit into that lake he cannot cross? How much sand must he dig outta that trap?

Don’t know about you guys, but I’m out on the course to have fun. And tho I’d rather win (or at least not lose) the stakes I’m playing for aren’t gonna break me, so I’m not gonna let them interfere with my enjoyment. And as long as the guys I’m playing against agree, the USGA rules are more of a “framework” than strictly binding.

Generally, I feel a player should gain more awareness of rules, and follow them more strictly, as his skill level improves.

Thanks Dinsdale,bout time I popped that thing! Temp is about the same here in Mid-Michigan. Think I’ll hit the dome for a few buckets today!

Hahaha. “It’s like a mitten!”
We frequent the base of the pinkie, where last summer I began converting an abandoned airstrip into a sporty six hole layout with a green at either end. First thing I did was teach my kids how to drive the beercart.

Beautiful area the northwest part of the state with many very good courses. Good luck with yours! Great idea teaching the kids to drive the beercart, as long as they always know where you’re at on the course.

Actually, it’s perfectly legal to move it away from a cartpath (a paved one, anyway) if it’s obstructing your swing. Of course, I’m repeating this from parts of the rule book I’ve memorized from when I worked at a course about 14 years ago, so I may well be wrong.

My “added rule,” for when I was working at the course and got free golf (yay!), but usually had to tee off around 6 in the morning: if your ball is in the fairway, you can clean off the dew and cut grass clippings. But you can’t lift-and-replace in the rough.

I’ve given the ball an occasional 2 foot kick to get it out of gravel and stuff just to save my clubs, but generally I try to stick with the rules as a challenge to myself. The advice and honors rules in our group are always broken though.

You can carry a maximum of 14 clubs.

Honors is a rule, and even if everyone in your group agrees not to follow it before playing, that is itself against the rules. In a tournament, it is disqualying.
Standing behind someone at any time, or directly across from them while they are putting is not a rule, but etiquette. However, if you have a partner or caddie, they cannot do it while you are hitting, as that is viewed as assistance in seeing the line of play/putt.

The rules really aren’t that hard to learn, but it’s the weird things that happen that you might have to look at the rulebook.

The rule against cross-checking. I lose more clubs that way…

Neener-neener to all you snowbirds. It’s been a cold and nasty and wet winter in the Commonwealth, but I’ve still managed to play 25 rounds already!! And looking forward to Myrtle the first of May.

As for rule-breakage, I guess the ones my group ignores are honors (ready golf all the way, 4-some walking takes less than 3 and a half hours) and root relief (lots of woods on the courses we play). We always play a provisional when in doubt off the tee.

As far as cart path is concerned (same with gravel service roads) you get complete relief from the path no closer to the hole, and drop within one club length.