I’m sure many of us at one time or another while playing golf have witnessed people giving or asking for advice. Many golfers may not even realize it’s not permitted in the Rules of Golf. As you prepare for the EWGA Championship and Cup season, it’s a good time to review what is and is not considered advice.
According to Rule 8-1 Advice:
During a stipulated round, a player must not:
a. give advice to anyone in the competition playing on the course other than his/her partner, or
b. ask for advice from anyone other than his/her partner or either of their caddies.
For giving advice, remember you are allowed to discuss things that are commonly known – distance to the flagstick and yardage questions as well as where the 150-yard marker is located, if the water hazard runs along the entire fairway, if it’s a bunker or grassy hollow by the green or helping a player drop a ball within two club-lengths where a ball last crossed the margin of a water hazard. You may not tell someone how to play his/her shot, the best approach to take or what club to hit unless they are your partner in a team or match play event.
If asking for advice, you are not allowed to ask for information that would help your shot – if you should hit a 9-iron to the green, if you are following-through with your swing for a bunker shot, if a putt will break to the right or downhill or asking what club another player used, unless he/she is your partner or caddie.
If you give or ask for that type of advice, you will incur a penalty of two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play for the player giving or asking for advice.
The Rule also includes line of play. If you do not have a partner or caddie, you may ask your opponent to help you if you have a blind shot into a green. The opponent can indicate the line of play (standing on top of a hill if you are in a swale and can’t see the green) but the opponent must move away from your line of play before you hit the shot. In this situation, remember once you get on the green, you may not ask about line of play.
Knowing these situations will help you on the golf course during competition. Some golfers follow a general rule of thumb and elect not to give advice or ask for advice from another player.