Ask the Rules Guy: Best way to handle a rules dispute on the course?

Ask the Rules Guy, November 2013
Ask the Rules Guy

TEE FOR TWO?
Rules Guy: What's the best way to handle a rules dispute on the course? Am I allowed to play two balls and then research the rule after the round?
-- Jeff Leonard, Atlanta, Ga.

In my day, we'd solve on-course disputes by dueling with ball-retrievers. ("En garde, rule-breaker!") Now, though, using two balls is acceptable and Rules Guy-approved -- if you're playing stroke play. Rule 3-3a allows you to play two balls without penalty, mark down two scores, and then consult your local pro or rules committee before signing your card to get it right. In match play, though, that's off-limits. If there's a question in match play, try to settle things with your opponent -- either his way or yours -- right then and there. Rule 2-5 holds that rules claims must be lodged before the match tees off on the next hole (or, if you're on the final hole, before you leave the green). So, if you see something, say something. And pack your white fencing pants, just in case.
 

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