Ask the Rules Guy: Bad Advice

Ask the Rules Guy

Rules Guy,
I was playing in (what I thought was) a casual stroke play tournament with a friend at my club. I teed off first on a particularly tricky downhill par-3 and watched my ball sit just on the front part of the green. My friend, having never seen the hole before, asked me what club I had hit. Without thinking, I told him. Another competitor in our group went ballistic, saying that we should both be penalized for giving another player advice. I conceded that my friend should probably get some sort of penalty for taking my advice, but I don't see how I could possibly be penalized for giving it. Was this blowhard right?
— Daniel Greenberg, Manhasset, NY

It sounds as if you have a pretty good idea that telling your buddy what club you used was a Rules of Golf no-no, but that you don't think that you deserve the same punishment as your friend. Unfortunately for you, this is one case where it is no better to give than to receive. Club selection definitely meets the definition of "advice" and, according to Rule 8-1, the player giving and the one receiving the advice (assuming they are not partners) are equally culpable. The so-called blowhard was correct: you and your buddy should have both taken two stroke penalties for your recommendation. And here's a piece of advice for your next round: Keep your club selection to yourself.