Ask the Rules Guy: Umbrella putting and the chip-n-run

Ask the Rules Guy: Umbrella putting and the chip-n-run


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DEAR RULES GUY: I was on the green and the rain was really starting to come down. So I decided to putt my ball with one hand on the putter while I held an umbrella with the other. My partner said I was cheating because I was blocking myself and my ball from the elements. But I told him as long as someone wasn’t holding the umbrella for me, I was in the clear. Help, Rules Guy!
Josh Flynn, Biloxi, Ms.

That sounds like the best umbrella work since 'Singin’ in the Rain.' Under Rule 14-2a, you can’t make a stroke while accepting protection against the elements—e.g., by getting your buddy to hold an umbrella over you while you putt. However, under Decision 14-2/2, you are not prohibited from protecting yourself from the elements, even while making a stroke. Luckily there’s nothing in the Rules to stop your buddy from holding your beer while you putt.

My father and I spent many hours playing golf together. When he died I kept his favorite club, something called a 'chip-n-run,' with which he worked magic around the greens. I never use the club (I don’t have my dad’s touch), but I keep it in my bag for the memories. If I declare the club 'out of play' at the start of a round, may I keep it in my bag without violating the 14-club rule?

Carl Beckmann, via e-mail

While I’m personally moved by the story of your father’s favorite stick, the Rules are not so understanding. According to Decision 4-4c/1, there is nothing in the Rules that allows a player to declare a club out of play before the round. Therefore, you can’t carry the club during the round if you’ve started out with 14 other clubs. I recommend you keep your rescue wood and mount dad’s chipper above the fireplace.