The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers. My nine-year-old granddaughter took a swing with the intention of hitting her ball, but whiffed. The swing’s momentum was so great that it carried the club and her little body around 360 degrees, such that she then unintentionally did hit the ball. Has she stumbled upon a new way by which one swing could cost you two strokes, or might this be legal, since it was one continuous motion? — DAVID MACZKO, CAPE COD, MASS. This sounds positively adorable, David, so much so that it feels Scrooge-like to note that, under Rule 18-2, it is indeed a one-stroke penalty and the ball must be returned to its original spot, since it is no longer a stroke once the player no longer intends to hit the ball. Whether you share this knowledge with your granddaughter is up to you; either way, treat her to not one but two scoops of ice cream after your next round together. We need all the young golfers we can get!
Our friend Steve’s ball marker somehow moved from two feet away from the hole to about six feet away without anyone noticing. We agreed to let him putt, without penalty, from the consensus estimate of the original spot. Is this what we should have done? — DON WILLIAMS/WINK KIRKMAN, GREENSBORO, N.C. Gentlemen, the dangers of marking one’s ball with a feather or live insect should be apparent to all (although of course it would be more suspicious had the mark instead moved from six feet to two feet). Regardless, in these scenarios, you indeed replace the ball, without penalty, as near as possible to where it was originally lifted — and then suggest that your buddy mark with a manhole cover going forward. Got a rules question? Of course you do! Whatever it may be, send yours to [email protected] and the question may be answered in an upcoming issue of GOLF. Until then, play by the Rules!