Mary's Rules Corner header

Hello TPWGC! Welcome to our new monthly series: Mary’s Rules Corner.

Quick introduction here….I am Mary Shepperd, your new Rules Director and look forward to helping you out with the Rules of Golf! ! I have over 15 years of experience volunteering as a Rules Official in both Northern and Southern CA, and have worked over 40 USGA national championships, including the US Open and many US Women’s Opens.

Someone asked me recently, what are the most common Rules violations you see when you play with TPWGC? To be honest, I don’t see a lot of rules problems. Our players are great about working with each other to help with rules questions, and you usually get it right.  I do get some rules questions that I want to cover in this month’s article.

Mary’s Rules Corner Question #1

Do I have to mark the ball if I need to touch it or lift it to identify if it is mine?


Rule 7.3 tells us : The player may lift the ball to identify it (including by rotating it), but the spot of the ball must first be marked.

The penalty for failing to mark your ball before lifting or touching it to identify it is 1 stroke.

USGA Rules of golf

Mary’s Rules Corner Question #2

Are we allowed to give each other advice during a round?

Generally, no.

Rule 10.2a says: During a round you must not

  • Give advice to anyone in the competition who is playing on the course, or
  • Ask anyone for advice, other than your caddie (or your partner

“Advice” is any verbal comment or action that is intended to influence a player in choosing a club, making a stroke, or deciding how to play during a hole or round. Advice does NOT include information such as the location of things on the course, distance, or The Rules

So, if you ask “Am I overswinging?” or “What club are you going to use?”, you would receive a two stroke penalty. If the other player answers your question, then that player also receives a two stroke penalty for giving advice.

What if you offer unsolicited advice such as “Keep your head down!”? Then, you will receive a two stroke penalty, but the other player won’t receive a penalty because she didn’t ask for your advice.
Keep in mind that in partner events, you are allowed to ask for and receive advice from your partner.

Have more rules questions that you would like answered or covered in these monthly articles? Email me!