Frequently Asked Questions


Question: There is sand on the putting green on my line of putt.  Can I brush the sand away?

Answer from Ms. Rules:  You can brush the sand away. It doesn’t matter if the ball is on or off the green but the sand must be on the green.
By definition sand and loose soil are loose impediments on the putting green but not elsewhere.

Decision 23-1/1 tells the player the means by which a loose impediment may be removed. Loose impediments may be removed by any means except that in removing loose impediments on the line of putt the player must not press anything down.

Question: My ball is in the desert. Can I brush away dirt, sand and small pebbles around the ball??

Answer from Ms. Rules: Definition of a loose impediment: Loose impediments are natural objects including stone, leaves, twigs branches and the like dung and worms insects and the like and cast and heaps made by them, provided they are not fixed or growing, solidly embedded or adhering to the ball. Sand and loose soil are loose impediments on the putting green but not elsewhere. Snow and natural ice other than frost are either casual water or loose impediments at the option of the player. Dew and frost are not loose impediments.
You can pick up the pebbles. Sand and loose soil are not loose impediments in that situation. They are loose impediments only on the putting green. Moving sand and loose dirt in the desert is a violation of the rules.


Question:  The photo above is at Trail Ridge on Hole 17. The cart path shown runs across the fairway close to the 200 yard marker.  My ball is in a rut caused by water run-off. Can I take relief for ground under repair?

Answer from Ms. Rules:  Yes, you can take relief for ground under repair.

Question:  Are our Match Play scores posted?

Answer from Ms. Rules:  Yes.  The following is taken from the USGA Rules:

Section 5:  SCORES

c. Scores in All Forms of Competition

Scores in both match play and stroke play must be posted for handicap purposes. This includes scores made in match play, in multi-ball, or in team competitions in which players have not completed one or more holes or in which players are requested to pick up when out of contention on a hole. (See Decision 5-1c/1 and Section 4.)


4-1. Unfinished Holes and Conceded Strokes

A player who starts, but does not complete a hole or is conceded a stroke must record for handicap purposes the most likely score. The most likely score may not exceed the player’s Equitable Stroke Control limit, defined in Section 4-3. This most likely score should be preceded by an “X.” (See Decision 4-1/1.)

There is no limit to the number of unfinished holes a player may have in a round, provided that failure to finish is not for the purpose of handicap manipulation.

See link for further information:

Question: I was playing at Grandview on Hole #3 (Par 3).  I hit my tee shot and we all thought it ended in the water.
I went to the drop area and hit my next shot onto the green.
When we got to the green, one of the players noticed a ball in the corner of the sand bunker.  It was my original ball.
At that point, what is my penalty?  How many strokes am I laying?  And what do I do next?

Also, what is the case if we noticed the ball in the sand after I had already holed out the second ball?

Answer from Ms. Rules:  When you went to the drop area to take water hazard relief since you were virtually certain the ball was in the water hazard, once you dropped that ball it became the ball in play. Your original ball is now lost. Look at decision 26-1/3.5.  So you were laying three on the green.

In either case your original ball is lost.