Can I Replace that Club?

Recently, at the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship conducted at Conway Farms in Lake Forest, Illinois, a player broke his driver while teeing off the fourth hole.

I had the pleasure and honor of being the walking referee of that semi-final match between Garrett Rank of Canada and Todd White of Spartanburg, South Carolina.

I was positioned near the teeing ground of the par-4 fourth hole insuring no player would tee off from outside the teeing ground. Todd played first and then Garrett from the teeing ground. After Garrett hit his tee shot, he turned to me and said “I think I just broke my driver.”

We took a moment to look at the club and found that indeed the head of his Titleist driver had come loose. I told him his options under Rule 4-3a. Since the club had become damaged in the normal course of play he could:

  1. Used the club in its damaged state for the remainder of the round; or
  2. Without unduly delaying play, repair the club or have it repaired; or
  3. Since the club had become unfit for play (the head being loose), he could replace the club with any club as long as it had not been selected for play by anyone else playing on the course.

He pointed out to me that he believed the holding screw on the head of the driver had come loose and he thought he could repair it if someone could bring out the tightening tool for the club.

I quickly got word to the golf shop staff and before we had finished the hole they were waiting for us as we walked of the green.

Garrett pointed out to his opponent Todd that the component head of his driver was set at the A1 position before he began his repair. He loosened the screw with the tool provided by the golf shop and the head came off. After a quick inspection, the head was found to be in working condition. He replaced it on the shaft at the A1 position and began to tighten the screw down. We all held our breath waiting to hear the reassuring “click” of the screw signaling the club head being locked into position. After a half dozen or so turns, the screw clicked into place and the repair was complete without unduly delaying play.

Garret went on to defeat Todd 1 up in the match and advance to the final match of the US Mid-Amateur Championship and an opportunity to play in the Masters.

Remember, use the definitions, index or the table of contents to find the correct Rule that applies to the situation and follow the Rules of Golf to help yourself to enjoy the game of golf.

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