Rules of Golf - Using Equipment on Course
Written by: Darin Green, Director of Rules and Competitions
There are many techniques and drills to improve your golf swing, and there are countless training aids out there promising to shave strokes off your game. A popular drill is to make swings with a towel, or part of your shirt, tucked under your right armpit (for right-handed golfers). The purpose of this drill is to keep the shaft more on plane and keep the body more connected during the swing.
Recently, we received several phone calls from golfers asking questions regarding doing this drill during a round. Below are several scenarios and an answer of whether or not it is allowed.
May I tuck a towel, or another piece of equipment, under my armpit and make a stroke at the ball?
No, Rule 4-3 states that you must not use “equipment in an abnormal way in making a stroke.” The penalty for the first breach is the general penalty (loss of hole in match or two strokes in stroke play) and the penalty for a second breach is disqualification.
May I tuck a towel, or another piece of equipment, under my armpit and make a practice swing?
Yes, as long as the piece of the equipment is not designed to be a training aid. It is allowable to put a towel, hat, glove, etc. under your arm and make practice swings. However, you may not use a training aid during the round. Examples of training aids that you may not use during the round are swinging the Orange Whip, Speed Stik, Grip Trainer, or an alignment rod. Additionally, you may not make a swinging motion with an alignment rod; however, you may stretch with it (see last question below).
May I tuck part of my shirt under my arm and make a practice swing or a stroke?
Yes, as long as the shirt is not designed with extra fabric for the purpose of tucking the fabric under your arm.
May I use a training aid during the round?
No, Rule 4.3a(6) restricts the use of a training aid during the round. This includes alignment rods, swing weights, and devices to help swing plane, grip, posture and ball position. It would be okay to pull out your alignment rod and use it to stretch, but do not check your alignment or use it in a practice swing.
May I use a stretching device during the round?
Yes, Rules 4.3a(6) permits using any equipment for general stretching (other than in making a stroke).
Best of luck with your golf games this Fall!