Bizarre Rules of Golf


Bizarre Rules of Golf


Whether you have been playing for years or are new to the sport, it is widely known that rules and etiquette are a vital part of golf.

While many of the rules make perfect sense, there is certainly a handful that may raise an eyebrow or two. Let’s take a look at some of the more bizarre rules of golf.


The Air Rule


“If a gust of wind moves your ball, you can play it from its new position. But if artificially propelled air moves your ball, you must replace it without penalty.” – USGA decision 18-1/2.


We’ve all been in the position on the course where we pray for a gust of wind to propel our ball closer to the hole, but should someone come along with a giant fan or somehow creates a breeze that moves your ball, you must place it back where it originated. Who knew?! But also, who is carrying around a fan on the golf course?


The Orange Rule


“If your ball is lodged in an orange, you cannot take relief without penalty.” – USGA decision 23/10.


This is certainly not a rule we have to worry about in Central Alberta, but evidently, there are enough golf courses South of the border with so many orange trees that this became an issue.


The Cactus Rule


“If your ball comes to rest next to a cactus, you may wrap an arm or leg in a towel to protect yourself from the needles when you play your shot. But you can’t cover the cactus with a towel.” – USGA decision 1-2/10.


Note to self… don’t go golfing in the desert.


The Flying Insect Rule



“If the player’s ball lies in a hazard, the insect is considered to be in the hazard and the player may not touch or physically remove the insect from the ball (Rule 13-4c). However, as the insect is animate and capable of moving on its own, the player may take action, such as waving his hand, a club or towel, to encourage the insect to move.” – USGA decision 13-4c/16.5.


So, we don’t all just play the ball and send the bug for a ride?


The Water Bottle Rule


“You cannot place a water bottle on a green and use it as a level to determine how a putt will break.” – USGA decision 14-3/12.5.


In 10+ years of golfing, I have never heard of or seen another golfer do this. Have you?


The Clubhead Fell Off Rule


“If the clubhead falls off during the backswing, and you complete the swing but miss the ball it does not count as a stroke. If the clubhead falls off during the downswing and you complete the swing but miss the ball, it counts as a stroke.” – USGA decisions 14/2 and 14/3.


Your equipment malfunctions (or breaks), and you’re penalized for it? Well, that’s just silly!


The Clubhouse Rule


“If a shot ends up in the clubhouse, and the clubhouse is not out-of-bounds, you can open a door or window and play the next shot without penalty.” – USGA decision 24-2b/14.


Could you imagine sitting in the clubhouse, enjoying your BLT sandwich after a great round, only to have someone pull up beside your table, open the window, and take a whack at their ball?




According to the USGA, wiping dew from your golf ball violates Rule 13-2 – “a player must not improve the position or lie of his ball, the area of his intended stance or swing or his line of play or a reasonable extension of that line beyond the hole by moving, bending, or breaking anything growing or fixed (including immovable obstructions and objects defining out of bounds).”


An added benefit to playing your early morning round at GolfZone! No dew-wiping required.


Touching A Loose Impediment In A Hazard


Thanks to the movie Happy Gilmore, most of us became very familiar with the phrase “play it as it lies,” but what happens if your shot ends up in a bunker and a gust of wind sends a pinecone to rest directly behind your ball?

Well, Rule 13-4/18.5 reminds us that you must play the ball (and the pinecone, in this case) as it lies, otherwise, you’ll be taking a two-stroke penalty.



This article could probably go on for another two or three pages about all the strange rules within the game of golf, but this seems like a great place to wrap things up.

Join us for your next round, and you’re guaranteed to avoid orange trees, cacti, or falling pinecones!


Red Deer’s GolfZone is your Indoor Golf destination with weekday multi-passes, groups, parties, and league play.  

BOOK your Indoor Golf session by calling 587.273.1048 or using this contact form. 





The minimum booking is one hour. However, if your booked time is over and there is no one booked in the bay after you, you can extend your time by increments of 30 minutes or more.

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Our regular Bays comfortably accommodate 4 people to a maximum of 6

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  • On Average 18-holes will take approximately an hour to complete per person.
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