What’s The Ruling When You Whiff?

Josh Kelley

Josh Kelley

SwingU Instructor

One of the most embarrassing things that can happen to a golfer, is trying to hit a shot and completely missing the ball. The question is will that swing count as a stroke?

Here are a few scenarios and how the Rules of Golf treat them.

Question: If you swing and miss your ball, is it a penalty?

Answer: It depends on intent. If a player is trying to hit his ball and misses it, it will count as a stroke. If the player stops or alters swing in an effort to miss the ball and does not make the ball move, then there is no penalty.

Question: If you knock the ball off of a tee is it a penalty?

Answer: It depends on intent. If you’re not trying to take a stroke at the ball and accidentally knock it off of the tee, then there is no penalty.

Question: If I accidentally cause my ball to move when it’s in play,  is it a penalty?

Answer:  Yes, if your ball is in play and you cause it to move, even if it is accidentally. The ball must be placed back to where it was and a one-stroke penalty will be added.

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