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Golf Rules FAQ: Questions and Answers About Tricky Rulings

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Sergio Garcia's Golf Ball Stuck In Tree

So your golf ball - like Sergio Garcia's above - is stuck in a tree. What's the ruling? Our Golf Rules FAQ has the answer.

Warren Little / Getty Images
This Golf Rules FAQ covers golf rules codified by the USGA and the R&A. The Rules of Golf can be found on those governing bodies' Web sites, or by clicking over to our Golf Rules section.

The questions posed below cover situations both common and uncommon, but tricky spots that can arise while playing golf. Click on the title of an FAQ to read the answer.

Don't see your question? Ask it in our Golf Rules Forum.

What's the Ruling?

What does coming Rule 14-1b (ban on anchoring) permit and prohibit in grips and strokes?

My ball landed in a divot hole in the fairway; do I get free relief?

My ball hit an overhead power line - do I get to replay the shot?

My ball is stuck in a tree - what are my options?

Should rakes be left inside or outside of bunkers?

Ball markers: Do the rules say what should - or shouldn't - be used?

Do I get relief from aeration holes on the putting green?

What do red, yellow and white stakes or lines mean on a golf course?

Do golfers playing as singles have any standing on the course?

What does "keeping that point between you and the hole" mean?

What club do I use to determine the nearest point of relief, and when measuring club-lengths?

I found the ball my opponent is searching for - do I have to tell him?

I thought my ball was lost and put a second ball into play, then discovered my first ball in the hole. Which ball counts?

Can I place a golf club on the ground to help line me up for a stroke?

Must a ball be literally "unplayable" in order to be declared unplayable under Rule 28?

Are X-Out golf balls "legal" for play?

What are "winter rules" or "preferred lies"?

How many clubs are allowed in my golf bag?

Ball in motion strikes ball at rest

When were the first golf rules written, and what were they?

Do I get to move my ball if, when putting from just off the green, I would have to putt across a sprinkler head?

What's the ruling if I accidentally hit the ball with a practice swing?

Does a "whiff" count as a stroke?

If the wind moves my ball after I'm at address, do I have to take a penalty?

Is it OK to use a long putter to measure club lengths?

If a club breaks during a round, can it be replaced?

What is the penalty for playing out of order?

What is the ruling if the ball gets pinned between the flagstick and the cup?

How can I obtain a copy of the Rules of Golf?

Can I repair spike marks that are in the line of my putt?

Does it count as a stroke if I accidentally bump the ball off the tee?

Is there a time limit for playing a shot or a round of golf?

What is the penalty for playing the wrong ball?

How long am I allowed to search for a wayward ball?

Does a golfer off the green always play before those who are on the green?

Is it legal to use a club other than the putter on the putting green?

My ball is in a bunker completely filled with water - do I get to drop outside the bunker?

Is practicing in-between holes allowed?

I hit a great provisional shot, then found my first ball - can I keep playing my provisional?

Are 'gimmies' allowed under the Rules of Golf?

What is considered casual water?

Is it OK to draw lines on the golf ball to help with alignment?

I like to take the rake into bunkers with me for convenience - is this legal?

Do the rules prohibit changing golf balls during a round? (One Ball Condition)

I conceded a putt to my opponent, he putted anyway and missed - what's the score?

Poll: How well do you follow the Rules of Golf?

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