A. Rules 15-1 and 15-2 explain that the player must complete play of the hole with the ball with which he began the hole unless he is proceeding under a rule that permits him to substitute a ball. The player may change balls between the play of two holes as well.
Q. I am interested in becoming a rules official. Can you tell me anything about the group called the Las Vegas Rules Team?– Linda Cartwright
A. The Las Vegas Rules Team is a group of expert rules officials who volunteer their time to work tournaments here in Las Vegas. They officiate for collegiate tournaments, high school tournaments, USGA qualifiers, Women’s Southern Nevada Golf Association as well as Nevada State Women’s Golf Assocation tournaments and the Nevada Open. Interested future rules officials can contact me by e-mail at email@example.com.
Q. My ball is in an unplayable lie in a bush and I don’t want to reach into the bush to retrieve it. Can I substitute a ball? When are some of the times I can’t substitute a ball? — Jan Schoor
A. You may always substitute a ball for Rule 5-3 (ball unfit for play), Rule 26 (water hazard), Rule 27 (ball lost or out of bounds) and Rule 28 (unplayable lie). You may also substitute a ball under Rule 18 (ball at rest moved), Rule 24 (obstructions) and Rule 25 (abnormal ground condition) only if your original ball is not immediately recoverable. If your ball is immediately recoverable under these rules you must play your original ball.
Q. My son was playing in a high school tournament and ran out of golf balls during the round. He asked one of his fellow competitors to borrow a ball but he said that would be a penalty for sharing equipment. Was he right? — Tim Wever
A. No he was not right, I hope your son found another ball in order to finish his round. There is no general rule that prohibits the sharing of equipment (golf ball, tees, gloves, etc). There is Rule 4-4 that discusses the penalty for the sharing of clubs during a round. This is probably what his fellow competitor was thinking of.
Sue May is a U.S. Open rules official, a member of the USGA Senior Women’s committee and head rules director for the Butch Harmon Vegas Tour. Address your rules questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.