Article Image

When NOT to Switch a Golf Ball During a Round

Posted May 19, 2015 in beginner intermediate control rules

While it can be tempting to switch golf balls every shot to gain the ideal performance for each shot, in competitive golf, that is unfortunately illegal. USGA Rule 15-1 states that a player may not switch from the golf ball with which he or she started the hole with. This means that you cannot use a DUO from the tee to gain extra distance, and then switch to an FG Tour to gain some extra spin hitting into the green.

This rule can be nullified by rules that require you to substitute a ball such as Rule 26-1 (Water Hazard Rule), 27-1 (Ball Lost or Out of Bounds), and 28 (Ball Unplayable). For Unplayable Lie rule click here. Rule 16-1b allows you to mark and lift his or her ball from the green. You are not permitted, however, to switch balls at this time and use a "putting ball". You may switch balls after you have completed a hole. So, theoretically, you could use a new ball on every new hole.

If you are playing competitively, make sure you check the tournament rules for the "One Ball Rule." This rule is typically only used in professional events, or at highly-skilled amateur events. The One Ball Rule states that a player must use the same brand and type of ball he or she teed off with on the first hole throughout the entire round. For example, when Steen Tinning tees off the first hole with an FG Tour ball, he then must play FG Tours throughout the remainder of his round.