Golf rules: When you double hit your shot

Double hit
John Cook in the Champions Tour.
By Michael Benzie
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Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Thursday, May 29, 2014 | 11:10 a.m.

Many of you may have seen an interesting shot recently on the Champions Tour when John Cook double hit his ball on the 14th hole at Regions Tradition. The interesting story there was that Cook was unaware he double hit the ball, but after seeing cell phone video of the shot, realized he did and he was assessed with a penalty.

We were curious about not only this type of mishit, but others in the family, so we asked Senior co-chairman PGA Rules Committee Brad Gregory about the play. Gregory said the double hit rule itself is clear, Rule 14-4. It says if a player strikes the ball more than once during a stroke, the player must count the stroke and adds a penalty stroke for two strokes in all. The player would play the ball as it lies.

Which is what happened. But how about some other scenarios after the initial strike of a ball?

For instance, if it hits the club face, then shaft? Same thing, says Gregory. Initial stroke plus penalty for the shaft hit and then play as it lies.

Adding complexity, Gregory said if the ball were to hit something else (a tree, bunker lip, etc) and then rebounded and hit your club after deflection, it applies to a different rule (19-2) but the result is the same. "Count the stroke and add a penalty stroke for two strokes in all. Except in a rare circumstance where the ball comes to rest on the player, partner, their caddies or equipment. In this case, the player must drop the ball under the spot it came to rest."

Prior to 2004, these two Rules had different results, said Gregory. Back then, Rule 14-4 was the same but the penalty for Rule 19-2 was the general penalty. In match play, it was loss of hole and in stroke play, the penalty two strokes.


Mike Benzie is director of content of