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Order of Play

We received the following question from one of our readers regarding the order of play.

Around the green: What if I have a 50ft putt and my partner has a 15 foot chip from just off the fringe in the rough. I'm technically further away, but he's not on the dance floor yet. What's the etiquette here? Thanks!

The answer to this question is determined by Rule 10 of the Rules of Golf. Rule 10 states that after both players have started the hole, the ball farther from the hole is played first. The fact that a ball is or isn't on the green is completely irrelevant. Applied to your example, this means that the 50 foot putt is the next shot to be played, before the shorter chip shot is played on to the green.

It is however perfectly acceptable to get the chip shot out of the way first to keep up the pace by avoiding walking up the green, tending to the pin and then replacing it for the chip shot to be played and repeating the whole process.

Just a word of caution when playing in competition: when playing out of turn in stroke play, competitors can be disqualified by the Committee if it is deemed that the competitors have agreed to play out of turn to give one of them an advantage (Rule 10-2-c).

If your opponent in match play didn't agree to let you play out of turn, there is no penalty, but he may require that you replay the shot again AFTER he played his, resuming in correct order (Rule 10-1-c), as Anika Sorenstam was required to do in the 2000 Solheim Cup after holing out her chip.

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