Can you use your teammate's clubs in a team event, such as Ambrose? – Scott Marcus, Minneapolis
Ambrose and other scramble-format tournaments aren't technically covered by the Rules of Golf, so these decisions are up to the tournament committee. But typically the committee defaults to the USGA rules. Rule 4-4 says you may share clubs with your team or teammate—provided the total number of clubs between the players doesn't exceed 14. If you both head out with full bags and you want to try your teammate's hot putter mid-round, that's allowed only on practice putting and chipping (assuming they're not prohibited by your tournament committee).
How big a difference do shoes make? Is it something I should be concerned about, or should I just focus on keeping my head still? – Eric Meyers, Greenville, S.C.
The consensus here is that good shoes give you the stability to stay balanced throughout your swing and to negotiate different terrains. But how important is that? Hoping to bring scientific rigor to our answer, we asked our shoes expert (associate editor Keely Levins) and our instruction editor (Ron Kaspriske) to rate the importance of shoes on a scale of 1 to 10. Keely gave them an 8, and Ron gave them a 2 before launching into an hour-long soliloquy on how there are no "quick fixes" that will lower your scores. So their average score was 5, which is to say shoes are more important than the type of tee you use (2) or whether your ball marker is "lucky" (3) but less important than having a clubfitting (8.5) or practicing (9.5).
A friend's long birdie putt stopped on the edge of the cup. As he got close, he jumped up, came down heavy and the ball fell in. Does he get credit for the birdie? Or is there a penalty for his seismic influence? – Bill Bachman, Myrtle Beach
Noooo! Not cool, and not a birdie. We shudder to think what the green must've looked like after this earth-shaking stunt. The penalty for moving a ball at rest, in either stroke or match play, is a stroke. And you have to put the ball back where it was (Rule 18-2). FYI, if the ball had still been moving and your friend tried to influence its direction like this, Rule 1-2 would have applied. That means loss of hole in match play or a two-stroke penalty in stroke play.
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