Rules Column: Patti Daskalos

Rules of the Game:

Know your options on the Teeing Area

Editor’s note: Please welcome our new Rules of Golf columnist Patti Daskalos. Patti is a Rules Official with the Oregon Golf Association, Washington Junior Golf Association, NCAA, NAIA and the Junior World Championships. She can be reached at

You’ve got to love the Teeing Area rules. The area you play from to start  each hole has a defined size known as the Teeing Area; the Teeing Area is not ALL  the nicely mown grass on the tee pad. It is a rectangle that is two club-lengths deep from the front outside edge of two tee markers.

The front of the teeing area is the  line between the most forward points of the tee markers. It is a distinctive area on  the golf course where a player’s actions, which on most all other areas of the course could merit a penalty, can be done scot-free. Rule 6.2 governs playing the ball from  the Teeing Area – and is quite unique.

When a ball is being played from the Teeing Area, Rule 6.2 allows players to move or lift a ball in play in the teeing area, and  even permits a player to improve the conditions that affect the stroke, but ONLY  within the teeing area.

Yes, this is really true! 

Consider the following scenario: Ashley steps onto the #2 forward tee of the  525-yard par 5. She thinks she is really going to have to swing hard at her ball to  have any chance of making par. Ashley accidentally knocks her ball off her tee as  she lines up because she is a little nervous.

“That’s one,” says Terry. Jaxson asks  Ashley “Did you intend to hit the ball?”  Ashley says “No, I didn’t mean to, I was just lining up.” Jaxson tells Terry “Then that is not a stroke (no intent to hit and advance  the ball) and there is no penalty for moving the ball!”  Jaxson is right—he knows  Rule 6.2!

In addition, Rule 6.2 states that before Ashley re-tees for her first stroke  from the teeing area she can move to a different spot of the teeing area or decide  not to use a tee at all.

And any point during play from the tee (even before Ashley  accidentally knocked her ball off the tee) she can change the teeing area to improve the conditions affecting the stroke by:

• Altering the surface of the ground within the teeing area (like making an indentation with her club).

• Moving, bending, or breaking grass and natural objects attached to or  growing in the teeing area.

• Removing dew or frost in the teeing area.

• Removing or pressing down sand or soil in the teeing area.  Ashley sets up again for her tee shot, thinks again about how hard she should swing, and lashes at the ball. She whiffs. Terry says again “Well, that’s one.” Terry  is correct this time as Ashley has made a stroke with the intent to hit the ball. Even though Ashley has made a stroke, Rule 6.2 still gives all the options to improve the  Teeing Area as listed above, move the tee, or play from the ground because  Ashley’s ball is to be played from the Teeing Area.

Ashley opts to give the teeing  area a whack with her wedge to create a bump, uses the bump as her tee, and hits  a beauty right down the middle of the fairway!

When Terry tees off, his ball slices out of bounds. He must return to the tee under stroke and distance, and the options to improve the Teeing Area, play with or  without a tee, or  from a different spot within the teeing area still apply.

You’ve got to love the teeing area rules! Isn’t it great that there is a Rule of  Golf that allows some latitude in how to proceed? 

Get to know Rule 6.2 – it’s nice to have options when you might need them.