Is Fixing Lead Tape During A Round A Violation Of The Rules Of Golf?

Golf Nut,  I read a ruling recently that generated another question on the rules of golf.  I read in Golf Magazine that you can’t change shafts on your driver during a round as you would have to loosen the head which would change the playing characteristics  and be a violation.  So this prompted discussion during a recent round….What if, during a round of golf, you have some lead tape on the club head and it comes off?  Can you put it back on the club head or is this a violation?

Great question and thanks for sending it in.  Decision 4-2/0.5 speaks to this question.  But let’s put it completely in context.  According to Rule 4-2a of the Rules of Golf, the playing characteristics of a club must not be purposely altered.  If you have lead tape already on your golf club before the round starts and the tape falls off then you have to look at what your legal options are.

First, you can put the tape back on as long as you put it back in the same place on the club.  If the tape won’t stay because it’s old, you can use new tape.  Or, you can leave the tape off for the remainder of the round.  Now this last option would beg the question, doesn’t that change the characteristics of the golf club if you leave the tape off?

As I interpret the rules, since the tape came off through no fault of the golfer, he or she can leave it off since they wouldn’t be purposely trying to change the characteristics of the club by removing the tape by choice.  Sounds a little weird I know, but so many of the Rules of Golf do seem strange.

What you can’t do though, is add lead tape to a club during a round of golf as this would be purposely changing the playing characteristics.

I hope this helps and thanks again for the question.  Keep sending them golfers and we’ll get them answered as fast as we can.

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