Is This Golf Rule Even Legal?

The other day one of my golf buddies asked me about a golf rule that I could not answer. Her partner lost a hole in match play because he used a broken tee he found, and used it to tee up the ball on one of his drives. It seemed a pretty obscure rule and I did not know the answer off hand.

golf driveHere’s the scenario: Golfer A, B, C and D are playing in a tournament. Golfer B steps up to the tee box and realizes he doesn’t have a tee at the ready in his pocket, but he sees a broken tee on the tee box and decides that is good enough to use. He tees up his ball on the broken tee and hits a great drive deep into the middle of the fairway.

His opponent challenges him for using “borrowed equipment” i.e. the broken tee that he found! The golfer wasn’t clear enough about the rules on “borrowed ewquipment” and didn’t challenge his opponent about the rule. He accepted what his opponent declared at face value and consequently, he lost the hole.  Was the opponent correct? Is there any time when you can use “borrowed equipment”???

…. Before you answer, I looked it up—at least the closest answer I could find on the USGA Rules website. The rule addresses the issue of borrowing balls from another player, but in answering that question, the rule handles a few more issues: (

5-1/5 Whether Player May Borrow Balls from Another Player

Q.During a stipulated round, a player runs out of balls. May he borrow one or more balls from another player?

A.Yes. Rule 4-4a prohibits a player from borrowing a club from another player playing on the course but the Rules do not prevent a player from borrowing other items of equipment (balls, towels, gloves, tees, etc.) from another player or an outside agency.

If the “One Ball” Condition in Appendix I is in effect, the player would need to obtain the same brand and type of ball as required by that condition.

It seems to me from my reading of the rule, that the fellow was perfectly within his rights to use a found tee! So his opponent was wrong!!! Too bad the fellow didn’t know enough about the rules to challenge his opponent back! Hope he didn’t lose the entire match on the head of this bad call.

What do you think? Have you ever been in such a situation when an opponent tells you a rule that you’re not quite sure is right? What do you do?

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