The Official Definition Of A Golf Stroke

The golf rules questions continue to hit my mailbox and as ever it is a pleasure to answer them. Here’s one relating to Tiger Woods on the 13th tee at the 2007 US Masters:


“Please can take a look at this YouTube clip of Tiger Woods at the 2007 US Masters and explain the reason why this didn’t count as a stroke?”


“As Tiger was distracted during his downswing on the teeing ground, he successfully aborted his stroke and there was no intention to move his ball.

They key point to understand is the wording relating to “the intention of striking” in the official Definition of Stroke stated below:

A “stroke” is the forward movement of the club made with the intention of striking at and moving the ball, but if a player checks his downswing voluntarily before the clubhead reaches the ball he has not made a stroke.”

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Disclaimer: Whilst every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of this information on the Rules of Golf I am human and have been known to be wrong! Neither I, nor anyone connected with, shall be held responsible for any losses caused by reliance upon the accuracy or reliability of such information. Readers should refer to the full text of the rules and decisions as published in the official publications of the R&A and the USGA, The Rules of Golf 2008-2011 and Decisions on the Rules of Golf 2008-2009.

One Response to “The Official Definition Of A Golf Stroke”

  1. Jim McClure says:

    A golfer takes his stance – addresses the ball – grounds the club – takes a swing ( his practice swing so he intends) does not hit the ball on purpose.

    Is that a stroke?

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