Q Last week, you answered my question about a moveable weight coming loose from my driver. Under Decision 4-2/0.5, I can repair or replace the weight if it comes loose in the "normal course of play." What does that term mean? - Jim (Wilmington, N.C.)
A I ended the article with a joke stating that it doesn't include breaking a shaft over your partner's head after he misses a two-foot putt. I hope that everyone already knows that.
Decision 4-3/1 explains that the term "normal course of play" is intended to cover all reasonable acts but specifically excludes cases of abuse. In addition to making a stroke, practice swing, or practice stroke, examples of acts that are in the "normal course of play" include the following:
removing or replacing a club in the bag,
using a club to search for or retrieve a ball (except by throwing the club),
leaning on a club while waiting to play, teeing a ball, or removing a ball from the hole, or
accidentally dropping a club.
Examples of acts that are not in the "normal course of play" include the following:
throwing a club whether in anger, in retrieving a ball, or otherwise,
"slamming" a club into a bag, or
intentionally striking something (e.g. the ground or a tree) with the club other than during a stroke, practice swing or practice stroke.
So, instead of whacking the side of your bag with your putter, you should probably find a better way to let out some frustration. That is, unless you're comfortable putting with a wedge.