USGA Four Ball Team Disqualified For Putter Grip Violation

An obscure rule was enough to see the team eliminated from one of the organisation's biggest amateur events

Close-up of a player holding a putter
(Image credit: Getty Images)

According to a tweet from the page Monday Q Info, a golfer has fallen foul of an obscure USGA rule that led to his team's disqualification from one of the organisation's biggest amateur tournaments.

The incident occurred at the US Amateur Four-Ball, one of the biggest USGA amateur tournaments, which is taking place this week at the Country Club of Birmingham in Alabama.

Monday Q Info shared a screenshot which read: “If you have two grips on the putter they have to be a minimum of 1.5 inches apart. His were 1.25 inches apart. One of the USGA officials saw it yesterday afternoon. Went back to the hotel to confirm the rule. Measured this AM in the parking lot and DQ’d him.” The account holder carried out further investigations and confirmed the story. He said: “I found the guy who calls networks on rules violations. He is playing in the USGA 4-ball and called out a guy for having his grips on his putter…. A QUARTER OF AN INCH too close together.”

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While that may sound like a harsh reason for disqualification, and it's definitely not one of the most commonly known golf gear rules, the USGA does indeed stipulate the minimum grip distance requirement. In a section of the rules on its website headed "Two Grips" it reads: "A putter may have two grips provided each is circular in cross-section, the axis of each coincides with the axis of the shaft, and they are separated by at least 1.5 inches (38.1 mm)."

Social media reaction to the disqualification was mixed, with some questioning why the rule exists at all, and others less sympathetic, suggesting the player - who would have been using a long putter - should have been aware of the violation. You can check out some of the reactions below.

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The US Amateur Four-Ball, as its name suggests, sees players compete in the four ball format, where a team of two golfers each play their own ball, with the teammate with the lower score on each hole providing that team’s score for that hole.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.