Known Or Virtually Certain Explained - Rules Of Golf

GM Rules guru Jezz Ellwood explains the term 'Known or virtually certain'

Known Or Virtually Certain Explained - Rules Of Golf
(Image credit: Getty images)

GM Rules guru Jezz Ellwood explains the term 'Known or virtually certain'

Known Or Virtually Certain Explained - Rules Of Golf

One of the terms at the back of the rule book is 'Known or virtually certain' and here we look to define what exactly that means when out on the golf course.

It's a phrase you'll find quite a lot in the rule book, talking about the likelihood or something having happened, which then dictates how you proceed.

Related: 10 biggest rules of golf myths

Often that will be whether or not your ball has gone into a penalty area, it could be whether your ball has moved or it could even be what has caused your ball to move.

The rules say that known means there is conclusive evidence that the ball went in to where you believe it went into.

So if and your playing partners see a splash in the water there is conclusive evidence that your ball landed in the penalty area.

Virtually certain means that you're 95% sure what happened to your ball.

That is obviously difficult to define but, for example, if you saw your ball land short of the water and you can't see it, you can be virtually certain that it went into the penalty area and proceed under those rules.

Related: 10 rules golfers still get wrong

If you hit the ball into thick rough near a penalty area, you can't be 95% virtually certain that it made its way into the penalty area and you would have to presume that the ball was lost and go back to where you played your original shot from.

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Elliott Heath
Elliott Heath

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. Elliott graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He is obsessed with the game and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey. His handicap index floats between 3-5. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.


Elliott is currently playing:


Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Honma TR20B

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x