In a round of golf, golfers can find themselves hitting their golf ball out of a variety of precarious positions, different lies and in odd circumstances.
Golfers also can have a bit of a temper, and the frustrations of the game can lead golfers to take out their emotions on their equipment.
All of that is to say that golf clubs can easily be damaged during a round of golf, either in the natural course of play or in an emotional outburst. Golfers often wonder if they're allowed to repair or replace golf clubs that are damaged during a round.
Can a golfer repair or replace a damaged or lost golf club during a round?
Whether or not a golfer can repair or replace golf clubs damaged or lost during a round largely depends on how the damage occurred.
If a golfer's club becomes damaged in the normal course of play -- that is, making a stroke or practice swing with the club, putting it in or taking it out of a golf bag, dropping or leaning on it, or throwing or abusing it but not intentionally changing its functional characteristics -- then a golfer has a certain set of options. They can repair the golf club in an orderly fashion as close to the original condition as possible before what happened during the round (using the original grip, head and shaft), or they can use the damaged club.
If a golfer's club becomes damaged because they themselves damaged it outside of the normal course of play -- for example, breaking it over their knee -- then they cannot either replace their club during the round. The damage is considered to have happened during play of a round and treated similarly to damaging a club during taking a stroke or other similar golf actions.
If a golfer's club becomes damaged due to an outside influence (for example, someone else or an animal) or a natural force (for example, a storm), then the golfer can replace their club. They have to immediately take the damaged club out of play and cannot cause an undue delay during the replacement. The club cannot be put together from separate components carried or stored during the round (that is, the club has to have been made up before play started), and the club cannot be borrowed from someone who already has the club in play during the given round.
Lost golf clubs cannot be replaced during a round, under any circumstance.
The penalty for breaking the conditions under this rule, Rule 4-1(a), is disqualification.