Can a golfer repair or replace a damaged or lost golf club during a round?
Golf Culture

Can a golfer repair or replace a damaged or lost golf club during a round?


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?

Under the current Rules of Golf in 2024, a player can repair (or continue using) any club damaged during a round for any reason, no matter the damage. Even if a player damages the club in anger or frustration, they can repair that club.

Lost golf clubs cannot be replaced during a round, under any circumstance.

Prior to this change, under Rule 4-1, whether or not a golfer can repair or replace golf clubs damaged or lost during a round largely depends on how the damage occurred. The rule was changed because it felt too arbitrary and specific around when clubs could be repaired or continue to be used if damaged in a round.

The old version of this rule

If a golfer's club became 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 had 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 became damaged because they themselves damaged it outside of the normal course of play -- for example, breaking it over their knee -- then they could not replace their club during the round. The damage was 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 became 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 had to immediately take the damaged club out of play and could not cause an undue delay during the replacement. The club could not 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 could not be borrowed from someone who already has the club in play during the given round.

About the author

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

Ryan talks about golf on various social platforms:

X or Twitter:

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]

Ryan occasionally links to merchants of his choosing, and GNN may earn a commission from sales generated by those links. See more in GNN's affiliate disclosure.