Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ask Linda #180-Water hazard review

Hello Linda, don't complain about the snow--I just returned from Minnesota...could you review the rules for a ball hit into a water hazard? Also cite what happens when a ball is hit over a water hazard but hits the far bank and rolls back into the hazard. Thank you, Lou Lou

Dear Lou Lou,

You are not alone in your quest to understand how to proceed when your ball lies in a water hazard. Indeed, I have written more than 15 columns over the past three years answering hazard-related questions.

In April, 2008 I penned an entry entitled: “Rules #4–Relief Options, Part III: Water Hazards.” This column will give you a solid review of all the water hazard basics. At the end of that article, under “Interesting Situations,” example #7 discusses a ball that crosses a water hazard and rolls back in.

Here is how to access that column:

1. Visit my blog (

2. On the right side, under “Blog Archive,” click on the arrowhead to the left of “2008.”

3. Click on the arrowhead to the left of “April.”

4. Click on “Rules #4–Relief Options, Part III: Water Hazards,” which was my first article that month and therefore appears at the bottom of the April entries.

If you are interested in reading about specific hazard-related situations, here is a list of my water hazard columns:

January, 2008

#1–Water hazards

#12– Relief from water hazards

#28–Relief from lateral hazard

April, 2008

#51–Leaf on ball in hazard

#53–ID ball in hazard

#55– Lateral hazard not marked

May, 2008

#62–Trouble in water hazard

June, 2008

#71 and 72–Red- and yellow-staked hazards

October, 2008

#93–Is the ball in the hazard or lost?

January, 2009

#99– Ball on bridge in hazard

#100–Dropping on opposite side of lateral hazard

April, 2009

#110–Relief from bridge over hazard

May, 2009

#118–Hazard marked with red and yellow stakes

December, 2009

#175–No free relief from hazard

If you encounter a situation not covered by any of the above columns, Lou, drop me a line and I’ll give you a hand.


Copyright © 2010 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ask Linda #179-Which tee box?

Good afternoon Linda,

Thank you for your quick and thorough answer.

If I may, I have another question regarding the 9-hole course tee box.

On the ladies’ day we are about 4 or 5 foursomes. In order to accelerate the play our captain sends us to a designated hole to start the game [shotgun].

Generally, the ladies play the first nine holes from the red tee box, and then switch to the yellow tee box for the back nine on the second time around. When we play a shotgun, a foursome that starts on hole #8 will play from the red tee box for holes #8 and #9. When we arrive at the first hole, are we obliged to go on the yellow tee box for the back nine or continue on the red tee box until we complete our first nine holes? In other words, do we play #8 and #9 from the red tees, switch to the yellow tees for #10 through #18, and then play from the red tees for #1 through #7; or do we play the red tees for #8, #9, and #1 through #7, and then play from the yellow tees for #17, #18, and #10 through #16?

This question bothers me because in Québec I also play a nine-hole course.

Again thank you so much.



Dear Lulu,

There is no rule that covers this situation. The Committee in charge of your league must decide which method would be simpler and less confusing for everyone, and then it needs to put that decision in writing so that everyone is clear on what procedure to follow.

Since this is a question asking for an opinion, I will give you mine. However, please remember that mine is only one opinion – there is no right or wrong answer.

My preference would be to play holes #1 through #9 from the same set of tees. In other words, if I were to start from the red tees on hole #8, then I would like to move to the yellow tees when I reach the first hole, play #10 through #18 from the yellow tees, and switch back to the red tees when I reach hole #1. Here are my reasons:

1. I think it’s easier to remember to switch to a new tee box when you reach the first hole.

2. Every golfer would be playing the same front and back nine, and the scorecard would be easier to review.

3. Should your competition use the USGA-recommended tie-breaking system that begins by comparing the total score for the back nine, then you would be comparing the same holes from the same tee boxes when you add the numbers. The same especially holds true if you are using any computer-aided scoring.

4. Your golfers might feel less disoriented or more comfortable knowing that when they make the turn and step up to hit on the first hole, they are now playing hole #10 on the back nine.

I imagine a case could also be made for playing nine consecutive holes from the same set of tees. Your Committee needs to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both procedures and make the decision that is best for your course, your players, and your competitions.


Copyright © 2010 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ask Linda #178-Wrong teeing ground

Good morning Linda,

I spend the winter on Grand Bahama Island and I am a member at a nine hole golf course.

For the ladies and men we have two set of tees. On the first nine ladies play from the ''Red markers'' and the back nine from the ''Yellow markers.”

Sunday, in a team tournament on the back nine, a player made the mistake of hitting her ball from the ''Red marker'' instead of the “Yellow marker,” so the other team gave her a one-stroke penalty.

I am trying to find the rule in the USGA and R&A golf rules on the Internet, no luck. Help please!

In this instance, why not ask the player to re-hit from the correct tee box (sportsmanship)?

Thank you in advance.



Dear Lulu,

How nice to picture other people playing golf as I gaze out on the snow-covered landscape of my native New Jersey!

A player must start play of each hole from the proper teeing ground. That area is a rectangle defined by the two tee markers and extends back a maximum of two club-lengths.

A player who does not tee off from within the teeing ground is in violation of Rule 11-4.

In match play, there is no penalty for playing a ball outside the teeing ground. Her opponent has the choice of ignoring the infraction or requiring the player to cancel the stroke and immediately hit another tee shot from within the teeing ground. If the player is asked to hit a second tee shot, do not count the first one in her score.

The procedure is different in stroke play. The player is penalized two strokes, and she must then hit a tee shot from the proper place. She must correct her mistake before she tees off on the following hole; otherwise, she will be disqualified. Do not count the stroke that she made from outside the teeing ground. When she hits that second tee shot, that is her third shot on the hole (two-stroke penalty + one tee shot = 3).

Good sportsmanship would have been for another player to warn her that she was hitting from the wrong markers before she teed off. Once she hits the ball, she is bound by the rules. I would encourage all players to caution their golfing companions when it becomes apparent that they are about to break a rule. This is good sportsmanship, and is the spirit of golf.


Copyright © 2010 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.