Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ask Linda #181-Who plays first?


I know in Match Play the person away from the pin plays first, even if the person is on the green and the other person is off. Does this apply in regular [stroke] play?



Dear Lulu,

In match play, after both players have teed off, the player further from the hole is always the first to hit. However, there is no penalty if a player closer to the hole plays first. Under the rules, his opponent then has the option of requiring him to cancel his stroke and play it again in correct order [Rule 10-1b, c].

In stroke play, once every player has hit his tee shot, the player furthest from the hole generally hits first. There is no penalty for hitting out of turn, and there is no option to recall a stroke as there is in match play. However, if it is discovered that competitors agreed to play out of order to give one of them an advantage, they would be disqualified [Rule 10-2b, c].

When a match is played by the rules, a player whose putt lies close to the hole will not hole out. If his opponent does not concede the next putt, then the player will mark his ball, stand aside, and await his turn to play.

In stroke play, on the other hand, competitors whose putts finish near the hole will often hole out immediately. Also, players whose balls lie off the green but closer to the hole than other balls already lying on the green may request to hit first to save the trouble of removing and replacing the flagstick. Both actions are perfectly legal, and can be a welcome time-saver.

There are instances in a stroke play competition where players should be encouraged to play out of turn. For example, even though your ball may be ahead of a fellow competitor’s, hitting a shot while someone is searching for a lost ball or punching out of the woods can have the desirable result of speeding up the pace of play.

In match play, you could hit out of turn with the express permission of your opponent. However, since the type of shot you attempt in match play is often determined by the quality of your opponent’s shot, it may be strategically inadvisable to do so.


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