Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ask Linda #217-Wrong ball penalty

Hi Linda,

Greetings from Down Under yet again.
Today in our club competition, a player unknowingly played a wrong ball on her second shot all the way down the 5
th… (2 stroke penalty?).

After teeing off at the 6th and addressing the ball for her second shot, she discovered and declared that she was playing a wrong ball. As she liked this ball, she continued using this ball to the end of the round.

As usual we have had so many opinions as to penalties incurred.

What is the correct ruling please?

Kind regards,
Lulu

Dear Lulu,

There is nothing but bad news for this competitor. She would be disqualified from the tournament the moment she hit her tee shot on the sixth hole.

Ordinarily, the penalty in stroke play for hitting a wrong ball is two strokes. None of the strokes with the wrong ball count. The player must return and play the correct ball. If the ball cannot be found (lost ball), she must return to where the previous shot was hit and add another penalty stroke to her score [Rule 27-1], for a total of three penalty strokes.

However, the player must correct her mistake before she tees off on the next hole.Since she did not, she is disqualified from the tournament [Rule 15-3b].

In match play, the penalty for hitting a wrong ball is loss of hole. If this had been a match play competition, then the player would have lost the fifth hole. There would be no penalty for playing the sixth hole with the ball she “acquired” on the fifth hole.

I have cautioned players over and over again on my blog to put a distinctive mark on their golf balls. Just about every golfer has at one time or another accidentally hit a wrong ball; it can happen to the best of us. However, by the time the player arrives at the green and marks and lifts her ball prior to putting, there is really no excuse for failing to note that the ball is not hers.

Disqualification is a mighty harsh penalty to pay for not taking out a moment to mark your golf balls. Buy an indelible marker, keep it in your bag, and don’t forget to use it!

Linda
Copyright © 2010 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ask Linda #216-Marking direction of play

Dear Linda,

A player in our league has picked up a new habit lately which I suspect is illegal but can’t find a specific rule against it. She determines her target line in front of her ball and then pounds her club into the ground – and I mean POUNDS – several times on the spot she’s picked out. She then aligns her clubface using the decimated spot. She does this on the tee box and in the fairway. I hope that I can tell her that it’s illegal because it’s annoying as hell watching her do this 80 times a round… Regards, Lulu

Dear Lulu,


In addition to being annoying and time-consuming, placing a mark to indicate the line of play is specifically prohibited by Rule 13-2. That would include, for example, placing a leaf or inserting a tee OR pounding a hole in the ground.


The specific wording that pertains to your question is as follows: “A player must not improve…his line of play…by pressing a club on the ground.” The penalty is two strokes in stroke play and loss of hole in match play.


Linda

Copyright © 2010 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ask Linda #215-Postponing a competition

Hi there,

I wonder if you can answer this question for me please?

My golf club was due to run a 2 consecutive day competition but because it was raining quite heavily on the second day it was postponed! However, the course was not closed but a decision was made by those there to postpone the game. Can they do this when the course was not closed?

Lulu

Dear Lulu,

Yes. If the Committee in charge of the competition feels that the course is not in good, playable condition, it has the authority to cancel and postpone a round.

The priorities of a course official in deciding whether the course should be closed and a Committee member in deciding whether conditions are suitable for competition are not necessarily the same.

If the course is closed, obviously the competition must be canceled. But simply because the course is open does not obligate a Committee to insist that a competition be played under conditions that they feel are unsuitable.

Linda

Copyright © 2010 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ask Linda #214-Player removes cup liner

Hi Linda

In match play, my opponent removes the inside cup of the hole and places it next to the hole (approximately two meters from hole) on the green. He then proceeds to putt (ball off green). The ball strikes the metal cup and gets deflected towards the hole and stops short of dropping. Is there a penalty for hitting the metal cup? The advantage he had was that he would have a 6-foot putt coming back as opposed to a tap-in.

Lou Lou

Dear Lou Lou,

Just when I thought I had heard everything…

A player is not permitted to do anything to influence the movement of a ball [Rule 1-2]. As soon as your opponent’s ball hit the cup liner he violated this rule. The penalty is loss of hole. If this had been a stroke play competition, the penalty would be two strokes. Depending on the circumstances, the Committee would be allowed to disqualify the competitor if it felt that this was a serious breach of Rule 1-2.

Linda

Copyright © 2010 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ask Linda #213-Ball hits cart

Linda, I played in a tournament yesterday and an incident occurred that was covered in decision 19/1. I'm still unsure if we followed the correct procedure after looking at 19/1. A player's shot struck his golf cart when his partner was at the wheel and the cart was stationary. The cart was sitting ahead of the spot from which the player was playing. Besides this being a very dangerous situation, does the player incur a one shot penalty?
Thank you.
Lou Lou

Dear Lou Lou,

You applied the rule correctly, Lou. A player incurs a one-stroke penalty when his ball strikes his own equipment [Rule 19-2]. When a cart carrying a player’s equipment is stationary, it is deemed to be the cart of the player hitting the ball[Decision 19/1].

I am going to expand on this topic in an attempt to clarify additional questions I suspect my answer will raise.

A. If the cart is in motion when the ball hits it, and the driver of the cart is not the partner of the player who hit the ball, then:

(1) in stroke play, it is a rub of the green and the ball is played as it lies [Rule 19-4];

(2) in match play, the player would have the option of playing the ball as it lies or replaying the stroke [Rule 19-3].

B. If the cart is in motion when the ball hits it, and the driver of the cart is the partner of the player who hit the ball, then the player incurs a one-stroke penalty and must play the ball as it lies [Rule 19-2].

While it may be advisable, for safety’s sake, to not drive a cart ahead of a player hitting a ball, sometimes pace of play considerations might put a golfer in such a position. In those cases, the player driving the cart should be aware that a player is about to hit and make an effort to park the cart out of any potential line of fire.

Linda

Copyright © 2010 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ask Linda #212-Line-of-sight relief

Linda, I had a disagreement with 2 veteran golfers that insisted that ‘line of sight relief’ was warranted because of an irrigation box that was between the green and the ball. They also believe that they are entitled to ‘line of sight relief’ for interior fences. I have been unable to find anything that will help to dispel the myth regarding line of sight relief.

Do you have anything that I could forward to them?

Lou Lou

Dear Lou Lou,

Lucky for you, there just happens to be a Decision that deals with this exact situation. Decision 33-8/17* asks whether a Committee is allowed to adopt a Local Rule to provide for line-of-sight relief for irrigation-control boxes. The answer given by the USGA is “no.” A Local Rule to provide line-of-sight relief from permanent immovable obstructions is only permitted in “very unusual circumstances.” Since it is not unusual to find irrigation-control boxes on golf courses, there can be no free relief from them. The same would hold true for water coolers, interior fences, and other permanent objects that are normally found on a golf course.

An irrigation-control box would be categorized as an immovable obstruction. Rule 24-2a explains that “intervention on the line of play is not…interference under this Rule.” “Line of play” means the same as “line of sight.” So the Rules of Golf actually specify that a player is not entitled to line-of-sight relief from an immovable obstruction.

If the box interferes with the player’s stance or the area of his intended swing, his relief is a free drop within one club-length and no closer to the hole than the nearest point of relief. “Nearest point of relief” means precisely that–the player must find the spot nearest to where his ball lies where there will be no interference from the box when he takes his stance and swings his club. If that spot happens to also give him line-of-sight relief, then he’s a lucky fellow. And if there are two points of relief that are equidistant from where his ball lies, he may choose the more advantageous spot to drop his ball. However, the Rules do not permit a player to search for a spot that provides line-of-sight relief.

I suspect that golfers become confused about this issue because they see officials giving players line-of-sight relief when they watch golf tournaments. The Rules of Golf provide for line-of-sight relief from a temporary immovable obstruction (TIO). Some examples would be tents, scoreboards, grandstands, and televisions towers. Since such obstructions are not normally found on a golf course, Committees are authorized to establish a Local Rule to provide relief. That Local Rule can be found in Appendix I, Part B, #7.

Lou, Rule 24-2a specifies that there is no relief for intervention on the line of play, and Decision 33-8/17 explains that there can be no free relief from irrigation-control boxes. I hope this is enough ammunition to help your veteran golfer friends understand that they are not entitled to line-of-sight relief from common immovable obstructions.

Linda

Copyright © 2010 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

*33-8/17 Local Rule Providing Line-of-Sight Relief from Irrigation-Control Boxes

Q. Irrigation-control boxes, which are about two feet wide and four feet high, have been installed near a number of fairways. Would it be appropriate for a Committee to adopt a Local Rule under which relief would be provided from such boxes when they intervene on the line of play, i.e., line-of-sight relief?

A. No. Providing line-of-sight relief from permanent immovable obstructions is not authorized, except in very unusual circumstances. It is not unusual for irrigation-control boxes to be located near fairways.

United States Golf Association and R&A Rules Limited, Decisions on The Rules of Golf, 2008-2009 (© 2007), 474.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ask Linda #211-Relief from branch growing in ESA

Dear Linda,

Is it true that you can or must take relief from a branch or bush that is outside of - but rooted in - an area that is designated as environmentally sensitive?

Thank you

Lou Lou

Dear Lou Lou,

Any bush or tree that is growing in an area designated as environmentally sensitive (ESA) is part of the ESA [Definition of “Ground Under Repair”]. If any part of that bush or tree extends outside the ESA and interferes with a player’s stance or swing, he is entitled to take free relief under Rule 25-1 (Abnormal Ground Conditions). He is not required to take relief, since his ball lies outside the area designated as ESA [Decision 25-1a/1].

Linda

Copyright © 2010 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ask Linda #210-Picking up another player’s ball

Hi Linda,

In tournament play is a player penalized for accidentally picking up another competitor’s ball during play?

Here's the situation:

Player A hits his tee shot into the left trees and announces that he will hit a provisional.

Player B hits his tee shot onto the right center of the fairway.

Player C hits his tee shot into the right rough.

Player A hits his provisional into the right rough.

The group moves forward and player A finds his original tee shot in the left trees and asks player B to pick up his provisional ball in the right

rough. Player B accidentally picks up player C's ball that is also in the right rough. Is there any penalty to player B and what procedure should be followed?

Thank you.

Lou Lou


Dear Lou Lou,

There is no penalty in stroke play for accidentally lifting another competitor’s ball. The ball must be replaced [Rule 18-4].

The ruling is the same in match play if a player moves his opponent’s ball during a search. However, if a player moves his opponent’s ball at any other time, the player incurs a one-stroke penalty (in match play only) and the ball must be replaced [Rule 18-3].

Linda

Copyright © 2010 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thank you Linda. When the ball is replaced, is the player required to drop it or may it be placed?

Dear Lou Lou,

Neither. The ball must be replaced. Either the player himself or the opponent who lifted the ball must replace it. It must be placed on the precise spot from which it was lifted.

There are specific rules and penalties regarding placing or replacing a moved or lifted ball. Please take a moment and review Rule 20-3.

llm

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ask Linda #209-Raking sand while ball in bunker

Hi Linda,

If a player plays a shot from a large bunker and the ball travels about 10 yards but remains in the bunker, is the player permitted to rake the sand before playing their next shot out of the same bunker?

Thanks.

Lou Lou

Dear Lou Lou,

Yes. You are permitted to rake or smooth the sand in the bunker even though your ball lies in the same bunker, as long as you do not improve the area of the stance or swing for your next shot or your line of play to the hole. In your case, since your ball is ten yards away, it seems unlikely any raking you do will affect your next shot, unless your ball ended up behind your first effort.

Before anyone writes in to wonder whether raking the sand when your ball remains in the same bunker constitutes testing the sand, please note that there is a Decision (14-3/36) that states that such raking is permissible and is not regarded as testing the sand’s consistency.

On golf courses with large sand bunkers, raking the disturbed sand surrounding your first shot before proceeding to your second will help improve the pace of play.

Linda

Copyright © 2010 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.