Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ask Linda #429a-Ambidextrous relief


In regards to this post and the questions [Ask Linda #429–Nearest Point of Relief], I play golf right-handed except that I putt left-handed, and I have used my putter to escape situations where I could not swing right-handed.  Can I take advantage of a left-handed drop and then play it right-handed? (right-handed drop in the pile of rocks, but left-handed drop in a decent lie.)
I enjoy your site and it sure helps to simplify the rules.


Dear Lou,

I think not. If this were permitted, then all right-handed players could carry one left-handed club in their bags and claim that they were a lefty every time the relief option was better for a left-handed player. Even Phil Mickelson, who actually is ambidextrous, would not try this argument to double his relief options. That would amount to circumventing the intent of the Rules.

It is not unusual to see a golfer playing right-handed and putting left-handed (and vice versa). But it would be rare to see a right-handed player pull out his left-handed putter for a 150-yard shot to the green.

If the woods and irons in your bag are right-handed, then you must find relief from the perspective of a right-handed player.

Please don’t confuse this with a situation where the only shot available for a right-handed player is a left-handed shot and an immovable obstruction interferes with your stance or swing for such a shot. Consider the case of a ball near a fence where you have room to swing left-handed and an electrical box interferes with your swing. In cases like this, you would be entitled to relief; after the drop, you might very well be able to turn around and swing right-handed. But if your ball, for example, is lying in the middle of a cart path, and the nearest relief for a right-handed player is in the middle of unfriendly vegetation, the smart golfer will hit the ball as it lies on the path. There is no option to morph into a left-handed player just in time for a drop on the pristine fairway that beckons from the other side of the path.

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