Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ask Linda #616-Ball lost in casual water

Hi Linda,

Can you help re the following?

I played with 3 others in a yellow ball competition. On the 8th hole at our course all four players in our team clearly witnessed the yellow ball land in casual water to the left of the green. Search as we may, we could not find it. Therefore, we decided that given the ball was clearly in casual water, another yellow ball could be played without penalty. Do you agree?  If not, what should the correct procedure have been?


P.S. If the yellow ball was lost, the team was excluded from that part of the competition. The team had to finish with the same yellow ball they started with, except of course in this case it was lost in casual water.

Dear Lou,

When it is known or virtually certain that a ball is lost in casual water, the player is entitled to free relief. He must establish as best he can where the ball entered the casual water. He will find the nearest point of relief from that spot, and drop within one club-length no closer to the hole [Rule 25-1c].

Since the Rules of Golf provide free relief for a ball lost in casual water, I would suggest that players competing in a Yellow (Pink) Ball competition be entitled to free relief. Accordingly, your team should be permitted to drop another yellow ball and continue without penalty. Your procedure was correct, and should be accepted by the Committee.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ask Linda #615-Incorrect relief from GUR in lateral water hazard

Dear Linda,

I have enjoyed reading your explanations on golf rules, and I have the following question for you.

Player A drives his ball into a dry section of a Water Hazard. He then discovers that his ball is in an area that has been marked as GUR within the water hazard. He had an option to play the ball, but there was interference from a stake.

He then takes relief from the GUR outside of the Water Hazard, which he thought was his nearest point of relief, and then played his next shot.

His marker then points out to him that he cannot take relief from an Abnormal Ground Condition (GUR) when it is in a Water Hazard and he has incurred a 2-stroke penalty.

The question was then raised, because he took an illegal drop outside the water hazard, which was not his correct point of relief from the water hazard, does he incur another 2-shot penalty for playing from the wrong place?

Lots of discussion among the group concluded that if he had said his ball was unplayable in the water hazard and dropped his ball within the rules he would only have a 1-shot penalty. But because he declared his ball in GUR and took an illegal drop, a 2-stroke penalty was correct.

We were not sure of the further 2-shot penalty for playing from the wrong place (the NPR from the GUR) after dropping his ball.

Any assistance would be appreciated.

Dear Lou,

Given how confusing this scenario is, I’m going to review what happened as I answer your question.

The player’s ball is lying in ground under repair (GUR) in a lateral water hazard. There is no free relief from GUR in a water hazard; the player’s only options are to play the ball as it lies or take relief under one of the options provided in Rule 26-1, the Water Hazard Rule [Rule 25-1b, Note 1]. He is unable to play the ball as it lies, due to interference from a hazard stake.

The player decides to find the nearest point of relief (NPR) from the GUR, which leads him outside the hazard. While he is not entitled to such relief, he is entitled to add a one-stroke penalty to his score and drop outside the hazard within two club-lengths of where his ball last crossed the margin of the hazard.

Unfortunately, the NPR that he found was not within two club-lengths of the spot where his ball entered the lateral hazard. When he dropped and played his ball outside the hazard in an incorrect spot, he played from the wrong place.

The penalty for playing from a wrong place is two strokes. The player does not need to correct this error unless he feels he has committed a “serious breach.” It would be a serious breach if the player gained a significant yardage advantage, for example. He would have to play a second ball from the correct place and leave it to the Committee to decide which ball to count [Rule 20-7c]. I am going to assume the player did not gain a significant advantage when he hit the ball from the wrong place.

So what has happened? We have a player who took illegal relief from GUR in a water hazard, dropping and playing a ball outside the hazard in the wrong place. With one act (dropping the ball outside the hazard is one act), he has violated two Rules (the prohibition against taking relief from GUR in a water hazard and dropping in the wrong place). When one act results in two Rules being breached, one penalty is applied [Decision 1-4/12, #2]. The total penalty for the player in your scenario is two strokes.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ask Linda #614-Dog plays with ball

Linda…a question with two different scenarios:

1) A ball at rest is picked up by a stray dog.  This happened recently to my foursome when a dog grabbed a ball that was already on the green when the ball was fully at rest.  We assumed you could replace the ball at the same spot.

2) A ball in motion is picked up by a stray dog.  Believe it or not, this also happened on the same day by the same dog. A guy in our foursome had hit a chip from just off the green. While it was still in motion, the dog decided to play a game of fetch. We simply made our best guess of where it would have eventually come to rest, but I suspect the shot should have been replayed.

Lou from Texas 

Dear Lou,

In the world of golf, a dog is an outside agency. When a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced [Rule 18-1]. Your procedure in the first question was correct.

When a ball in motion is deliberately deflected or stopped by an outside agency, the Note to Rule 19-1 comes into play. Since the stroke in your second question was made from off the putting green, the spot where the ball would have come to rest must be estimated. Assuming the players agreed that the ball would have stayed on the green, the player will place his ball on the agreed-upon spot. (Off the green, the ball would be dropped.) Your procedure in the second question was also correct. Way to go, Lou!

You would cancel a stroke that was stopped or deflected by an outside agency and replay it if the stroke were made from on the putting green [Rule 19-1b].

Copyright © 2013 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Dear readers,

I will be on vacation from February 23 through the end of March. Please do not send me any questions during that time.

Don’t forget that there is a Search box directly under my photo. I have answered over 600 questions since 2008 – if you’re careful about what words you put in the Search box, there’s a good chance that you can find the answer to many questions you may have while I’m away.

You will continue to receive Ask Linda columns in March. I have columns scheduled to post throughout the month. If you have questions or comments on any of these columns, please save them until April.

Until then,

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ask Linda #613-Borrowing a club

Hi Linda,

If a player uses a club (in this case driver) of a fellow competitor (just because he liked it better), is that player penalised or disqualified? And what penalty is given to the player that knowingly lent the club and knew that it was against the rules. Is he penalised or disqualified? 

Thank you,

Dear Lou,

A player is not permitted to use a fellow competitor’s club. The penalty is two strokes per hole, maximum four strokes per round [Rule 4-4a].

If this were match play, the state of the match would be adjusted by deducting one hole per breach, maximum two holes.

If the two players are partners, they may share clubs if the total carried by the two players does not exceed 14. In other words, if Bill is carrying 6 clubs, and Jim is carrying 8, they may share.

The player who lends the club is not penalized. However, if it can be established that he intentionally gave the club to his fellow competitor to cause him to incur a penalty and influence the final standings of the tournament, the Committee would want to address this as an etiquette issue; disqualification would be a possible outcome.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.