Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ask Linda #649-Hit wrong ball multiple times

Linda… In playing a par five my playing partner’s ball and mine were fairly close after the initial tee shot and unfortunately we mistakenly hit each other’s ball. We were playing the same brand and did not notice what we had done until after we had putted out and finished the hole. We are virtually certain this occurred on our second shot as we played down opposite sides of the fairway from then on out and it was always very obvious where we each had hit.  I know there is a two-stroke penalty for hitting the wrong ball but we hit the wrong ball multiple times. I am guessing that we should have gone back to the original location at which we hit the wrong ball, each take a 2-stroke penalty, and play out the hole from there completely ignoring every other shot that was played with the wrong ball but I am really not sure. Can you help?

Lou from Texas

Dear Lou,

Your understanding is correct, Lou. Both players incur a two-stroke penalty for hitting a wrong ball. None of the strokes made while hitting the wrong ball count in your score. Both must return to the spot where the wrong ball was hit, drop a ball, and continue play. If you fail to do this before you tee off on the next hole, the penalty is disqualification [Rule 15-3b].

This unfortunate occurrence should serve as a reminder to everyone why it is so important to draw a personal identification mark on your golf ball.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Ask Linda #648-Putt holding flagstick

Linda, may I enquire please of a situation which has occurred a couple of times.

My ball ends up on edge of hole after a good chip and I have both putter and wedge in hand. In the interest of pace, I approach hole, pull out flag myself, lean it against my shoulder, and tap the ball in one-handed with the wedge in my other hand leaning against the ground and my left leg/hand.

My regular playing partner, reluctant to cough up a sovereign, has tried to penalise me each time for building a stance (he regularly tries to employ rules in a negative fashion against other players). If he is right it might save me strangling him next time.

Lou from Manchester

Dear Lou,

A player is permitted to hold the flagstick in one hand while he putts with the other hand [Decision 17-1/5].

However, if the flagstick is touching the ground, it might appear that you are using the flagstick to help steady yourself. This would constitute using equipment in an unusual manner, and is a violation of Rule 14-3 [Decision 14-3/9]. The penalty is disqualification.

If you are able to hold the flagstick and your wedge above the ground while you tap in your putt with the other hand, your procedure is within the Rules. Otherwise, lay everything down or hand it off to someone else and putt properly.

It is commendable to try to save time, but when you weigh a few seconds against a possible disqualification I trust you will make the right choice.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Ask Linda-Flooded bunkers

Hi Linda

You may be aware of unprecedented weather conditions during the last year in the UK (including months when there was 30-50% more rain than EVER previously recorded) swamping erstwhile satisfactory drainage systems. On our course (and presumably many others) this resulted in (i) a large number of our bunkers being full (or nearly full) of water and/or (ii) conditions that did not permit effective repair and maintenance (of the bunkers.)

Our committee's response was to declare variously some, most or all bunkers as GUR. Whilst this was an eminently reasonable response, was it legal?

[I am thinking of a recent question (re scorecards) and, indeed, many other situations, where a committee makes rules instead of applying them.]

Lou from the UK

Dear Lou,

Declaring flooded bunkers to be GUR is both reasonable and legal!

In exceptional circumstances, when Committees are convinced that certain particular bunkers that are flooded have no chance of drying up during the round, it may introduce a Local Rule that provides free relief without penalty outside the bunker. It must list those specific bunkers in the Local Rule.

The situation should be monitored carefully. As bunkers dry up, they should be removed from the “free relief” list in the Local Rule.

A detailed explanation, including the proper wording for the Local Rule, can be found in Decision 33-8/27. You may also want to take a look at the R&A explanation: http://www.randa.org/Rules-and-Amateur-Status/Rules-in-Focus.aspx

Copyright © 2013 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Ask Linda #647-Ball lands on spectator

Linda, when a professional golfer hits his ball in the gallery and it lands on someone and stays (lap, pants cuff, chair, etc.), why does the person sit there and not move until the golfer gets there? What would happen if they stood up and the ball fell to the ground?

Lou from Pennsylvania

Dear Lou,

A spectator is an “outside agency.” When a player’s ball comes to rest on a spectator’s lap (to use your example), the player must drop the ball on the ground directly under where it landed [Rule 19-1a]. If the spectator remains still, with the ball in his lap, it is easy to locate the exact spot on which to drop the ball.  If he stands up and the ball rolls off his lap to to a new spot, it will take a little more time to establish the correct spot to drop the ball. The player would have to establish where the spectator was sitting when the ball landed in his lap. Everyone saves a little time and trouble if the spectator stays put, but there wouldn’t be a serious problem if he happened to stand up.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ask Linda #646-Ball strikes opponent’s cart

A couple of days ago my wife was playing in a women's league. Her drive went into the trees. Her recovery shot bounced off of another tree and then struck her opponent's cart.
Does my wife incur a penalty as a result? If so, how many strokes?
Thank you,
Lou from South Carolina

Dear Lou,

There is no penalty when a player’s ball strikes an opponent’s or a fellow competitor’s cart. In match play, she may either play the ball as it lies or cancel the stroke immediately and replay the shot [Rule 19-3]. In stroke play she must play the ball as it lies [Rule 19-4].

In both match and stroke play, if the cart had been her own or her partner’s, she would incur a one-stroke penalty and play the ball as it lies [Rule 19-2].

Copyright © 2013 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.