Is there some time when I’m not allowed to mark my ball on
the green in stroke play? I swear I heard the announcer say in the Masters
broadcast that two players could not mark their balls because the third member
of their threesome had a bunker shot to play.
That’s a new one on me, Lou. I would suggest that you don’t
put much stock in Rules information given out by sports announcers.
In stroke play, players customarily mark their balls on the
green so that they can clean them, and so that other competitors will not be at
risk for the two-stroke penalty that comes with hitting another ball on the
green when the player putts his own ball from on the green.
If two balls are on the green and the third player has yet
to hit onto the green, that third player may request that the balls on the
green be marked if they are in his way, or any player may ask that a ball be
lifted that he feels might assist that third player [Rule 22].
If the balls lying on the green neither assist nor interfere
with play, there is neither a requirement to lift them nor a prohibition
against lifting them; if it will save time to leave the balls in place, it’s
best to leave them.
One instance I can think of where you would not be permitted
to mark and lift the balls on the green is as follows:
Two balls lie on the green. The third player has a 120-yard
shot to the green, and he asks that the balls be marked because they interfere
with his play. This request is denied, because waiting for the other two
players to walk all the way up to the green before hitting his ball would
unduly delay play.
I wear a Ace velcro elbow support when I golf and my friends
say that's not legal. I tell them take off their golf gloves and I'll
take off the elbow support as I see no difference between the two. What
Lou from Turkey
A player is permitted to use equipment, such as an elbow
support, that is designed to alleviate a medical condition [Rule 14-3,
Exception 1]. He may also use eyeglasses, band-aids, and artificial limbs
[Decisions 14-3/3, 8, 15].
Two burning questions that our group does not seem to answer
1 - If your ball comes to rest on or off the fairway in a
drainage gully is it a free drop?
2 - If your ball comes to rest off of the fairway in bushes
that has rabbit droppings or rabbit holes (that you may not be able to get a
free stance) can you take a free drop?
Lou from the UK
1. A drainage ditch is a water hazard [Definition of Water
Hazard]. If you decide to seek relief, you may choose any of the options in
Rule 26-1 and you will incur a one-stroke penalty.
2. There is no free drop from rabbit droppings. However,
they are loose impediments, and you may brush them out of the way.
A rabbit is a
burrowing animal. If your ball is in a rabbit hole, or the hole interferes with
your stance or the area of your intended swing, you are entitled to free relief
for interference by an “abnormal ground condition" [Rule 25-1].
However, it must be absolutely clear that the rabbit hole is responsible for interfering with your stance. In the case of a rabbit hole located under a bush, it would seem likely that the bush is the culprit. You are not permitted free relief if something other than the abnormal ground condition (e.g., a rabbit hole) interferes with your shot [Exception under Rule 25-1].
Hoping you can clarify this for us. As I have mentioned
before, we are a small 9-hole club and use 2 sets of tees to play our 18 holes.
Most of the teeing areas are separated by at least 10 metres and marked with
different coloured tee markers. However our 2nd hole tee block doesn't allow us
much room to differentiate the markers. This often leads to people mistakenly
teeing off the wrong marker. I know the rule for teeing off in front of the
markers. Does this also apply to teeing off from the wrong teeing ground?
Also, in another incident we had a couple of players say
that they both played off the wrong tee but didn't realise until they had
already started the next hole. It was a social game so not important, but they
felt that because they had both made the same mistake it didn't matter. I said
that had it been a tournament they would both probably be disqualified for not
correcting the mistake. Just to confirm, it is a 2-stroke penalty in stroke
play and optional to get the player to replay the tee shot without penalty in
match play? The main clarification I’m looking for is what happens if all
players in the group make the same mistake.
Just to clarify, there is no difference in distance to the
hole on the tee block in question; the markers are side by side. Someone has
suggested the simplest solution would be to keep the tee markers beside each
other so the teeing ground doesn't vary at all.
Lou from Great Barrier Island, NZ
In stroke play, if a player tees off from outside the teeing
ground or from the wrong teeing ground, he incurs a two-stroke penalty and must
play a ball from the correct teeing ground. If he tees off on the next hole
without correcting his mistake, he is disqualified [Rules 11-4 and 11-5]. If
all the players in the group make the same mistake, they all incur the same
penalty (two strokes if corrected in time, disqualification if not).
In match play, there is no penalty, but the player’s
opponent may require that the player cancel the stroke and play from the
correct teeing ground.
Since the teeing area is so small on your second hole, and
hitting from the wrong markers is a recurring problem with a severe penalty,
the suggestion to place the markers together on that hole is a good one. It has
If my ball is on the green, obviously I must remove the flagstick
to putt out to avoid a penalty. Suppose my ball is on the green and after
I putt, the ball ends up off the green. If I replace the flagstick and
hole out my next stroke, do I incur a penalty since my ball was originally on
Lulu from Pennsylvania
The flagstick may be replaced in the hole if your putt
finishes off the green. As long as the flagstick is unattended, there is no
penalty for hitting the flagstick in the hole when your stroke is made from off
the putting green [Rule 17-3].