Friday, October 11, 2013

Ask Linda #732-Roll ball with club

What is the rule for rolling a ball over?  I play in Florida and one of the courses down there tells players to roll the ball over "with the club" ... and not to touch it with their hand.  Is this the proper way? (Most players range from 65 to 80 years old.)
Lulu from Florida

Dear Lulu,

No, Lulu, this is not the proper way. If the rules of the day are “preferred lies,” players who move their ball must mark it, lift it, and place it within the prescribed distance (e.g., one foot, one club-length, etc.) no closer to the hole. They may clean the ball during this process [Appendix I, Part B, #4c].

If a player “rolls her ball over” with her club, she incurs a one-stroke penalty for moving her ball in play. If she doesn’t replace the ball before hitting it, the penalty increases to two strokes [Rule 18-2a].

Considering the age of the golfers, I suspect the motive behind this illegal requirement is to speed up the pace of play. However, requiring players to break the rules is not the answer to slow play. Assuming course conditions are good, there is no reason for players to move their balls at all.

If the authorities at the golf course really want to speed up play, telling players to play the ball “down” (as it lies) would go a long way to that end. The use of “preferred lies” is only recommended when conditions on the fairways are unfair (e.g., bad weather preventing the use of mowers).

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