Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ask Linda #743-Replacing one marker with another

Dear readers,
I am printing the entire exchange with the “Lulu” below to emphasize the importance of using correct terminology when discussing the Rules of Golf. I hope to drive home the point that the Rules are easier to understand if you spend time learning the Definitions in the front of the rulebook before trying to decipher the Rules.

Linda, during a recent round--all balls are on the green. I have marked and picked up my ball using a normal size small marker. My playing partner is away and not directly on line with my marker but she says my marker "distracts her." She then says "Here, replace it with my marker if you would." So I put her marker in place of mine. She then announces (like "triumphantly") that I will be assessed a one stoke penalty because I should have first replaced the ball before picking up and replacing the marker!!! Good grief---a friendly match---and I’m like doing her a favor!!!! BUT----did I violate a rule----or---did I pick the wrong "friend" to play with???
Thank You,

Lulu, I need some clarifications from you, please. 
1. What do you mean by "playing partner?" Was this woman your partner?
2. Was the format match play or stroke play?

Hi Linda,
This was a foursome playing an individual stroke play match.
Thanx, Lulu

Lulu, I assume when you say "foursome" you mean four players in the same group. ("Foursome" actually means "alternate shot.") I am still confused about the format. You are calling it a "stroke play match." Is it stroke play (total score in an 18-hole round) or match play (each hole is won, lost, or halved)?


It was stroke play.

Dear Lulu,

Just to review, you were playing in an individual stroke play competition. One of your fellow competitors asked you to replace your marker with hers, as she found your marker distracting. You complied by first picking up your marker and then putting hers down.

The problem with your procedure is that when you picked up your marker the position of the ball was no longer physically marked. You should have replaced your ball first, lifted your marker, put down her marker, and then lifted your ball. The penalty is one stroke [Rule 20-1].

I would like to think that your fellow competitor’s motive in asking you to switch markers was not to cause you to incur a penalty. The bottom line, however, is that a player is responsible for knowing the Rules. Understanding that the position of the ball on the green must always be marked would have saved you a stroke and the resultant aggravation caused by this incident.

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