Friday, May 30, 2014

Ask Linda #854-Hazard boundary

Ask Linda #854-Hazard boundary

Linda…the course I play has a lateral hazard on the left side of a par five. The hole is a sweeping dogleg, and while the hazard has red stakes, there is no visible red line on the ground. Because of the dogleg and the distance between the red stakes, drawing a straight line between stakes to define the hazard line gives a far different answer than assuming an equal distance between the water edge and the red stake. Question…to determine the hazard line in the absence of a red line on the ground, do you always draw a straight line between the stakes or do you assume the red line would follow a logical path around a curve in the hazard?

Lou from Texas

Dear Lou,

When there is no line on the ground, the margin of a hazard is defined by the stakes. If the Committee has placed a sufficient number of stakes to properly mark the hazard, you should be able to determine the margin of the hazard by drawing an imaginary line from one stake to the next.

However, not all Committees are diligent about staking hazards, and hazard stakes often disappear for various reasons. If the margin of the hazard is not properly marked, the player may not take advantage of or be penalized by the error. Therefore, if the ball clearly lies in the hazard, the player must proceed under the Rules for a ball in a water hazard [Decision 26/2]. The same holds true if the ball clearly lies outside the hazard.

In determining the margin of an unmarked or improperly marked hazard, the player should follow the same guidelines that a Committee would. The margin of the hazard is where the ground breaks down to form the depression that holds the water [Decision 33-2a/4]. When the area adjacent to the margin is covered with dense undergrowth, you may use the cut line as your hazard margin.

Copyright © 2014 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ask Linda #853-Is the original ball a wrong ball?

Hi Linda,

Not sure if you can answer the following – this took place in a strokes play competition:

Ball no. 1 - hit from tee but lands in long grass.

Ball no. 2 (provisional) - hit from tee but also lands in long grass.

The player and her two fellow competitors go and look for balls.

No ball found.

Player goes back and hits ball no. 3 - this also lands in long grass but beside original ball (ball no.1 now found).

Player now goes and plays her original ball (no. 1) and continues the game.

Q.  Was she right to play ball no. 1, or is she disqualified for playing the wrong ball?

Q. Which ball should she have played and what is the penalty?

Would be most grateful if you can answer the above.

Lulu from Dublin, Ireland

Dear Lulu,

The player hits her original ball plus one provisional ball, both from the tee. So far so good. Once she goes forward to search, she may not return to hit another provisional. When she returns to the tee and hits the third ball, that ball becomes her ball in play, and is her fifth stroke on the hole. Both the original and the provisional are now “lost” [Definition of “Lost Ball”].

When the player hits her original ball, she is hitting a “wrong ball” [Definition of “Wrong Ball”]. She incurs a two-stroke penalty, and must correct the error before teeing off on the next hole. If the error is not corrected in time, she is disqualified [Rule 15-3b].

Copyright © 2014 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ask Linda #852-Ball ricochets off club and goes into hole

Linda, I was under the tree for my 2nd shot on a Par 4 hole. My intention was just to punch the ball back to the fairway. For some reason I shanked it and it went straight to the green and then to the hole where a foursome was on the putting green. One guy told me the ball hit a club lying on the ground before it went to the hole, the other guy said it did not hit any equipment just went straight to the hole. My question, Linda, is what is my score?
 Thanks again.
Lou from California

Dear Lou,

Your score on this Par-4 was 2. Congratulations on your most unusual eagle, Lou.

Someone else’s club lying on the green is an outside agency. When (if) your ball ricochets off a club and goes into the hole, you incur no penalty and you must play the ball as it lies [Rules 19-4, 19-1]. This is known as a “rub of the green.”

Copyright © 2014 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Ask Linda #851-Too many players in group

Hi Linda,
Is it acceptable for another 2 ball to join on with 2 other 2 balls in a foursome competition - in other words to have 6 people playing together in 3 teams? I have just had a disagreement about this with 2 club members who wanted to join with myself and partner and our markers in a foursome competition. Their argument for joining with us was that they had no markers and that although there would be 6 of us we were effectively playing only 3 balls. I felt that this number playing together was unacceptable and so I refused. Are there any rules for this or is it simply a matter of etiquette?
Many thanks for your thoughts on this
Best regards,
Lulu from N. Ireland

Dear Lulu,

The Committee has the responsibility of arranging the groups [Rule 33-3]. If one team does not have markers, or their markers have withdrawn from the competition, a Committee member should determine how the odd team will be marked. You will have to play as a group of six if the Committee makes that decision.

Playing in a group of six is not ideal. It would be best if the Committee found someone to mark the extra team. Another player on the course or even a member of the Committee could serve that purpose.

Copyright © 2014 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Ask Linda #850-Break twig outside hazard, ball in hazard

Dear Linda,
In a recent game my ball came to rest in a playable spot inside a lateral water hazard. The red stakes on our course are deemed moveable so I proceeded to remove one that would have interfered with my swing. In doing so I broke a twig on a tree whose branches were overhanging the whole area. The branch from where the twig broke was not inside the hazard, although other branches from the same tree do overhang the hazard. Breaking the twig did not improve the area of my intended swing, although other parts of the same tree did interfere with my swing.

My questions are:

1. Is there a penalty for breaking the twig?
2. Would the penalty situation be any different had that twig been in the hazard?
3. Had the twig I broke actually been interfering with my swing, I presume there is a penalty for improving the intended path of my swing whether that’s with a practice swing or other accidental act?
4. Does #3 change if the twig is inside or outside the hazard?

Sorry about all the questions but this one has me stumped (bad pun I know)!!
Lou from Ireland

Dear Lou,

A player is not permitted to break anything growing that will improve his lie, the area of his intended stance or swing, or his line of play [Rule 13-2]. Judging from your narrative, you did not break this Rule. The answers to your questions, therefore, are:

1. No
2. No
3. Yes
4. No

Copyright © 2014 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ask Linda #849-Relief from immovable hazard stake

Hi Linda,

On a par 4 with a ditch (marked as a lateral water hazard) that runs along the left side of the fairway, I hit my tee shot and it landed a few inches outside the hazard margin. I then took my 7-iron and prepare to hit my second shot. My stance unfortunately is within the hazard. Also, hazard stakes are made of a concrete post (also serve as a protective barrier for the golf carts) and declared as an immovable obstruction and interfere with my area of intended swing.

I called a marshal for a ruling. He said that I can get relief, without penalty, since the stake is an immovable obstruction and my ball lay through the green. My flight mate disagreed and said that there is no relief from an immovable obstruction in a hazard and either I play the ball where it lies or declare it unplayable. I tend to agree with the marshal’s ruling, but really, I’m not sure myself.

I end up following the marshal’s ruling but want to know what you and the book says.

Thank you and more power!
Lou from the Philippines

Dear Lou,

The marshal’s ruling was correct, Lou. I addressed a similar question in July of last year. Here is the section of that column that answers your question:

If a player’s ball does not lie in a hazard, he is entitled to free relief from an immovable water hazard stake under Rule 24-2b. However, if his ball lies in the hazard, there is no free relief [Rule 24-2, Note 1]. A player whose ball lies in a hazard who is unable to hit the ball due to interference from an immovable hazard stake must take relief under Rule 26-1 (Relief for Ball in Water Hazard). All of the relief options in 26-1 include a one-stroke penalty

Be aware that Committees are permitted to label all water hazard stakes as “immovable obstructions” [Definition of Obstruction, Note). In that case, players would be prohibited from removing any water hazard stake on the course. Players outside the hazard would be entitled to drop away from the stakes; players inside the hazard would have no free relief option.

Copyright © 2014 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.