Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ask Linda #889-Pitch marks and droppings on the putting green

Hi Linda,
What happens if the ball lands and stays in a pitch mark on the green?
What if it stays in its own pitch mark on the green?
Since the green is not "through the green," what happens in those two cases?

Another question (and this happened) - there were goose droppings on the green in the line of the putt - the droppings were not easily removed (not loose impediments) - do you get
relief? What if the ball was in the goose droppings? (yech!)

Thanks in advance
Lulu from Long Island, New York

Dear Lulu,

A player is always entitled to repair any damage on the putting green that was caused by the impact of a ball [Rule 16-1c]. Whether the ball rolls into someone else’s pitch mark, or embeds in its on pitch mark, the procedure is the same: mark and lift the ball, repair the pitch mark, replace the ball on the repaired ground.

Goose droppings, sad to say, are a common occurrence on golf courses. They are loose impediments and may be removed (I flick them away with a club). There is no relief if they have smeared on the green and cannot be removed.

If your ball is lying on goose droppings on the putting green, you may mark, lift, and clean your ball. Off the putting green, if the goose droppings adhere to your ball you are not permitted to lift and clean. This is because things that adhere to the ball (including dung and grass) are not loose impediments [Definition of “Loose Impediments”]. If the droppings do not adhere to your ball, you may flick them away (except in a hazard). However, if your ball is sitting on the droppings, regardless of whether they adhere to the ball, there is no way to move them without moving your ball, which would result in a penalty under Rule 18-2a.

Copyright © 2014 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ask Linda #888-Provisional ball holed

Hi Linda,

I wonder if you can help with this rules conundrum?

My fellow competitor and I both hit our original balls on a par 3 into the woods and fearing they may be lost we both play a provisional ball.  My fellow competitor’s provisional ball is poorly struck and also finishes in trouble while my provisional ball flies onto the green and into the hole for a 3. 

I clearly don't want the original ball found and have no intention of looking for it, however my fellow competitor does wish to find his original ball so that he can either hack it onto the green or at the very least declare it unplayable and return to the teeing ground.

If my provisional ball were teetering on the lip I could rush forward and put the provisional ball into play by tapping it in. I could then go and help my fellow competitor safe in the knowledge that even if we find my original ball it is now ‘lost’.  However, I cannot play the provisional ball again to make it the ball in play because it has been holed.

Do I have to wait 5 minutes while my fellow competitor searches, knowing that if he inadvertently (or deliberately!) finds my original ball he is obliged by the rules to inform me and I am obliged by the rules to identify it and play it, or does holing the ball automatically make it the ball in play? Or is there some other way I can make it the ball in play apart from teeing off on the next hole?

I’m sure you can help.  Thanks in advance.
Lou from the U.K.

Dear Lou,

As soon as you take your provisional ball out of the hole it will become your ball in play. The trick is to do this before your original is found. If your fellow competitor finds your original ball within five minutes and before you lift your provisional out of the hole, you must abandon the provisional and proceed with the original [Decision 27-2b/2]. You might want to invest in a good pair of running shoes for just such an occasion!

Copyright © 2014 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ask Linda #887-Multiple replacements

Hi Linda,
During a placement after two drops from a water hazard, when is the ball in play and not able to be re-touched?

I was asked recently, well actually told, that a player could replace, as many times as he likes, a ball to be placed, and only when he had removed his tee pegs, indicating two club lengths, was the ball in play. I disagreed. 

Lou from New Zealand

Dear Lou,

You were right to disagree. I assume you are placing the ball because your drop and re-drop rolled into a position not permitted under Rule 20-2c. When you place a ball, it is in play as soon as it comes to rest on the spot where you place it. In other words, once you remove your hand, and the ball is at rest, it is in play. At that point, if you pick the ball up and reposition it you will be penalized one stroke for lifting your ball in play, and two strokes if you don’t replace it before you hit it [Rule 18-2a].

If the ball moves after it has come to rest, you must play the ball from its new location (no penalty). Pay attention to where you place the ball – if you balance it on a small tuft of grass, and the ball subsequently rolls off its perch, your lie may be noticeably worse, and you will have to play it as it lies [Rule 20-3d].

The only time you will get another opportunity to touch the ball is if it fails to come to rest after two tries to place it on the correct spot. At that point you will have to place the ball on the nearest spot that is no closer to the hole and not in a hazard where it will remain at rest.

Assuming the ball stays put, the Rule is one placement per customer. The presence or absence of tees is irrelevant.

Copyright © 2014 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ask Linda #886-Post score after DQ         

Hi Linda,
Love your informative blog. I played in a match at my club today. I did not know the rule that it is a one-stroke penalty for taking relief from a tree root and consequently the score of 70 that I turned in should have been a 71. My question is, I was DQ’d for signing an incorrect score card. Do I post the corrected 71 with GHIN or is my score null and void and unpostable?
Lulu from Florida

Dear Lulu,

Post the score, Lulu, but it will be 72, not 71. Since you did not declare your ball unplayable, you incurred a two-stroke penalty for a breach of Rule 18-2a.

When a player has been disqualified from a tournament, but has an acceptable score, the score must be posted. Don’t forget to apply Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) to your score [The USGA Handicap System, Section 5-1].

This answer is intended for players living in countries governed by the USGA Handicap System.

Copyright © 2014 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ask Linda #885-Did the player clean the ball?

Hi Linda–
I really enjoy reading your daily rules info.

I have a question.

When you have marked and lifted your ball on the fairway at the request of another player, I know you are not allowed to clean your ball.

One of our ladies was accused of wrongdoing because she did not hold the ball clearly out in front of her between the thumb and forefinger. She said that the ball was sitting in the palm of her hand and she definitely did not clean it.

We can find nothing in the rules to say how the ball must be held in the circumstance, only that it must not be cleaned.

I would be grateful for your opinion.

Lulu from Scotland

Dear Lulu,

As you mentioned, a player is not permitted to clean her ball when she has been asked to lift it because it interferes with another player’s shot (unless the ball lies on the green) [Rule 21c]. A player who lifts such a ball and places it carefully in her palm is no more likely to have cleaned the ball than the player who holds it between two fingers. This player has incurred no penalty.

A player who closes her hand around the ball or drops it into her pocket may have inadvertently cleaned her ball. Any doubt would be resolved against the player.

Copyright © 2014 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.