Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ask Linda #924-Marking ball on green

Linda, when someone asks me to move my mark on the putting green and I use my putter to move it one or two club heads, according to the request of my fellow competitor, it is not necessary to place the ball, is it?

I mean in this procedure anyone is lifting and moving the mark while the head of the club is on the ground substituting the mark, right?

I am asking you this because in this procedure there is no ball and mark on the ground, just the head of the putter.

Can we use another procedure to move the mark?

Lou from Argentina

Dear Lou,

The position of the ball must always be marked. If you are asked to move your marker, place your clubhead to the side of the marker, align it with a fixed object (a tree, for example, not a goose), and move your marker to the other side of the clubhead. If you need to move the ball two clubheads, just repeat the procedure.

If you haven't lifted your ball yet, you may measure the clubhead length from the side of the ball, placing your marker on the far side of the clubhead. When you reverse the process, you will replace the ball (not the marker and then the ball). 

Tip: Try placing your marker upside down on the green as a reminder that you have moved your ball and will need to replace it. 

Copyright © 2014 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ask Linda #923-Relief from obstruction in hazard

Hi Linda,
On our first hole and 18th holes there are cement drainage ditches on both sides of the fairway in the woods. To save time the course has declared the woods lateral hazards. My ball rolled into one of the drainage ditches. My swing is interfered with. Do I get relief? Or because the ditch is in a hazard I'm out of luck and have to accept the penalty and take the two-club-length relief. Thanks.
Lou from Florida

Dear Lou,

Players are not entitled to relief from an immovable obstruction in a water hazard or lateral water hazard [Rule 24-2b, Note 1]. If you cannot play the ball as it lies, your relief options are those for a ball in a lateral water hazard. All of those options come with a penalty stroke to add to your score [Rule 26-1].

I am aware that courses have been known to mark woods as lateral hazards in the interest of pace of play (ostensibly to save players the trip back to where they last hit their original ball if it is now lost). I am also aware that woods are not lateral hazards, and that courses are not permitted to mark woods as lateral hazards [Decision 33-8/35].

There is an inherent danger in making up your own rules. Marking the woods as a lateral hazard takes away the golfer’s right to free relief from an immovable obstruction. Players looking to save time should hit a provisional ball for a ball that might be lost in the woods. Pace of play is improved by hitting a provisional ball, not by mislabeling the woods. Perhaps the course might be encouraged to remove the hazard stakes and install a sign on the tee encouraging players to hit a provisional ball if their shot has entered the woods.

Copyright © 2014 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Ask Linda #922-Relief from cart path

Hey Linda...this stuff is great...learning a lot....thx
Have a question....my ball lies up against a cement cart path that interferes with my stance and swing. I get a drop...problem is cart path is 6 inches from OB stakes bordering dense bush.......my only complete relief is 20 feet to right on other side of path. I can go far enough to maintain same distance from hole...is this the correct drop procedure?

Thx.  Lou from Ontario 

Dear Lou,

When you are looking for the nearest point of relief (NPR), you must find the closest spot, not nearer the hole, where the condition from which you are seeking relief will no longer interfere with your stance or swing. In the case of a cart path six inches from OB stakes bordering dense bushes, if the nearest point of relief is on those six inches of grass, that is where you must drop. You may not take into consideration the OB stakes or the dense bushes. You are only entitled to relief from the cart path, not from trees, bushes, fences, OB stakes, etc., that might interfere with your swing after you drop away from the cart path.

This is a classic case of why I always remind you to assess your relief option before you decide whether to lift and drop your ball away from the immovable obstruction. The NPR may be in an unplayable lie. Is that preferable to hitting the ball off the cart path? I think not. If you are worried about marring your club, consider using your putter.

Copyright © 2014 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ask Linda #921-Drop within two club-lengths


Is it not true that you must drop WITHIN the second club-length of the relief area for an unplayable ball, or can I drop anywhere within the two club-length area?  

I had a rules official inform me that this is how one must drop on a two club-length drop.   

Lou from Minnesota

Dear Lou,

That may be one of the strangest rulings I have ever heard, Lou. The official was incorrect. If you look at the wording under Rule 28 (Ball Unplayable), you will see that Section C says "Drop a ball within two club-lengths…" It does not say "within the second club-length." Your rules official needs to go back to school.

Copyright © 2014 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ask Linda #920 revised

I have added information to my answer to the reader's second question in yesterday's column. Please revisit it: http://lindamillergolf.blogspot.com/2014/09/ask-linda-920-move-ball-while-marking.html

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ask Linda #920-Move ball while marking

Linda…I have two questions for you today. The first involves inadvertently moving your ball during the marking process. Recently I was marking my ball and the knuckle of my thumb touched the ball and moved it about 1/8 of a revolution. At the time the ball moved the ball marker was already in the correct place and I am 100% confident that the ball was placed at the correct location when I replaced the ball for putting. However, the ball did move in a manner that was basically simultaneous as to when I marked it. Is this a penalty?

The second question has to do with intent. If a person inadvertently brushes his/her ball with a practice swing and the ball moves, is this considered a stroke or would it be a one-stroke penalty and replace the ball to its original location? Again, no intent to hit the ball. 

Lou from Texas 

Dear Lou,

Answer to Question #1:
There is no penalty if you accidentally move your ball (or your ball-marker) during the process of marking and lifting your ball [Rule 20-1]. You must replace your ball or ball-marker.

Answer to Question #2:
There is no intent to hit the ball during a practice swing. Therefore, it is not a stroke, which requires intent [Definition of “Stroke”]. It is instead an accidental movement of your ball in play. You incur a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a, and you must replace your ball before you hit it.

There is no penalty if you move your ball with a practice swing prior to your initial shot on the teeing ground, since the ball is not yet in play. Tee up another ball (or the same ball, if you haven't hit it too far with your practice swing). 

Copyright © 2014 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Ask Linda #919-Double hit

Hi Linda,
I need some clarification on the following situation that happened just 3 hours ago:
It is a par 3 hole. Fellow competitor tees off and ball was at the apron. He lofted his 2nd shot and on his follow through his club made contact with the ball that was in flight. He then holed out with one putt. The ruling I made was two strokes for his second shot and gave him a bogey. But another competitor contested this decision. His contention was a ball in motion was hit and that altered its flight so the penalty should be two strokes and the score should be a double bogey, not bogey. Your advice on this is appreciated.
Many thanks,
Lou from Malaysia

Dear Lou,

Your understanding of the Rule is correct. A player is penalized one stroke when a ball is contacted more than once with a single swing [Rule 14-4]. The player in your narrative scored a 4: tee shot, chip, one-stroke penalty for the double hit, one putt.

Copyright © 2014 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.