Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ask Linda #963-Order of play

Hi Linda,

My opponent’s second shot landed on the green 15 yards away from the hole. My ball landed about 2 feet before the green but just about 8 yards away from the hole. Who will play his next stroke first? The "book" states that during play of hole, the ball farther from the hole is played first but my opponent insisted that since I'm still off the green, I should play first. Can you please clarify?

Thank you,
Lou from The Philippines

Dear Lou,

The ball farther from the hole is played first [Rule 10-1b]. The Rule does not change when the ball closer to the hole is off the green and the ball further from the hole is on the green. Your opponent, who was further from the hole, should have played first.

In match play, there is no penalty for playing out of turn. However, your opponent may require you to cancel and replay your stroke in the proper order [Rule 10-1c].

In stroke play, there is no penalty and no option to recall the stroke. However, if it is determined that the players have intentionally played out of turn to give one of them an advantage, both players are disqualified [Rule 10-2c].

In stroke play, players will often play out of turn near the green to speed up the pace of play. There is less fiddling with the flagstick if all players are on the green before putting commences. And you will often see players tap the ball in when their first putt stops near the hole, rather than marking and waiting for their turn.

In match play, you will lose both a psychological and a strategic advantage by agreeing to play out of order – psychological in that the pressure shifts to your opponent if he has to hit first; strategic in that you will have more knowledge about the putting green by observing your opponent’s putt.

You can ignore order of play in stroke play in order to speed up the pace; you should always play in the correct order in match play.

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