Friday, February 27, 2015

Ask Linda #1005a-Follow-up to #1005

1. Would the answer be the same if the original ball were found in the water hazard after the player dropped another ball but before he played it?
2. Is it too late to play the original ball, assuming it is playable from the water hazard?
3. Or could finding the original ball in the hazard change the place where the substituted ball should be played from?
4. And what if the original ball were found outside the water hazard after the substituted ball was dropped? 
Have a great day.
Lou from Québec, Canada

Dear Lou,

1. The player was certain his ball was in the lateral water hazard. As soon as he dropped a ball under Rule 26-1c, that substituted ball became the ball in play [Rule 20-4].

2. He would not be permitted to play his original ball, even if he spotted it before he hit the dropped ball [Decision 26-1/3.5].

3. If the player misjudged where the original ball entered the hazard, and the discovery came before he hit the dropped ball, he must re-drop in the correct place. He may not play the original ball [Decision 26-1/16]. Before you ask, I will tell you that if the player had already hit the dropped ball, it would be in play with the one-stroke penalty for relief from a water hazard but no additional penalty for playing from a wrong place [Decision 26-1/17].

4. It is unlikely a player who is certain his ball is in a water hazard will find it outside the hazard. However, it does happen on occasion. In this event, the player must play the dropped ball under penalty of one stroke; he may not play the original ball [Decision 26-1/3.5, last paragraph].

Copyright © 2015 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Ask Linda #1007-Ball hits cart and ricochets OB

Hi Linda,
If, on the way toward scooting out of bounds, your shot hits your golf cart (or bag), would you be assessed two separate penalty strokes for each infraction?
Lou from Chicopee, Massachusetts

Dear Lou,

The player incurs one penalty stroke for hitting his own equipment, and he must play the ball as it lies [Rule 19-2]. Since the ball settled out of bounds, the player incurs an additional one-stroke penalty and must play his next shot from the spot where he hit his previous shot [Rule 27-1b]. The total number of penalty strokes is two.

Copyright © 2015 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ask Linda #1006-Preferred lies restricted to own fairway

Hi Linda,
Could you please clarify a ruling:

I recently played in a tournament and the Local Rule for the day was preferred lies.
I hit my ball onto the adjacent fairway but was advised before doing so that the preferred-lie ruling only applied on the fairway of the hole I was playing. I played the ball as it lay.
I did ask for confirmation from another person once the tournament was finished and they confirmed the same.

Is this correct?

Lou from Spain

Here is the question I posed to Lou:

Lou, was the Local Rule announced or written? Please let me know exactly what was said or written.

And Lou’s reply:

I believe it was written, part of a list of rules of the day for the competition handed to me prior to my competition start time. I am unable to remember the exact wording. Never thought the actual wording was that important, I just assumed "winter rules were winter rules."

Finally, my answer:

Dear Lou,

If the only instruction you received was to play “preferred lies” (also called “winter rules”), you would be permitted to mark, lift, clean, and place the ball if it were lying on any closely-mown area “through the green.” This means you would be entitled to relief on any fairway (not just the fairway of the hole you are playing) and on any path through the rough or any other part of the course that has been cut to fairway height or less [Appendix I, Part B, Rule 4c].

In adopting preferred lies for a tournament, the Committee may specify a more restricted area than “through the green.” For example, it may limit preferred lies to the fairway of the hole you are playing, or limit preferred lies to a particular hole or holes. Any limitation on preferred lies should be clearly communicated to the competitors.

This is why I asked whether you received specific instructions regarding preferred lies. If the directive were simply that “preferred lies are in effect,” you should have been entitled to a preferred lie any time your ball was lying in grass cut to fairway height or less anywhere on the course.

Copyright © 2015 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ask Linda #1005-Drop and hit outside hazard before search

Hi Linda,

Our little nine hole course is in the middle of heavy bush/scrub where we live in NZ. Many of the edges of the fairways are deemed lateral hazard as the chances of finding a ball are not always good.
One of our short par fours is basically like playing down a corridor with bush on both sides and it is not uncommon to have balls go "bush".

We often walk to the spot where the ball crossed the margin, drop a ball and play it as a provisional before walking into the bush for a quick look as occasionally you will find it and sometimes might even have a shot. I'm thinking that we actually should be playing the provisional from the tee? That if we play from where we cross the margin it isn't a provisional and that to do that we need to declare the ball lost and play the normal options for lost ball? I know this sounds obvious but we've been doing this so long it's become ingrained.

Thank you again for your help.
Lou from New Zealand

Dear Lou,

My problem with your question is that it is not permitted to label an area a lateral hazard if it is not, indeed, a lateral hazard. However, I understand that I am not going to convince you or anyone at the course to remove the hazard stakes and treat it as rough. I will therefore answer your question, pretending that it relates to an actual lateral hazard.

There is no reason to hit a provisional for a ball in a lateral hazard if you plan to drop within two club-lengths of the spot where it last crossed the margin of the hazard. You should proceed to that spot and take a quick look for your ball (or not, as you prefer). If you find the ball, and it is playable, carry on. If it is unplayable, or you do not find it, drop a ball within two club-lengths of where it last crossed the margin, no closer to the hole. 

If you drop and hit before you search for your ball, it is not a provisional (as you suggest); it is in play and your original ball is “lost” under the Rules. Once you drop a ball and hit it you have given up your opportunity to hit your ball out of the hazard.

Copyright © 2015 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ask Linda #1004-Relief from OB casual water

Hi Linda,

Let's say a ball is in bounds but near the out of bounds line so the stance is out of bounds and also in casual water. Is there any relief from the casual water?

Lou from Massachusetts

Dear Lou,


Casual water is defined as an abnormal ground condition only when it is on the course [Definition of “Abnormal Ground Conditions”]. There is no free relief available from abnormal ground conditions that lie out of bounds.

If the player decides he is unable to hit his ball while standing in the casual water out of bounds, he may deem his ball unplayable and choose one of the relief options in Rule 28, all of which will add one penalty stroke to his score.

Copyright © 2015 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.