Friday, May 29, 2015

Ask Linda #1072-Interference from telephone pole

My second shot on the par-4 8th hole went left of the green, hit the side slope of the green, bounced across the cart path and ended up behind a telephone pole. I had a swing but the pole was directly between my ball and the green. My playing partners said there was no relief available because the pole and an electrical box on the pole were permanent obstructions. My other playing partner suggested playing two balls as per doubt of procedure (Rule 3-3). 
If I went left of the pole, I risked going into the back bunker. If I went to the right I would be playing back toward an area left of the green. I played to the right and was able to just catch the front left-hand corner of the fringe. I was able to get up and down for bogey. 
Should I have been granted relief?
Lou from New Jersey

Dear Lou,

There is no line-of-play relief from an obstruction, Lou. If the telephone pole doesn't interfere with your stance or the area of your intended swing, you must play the ball as it lies [Rule 24-2a].

Copyright © 2015 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ask Linda #1071-Pick up found club

Hi Linda,
Another question for you! We were playing in a competition yesterday, and, upon approaching the green, noticed that one the team ahead of us had left their pitching wedge on the side of the green. Each of us had 14 clubs in our bag. Could we pick up the club? One of the older golfers at the club advised that we could, as long as we held the club outside of our bags....I couldn't find a ruling on this, and thought to ask the expert!!

Hope all is well.

All the best,
Lulu from Ireland

Dear Lulu,

If a player carrying 14 clubs finds another player’s club on the golf course, she may carry it in her bag until she drops it off at the pro shop or hands it over to a ranger. There is no penalty unless she uses the club [Decision 4-4a/8].


Copyright © 2015 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ask Linda #1070-Touch grass in hazard

Hi Linda,
Thanks for your prompt answers to educate the golfers.
We have a few water hazards which are as such dry but are covered by grass of varying lengths. I would appreciate your answers to the following questions:
• How far down I can lower my club-head to address the ball?
• Can I ground my club? Can I rest the sole on top of the blades of short grass? What if the ball lies in 5-6 inches tall grass?
• If playing from the short grass the club-head or shaft touches the tall grass on the back swing, do I count a penalty stroke?
Please do add to your reply if any other point comes to your mind relating to this scenario.
Ever thankful,
Lou from Lahore, Pakistan

Dear Lou,

A player is prohibited from touching the ground in a hazard [Rule 13-4b]. The Note to that same Rule permits a player to touch any grass, bushes, trees, or other living things in a hazard at any time. So what does this all mean in relation to your questions?

Your club is considered “grounded” in a water hazard when the grass has been compressed to the point where it will support the weight of the club [Decision 13-4/8]. If you were to let go of the club, it would not move down. The penalty for grounding your club is two strokes/loss of hole.

You may touch the grass at address, but the weight of the club must be supported by you, not the ground. Lower it into the grass behind the ball, but hover the clubface above the ground.

You may touch the long grass in the hazard during a practice swing (or during your actual swing), but you will get a two-stroke/loss-of-hole penalty if the touching violates any of the provisions of Rule 13-2 [Decision 13-4/4]. For example, if your practice swing flattens the grass behind the ball, you will have improved the area of your intended swing [Decision 13-4/4]. There is no penalty if you flatten the grass during the backswing of your actual stroke, provided you complete the swing; if you flatten the grass on your backswing and discontinue your swing, you cannot avoid penalty.

Copyright © 2015 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ask Linda #1053 edited

Dear readers,

Please revisit the following column:

The answer has been changed, due to the diligent research of a reader from England.

Ask Linda #1069-Jewelry as a swing aid

Linda, thanks for all your informative posts. 

A lovely lady in my league always wears interesting and fun outfits. Lately she's added very long dangly earrings and when I complimented her she (unwittingly?) replied they help her remember to keep her head still. Would her earrings be considered a golf aide and thus illegal? Thx
Lulu from British Columbia

Dear Lulu,

No. There are no Rules prohibiting lovely ladies from wearing dangling earrings, for which Michelle Wie and other lovely ladies on the professional tour should give thanks.

Copyright © 2015 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Ask Linda #1068-Ball in play


When a player decides to return to the tee ground under penalty and distance his ball is not in play until he hit it again. Am I right about this?
I mean he is going to hit his third shot but his ball is not considering in play.

I am asking you this just to be sure about the situation of the player when he re-tee (sorry I don't know if this word exists) his ball.

Best regards ,
Lou from Argentina

Dear Lou,

A ball is “in play” as soon as it has been hit from the teeing ground. It remains in play until it is holed, except when it is lost, out of bounds, or lifted [Definition of “Ball in Play”].

When a player decides to return to the tee to play under stroke and distance (perhaps his original ball was out of bounds or unplayable), the ball he hits from the teeing ground the second time around (regardless of whether it is the original ball or a replacement) is not “in play” until he hits it.

Incidentally, whenever a player returns to the teeing ground to hit another ball, he is permitted to re-tee the ball and may do so anywhere on the teeing ground – he is not obligated to re-tee it on the same spot where he hit his original tee shot [Rule 20-5a].

Copyright © 2015 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Ask Linda #1067-Repair hole plug on green

Hi Linda,
When the greenkeeper makes a new hole on the green and fills in the old hole with that plug, sometimes the edges of the new plugged hole become raised (especially during winter – frost, de-frosting, ground swelling). My fellow golf companion today told me we’re not allowed to pat down this new plugged hole (with our putters, for example) – I always thought we could. Is she correct?  And therefore if I did pat the old plug down would I get a 2-stroke penalty for improving my line of putt?

Lulu from NZ

Dear Lulu,

Players are always entitled to repair old hole plugs on the green [Rule 16-1c]. This Rule has been around forever – I can’t imagine where your companion got her information.

And to dispel another myth, you may repair the old hole plug (and ball marks) whether or not your ball lies on the green.

Copyright © 2015 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.