Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ask Linda #1079-How to count penalty strokes

Dear Linda,

In a recent round with some friends, we had a disagreement on scoring this scenario: A player tees off & lands in the lake shy of the green. He tees up another ball, hits & lands on the green. This same player now states that he will add a one-stroke penalty, so he will be hitting #3 when we get to the green? The rest of us felt like “wait a minute,” your first hit went into the water. Now you ADD a penalty stroke, meaning your score is already 2. Then you tee up another ball, and hit what is now #3, so when you get to the green you will be hitting stroke #4. Can you please help us settle this matter based on your knowledge of the rules? Thank you in advance for your help, and have a great day!

Best regards,
Lou from Louisville, Kentucky

Dear Lou,

Your understanding is correct. The player’s putt will be his fourth shot on the hole.

The first stroke from the tee is shot #1. When a player chooses to take relief from a water hazard (regardless of which relief option he chooses), he must add a one-stroke penalty to his score. Shot #2 is the penalty stroke for playing another ball under stroke and distance [Rule 26-1a]. His second stroke from the tee is shot #3. When he putts the ball that reached the green, he will be hitting shot #4 on the hole.

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