Monday, August 31, 2015

Ask Linda #1138-Putt hits a ball set aside

Dear Linda,

The following refers to an actual game a couple of weeks ago and we are still discussing/arguing the answer.

Early morning Roll-up out in groups of 3 or 4.

Competition between each of the groups - best 2 Stableford scores to count on each hole; group with the highest score scoops the money.


All the players in a group are on the green. Player A who is furthest away asks Player B to mark his ball as it is on his line.

Player B marks and puts his ball aside, still on the green.  A's putt is so bad that it hits B's ball.

Any penalty?
Lou from England

Dear Lou,

Stablefords are governed, for the most part, by the rules of stroke play. A look at Rule 19-5a will tell you that in stroke play, when you putt your ball from on the putting green and your ball strikes another ball in play and at rest on the green, you incur a two-stroke penalty.

However, once a ball has been marked and lifted, it is no longer in play. Such a ball is defined as “equipment” [see Note 1 to the Definition of “Equipment”].

Now that we’re dealing with equipment, the applicable Rule is 19-2 if the players are partners, or 19-4 if they are fellow competitors. Let's review both situations.

If a player's ball is stopped or deflected by his own or his partner's equipment, he incurs a one-stroke penalty and must play the ball as it lies.

Fellow competitors:
When Player A’s putt strikes Player B’s ball that has been marked, lifted, and set aside, Player A’s ball has hit Player B’s equipment. Player A must play his ball as it lies [Decision 19-5/1]. There is no penalty to anyone.

You have to ask yourself why Player B didn’t put the ball in his pocket after he marked and lifted it. His carelessness affected someone else’s play and was the catalyst for two weeks of argument.

Copyright © 2015 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Ask Linda #1137-Remove divot from bunker

Hi Linda,
Can you please resolve this discussion/ruling?
During a boys’ tournament, a player outwith a bunker plays his shot and the divot goes into the bunker. Another player, who was in the same bunker, threw his divot back to him to place in the ground. A ruling was called and the player in the bunker was ruled a penalty but I disagree. I think that he has just used his etiquette and threw the divot back rather than the player walking into the bunker to retrieve it. What is the correct ruling please Linda?
Lou from Scotland

Dear Lou,

A player is entitled to the lie he had when his ball came to rest. If his ball lies in a bunker, and another player subsequently hits a shot that dislodges a divot, sending it into the bunker near the player’s ball, the player may remove the divot from the bunker [Decision 13-4/18]. This is not an etiquette issue; it is covered under the Rules.

If a pinecone, however, fell off a tree into the bunker after the player’s ball came to rest, he would not be permitted to remove it [Decision 13-4/18.5].

The difference in the rulings is a natural cause (falling pinecone) versus a man-made cause (divot).

Copyright © 2015 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ask Linda #1136-Different par; drop club in bunker


1. I am in a match play against a man. It's a par 5 for him and par 4 for me. We both par the hole…is it a tie?

2. If you accidentally drop your club in a bunker is there a penalty?

Thank so much,
Lulu from New Jersey

Dear Lulu,

Question #1: No, it is not a tie. Match play is based on the score for the hole – par does not enter the equation. A hole is won by the player who completes the hole in fewer strokes than the opponent [Rule 2-1]. So if the man scores 5 and you score 4, you win the hole.

Question #2: There is no penalty if you accidentally drop your club in a bunker. There was no intention to test the condition of the hazard. (For a list of actions that would and would not constitute testing the condition of the hazard, please read Decision 13-4/0.5). 

Copyright © 2015 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ask Linda #1135-Improper dropping procedure

Hi Linda,

In a match play game, my opponent's ball came to rest on a sprinkler head about 8 feet from the green.
He asked for relief from the sprinkler head.
I said, "yes, no problem."
He then simply picked up his ball without marking it.
He dropped the ball and it rolled to about 1.5 feet behind the sprinkler head and about 1 club away from the drop. The sprinkler head would not have affected his next swing or stance. 
If he was to putt, the sprinkler head would have been an issue, but there is no local rule about putting and sprinkler heads.
He picked up the ball without marking it and re-dropped the ball.
The ball then rolled about a club behind where he dropped it and was going to roll down a hill but he caught it before he did.
He then just placed the ball next to the sprinkler head.

1. Should he have marked the ball as close to where it lay on the sprinkler head before picking it up?
2. Should he have asked for a ruling before he picked up the dropped ball?
3. Should he have then marked it before he picked up that ball?
4. Is he allowed to catch the ball after it had only rolled about a club away from the 2nd drop?
5. Should he have asked for a ruling before he picked up the 2nd dropped ball?
6. Should he then have asked where he should now place the ball?

Is it a loss of hole for any or all of these breaches?

Sorry. Many questions.
Lou from Australia

Dear Lou,

Many questions, but most of them are moot, as you will soon understand.

A sprinkler head is an immovable obstruction. The player is entitled to complete relief plus one club-length. He is not required to mark the ball before he picks it up, since he will not be replacing it on the same spot [Rule 20-1]. Nor is he required to mark the area in which he is permitted to drop the ball, provided that the ball, when dropped, hits the ground on a spot that is obviously in the correct area.

I’m going to assume that the player dropped the ball in the prescribed area. It now lies no closer to the hole, and the sprinkler head does not interfere with his stance or the area of his intended swing. Since there is no Local Rule providing relief for a sprinkler head on the player’s line of putt when his ball lies within two club-lengths of the obstruction and the obstruction lies within two club-lengths of the green, the drop is good, and the ball is in play.

When the player lifted his ball in play, he incurred a one-stroke penalty and was required to replace the ball [Rule 18-2a]. None of the lifting and dropping and re-dropping afterwards would have mattered if someone had told him he was required to replace the ball; had he replaced the ball before hitting it, the only penalty would be the one stroke for lifting his ball in play [Rule 20-6]. However, once he hit the ball that he placed beside the sprinkler head, he lost the hole for playing from a wrong place.

Looking at your list of questions, the answers are…
1. Not required.
2. Most certainly. A correct ruling would have saved him from losing the hole.
3–6. Not applicable, as he was not entitled to lift the ball after the first drop.

Copyright © 2015 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Ask Linda #1134-Improperly marked hazard

Hi Linda,

My golf course has undergone a few changes over the last couple of years. To the right of the 14th fairway is where our new 15th hole has been built.

There is a red hazard between the 2 holes. Playing the 14th hole, if I go to the right of the fairway and red hazard pegs, I'm in the hazard. But there is no further red hazard peg anywhere on the 15th hole. On the other side of the 15th hole is the border of the course. So, in effect, if I were to hit it on to the 15th tee, I'm in a hazard!!

My question is, does there have to be another hazard peg to determine the border of the hazard? And, when I'm teeing off on the 15th, am I in the hazard?

Thanks Linda. Good luck with this one.

Lou from Collaroy, Australia

Dear Lou,

A lateral hazard located between two holes should be marked on both sides. The Committee has failed in its responsibility by not placing red stakes on both sides of this hazard.

The player encountering an unmarked or improperly hazard must use his judgment regarding where the stakes would have been placed had the Committee properly done its job. What the player must do is imagine the red stakes have been placed where the ground breaks down to form the hazard, and take his relief accordingly.

Most assuredly, a ball hit from the 14th hole to the 15th tee box is not in a hazard.

Copyright © 2015 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.