Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ask Linda 1179-Place ball on worm cast

Hi Linda,
We have now introduced “winter rules.” Mark, lift, clean and place within 6 inches.
In a friendly four-ball one of our group placed his ball on a convenient worm cast that effectively teed his ball up. We joked about it at the time, but in the bar afterwards others suggested that this was not on!
I have checked the rules and decisions book but cannot see anything that rules it out, although it does feel wrong.
Can you advise please?
Lou from London

Dear Lou,

“Winter Rules” (or “Preferred Lies”) allow players to lift, clean, and place a ball within a distance specified by the Committee (six inches, in your case), when the ball lies on a closely mown area. You may not place the ball closer to the hole, and you may not place it in a hazard or on a putting green. Those are your only restrictions regarding location [Appendix I, Part B, #4c].

There is nothing to prevent a player from placing his ball on a worm cast, but beware: A player is only allowed to place his ball once. If the ball comes to rest (meaning “stays put”), and subsequently moves, there is no penalty and the ball must be played as it lies (meaning from its new spot). A player who places his ball on an elevated spot (such as a worm cast or a small tuft of grass) runs two risks that I can think of: the ball might roll off the spot into a difficult lie (e.g., the worm cast or the tuft of grass is now behind his ball), or it might move when the player addresses the ball (one-stroke penalty and replace the ball). Choose your spot with care.

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