Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ask Linda #1180-Offer an alternate ball to the crow

Hi Linda,

We had an unusual incident, in a competition, at our golf course recently and I wonder if you could advise whether or not a penalty is appropriate.

We have had a problem with crows taking golf balls and they have a distinct preference for brightly colored balls.

My playing partner, seeing a crow was about to take his (white) ball, took a fluorescent green ball from his bag and hit it towards the crow with his 7-iron. The crow duly took the colored ball and left his white ball in place. Obviously if the crow was observed taking his original (white) ball he would have been able to replace it without penalty.

Does his action in hitting another ball require a penalty?

Lou from Sydney, Australia

Dear Lou,

I think not. While Rule 7-2 prohibits a practice stroke during the play of a hole, I would be hard-pressed to consider the action you describe a “practice stroke.”

Nevertheless, there is no Decision addressing this situation. You might want to consult the R&A for an official ruling. If you do, please let me know what you learn, so that I can share the answer with all my readers.

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