Friday, December 30, 2016

Ask Linda #1449-Distraction affects shot

Dear Linda,
Thank you for all your wonderful info on rules – you clarify the rules so well.

Today, in our last club day for the season, I was making a shot from just off the green. As I was in the process of making contact, the other three competitors in my group (none was my partner), all suddenly shouted and raced across the green, hence upsetting my actual contact of the ball.

A strong gust of wind had happened and a golf bag (not mine) had tipped over and the umbrella had come loose and was tumbling over the green, with the others chasing it. It was too late to stop my shot but my shot was definitely affected by the goings on of the others. 

Is there a Decision that covers that? Can I have the shot again without penalty? 

I did invoke Rule 3-3, but as it was Stableford, both balls ended up a wipe on the hole so we never got an answer to what may have been the correct play. 
Lulu from Perth, Australia

Dear Lulu,

There are no mulligans when you are playing under the Rules of Golf. Players do not have the option to replay without penalty when they have been distracted [Decision 1-4/1]. I think you will understand the reason for this ruling if you imagine the havoc that would ensue if a player were able to claim a redo any time someone sneezed or jostled clubs in the middle of her backswing.

The distraction you describe was unfortunate, but you are stuck with the result. At least you have a good story to tell!

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Ask Linda #1448-Deciding whether ball is out of bounds

Linda, I would like clarification on something that occurred at my golf course recently and is the topic of ongoing discussion amongst members at the 19th hole.

Here is the incident: On a hole at my course, there is an out of bounds area marked by white stakes beyond the green. The golfer’s second shot comes to rest out of bounds. Problem is that the line between the two closest white stakes is interfered with by a shrub that prevents establishing the out of bounds line at ground level. The golfer states that since he cannot see the imaginary line between the two stakes he is therefore not out of bounds.

The golfer won the small tournament, as no one wanted to get into an argument with him.

Was he right in saying that his ball was not out of bounds according to his reasoning?

Where can I find the Decision if this occurs again?

By the way, the groundskeepers have placed an additional white stake between the two original white stakes now so there is no question.

I enjoy reading your daily golf rules on the net and thank you for keeping us informed.
Lou from Barbados

Dear Lou,

The Definition of “Out of Bounds” includes the following statement: “The out of bounds line extends vertically upwards and downwards.” In establishing whether a ball lies out of bounds, the player should stand at one out-of-bounds marker, sight down at the next marker, imagine a vertical wall between the two markers, and note whether his ball lies on the course side or the out-of-bounds side of that imaginary wall.

There is nothing unusual about a shrub sitting between two out-of-bounds markers. It is quite common for all sorts of plantings to grow between and beyond out-of-bounds stakes. The presence of such plantings has nothing to do with establishing the location of the player’s ball.

The golfer’s reasoning is incorrect. His ball lies out of bounds.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Ask Linda #1447-Hit whiffle balls during round

Linda, I really enjoy your column and now I have a question. During a round, I observed a player practicing his swing several yards behind his (6th) tee while waiting for the group ahead to get out of range. He was hitting whiffle golf balls. Is this a violation (perhaps Rule 14-3)?
Take care,
Lou from Warwick, Rhode Island

Dear Lou,

A player is not permitted to make a practice stroke during his round [Rule 7-2]. While he is permitted to practice putting and chipping on or near the putting green of the hole he just finished playing or the teeing ground of the hole he is about to play, swings at whiffle balls are likely to be full strokes. The penalty for taking a practice stroke during the round is two strokes (loss of hole in match play).

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Ask Linda #1446-Move ball out of divot when “preferred lies” are in effect

Hello Linda,
We are having an argument with my friends, caused by the situation when we played on a golf course, last week. The course was not in perfect conditions. It was wet, and not properly cut on some fairways. Owing to these conditions, the Committee has announced that the Preferred Lies rule is applicable anywhere on fairways.

It happened to me on the back nine, that my ball ended up in a divot, on the fairway. I have chosen to apply the rule of preferred lies. I have announced my intention to my other players of my flight, marked my ball, picked up ball, cleaned it, and then I placed it a scorecard width, outside the divot.

And now the argument about this situation.

My friend believes that I made a mistake, when I have chosen to pick up my ball, which lied in a divot. His argument is based on the general rule, and basic principle of golf, that the ball is played as it lies, and relief from a divot is not allowed.

I am saying that the situation I was in is different, because the rule of preferred lies does not disqualify divots from taking the relief.

I would really appreciate if you could be a judge in this situation. Ideally, if you could send me a reference to a precedent to such situation, or any other source, which would document who was right in the described situation.
Lou from the Czech Republic

Dear Lou,

Rule 33-8 allows Committees to establish Local Rules for abnormal conditions on the golf course. When a course is so wet that the mowers have not been able to cut, the Local Rule for Preferred Lies is reasonable – uncut fairways certainly qualify as an abnormal condition.

Local Rules change the standard Rules of Golf. In the case of preferred lies, Rule 13-1, which requires that the player play the ball as it lies, is not in effect for those areas specified by the Committee. I imagine the Local Rule in place for the day you played went something like this:

“A ball lying on a closely mown area through the green may be lifted without penalty and cleaned. Before lifting the ball, the player must mark its position. Having lifted the ball, he must place it on a spot within one scorecard-length of and not nearer the hole than where it originally lay, that is not in a hazard and not on a putting green.”

I copied the above wording from the Local Rule in Appendix I, Part A, #3b. If you and your friends look closely at the wording, you will see that there are no exceptions to this Rule for divots. It states quite clearly that the ball may be lifted if it lies on “a closely mown area through the green” (which means fairways, aprons, paths mowed through the rough – anywhere the grass is customarily mowed to fairway height).

You were within your rights to lift a ball that was lying in a divot on the fairway. The reference you are looking for is right in the first sentence of Rule 13-1: "The ball must be played as it lies, except as otherwise provided in the Rules." A Local Rule becomes a Rule when it is adopted by the Committee.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Ask Linda #1445-Putt strikes another ball on green

Player 1 and 2 are both on the green. Player 1 is away and putts first. In the process of putting, his ball hits player 2’s ball, who chose not to mark it. What is the ruling?
Lou from Green Valley, Arizona

Dear Lou,

In match play, there is no penalty. In stroke play, the player who putts the ball that strikes the other ball on the green incurs a two-stroke penalty [Rule 19-5a]. In either format, the player will play the ball as it lies.

There is nothing to stop the player from requesting that a ball on the putting green be marked and lifted. Any such request must be honored. If the player fails to ask, and his putt strikes the other ball, he has no one to blame but himself for the penalty he incurs in stroke play.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.