Friday, January 29, 2016

Ask Linda #1244-Logs lining fairway

Hi Linda,

Trust you are well.

On our course almost the entire length of a particular fairway has been edged with logs, some as long as 8-10 feet and most at least 8 inches in diameter. To the other side of the logs there is a path, mainly used by green-keepers’ vehicles, that is integral to the course.
Presumption is that logs have been positioned in order to stop the green-keepers taking their tractors across that fairway.

Question: What to do if my ball is up against one of these logs?
They do not fit the definition of immovable obstruction because they are not artificial...even though my stance and swing are affected.
I guess they may be loose impediments but they are clearly immovable.

Is this another case of playing as it lies? Is there something in the rules to afford relief? Or does the committee need to make a local rule that they are GUR or something?

As ever grateful for advice.

Lou from West Wickham, England

Dear Lou,
If these logs have been cut and shaped to serve as a barrier, they are immovable obstructions (in the same way that an interior fence or a wooden bench is an immovable obstruction). Players are entitled to free relief under Rule 24. If there is some concern that all players will not treat them the same way, the Committee could write a Local Rule declaring the logs that line the fairway of Hole #__ to be immovable obstructions. This right of the Committee is guaranteed in the Note to the Definition of "Obstructions."

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ask Linda #1243-Double hit out of bunker

Linda…on an explosion shot from the sand is it a penalty if the club strikes the ball after it has left the sand?  I ask this because it seems to me on an explosion shot the club never actually hits the ball (i.e., the movement of the sand propels the ball) and therefore even if the club makes contact while the ball is in flight it would be the first time the ball was struck (i.e., only a single hit).
Lou from Texas

Dear Lou,

Even though the clubhead does not contact the ball, the ball has been put into motion by the force of the club striking the sand. If the follow-through hits the ball, you incur a penalty for a double hit. Count the original stroke plus a one-shot penalty [Rule 14-4; Decision 14-4/3]. In the unlikely event that your club contacts the ball a third time during that same swing, you would still only count one stroke plus one penalty stroke – the penalty is for contacting the ball “more than once” during a single stroke.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ask Linda #1242-Ball hits outside agency

Hi Linda,
I will be grateful if you could clarify the following:
Rule 19-1 says if your ball hits an outside agency you have to hit it as it lies. (My understanding of outside agency is that it DOES NOT INCLUDE caddies and golf bags/carts. Please correct me if I am wrong.) Rule 19-3 states that if I hit somebody's bag/caddy, I have a choice of playing the ball as it lies OR can REPLAY the shot. Has Rule 19-3 been changed or are we applying the same?
Thanking you,
Lou from Bhutan

Dear Lou,

Your confusion stems from the different definitions and rules for match play vs. stroke play.

Let’s begin with the Definition of “Outside Agency.” In match play, the following are not outside agencies: the player, his opponent, their partners, their caddies, any ball they played, and everyone’s equipment. In stroke play, the definition of what is not an outside agency is more narrow, and includes only the player, his partner, their caddies, their balls in play, and their equipment.

Rule 19-1 states that if a player’s ball in motion is stopped or deflected by an outside agency, it is a rub of the green. There is no penalty, and the ball must be played as it lies. If your ball were to hit a referee or a forecaddie or a deer, for example, you would play the ball as it lies. Since players, their partners, their caddies, and their equipment are not outside agencies, there is a penalty in both match play and stroke play if your ball hits them (one stroke, play the ball as it lies) [Rule 19-2].

Rule 19-3 explains what to do in match play when your ball hits your opponent, his caddie, or your opponent’s equipment, none of which are outside agencies in match play. The player is given the choice to play the ball as it lies or cancel the stroke and repeat the shot, no penalty either way.

In stroke play, since a player’s fellow competitors, their caddies, and their equipment are outside agencies, competitors must follow Rule 19-1 and play the ball as it lies [Rule 19-4].

When Rules appear confusing, be sure to make note of the form of play (match play vs. stroke play), and always review the pertinent Definitions in the front of the rulebook. A good understanding of the Definitions goes a long way to making the Rules more comprehensible.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ask Linda #1241-Caddie replaces ball on green

Hi Linda,

If a player marks and lifts his ball on the green, is his caddie allowed to then replace that ball and align markings on that ball with the intended line of putt?  Rule 20-3a seems to say “no.”

Lou from Bahrain

Dear Lou,

That is correct, Lou. The caddie is not permitted to replace the player’s ball on the green (or anywhere else, for that matter) unless he is the one who lifted it. The only people entitled to replace a player’s ball are the player, the person who lifted the ball, and the player’s partner [Rule 20-3a]. If anyone else replaces the ball, and the error is not corrected, the player incurs a one-stroke penalty.

While we’re on this topic, there are still some people who insist that the person who lifted the ball must replace it. This is not true. While this person may replace the ball, there is no requirement that he do so – the player or his partner are always entitled to replace the ball.

With regard to lifting the ball, the player and his partner are always entitled to lift the player’s ball. Any other person lifting the ball must have the player’s permission [Rule 20-1].

For a list of acts the caddie may perform, please read Decision 6-4/10.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Ask Linda #1240-Accidentally knock sand onto ball in bunker


I need your help with a golf situation during a stroke play round of golf.

One of the players hit his ball into a greenside bunker when he tried to reach the green. Once he got into the bunker he found his ball semi-buried in an uphill slope. He took his stance, not in an invasive way, and suddenly sand from the upper lip of the bunker fell over his ball without moving it but covering it more that it was originally.

Is there any penalty for the player?
Is there any procedure to follow?

Thank you very much for your time and reply.

Best Regards,
Lou from Argentina

Dear Lou,

If a player worsens his lie, he is not permitted to restore it. If he does, he is in breach of Rule 13-2.

The player must play the ball as it lies, with the extra sand on top. There is no penalty unless the ball moved, in which case he would incur a one-stroke penalty for moving his ball in play and would be required to replace it.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.