Monday, January 11, 2016

Ask Linda #1230-Practice stroke takes out a divot behind ball

Linda, in one of our club's stroke play events I played with this guy who happened to make 2 or 3 practice strokes, making a huge divot before finally making his actual stroke. However, he replaced or repaired the divot behind his ball before the real stroke.
Is there a penalty for this, because is this tantamount to improving the lie?
Thanks again for your help.
Lou from Daly City, California

Dear Lou,

If a player worsens the area where he intends to swing, he may not restore it prior to hitting his ball. This is a breach of Rule 13-2. The penalty is loss of hole in match play, two strokes in stroke play [Decision 13-2/29].

Additionally, this is an etiquette violation. Players are not supposed to damage the course by taking divots with their practice swings [Section I, Etiquette: Preventing Unnecessary Damage].

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