Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ask Linda #1277-Winter rules for specified holes

Dear Linda:

We have a ladies club at a public golf course in Southern California. Due to the diligent efforts of our groundskeeper, the course is in the best shape it has been in for years. During the late summer, the course is over-watered in some places and bare in others because we have an antiquated watering system that needs replacing. Unfortunately, that probably will not happen due to budget considerations. This year will be particularly bad because of the extreme drought conditions here.

Although most of the holes will be in condition to play summer rules (or play the ball down), a few are so bare they need to be played as winter rules (lift, clean, and place).
1. Is it against any rule to declare some of the holes to be played with the ball down and play others with lift, clean and place as long as the entire ladies club is made aware of which holes are which and all members play the course in the same way?
2. If it is not against any rules, I would assume these would be considered local rules. Is that correct?

Thank you for your opinion. I enjoy and value your answers to the many questions you receive!

Lulu from California

Dear Lulu,

Permission to lift, clean, and place would be a Local Rule. The Committee may specify a particular hole or holes where the Local Rule is in effect. For a recommendation on how to word the Local Rule, please see Appendix I, Part A, #3b in the back of your rulebook.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Rules Nugget: Ground Under Repair

The Definition of “Ground Under Repair” includes the following statement: “All ground and any grass, bush, tree or other growing thing within the ground under repair are part of the ground under repair.”  It also states that “the margin of ground under repair extends vertically downwards but not upwards.”

These two statements taken together have a surprising effect on your right to free relief. If you understand their meaning, you may very well save a stroke or two in a future round.

Suppose your ball settles near (but not in) an area marked as GUR. Growing within the GUR is a large tree with branches that extend well past the margin of the GUR. Do you get free relief if one of those branches that extends past the margin interferes with your swing? You certainly do! Returning to the Definition, you will see that anything growing in the GUR is part of the GUR. Since the tree is growing in the GUR, and the branches are part of that tree, if any part of that tree (with one exception) interferes with your swing, the interference is coming from GUR and you are entitled to free relief [Decision 25-1a/1].

The exception is the tree roots. If the roots extend outside the GUR, and those roots outside the GUR interfere with your shot, there is no free relief. (If you cannot play the ball, you will have to proceed under Rule 28: Ball Unplayable.) The reasoning is that the margin of GUR extends vertically downwards. Any part of something growing in GUR that extends past the margin at or below ground level is not GUR [Decision 25/10.7].

The difference between free relief from the overhanging branches (which are part of the GUR) and no free relief from the roots that extend past the margin of the GUR (which are not) is an important concept. Understanding your rights in both situations may have a positive effect on your game.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ask Linda #1276-Move ball during search in leaves

Dear Linda,
On the question of accidentally moving the ball while searching for it [Ask Linda #1274], I would just like to say that we often help our fellow competitor by searching for his ball to speed up play even when he himself is also searching. In so doing, if you move his ball accidentally I do not think he is subject to disqualification. In Autumn, when the Course is full of leaves, particularly on the periphery of the Fairway, the competitor himself, or his fellow competitors trying to help him locate the ball, may have to use a golf club to sweep the leaves. In so doing, it may cause the ball to move. My understanding is that it should not result in penalty to anyone---the competitor or the fellow competitors.
Your views please!
Lou from Pune, India

Dear Lou,

There is a big difference between (1) asking your fellow competitors to search for a ball while you stand aside (or search far away) to avoid a possible penalty, and (2) everyone pitching in together to search for a ball. I’m delighted to hear that you often help another player find his ball. In both match play and stroke play there is no penalty if an opponent or a fellow competitor moves a player’s ball during search; if moved, the ball must be replaced.

Your belief that the player does not incur a penalty if he moves his ball while searching for it is incorrect. Except when a ball is covered by sand, in water in a water hazard, or in an obstruction or abnormal ground condition (see Rule 12-1), a player who moves his ball during search incurs a one-stroke penalty and must replace the ball [Rule18-2].

When there are accumulations of leaves, the Committee may adopt a Local Rule labeling such accumulations ground under repair. With that Local Rule in effect, there is no penalty to anyone (including the player) if the ball is moved during search. Please read Decision 33-8/31 for specifics about this Local Rule, and Decision 13-4/33, which addresses declaring accumulations of leaves in bunkers ground under repair.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Ask Linda #1273-What are dew and frost?

Dear Linda,

Dew and frost are not loose impediments.
Dew and frost are not casual water

So what are they in terms of Golf definitions?

Integral part of the course?

Kind regards from a sunny part of the Netherlands (at least today).
Lou from The Netherlands

Dear Lou,

I guess you don’t want to hear that dew and frost are dew and frost. Probably not.

So, what does it mean if dew and frost (D&F) are neither loose impediments nor casual water? Let’s consider.

Players are permitted to move loose impediments, except when the loose impediments and the ball lie in the same hazard [Rule 23]. Since D&F are not loose impediments, you must draw the conclusion that you may not move them.

Casual water is an abnormal ground condition [Definition of Abnormal Ground Conditions]. Players are entitled to free relief from abnormal ground conditions, except when their ball lies in a water hazard or a lateral water hazard [Rule 25]. Since D&F are not casual water, there is no free relief available if your ball lies in or touches D&F or if the D&F interfere with your lie, stance, or the area of your intended swing.

While the Rules do not define dew or frost (their definitions are the same in golf as in the real world), they are specifically addressed in Rule 13, “Ball Played as it Lies.” Rule 13-2 tells us that we may not remove dew or frost anywhere except on the teeing ground. If you remove it anywhere except on the teeing ground, thereby improving your lie, area of intended stance or swing, or line of play, you incur a two-stroke/loss-of-hole penalty for a breach of Rule 13-2.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Follow-up question to Ask Linda #1271 (“Play second ball when unsure of procedure”)

Dear readers,
A number of you wrote to ask whether the player invoking Rule 3-3 in Monday’s column would incur a one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2 if the footpath were determined to be integral to the course and the Committee ruled that the ball played from the footpath would be the one to count in the player’s score. The answer is “yes.” I added that bit of information to the column, highlighting it in yellow. Here is a link to that column:

Friday, March 25, 2016

Ask Linda #1275-Play without marker; Practice shot on hole that is out of play

Dear Linda,
2 questions for you that have come up in recent golf:

1. We recently played a society competition where it rained heavily and a number of players gave up and returned to the clubhouse mid-round. In one group 3 of the 4 players cried off leaving poor Bob to play out the round on his own as none of the groups ahead noticed this, so bad was the weather. What is the rule in relation to his score and whether it can count in the competition without a marker? I’ve searched and cannot find a rule covering it, although I know there must be one.

2. Our society also played a course recently where 2 holes were declared out of play due to weather damage making them unsafe around the green area. One of these holes is a par 3 and the signature hole for the course so, naughtily, 3 players teed off on the hole while they were passing the tee box to see could they hit the green. Thankfully they didn’t try to retrieve their balls. The committee disqualified them from the competition on the basis they were practicing on the course, but afterwards the question came up that if the holes are out of play, then are they part of the course? Does this matter either way as practicing is only allowed in the 3 areas outlined, i.e., last green, practice green and at or around next tee box?

I look forward to your reply. Thank as ever for a very informative blog.
Lou from Ireland

Dear Lou,

1. A player does not have an acceptable score if he is not accompanied by a marker [Decision 6-6a/2]. His score will not count in the competition.

2. Players are not permitted a make a practice stroke between the play of two holes [Rule 7-2]. The fact that the practice stroke was technically off the course is irrelevant. However, the penalty in stroke play is two strokes. The players should not have been disqualified.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.