Friday, March 4, 2016

Ask Linda #1262-Tee markers too far back

My home course is not well maintained. The maintenance crew tends to mow the tee boxes and basically just toss the tee markers back on the tee box.

During a recent club round a couple of players were questioning the position of the tee markers on a particular hole – they were so far in the back of the tee box that if you wanted to tee off 2 club-lengths behind the markers you would be off the tee box. They insisted it was a "rules violation." Not sure how to penalize the course!

I know it might seem odd, but I would like to get the verbiage correct when explaining the answer to them. These players like to "stir the pot," if you know what I mean, and love the attention. I agree the markers were too far back. We have since taken the issue to the course manager.

The information I found in the handicapping manual of the USGA under "course setup" is...
Section 15-2: The "teeing ground" is defined in "The Rules of Golf" as a rectangular area two club-lengths in depth, the front and the sides of which are defined by the outside limits of two tee markers. The tee markers must always be at least two club-lengths forward of the back edge of the teeing ground.
Would this be classified as a "rule" or "a requirement for course setup?"

Lulu from Hemet, California

Dear Lulu,

The tee markers are deemed to be “fixed” at the time the player hits her first stroke from the teeing ground [Rule 11-2]. Players may not move them simply because they feel they are too close, too far back, aimed in the wrong direction, or some similar reason. The penalty for moving the tee markers for any of these “I-don’t-like-where-they-are-placed” reasons is disqualification, unless the markers are replaced before any player in the group plays from the teeing ground, in which case the penalty would be reduced to two strokes (loss of hole in match play) [Decision 11-2/2]. A fair competition requires that everyone begin the hole from the same place, even if that place is improperly designated.

You have taken the right first step to correcting the situation by informing the course manager. Perhaps if he understands that the course patrons take the game seriously, he will encourage the maintenance workers to replace the tee markers properly. How much trouble could it be to place tee markers at least two club-lengths from the back of the tee box? Visitors who are displeased by the failure to follow a basic requirement of tee placement might be disinclined to return to the course.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.