Thursday, March 24, 2016

Ask Linda #1274-Player continues playing after out of hole; Player asks another to search for his ball to avoid penalty for moving it

Hi Linda
This is my first time to email you after many months reading your wonderful posts where I often find myself also searching your historical posts for further enlightenment. All are most readable, informative and helpful. Thank you.

I cannot find an answer to this one, so seek your help…

In a Stableford game a player has had too many shots and is out of points-scoring chances. However the player wishes to putt out in any event, either to gain extra practice or help a fellow partner see the line of the putt. It does not unduly delay play. The opposition complains and says the player is out of chances and must pick up without putting. Who is correct?

If I can be so greedy as to raise another query…
While looking for a ball in an area covered by leaves or the like there is always a danger that a player could accidentally step on his/her ball, or some nearby debris, causing the ball to move, possibly as little as slightly downwards under the pressure of standing on it. In such a case, my understanding is that the player incurs a penalty for accidentally moving the ball at rest, Rule 18-2. On the other hand, if a fellow competitor accidentally steps on or moves a player’s ball there is no penalty to the player whose ball it is. Query - If this is correct, is it wise and ethically acceptable for a player to steer clear of the danger by leaving it to his/her fellow competitor/s to search the more leafy dangerous areas where the ball may lie, while he/she searches more open less dangerous areas?

Neither are earth shattering situations as there is a commendable amount of “playing by the spirit of the game” in our friendly rounds, but these points seem to keep playing on my mind. 

Lou, from Perth Down Under

Dear Lou,

Question #1:
A player is permitted to continue playing the hole, even though he is effectively out of the hole [Rule 7-2, the last sentence before the Exception].

Question #2:
It is permissible for a player to ask others to help him search for his ball. There is no penalty if the player searches the less dangerous areas while the others search in the area where there is a greater possibility of moving the ball. The player may even sit back and watch while others search, although such behavior is not encouraged. The other players are under no obligation to help in the search.

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