Friday, April 29, 2016

Ask Linda #1295-Advise golfer he is ahead of the tee markers


Today, before hitting his ball in tournament play, I told a fellow competitor that he was about to hit in front of the tee box marker.

Another fellow competitor assessed me a 2-stroke penalty.

Is this correct? Is this advice or merely information about the Rules of Golf?

Lou from Rancho Santa Fe, California

Dear Lou,

Information on the Rules is not advice [Definition of “Advice”]. There is no penalty for warning a fellow competitor (stroke play) that he is about to tee off ahead of the markers. If you fail to notify him before he hits the ball, the fellow competitor will incur a two-stroke penalty and he must hit another tee shot from within the teeing ground [Rule 11-4b]. Under no circumstances do you incur a penalty for issuing the warning.

In my book, you earn kudos for helping another player avoid incurring a penalty. This is good sportsmanship, and should be practiced by everyone.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Ask Linda #1294-Roll limit for dropped ball

Dear Linda,
When taking a free drop one club-length from the nearest point of relief, must the ball stay within that club-length after it is dropped? Or is it permitted to roll another club-length not nearer the hole?
Lou from Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland

Dear Lou,

A dropped ball may roll up to two club-lengths from the spot where it strikes the course [Rule 20-2c (vi)]. It must be dropped in the prescribed area, but a roll within two club-lengths of where it first lands is a good drop and the ball is in play. This assumes that the ball has not rolled into a position where a re-drop would be required. Rule 20-2c provides a list of all the situations that would require a ball to be re-dropped.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ask Linda #1293-Status of cigar in bunker

At a tournament, the rules person said you cannot move a cigar butt from the bunker. If the butt is considered artificial, I think you can. I looked at Rules 24 & 23.

Lulu from Hollywood, Florida

Dear Lulu,

You are correct. A cigar butt is an obstruction (just like a rake or a towel), and may be removed from the bunker.

It’s surprising to learn that a rules official does not know the difference between a loose impediment and an obstruction. Loose impediments are natural objects, such as twigs and leaves [Definition of “Loose Impediments”]. If your ball and a loose impediment lie in the same hazard, you may not touch or move the loose impediment [Rule 13-4c].  Obstructions are anything artificial, which means man-made [Definition of “Obstructions”]. Cigars are both man-made and movable, making them movable obstructions. They may be moved regardless of where they or the ball lie [Rule 24-1].

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ask Linda #1292-NPR is on cart path

We have a local rule that allows a free drop from a planted landscaped area.
I recently hit into the area and prepared to drop at the nearest point of relief, no nearer the hole. I felt that spot was on a cart path. I thought I could then re-drop to get relief from the path. My fellow competitor said no, I must drop on ground/grass at the nearest spot of ground/grass (not cart path).
Was either of us right? If so, who?
Lou from Denver, North Carolina

Dear Lou, 

You are correct, Lou.

When you take your free relief from the landscaped area, you must find the nearest point on the course that is not nearer to the hole and gives you complete relief from the condition that interferes with your stroke [Definition of “Nearest Point of Relief”]. In your situation, that point was on the cart path. After you drop the ball on the path, if the path interferes with your next stroke, you have a new situation – interference by an immovable obstruction. You would now be entitled to free relief under Rule 24-2.

The player is not permitted to take relief from the landscaped area and the cart path in a single procedure [Decision 1-4/8]. You must take your drop from the first problem, assess your new situation, and then decide where (or whether) to take relief from the second problem.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Ask Linda #1291-Identical ball markers in close proximity on green

Linda, two players playing stroke play hit their shots to the green and come to rest close together. They mark their balls with identical ball markers! When coming to replace their balls they are unsure whose marker belongs to whom. How should they proceed?

The players involved with the marker incident were playing in a three ball but the third player was not paying attention to where the other two marked their balls.

One of the players said they should proceed under the lost ball procedure, the other said they should play their strokes from where they are marked and then play under the wrong ball procedure. (The third player actually gave the identical markers to the other two players as a present prior to the round!!!)

Lou from Bodicote, England, UK

Dear Lou,

Each player would replace his ball in front of the marker farther from the hole (one at a time, of course). Neither player would incur a penalty for this mishap. This answer was verified by a USGA rules official.

Both players have properly marked and lifted their balls from the putting green [Rules 16-1b and 20-1]. Since the situation of players being unable to distinguish between identical markers is not directly addressed by a specific Rule or Decision, the ruling must be made “in equity” [Rule 1-4]. Equity decisions refer to what the Rules would say if they had addressed the situation.

Identical markers were not the best presents ever, but a happy ending.


Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Ask Linda #1290-Player hits wrong ball in team scramble

Hi Linda

Love your Ask Linda Blog…always very useful and often very timely. Question for you:

Yesterday we had the first day of a new tournament played using a Pairs Ambrose [Scramble] Match Play Format.

Situation arose in one match where Player A in a team discovered he had played the wrong ball. Player A apparently picked up an incorrect ball from the rough, wrongly assuming it was his ball, and then without realizing it placed it alongside the mark where his partner’s ball lay on the fairway from where they both played their next shots. Upon reaching his ball thus played he discovered he had actually played someone else's ball.

Under normal Match Play rules it would be loss of hole, but as his partner (Player B) still had a live ball the hole was played out, with both players continuing the hole from the position of Player B's ball, which was still in play, and they subsequently won the hole.

Was this the correct way of completing the hole, or should the team have forfeited the hole based on the transgression made by Player A?

The incident also made me think what would happen if Player A had played his Tee shot out of bounds and Player B played his Tee shot up the middle of the fairway. I would have naturally assumed that the team would select Player B's ball as the "best" ball and both would play their second shots from that position, thus no penalty for Player A's ball going OOB.

Maybe that analogy answers my question.
Lou from New Zealand

Dear Lou,

Since an Ambrose, or scramble, is not technically played under the Rules of Golf, I will give you an answer that seems logical to me.

In a scramble, both players hit a ball from the same spot, select the ball they wish to play for their next shot, and each hits a ball from that same spot. This procedure is followed until the ball is holed. As you suggest, if one player hits the ball out of bounds, and the other player’s ball is in play, naturally the team will continue play with the ball in play.

The same logic should be applied to your scenario. One ball is in play, the other was a wrong ball; the players will continue play with the “live” ball (as you call it). Team A-B played correctly and won the hole.

If both players had hit a wrong ball in match play, the team would lose the hole. Since they are allowed to choose which ball to play, and they had a ball in play for every shot, the score counts.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.