Friday, May 6, 2016

Ask Linda #1300-Practice on course before round

Hi Linda,
A situation has arisen that has been bothering me for some time. We have a perfectly good driving range at our club, but there some guys who, while waiting to tee off, will hit balls toward our ninth fairway or into the woods lining our first fairway. The pro has finally complained, especially with the ones who are driving range balls into the woods. I guess my question is does Rule 7-1 come into question here? Thanks.
Lou from Florida

Dear Lou,

It sure does.

In stroke play, players are not permitted to practice on the course prior to the start of the round. The penalty is disqualification.

In match play, players are permitted to practice before the round. However, the term “practice” would be playing some (or all) of the holes on the course, not turning the course into a driving range.

I understand that every round you play is not an official competition, and disqualifying your buddies in a casual round is not an option. However, hitting balls into the woods or onto another fairway seems downright rude and inconsiderate. Peppering the woods or another fairway with golf balls is akin to dropping litter on the ground. If these players want to practice, they should be directed to the range. The pro should issue warnings and follow them up with serious consequences.

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