Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Ask Linda #1324-Continuous putting

Dear Linda,

A small problem arose between me and some players recently.

To speed up the game, sometimes I ask for the permission to play out of turn on the green when my ball is very close to the hole or my ball position interferes with another's player stance or line of putt.

I wrote "ask" because I usually ask, "may I play?" (or similar form in English or Czech).

I've been warned that I don't have to ask, but should simply inform the other players what are my intentions ("I am going to play").

Someone even wanted to add a two-stroke penalty according to the Rule 8-1b because my question "may I play?" is considered an advice on how to play.

What is your opinion?

Thanks in advance,
Lou, an Italian living in the Czech Republic

Dear Lou,

Beware of golfers who have a rudimentary knowledge of the Rules and want to penalize you for every violation, both real and imaginary. Don’t ever accept a penalty that is unfamiliar to you without checking with an authority before you sign and submit your scorecard.

There is no penalty in stroke play for continuous putting. As a time-saver, you should finish the hole if your first putt is so close to the hole that you have a tap-in or a very easy putt. You may also offer to putt first if your ball is on your fellow competitor’s line of putt and you prefer to putt first rather than mark, lift, and putt later. You should not putt out of turn if your stance will be on your fellow competitor’s line of putt, nor if you want to mark the ball and study your line before you putt.

In match play, there is no penalty for putting out of turn, but your opponent has the option to recall your stroke and make you putt again. You should not putt out of turn in match play, nor ask permission to do so. Playing in the correct order is very important in match play, as there is often strategy involved.

Asking, “May I play” is not necessary, but it does not constitute advice. “Advice” would be asking, “Does this putt break left to right,” or “Is this a fast green.” “May I play” might be categorized as good manners or as a Rules question (meaning “Am I permitted to play or must I wait my turn”). Information on the Rules is not “advice” [Definition of “Advice”]. Proper etiquette would be to tell your fellow competitors that you will finish, so the next player to putt doesn’t begin his routine only to look up and see you still playing.

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