Friday, July 22, 2016
Ask Linda #1346-Bluebells and practice swings
Here in the UK we have BLUEBELLS that are protected plants. My question is if my ball lands in a patch of BLUEBELLS on our golf course, should I drop away from these (no closer to the hole) to save from damaging them?
Lou from Newcastle-under-Lyme, England
If bluebells are a protected plant, the golf course (meaning the pro, manager, committee, etc.) should write a Local Rule and print it on the scorecard advising players that they are required to take free relief for lie, stance, or swing if their ball lies in a patch of bluebells (or if they would have to stand in it to hit a ball just outside the patch). If this Local Rule has not been adopted, you should discuss the matter with the proper authority. Absent a Local Rule, your choices would be to play it as it lies (with apologies to the plants) or take an unplayable, which would add one penalty stroke to your score.
Thanks for the response on the Bluebells --- we now have a local rule in place :-)
I have another question...
During a Match Play competition my opponent declared he had taken a practice swing and unfortunately hit the ball. At the time we continued as if a shot had been played, but afterwards, when we discussed this in the clubhouse, this was apparently wrong. Can you clarify please? Should the player have replaced the ball under penalty or is it loss of hole?
A practice swing is not a stroke. A stroke requires that you intend to hit the ball [Definition of “Stroke”]. When a player accidentally hits his ball with a practice swing, he has moved his ball in play. He incurs a one-stroke penalty and must replace the ball [Rule 18-2]. If he fails to replace the ball, the penalty in match play is loss of hole.
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