Friday, September 30, 2016

Ask Linda #1391-Local Rule for free relief from divots

Hi Linda
There is a Ladies League that has a Local Rule that players can move their ball out of a divot.
We have an upcoming inter-club play in a few weeks and I was wondering what is the penalty if someone were to move her ball out of a divot, even with an illegal Local Rule.
I found Decision 33-8/34 that says it is a breach of Rule 13-1, which in Match Play is loss of hole and 2-stroke penalty in Stroke Play.
Is it not also a breach of Rule 20-7, Playing from Wrong Place? Or do you only get penalized once?
Any help you can give will help our players when they go to that course for Inter-Club play.
Lulu from Vancouver, BC, Canada

Dear Lulu,

You have done your homework well. A Local Rule allowing players free relief from divot holes is, indeed, not authorized under the Rules of Golf [Decision 33-8/34]. The penalty for moving your ball out of a divot hole is loss of hole in match play and two strokes in stroke play for a breach of Rule 13-1. There is no additional penalty under Rule 20-7.

If the player does not wish to hit out of a divot hole, she may declare her ball unplayable and choose one of the relief options in Rule 28, all of which include a one-stroke penalty.

If the Committee wants to allow players to improve their lie, it may adopt the Local Rule for preferred lies [Appendix I, Part A, #3b].

I would suggest you talk to the Committee now. Show them Decision 33-8/34 and ask them to rescind this unauthorized Local Rule. Suggest the option to adopt a Local Rule for preferred lies. Better to get matters straightened out now than to have a big Rules hullabaloo during your match.


Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Ask Linda #1390-Use a found ball as a provisional

Hi Linda, 
During play, I keep my "main" ball in my right pocket, and I have a spare ball in my left pocket. I find this faster if I need to hit a provisional or new ball, instead of walking to the bag and find one.

Today I found a "lost ball" on the course. As I was a bit away from my bag, I put the ball in my left pocket, and later forgot to put it in my golf bag. (I prefer to clean the course of lost balls when I find them.)

A couple of holes later, I needed to play a provisional, took a ball from my left pocket, and dropped. I then discovered that it was the ball I found earlier, a cheap brand/type I do not like. 

Do I have to play on with the ball I dropped, or could I re-drop with the ball I intended to drop? 

Lou from Norway

Dear Lou,

The ball is in play as soon as it is dropped [Rule 20-4]. You must play on with the ball you dropped.

Don’t forget that you are obligated to announce to your opponent, marker, or fellow competitor that you are going to play a provisional ball [Rule 27-2a (i)]. When you make that announcement, you should include a description of the ball that you will hit as a provisional. Had you included this description, you would have noticed that you had the wrong ball in your hand; you could have made the switch to your preferred ball before it was too late.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ask Linda #1389-Finalists in match miss deadline

Hi Linda,
Thanks so much for your column and great research. I have learned so much.

I have looked everywhere I can think of and cannot find any similar situation - probably because it so unbelievable it happened!

In our Ladies League we have a trophy for the Match Play champion. Each year ladies sign up and a chart is prepared all leading to 2 players who have won their matches so far playing for the championship. In the posted rules for the match Play tournament participants are told it is the players’ joint responsibility to arrange a date to play so that their game is played by the published deadline for each particular round. There is usually a 2–3 week window, plenty of time.

The deadline for playing the last (championship) round was September 18. Both of the participants knew the date and who their opponent was. The game was not scheduled or played! Then after the date one of the participants was called out of town on a family emergency and will not be back in time to play before the closing. 

I think this means we have no champion this year - neither player met the obligation to arrange the game, no extension of time was asked for and when the committee called to find out the winner they were given “reasons” (excuses?) why the game had not been played. 

It is unfortunate but, we don’t know how else to resolve this but to say there is no Match Play champion this year.

Have you encountered this before? Is this the correct way to deal with the issue?

Thanks again for all your hard work in educating us all.
Lulu from Toronto, Ontario

Dear Lulu,

The Decision that addresses this question is so straightforward that I am going to simply paste it below:

33/3 Match-Play Finalists Both Disqualified
If both finalists in a match-play competition are disqualified, the Committee may decide to conclude the event without a winner. Alternatively, the Committee could elect to have the defeated semi-finalists play a match to determine the winner of the competition.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Ask Linda #1388-Who may mark and lift a player’s ball?

Dear Linda, 
Many of us in the EWGA, love your articles and answers. Thank you.
A quick question: Is it ever okay for a partner or competitor to mark another player's ball on the green to speed up play? 
Thanks again, 
Lulu from Maryland

Dear Lulu,


The player’s partner is always entitled to mark and lift the player’s ball.

Any other person may lift the ball if authorized by the player. All that is required is a quick question: “Lulu, is it OK if I mark and lift your ball,” and a succinct answer, “Yes.” Be aware that if the authorized person somehow manages to mark and lift the player’s ball incorrectly (an unlikely event), the player is responsible for any breach of the Rules [Rule 20-1].

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Ask Linda #1387-Relief for unplayable is in GUR

If a player decides to take a penalty drop using the unplayable rule, which means she would drop in GUR, does she get relief from the GUR? The two club-length relief option would have left her in a horrid place as well, so she chose to drop on the flagline.

I have attached a (badly) drawn picture of what I am trying to explain. Basically the ball was struck from the fairway and ended up in a patch of really thick grass. The player observed that a penalty drop sideways would have left her in a similar place to where she was. She decided to go back in line with the flag. This took her into GUR. There is no local rule that prevents you from playing in GUR.

So if she decided to drop in GUR while taking relief for an unplayable ball, could she also then get full relief from the GUR? So full relief from the ball’s original position and then full relief from the GUR?

Lulu from Jersey, UK (one of the Channel Islands which are a group of islands between the UK and France)

Dear Lulu,

The player may drop in the GUR, using the flagline relief option explained in Rule 28b. After she drops in the GUR, she is entitled to full relief from the GUR. The player who knows to do this is very savvy about the Rules. This situation demonstrates how advantageous a thorough knowledge of the Rules can be.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.