Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ask Linda #1429-Player dislodges turf from face of bunker

Hi Linda,
This summer we had a situation in a match play, where a player ends in greenside bunker. He steps down into the bunker. The player takes practise swings over or near to his ball inside the bunker. In this process he doesn’t touch the sand in the bunker, but to his own surprise incidentally hits the bunker face in front of him, and pitches off a chunk of the turf into the bunker. He throws the turf onto the fairway, and continues with bunker shot.
Is the player in breach of Rule 13-2 for improving intended line of swing in the bunker, and therefore losing the hole?
Keep swinging.
Best regards,
Lou from Gullane, Scotland

Dear Lou,

Without witnessing the event, I cannot say for certain whether the player improved the area of his intended swing. What I can tell you is that the player loses the hole because he removed a loose impediment from the bunker [Rule 23-1].

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ask Linda #1428-Ball ricochets off tree into moving cart

Hi Linda,
During stroke play the other day my partner hit her ball out of a bunker. It looked like a great shot so I started driving over to pick her up. But unbeknownst to me her ball hit a tree and ricocheted backwards hitting our cart as I was driving. I believe that if you hit your own cart you incur a one-stroke penalty.  But what would be the ruling in this case?
Lulu from New Jersey

Dear Lulu,

Your partner incurs a one-stroke penalty and must play the ball as it lies [Rule 19-2]. At the time the ball struck the cart, the cart and everything in it were deemed to be your equipment, since you were moving the cart at the time [Definition of “Equipment”]. However, you were the partner of the player who hit the ball, and there is a one-stroke penalty when a player’s ball is accidentally deflected by her partner’s equipment. The fact that the ball ricocheted off a tree before it hit the cart is irrelevant.

If the two players had not been partners, there would be no penalty in stroke play and the ball would be played as it lies [Rule 19-4]. In match play, the player would have the choice of playing the ball as it lies or replaying the shot, no penalty either way [Rule 19-3]. When a ball strikes a moving cart, the cart and its contents are deemed to be the equipment of the driver, who in this case is not your partner. On the other hand, if your ball strikes the cart while it is parked, the cart is now considered your equipment and you incur a one-stroke penalty for hitting your own equipment.  

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Ask Linda #1427-Repair damage to hole

Hi Linda: 
Always enjoy all the informative emails. 
Yesterday, I was playing with a foursome [sic] and we were all on the same team. We were on the green putting when one of the players smoothed out the hole, as I complained about the edge. I told her that she couldn't do that until we all putted out. From my understanding of the Rule, she could have done so after we were all finished putting. If we were a 2-person team playing against another 2-person team, I believe she could have fixed the hole, after she and I putted. But that would have given them an advantage so I can't imagine most players would do that anyway. Is there a penalty for fixing the hole, as I had stated above?
Thank you,
Lulu from Oceanside, California

Dear Lulu,

Yes. As long as the proper dimensions of the hole have not been changed, the player must wait until everyone on her team has finished putting before repairing minor damage to the hole. The hole is considered to be on the player’s line of putt, and the player is not permitted to touch that line (see Rule 16-1a for exceptions). All of the player’s partners who putt after the repair will incur a two-stroke penalty for a breach of Rule 16-1a [Decision 1-2/3.5]. If the player repairs the damage before she putts her own ball, she will also incur a two-stroke penalty [Decision 16-1a/6].

If a player repairs the ragged edge of a hole after she holes out but before her opponent or fellow competitor putts, she is not penalized if her sole reason for doing so is to care for the course. However, if she repairs the hole intending to influence the movement of the other player’s ball, she incurs a two-stroke penalty under Rule 1-2 [Decision 1-2/3.5]. In any case, there is no penalty to the opponent or fellow competitor who has not yet putted.

It would be best to save all repair work until everyone has holed out.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Ask Linda #1425 - correction

Dear readers,

Please revisit Ask Linda #1425 ( The last sentence of my answer, which indicated the ball should be dropped, has been changed to the ball should be placed. My thanks to Lou from Quebec and Lou from Missouri for pointing out the error.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

I will resume posting on Monday.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ask Linda #1426-Player cannot distinguish between two provisional balls

Hi Linda,
How do you score this scenario? My partner hits two provisional balls (3 balls off the tee), all in the same area. We then search and find the two provisional balls (the original is lost). Both provisional balls are unplayable. He decides to take a drop of one of his provisional balls. He thinks it is his first provisional ball, but he’s not sure. What is he playing after the drop? Or should he have had to go back to the tee to play a third provisional ball until it is in play?
Lou from Melbourne, Australia

Dear Lou,

Since the player is uncertain which provisional ball he hit first, the equitable solution under the Rules is to assume that the provisional he chooses to continue with is the second ball he hit provisionally [Decision 27/11]. Count the original tee shot, the one-stroke penalty under stroke and distance for the first provisional, the stroke with the first provisional, the one-stroke penalty under stroke and distance for the second provisional, and the stroke with the second provisional. Up to this point, the player’s score is 5. He will incur a one-stroke penalty for taking relief for an unplayable ball. After the drop, his next stroke will be his 7th on the hole.

This player would have lowered his score by two if he had followed the recommended procedures of marking each provisional ball distinctively and describing each ball to his fellow competitors before he hit them.

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Ask Linda #1425-Hit several shots with wrong ball

Two players tee off and both hit their balls into a fairway bunker. Both players play their second shots into the fairway, their third shots close to the green and then chip onto the putting surface. At this point, they mark and clean their balls and realize that they have hit each other’s ball. OK, Rule 15-3b, two-stroke penalty and must correct.

However, since the balls were in the same general location for shots two, three and four, they are not exactly certain when they hit the wrong ball. It’s possible the breach occurred in the fairway bunker for shot two, in the fairway for shot three, or close to the green for the chip shot. What is the ruling?
Lou from California

Dear Lou,

The players would have to return to the bunker, since that was the first place they might have hit the wrong ball. They would count the tee shot, and the two-stroke penalty for hitting a wrong ball out of the bunker, but none of the shots they hit with the wrong ball [Rule 15-3b]. When they return to the bunker the second time they will each be hitting their fourth shot on the hole. Each player must re-create the original lie in the bunker and place the ball in that lie [Rules 15-3b and 20-3b (iii)].

Copyright © 2016 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.