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.

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