Thursday, December 29, 2016

Ask Linda #1448-Deciding whether ball is out of bounds

Linda, I would like clarification on something that occurred at my golf course recently and is the topic of ongoing discussion amongst members at the 19th hole.

Here is the incident: On a hole at my course, there is an out of bounds area marked by white stakes beyond the green. The golfer’s second shot comes to rest out of bounds. Problem is that the line between the two closest white stakes is interfered with by a shrub that prevents establishing the out of bounds line at ground level. The golfer states that since he cannot see the imaginary line between the two stakes he is therefore not out of bounds.

The golfer won the small tournament, as no one wanted to get into an argument with him.

Was he right in saying that his ball was not out of bounds according to his reasoning?

Where can I find the Decision if this occurs again?

By the way, the groundskeepers have placed an additional white stake between the two original white stakes now so there is no question.

I enjoy reading your daily golf rules on the net and thank you for keeping us informed.
Lou from Barbados

Dear Lou,

The Definition of “Out of Bounds” includes the following statement: “The out of bounds line extends vertically upwards and downwards.” In establishing whether a ball lies out of bounds, the player should stand at one out-of-bounds marker, sight down at the next marker, imagine a vertical wall between the two markers, and note whether his ball lies on the course side or the out-of-bounds side of that imaginary wall.

There is nothing unusual about a shrub sitting between two out-of-bounds markers. It is quite common for all sorts of plantings to grow between and beyond out-of-bounds stakes. The presence of such plantings has nothing to do with establishing the location of the player’s ball.

The golfer’s reasoning is incorrect. His ball lies out of bounds.

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