Monday, October 23, 2017

Ask Linda #1629-Relief from out-of-bounds corn stalk

Linda,
On the Par 5 fifth at our club, there is out of bounds on the left directly up against an off the property cornfield. Every now and then a ball comes to rest in bounds but close enough to the corn stalks so that they affect your swing. Is there any relief granted or can you move or stand on a corn stalk so you have a swing being it is off the property?
Thanks,
Lou from Columbia, Pennsylvania

Dear Lou,

No. There is no relief from objects that live and grow out of bounds. If you move, bend, or break a corn stalk you have breached Rule 13-2 [Decision 13-2/19]. Nor may you stand on it to keep it from interfering with your stance, backswing, or stroke [Decision 13-2/1]. These rulings also apply to anything growing on the golf course.

The penalty is two strokes in stroke play, loss of hole in match play.

Linda
Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.





Friday, October 20, 2017

Ask Linda #1628-Hit empty tee before hitting teed ball

Linda,
Today, I played with a colleague, and prior to teeing off she placed a tee next to her teed ball and hit it and immediately after teed off. Is that permissible? At every hole she followed this routine. Maybe not a rules violation or stroke, but annoying.
Thank you,
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Dear Lulu,

As long as it doesn’t take her an infinite amount of time to do this (which seems unlikely based on your narrative), I see no problem with it. Things could be worse – she could be taking two or three practice swings before she hits her ball, a procedure that might be even more annoying. A practice swing at an empty tee followed immediately by the actual tee shot sounds fairly efficient.

Why don’t you time all your fellow competitors the next time you play with her? Start timing when the player steps onto the teeing ground, and stop when she hits the ball. If the subject of your question takes about the same time to hit the ball as everyone else, perhaps that knowledge will diminish your annoyance.

Linda
Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.




Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ask Linda #1627-Replay shot after ball discovered to lie on sprinkler head

Hello Linda–
In a tournament recently, my ball landed just off the green, nestled right down in the grass - almost looked 'embedded' within the grass. I hit it out of that spot (it didn't get very far), then saw that it had in fact been resting on a sprinkler head that neither I nor my fellow competitors could identify prior to my taking the shot.

My fellow competitors agreed that I should replay the shot by taking a drop since that would be the correct procedure if we had known my ball had landed on a sprinkler head.

What is the correct ruling in this circumstance?

Thank you!
Lulu from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Dear Lulu,

A player who discovers that her ball was lying on a sprinkler head (immovable obstruction) after she hits the ball has no option to replay the shot. The time to make that discovery is prior to hitting. Once you hit the ball, it is in play.

When you lifted your ball in play and dropped it where you hit your previous shot, you were playing under stroke and distance [Rule 27-1]. You must count both shots and add a one-stroke penalty to your score.

If you suspected something unusual about a ball lying in deep grass near the green, you could have carefully probed with a tee or other slim tool to find out whether there was a sprinkler head under your ball. Alternately, you would be permitted to mark and lift the ball to assess the situation. In this case, you would have to announce your intention in advance to your opponent or fellow competitor and give her an opportunity to observe the lifting and any subsequent replacement of the ball (if no relief is available or any available relief is not taken). The ball may not be cleaned when lifted [Decision 20-1/0.7].

Linda
Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.




Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ask Linda #1626-Knock sand off clubface in bunker

Hi Linda,
I have a question regarding a situation that arose during a match play round I was playing at the weekend.

Playing a par 4 my opponent hit his approach shot pretty close to the pin. I hit mine into a greenside bunker. The bunker was very wet and the ball came to rest in a puddle. I took a drop in the bunker at the nearest point of relief, no nearer the hole, and played my bunker shot but failed to get out and the ball rolled back into the puddle to exactly the point it was originally. I took another drop in the same spot as previously but as I went to play my shot I noticed there was a big lump of wet sand on my clubface. Absentmindedly I banged the club onto the wet compacted sand to knock off the lump of sand, then played the bunker shot, got the ball out but didn’t hole it so conceded the hole to my opponent.

My question is: Would I have incurred a penalty for banging my club on the sand to knock off the clump of sand? I had already played a shot from the exact same spot so I don’t see how I could be accused of testing the sand or trying to gain some advantage. I didn’t improve my line of play. I don’t think I committed a foul but I have no doubt that had I holed my second bunker shot my opponent would have made a claim and I would have conceded the hole just to keep things friendly.

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Lou from the UK

Dear Lou,

A player is not permitted to touch the ground in the bunker prior to hitting his ball that lies in the bunker [Rule 13-4b]. The penalty in match play is loss of hole (two strokes in stroke play). Absentmindedness is unforgivable under the Rules of Golf.

Linda
Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Ask Linda #1625-Complete relief from Ground Under Repair (GUR)

Good day Linda,
We have weekly competitions in our club (Cape Town area).

I would like to clarify the following. When a player gets a free drop from a GUR, can he stand in the GUR or must he drop in a way that he takes his stance out of the GUR?

Thanking you in advance.
Lulu from Cape Town

Dear Lulu,

When a player takes a free drop out of Ground Under Repair (GUR), she must take complete relief. Her stance may not touch the GUR for her next shot. The same would be true for a player taking free relief from an immovable obstruction. Please read Rule 25-1b and the Definition of “Nearest Point of Relief.”

Linda
Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.






Monday, October 16, 2017

Ask Linda #1624-Hit ball with back of putter

Hi Linda,
Please could you tell me what the rules say regarding using the back of a putter? I see many people who just miss a putt and then use the back of the putter to knock it in. Is this acceptable as well as being lazy?
Kind regards,
Lou from Gloucestershire, England, Great Britain

Dear Lou,

The player may hit the ball with either side of the clubhead. The Rule states: “The ball must be fairly struck at with the head of the club…” [Rule 14-1]. It does not limit the player to using only one side of the clubhead.

Players are foolish to do this under tournament conditions. It takes but a few seconds to address the ball in the traditional manner and tap it into the hole. A slight miscue using the back of the club can add additional, maddening strokes to your score for the hole. 

Linda
Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.