Saturday, April 1, 2017

Ask Linda #1500 revisited

Dear readers,

I have received a number of responses to Ask Linda #1500-Dropping Zone for island green. These readers have correctly pointed out that it is generally not permitted to place a Dropping Zone (DZ) on the green side of a yellow-staked hazard. This is absolutely true.

I probably should not have posted an answer without first getting some additional information about the configuration of the hole. I will contact the reader and see what additional information he can provide. In the meantime, I can tell you that when I run a tournament at a course where a DZ is incorrectly located, I do not permit players to use the DZ and require that they follow the Rules of Golf regarding relief options. (I have the DZ signs removed, list this in my Conditions, and include it in the starter’s instructions.)

However, here is the problem, as I see it. If this is truly an island green, with the water completely surrounding the green, what happens to the player who cannot reach the green? Is he obligated to hit ball after ball into the water? Should he simply pack up and go home? Should he never play the course? Assuming individual stroke play where the player must hole out (and not a format where a player can pick up when his score on a given hole exceeds the limits, such as Stableford), how can this problem be resolved other than by means of an illegal DZ? I would think the Committee would have to consult the governing authority (USGA or R&A) for an acceptable solution. The following statement appears in Appendix I, Part A, Local Rules, General:

If local abnormal conditions interfere with the proper playing of the game and the Committee considers it necessary to modify a Rule of Golf, authorization from the USGA [R&A] must be obtained.

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