Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Ask Linda #1542-Ball in rabbit scrape under bush

Hi Linda,
While playing in a club match my opponent hit his ball into bushes. We found the ball in about 2 feet from the rough but in a rabbit scrape. He asked me if he was entitled to relief, and I confirmed he was, but that he was not entitled to improve his position, i.e., he could not get relief from the bushes. He dropped the ball over the rabbit scrape but each time he did, the ball touched off the bushes and landed where he had a clear shot. This happened 3 times and eventually we decided it was in play. What was the correct ruling please? 
Many thanks,
Lou from Ireland

Dear Lou,
If the rabbit scrape weren’t there, would the ball be unplayable under the bush? Please let me know exactly where the ball lay in relation to the scrape and to the bush or bushes.

Hi Linda,
Yes, the ball would be unplayable even if it were not in the rabbit scrape. It was in under the bushes where it would have been impossible to swing at it!

Dear Lou,

You are not entitled to free relief from an abnormal ground condition (a rabbit scrape, in this instance) if something else clearly interferes with your stroke [Rule 25-1b, Exception]. In your situation, the ball lay unplayable under a bush. If the rabbit scrape were not there, your ball would still be unplayable. Since you cannot play your ball, you must add one stroke to your score and choose one of the relief options in Rule 28 for an unplayable ball.

In situations where you are entitled to relief, there is no requirement to drop the ball in the same condition. For example, if your ball lies in casual water in the rough, and the nearest point of relief plus one club-length moves you onto the fairway, you are entitled to drop on the fairway.

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Ask Linda #1541-Relief from out-of-bounds fence

Hi Linda – hope all is well – Lou here in Wales

Today – 18th hole with a perimeter wooden fence which marks boundary to car park – every other fence post has small bit of white paint about a foot tall on three foot post to mark out of bounds line plus a large separate white post to the right of fence where it ends.

My fellow player is in bounds by one foot but cannot play ball because the same fence (man-made) prevents address/swing.

Invoking the process “if you cannot do what is right do what is fair,” I advised him to take a free drop no nearer hole to alleviate swing issue. (He was prepared to give me the match at this stage.)

I thought I was 99% right anyway. Did I make the right decision (the 18th hole was critical and this could have ultimately cost me the match as I was one up and if he had tied 18th a playoff would have ensued – but I won on 18th anyway).

Lou from Wales

Dear Lou,

No, Lou. I’m afraid your decision was 100% wrong. Objects that define out of bounds (e.g., fences, walls, stakes) are not obstructions [Definitions of  “Obstructions” and “Out of Bounds”]. A player is not entitled to free relief from an out-of-bounds fence. If he cannot play the ball as it lies, he must declare it unplayable, add one penalty stroke to his score, and choose one of the relief options available for an unplayable ball in Rule 28 (stroke and distance, flagline, or two club-lengths).

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Ask Linda #1540-Putt right- and left-handed

Hi Linda,
I have a two-faced putter. I have found I putt longer putts better right-handed and short putts better left or backhanded. I believe a putter can be used this way. But to confirm, in tournament play, can I use both sides of the putter in a round?
Note: Someone said with the old double-faced chippers it was not legal to use both faces. But my question is referring only to a Bullseye-like putter.
Lou from Corning, New York

Dear Lou,

You may putt right-handed or left-handed. In fact, you may swing any club in your bag right-handed or left-handed. I’m sure you have seen right-handed players swinging left-handed to hit a ball that lies close to a tree or other obstacle.

The putter is the only club that is allowed to have two striking faces (as you would find on a flat-bladed putter, such as a Bullseye). A double-faced chipper is not a legal club [Appendix II, 4, d, p, 173].

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Ask Linda #1539-Penalty for dislodging ball from tree

Dear Linda, 
My question is about Decision 28/1. 

A ball in a tree. I cannot identify it. If I throw a plastic bottle (carefully) and that ball falls down I can identify it. It is my ball. If I proceed under 28b (flagline) or 28c (two club-lengths) I have moved my ball at rest, which is a breach of Rule 18. If, in this case, I would proceed under 28a (stroke and distance) after throwing the bottle, would I still have breached Rule 18? I would think not. But if so, why? 

Kind regards, 
Lou from Holland. 

Dear Lou,

If you spot a ball in a tree that you suspect may be yours, and you have no plans to play it as it lies in the tree, the safest procedure is to announce, before trying to dislodge it, that you will proceed under one of the relief options for an unplayable ball if it turns out to be yours. After such an announcement, you will not incur a penalty under Rule 18-2 for moving your ball in play. Any method of dislodging the ball (short of pulling out a chain saw) is acceptable – shake the tree, toss a water bottle, throw a club, climb the tree, etc. If it is clear from your actions that you will declare the ball unplayable if it turns out to be yours, there is still no penalty for moving it. However, you will avoid arguments about your intentions if you make them known before you attack the tree [Decision 18-2/27].

If you have not made an announcement, and your intentions are not clear, you will incur one penalty stroke for moving your ball in play, and an additional penalty stroke if you choose any of the relief options for an unplayable ball [Decision 18-2/28]. (An example of unclear intentions would be if you have no idea where your ball is, you shake a tree, and the ball falls out.)

Decision 28/1 (the one you referenced at the beginning of your question) deals with a different situation. It states that a player does not have to go forward to identify his ball if he wants to proceed under the first option of Rule 28 and hit another ball under stroke and distance. (The player always has the option to proceed under stroke and distance, regardless of the reason.) However, a player who wishes to proceed under Rule 28b (flagline) or Rule 28c (two-club-lengths) must first identify his ball, since it is not possible to use either of those relief options without knowing exactly where the ball lies.

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ask Linda #1538-Which tee for provisional ball in mixed foursomes

Today my wife and I played in the club mixed foursomes event and the following question arose.

In this event men are required to tee off from the white tees on odd-numbered holes and women from the red tees on even-numbered holes. My question is as to what should happen when either a provisional ball is played from the tee or a team decides to play 3 off the tee.

Decision 29-1/3 makes it clear that the player who did not hit the original tee shot should play the provisional ball, or 3 off the tee, but the question is as to from where they play it. Two views have been expressed:

1. As the teeing ground for that hole is pre-determined –white tees for odd holes and red tees for even holes– then the provisional should be played from there. So men would hit from the red (women’s) tee and women from the white (men’s) tee.

2. The teeing ground is gender specific, so that if a male plays the provisional ball he should hit from the white (men’s) tee and if it is the woman who hits the provisional she should hit from the red (women’s) tee.

As the penalty for playing from the wrong place and not correcting it is disqualification, the answer is important and I have not been able to find a rule or decision that gives a definitive answer.

Can you assist?

Lou from Adelaide, South Australia

Dear Lou,

Yes. The provisional ball must be played from the same tee where the original ball was played. For example, if the man hits a ball from the white tee markers that may be lost or out of bounds, and the team decides to hit a provisional ball, the woman must hit the provisional ball from the white tee markers.

Decision 29/2 describes an analogous situation. In this Decision, a man hits his tee shot out of bounds from the back tee in mixed foursomes. The next stroke, which will be hit by the woman, must be played from the back tee.

In the case where the woman’s tee shot played from the forward tee requires a replay, the man must hit the next shot from the forward tee.

If you think about it for a minute, it will make sense to you. The ball is in play as soon as it is hit from the teeing ground. Once the ball is in play, all future procedures that involve hitting a ball from the spot where the previous shot was hit will require play from that precise location.

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.