Friday, June 2, 2017

Ask Linda #1544-Ball thrown onto course by homeowner

Hi Linda,
Yesterday found us with an unusual problem that needs your guidance. My playing partner hit his drive about 200 yards with a hook toward the course boundary, adjacent to a private residence. Not being sure it was in bounds, he hit a provisional in the fairway. Upon approaching the estimated spot of the first ball, my partner announced that the apparent resident picked up his ball. My partner approached the area and upon seeing the resident, asked if he had indeed picked up the ball.

What followed was a flow of profanity from the resident, with the demand that my partner get off his %$#@^ property, and that he had thrown the ball in question back into the fairway, where it indeed was found. Since the disturbed resident started throwing rocks at my partner, we deemed it inadvisable to try to determine whether or not the first ball was in or out of bounds.

Questions: Is the original ball in play? Is there any penalty for my partner? Should the resident be penalized in some way? The situation has a humorous tone, but could have had serious consequences.

Thank you for your consideration.
Lou from Surprise, Arizona

Dear Lou,

Considering the level of anger of the homeowner, I think you can safely assume that the ball landed on his property and was therefore out of bounds. The player should continue play with the provisional ball, which is now his ball in play. He will be playing his fourth stroke when he hits the provisional.

I fail to understand why people who choose to live on the perimeter of a golf course are surprised or angered to find golf balls in their backyard. The behavior of the homeowner in your narrative is clearly not unacceptable; it borders on criminal. If the player were injured by the thrown rocks, he might want to make it a police matter. If he escaped unscathed, he should at the very least discuss the matter with the course manager. The course might want to advise players to steer clear of the property in question and avoid interaction with the homeowner.

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