Monday, June 26, 2017

Ask Linda #1560-Monkeying around with Local Rules

Hi Linda,
I am asking you a lot of questions of late. This is because I have moved to a new Golf Club and they seem to use some "unusual rules," to put it kindly.

My club has just introduced a local rule that "Plugged balls through the green may be lifted and dropped, but not cleaned.” 
My understanding is that the specimen local rule from Appendix I is: "Through the green, a ball that is embedded may be lifted, cleaned and dropped, without penalty, as near as possible to the spot where it lay but not nearer the hole. The ball when dropped must first strike a part of the course through the green."
Is my club allowed to modify the Local Rule to prevent cleaning of the ball? I don't understand why anyone would want to prevent cleaning of the ball. The local gossip is that it is to prevent cheating, as golfers may claim their ball is plugged just to clean it.
My answer is: "If golfers want to cheat they will always find a way," and we can't cater to cheats.

Looking forward to your opinion.

Best Wishes,
Lou from Yorkshire, England

Dear Lou,

The Local Rule providing relief for embedded balls through the green permits cleaning the ball [Appendix I, Part A, #3a]. The club does not have the option to amend this Local Rule.

Rule 25-2, the Rule that explains relief for embedded balls in closely mown areas through the green, also allows the player to clean the ball. A club “rule” that prohibits players from cleaning an embedded ball when taking relief violates a player’s rights under the Rules.

Making up rules that contravene the Rules of Golf to prevent cheating is a useless and counter-productive measure. How much better would it be to teach the golfers the basic Rules, and to encourage an atmosphere that does not tolerate cheating? Golf relies on the honesty and integrity of the individual golfers. The game is a sham if players are cheating.

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