Monday, July 31, 2017

Ask Linda #1584-Re-tee after whiff

Hi, Linda.
My wife has just arrived in from golf and outlined a situation that I can't answer – but I know that you can answer!

On the 15th tee (being tired!) she had played an air shot, taking a divot out behind the ball, but not dislodging it from the tee. She then chose to play from a different place on the tee (to avoid the divot mark), re-teed the ball and drove off.

Her fellow competitors told her she had incurred a penalty because she had touched/moved the ball and was therefore playing 3, not 2.

My thought was that maybe this was not true as the ball wasn't in play until it was hit and therefore it was OK to re-tee. Alternatively, the ball was in play once you swung at it.
Could you please help out?

As always, many thanks for the great service that you provide.
Lou from England

Dear Lou,

A ball is “in play” as soon as the player makes a stroke on the teeing ground [Definition of “Ball in Play”]. A “stroke” is the forward movement of the club made with the intention of hitting the ball [Definition of “Stroke”]. The fact that your wife missed the ball does not change the fact that she tried to hit it. An air shot, or a whiff (in plain language, a swing and a miss), counts as a stroke.

Your wife’s ball was in play. When she lifted her ball in play and played it from another spot on the teeing ground, she played under stroke and distance [Rule 27-1]. Her second tee shot was her third shot on the hole.

Please read the following column for a more detailed explanation:

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