Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ask Linda #1596-Record gross scores and Stableford points

Hi Linda,
In a Stableford competition, if I enter on the card the Stableford scores plus the gross scores am I or the owner of the marked card disqualified?
The professional at my club insists that entering the Stableford points on the card is cause for disqualification, and only the gross scores should be entered.
Is this correct?
Lou, an Englishman living in France

Dear Lou,

Absolutely not. While players are required to accurately record their gross scores, there is no prohibition against keeping track of your Stableford points (or team better-ball score or net score or anything else) on the scorecard. If the Committee wants you to turn in a “clean” scorecard (gross scores only), it should make that wish known. But even if you missed a directive to record gross scores only, and kept track of your points on the card, this would not be grounds for disqualification (or any other penalty). Ask the pro to show you in the rulebook where it says a player is disqualified for recording Stableford points in addition to gross scores on the scorecard. Dollars to doughnuts he won’t find it.

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ask Linda #1595-Treat a movable obstruction as immovable

Dear Linda,
You have helped me on a number of previous occasions and I wonder if you can help again?

I attach a photograph of a metal sign which has been placed on our golf course. The sign is anchored by metal stakes pushed into the ground and can be easily removed.

Some players take the view that if their stance or swing is interfered with by the sign they can treat the sign as an immovable obstruction and take a drop from the nearest point of relief plus one club-length. This can have the effect of them dropping their ball on the mown fairway rather than in the rough where they would have to play from if they merely removed the sign.

I have read the definition Section of the rules which says:-

“An obstruction is a movable obstruction if it may be moved without unreasonable effort, without unduly delaying play and without causing damage. Otherwise it is an immovable obstruction.”

I have also read Rule 24 in relation to obstructions and the relief that may be taken. This situation does not seem to be addressed. Can a player decide not to remove an obstruction that is clearly movable and call it immovable?

Lou from Adelaide, South Australia

Dear Lou,

An obstruction is either movable or not. The decision is not at the discretion of the golfer. While a Committee may choose to declare a movable obstruction immovable (an example would be declaring hazard stakes immovable), the individual golfer does not have this right.

Signs placed on the golf course to direct traffic are generally designed to be movable; I have never encountered one that wasn’t. If a movable obstruction interferes with the player’s shot, he is entitled to remove it [Rule 24-1]. He is not, however, entitled to arbitrarily declare the sign to be immovable and take relief. If he does, he will incur a two-stroke penalty (loss of hole in match play) for a breach of Rule 18-2 [Decision 18-2/4].

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Ask Linda #1594-Ball deflected by caddie of fellow competitor

Dear Linda,
Players A, B & C have been grouped together to play in a stroke play competition. Player A makes a stroke and his ball gets deflected by the caddie of Player B.

Please clarify---
a. Can player A replay the ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played?
b. Can player A play the ball as it lies after being deflected?
c. Can player A exercise either of the above two options?

Does Player B incur a penalty as his caddie deflected player A's ball? If so, how many strokes penalty?
Lou from Pune, India

Dear Lou,

In stroke play, the caddie of a fellow competitor is an outside agency [Definition of “Outside Agency”]. A look at Rule 19-1 will tell you that when a ball is accidentally deflected or stopped by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be played as it lies. This is known as a rub of the green.

The answers to your questions are as follows:
a. Player A may not replay his shot.
b. Player A must play the ball as it lies after it was deflected.
c. Player A has no choice in the matter.
d. There is no penalty to anyone.

The answer changes dramatically if the format is match play. In match play, your opponent’s caddie is not an outside agency. If a player’s ball is stopped or deflected by his opponent or his opponent’s caddie, the player has two choices [Rule 19-3]:
1. cancel the stroke and replay the shot; or
2. play the ball as it lies.
There is no penalty to anyone.

Don’t forget that if the ball is accidentally deflected or stopped by the player himself, his own caddie, his partner, his partner’s caddie, his own equipment, or his partner’s equipment, the player incurs a one-stroke penalty and he must play the ball as it lies [Rule 19-2].

All of these Rules have exceptions that are outside the parameters of your question. Please take a few minutes and read Rule 19: Ball in Motion Deflected or Stopped, in its entirety.

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Ask Linda #1593-Player in match remembers earlier violation

Hi Linda,
I would be grateful for your expert opinion on the following scenario.

We were playing an inter-club match. Four-ball match play

Walking off the 16th Green we were 2-up with 2 to play. Dormie.

On the 17th, I was out of the hole (having taken too many strokes) and raking the bunker. The other players played their respective putts and we secured a half and a win, 2 & 1. Handshakes all round and congratulated each other on the golf we had played and a great afternoon.

We played the 18th, a par 3. Two of us were on the green and the other two just off on the fringe. We were on the green when it was at this point my partner (a man who is one of life's gentlemen a very honest and honourable person) declared he had just realised that he had made an error on the last green by moving his ball marker to allow one of our opponents to putt and he had not replaced the marker and therefore had putted from a wrong place.
Straightforward loss-of-hole penalty.

Our opponents very graciously stated that the result of the hole could stand as neither of them had realised he had putted from the wrong place.

It was then that I stepped in and stated we could all be in breach of Rule 1-3, Agreement to Waive a Rule of Golf, and we should readjust the score to 1-up with one to play and play the balls on the 18th as they lie, which is what we did. A half was made so we adjusted the score to a win 1-up.

My question is: Did we act correctly and did we get the score for the match correct?

I would be grateful for your expert advice.
Thank you.
Lou from Skegness, UK

Dear Lou,

Yes to both of your questions – your procedure and score (1-up) were correct. Congratulations all around for good sportsmanship and good sense.

Your partner was disqualified from the 17th hole when he played from the wrong place [Rules 20-3a and 20-7b]. The status of the match must be corrected, even if the discovery is made at a subsequent hole [Decision 9-2/9].

However, if the result of the match had been officially announced (e.g., the four of you had submitted your score to the team captain, who dutifully recorded it on the scoresheet), the score would have stood at 2 and 1 [Rule 2-5]. In that case, a claim would not be considered because the player (your partner) did not knowingly give wrong information and the facts were known to your opponents (they had the opportunity to observe the infraction).

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Ask Linda #1592-Activities around the green

Hi Linda,
This question has a few parts:
1. If you are off the green: 
     a. Can you move twigs, leaves, stones in your line that are on the green?
     b. Can you move sand on the green?
     c. Can you repair a pitch mark off the green?
     d. Can you repair a pitch mark on the green?
 2. If you are on the green, can you brush sand out of the way?
Lou from Australia

Dear Lou,

1a: Yes. Twigs, leaves, and stones are loose impediments. You are entitled to remove loose impediments except when your ball and the loose impediments lie in the same hazard [Rule 23-1].

1b: Yes. Sand is defined as a loose impediment when it lies on the putting green [Definition of “Loose Impediments”]. If the sand lies off the green, you will incur a two-stroke penalty in stroke play (loss of hole in match play) if you brush away the sand [Rule 13-2]. The only time you may brush away sand that is off the green is when the sand arrived after your ball came to rest. This might happen if your ball lies near a bunker and another player’s shot from the bunker deposits sands on or around your ball. You are entitled to the lie you had when your ball came to rest.

1c: Sometimes. If the pitch mark was there when your ball arrived, you may not repair it. If the pitch mark is made by another player’s ball after your ball comes to rest, you may repair it. You are entitled to the line of play you had when your ball came to rest.

1d: Yes [Rule 16-1c].

2. Yes. Sand is a loose impediment when it is on the green. You may brush it away, regardless of whether your ball lies on or off the green.

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Ask Linda #1591-Pull out a dandelion

One of our league members told us about her bunker situation: during a friendly game of golf, her ball landed in a deep bunker on the upslope. Just above where her ball laid, there was a dandelion hanging over and down the lip. More than likely the weed would have interfered with her shot out of the bunker. She pulled the weed. She wanted to know if that was against any rule. Many of us told her that she should not have pulled the weed and because she did, she should have incurred a one-stroke penalty.

What is the ruling on a situation like this? Thanks for your time.
Lulu from New Prague, Minnesota

Dear Lulu,

The player is not allowed to improve her lie, the area of her stance or swing, or her line of play by moving, bending, or breaking anything that is growing. The player incurs a two-stroke penalty (loss of hole in match play) under Rule 13-2. This penalty applies everywhere on the golf course except the teeing ground.

The player is permitted to create or eliminate irregularities on the surface of the teeing ground. This means she is permitted, for example, to pull out grass or weeds lying behind or near her ball [Decision 13-2/3]. However, she may not break branches off a tree that overhangs the teeing ground; branches attached to a tree are not an irregularity of the ground surface [Decision 13-2/14].

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.