Thursday, September 14, 2017

Vacationing in Greece

Dear readers,

I will be vacationing in Greece with my older daughter from September 18 until October 3. I will not have access to my e-mails during that time. Please do not send me any questions while I’m away.

Thank you for your consideration.


P.S. No columns will be posted during my absence.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Ask Linda #1616-Player’s shot hits shared cart

Dear Linda,

Thank you for your continued explanations.

I was recently playing match play and my opponent and I were sharing a buggy. I was in a greenside bunker and my opponent had parked the buggy by the green. I played my ball out of the bunker and it hit the buggy and came to rest by the green. I was aware that there is a penalty for hitting your own equipment; I was sharing the buggy, and assumed that in match play it was “loss of hole.” So I conceded the hole to my opponent.

Having read Rule 19-3 it would appear that there is no penalty and I could cancel the stroke and play the ball again from the bunker or where it lay.

This does not seem correct to me. Am I misreading the rule?

Lou from France

Dear Lou,

If you read the Definition of “Equipment,” you will learn that a shared cart is considered the equipment of the player whose ball is involved when the cart is stationary. Thus, the Rule that applies to your situation is 19-2 – your ball was deflected by your equipment. The penalty is one stroke (not loss of hole, as you believed), and you must play the ball as it lies. However, in your described situation, while a one-stroke penalty should have applied, that became irrelevant as soon as you conceded the hole, as a concession may not be withdrawn [Rule 2-4].

If your opponent had been moving the cart when it was struck by your shot out of the bunker, Rule 19-3 would apply in match play. You would not incur a penalty, and would be permitted to choose between playing the ball as it lies or replaying your shot [Decision 19/1].

In stroke play, the penalty for hitting your own equipment is the same as in match play – one-stroke penalty and play the ball as it lies. Also, as in match play, there is no penalty for hitting your fellow competitor’s equipment. The difference is that in stroke play, hitting a fellow competitor’s equipment is called a “rub of the green,” and you must play the ball as it lies. You do not have the match-play option to replay the shot [Rule 19-4].

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Ask Linda #1615-Place clubs in bunker

Dear Linda,
We would like to know if a player walks into a bunker with a few clubs, and decides to use one of them, and places the other clubs on the sand in the bunker, will there be a rules infringement?
Lou from Singapore

Dear Lou,

No. There is no penalty for placing the extra clubs in the sand, provided you do not test the condition of the hazard or improve the lie of your ball [Rule 13-4, Exception 1]. Indeed, you may bring your whole bag in with you. Just be sure to tidy everything up when you exit the bunker.

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Ask Linda #1614-Apply anti-slip tape to grip

Dear Linda,
Is the anti-slip tape legally allowed as shown in attached photos?
Best Regards,
Lou from Thailand

Dear Lou,

A literal reading of Rule 14-3c would seem to indicate that the anti-slip tape in your photos is not legal. While a player may wear gloves, use powder, or wrap a handkerchief or towel around the club to assist him in gripping it, there does not seem to be permission to affix strips of gripping tape to the actual grip. I believe this would violate the requirement in Appendix II that a grip be “straight and plain in form” and have "no bulge or waist." I am going to send your question to a senior rules official, to see if he will give me a more definitive answer. Please be patient while I await his response.

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Response from senior official:
I don’t like the way it’s currently taped because of the potential for “bulges and waists”.  If the grip were completely covered and done so without ridges created by overlap, I think it would be permitted.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Ask Linda #1613 edited

Dear readers,
Please revisit yesterday's column. At the suggestion of a reader from Bahrain, I have edited my answer to the first question.
Thanks, Lou!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Ask Linda #1613-Lost Ball Scenarios

Dear readers,
There are so many questions here that I am going to depart from my usual format and place my answer after each question.

Dear Linda,
I know it sounds a bit tedious asking similar questions over and over again, but I have another query about looking for and finding a lost ball. The scenario is:

A player drove off from the tee on a short par 3 into the rough. Everybody thought it might be found so proceeded forward. After searching for a couple of minutes, the player said, ''I'll start heading back to the tee in order to save time and the rest of the people can continue to look.” This player hit the second ball and ended up right next to the pin. The questions are:

1. I understand once this player hit the second ball, that ball will become the ball in play and she'll have to continue with the second ball. However, say if the original ball was found after she tees the ball but before she hits it, does she have to play the original ball, if the ball was found within the 5 minutes?

A ball that is teed up on the teeing ground is not in play until the player makes a stroke at it. If the player’s original ball is found within five minutes, and the player has teed up another ball but has not attempted to hit it, the player must continue play with the original ball [Decision 27-1/1]. However, she does have the option to hit the teed ball. If her original ball is unplayable, one of the relief options available to her is to play another ball under stroke and distance. If she decides to hit the teed ball,  the original would be lost by Definition.

2. What happens if the ball was found within the 5 minutes in very thick rough, and she was standing on the tee realising where it was found and pretended she didn't notice the other players had found the ball and she teed off anyway. Which ball does she have to play? And if the second ball was hit into a water hazard, can she then say, “Oh, I didn't realise you've found my ball and as it's within 5 minutes I'm going to play it.” Can she do that?

The player is entitled to hit another ball under stroke and distance at any time [Rule 27-1a]. As soon as she plays another ball from the tee, it is in play and the original ball is lost [Definition of “Lost Ball”]. In both instances, she has to play the second ball that she hit from the tee.

3. Another scenario:
Player A hits her ball a long way but into thick rough on a very short par 4. So, she declared she would play a provisional. This ball went very well but a little shorter than the first. I understand you can continue to play the second ball until you reach the area where the first ball went. She played the second ball and somehow holed it. Can she now declare her first ball is lost and abandon looking for it, or can the opponent go and try to find it within 5 minutes and force her to play it?

A player cannot declare her ball “lost” [Decision 27/16]. The ball is only lost when it meets one of the conditions in the Definition of “Lost Ball.” If the original ball is found (by anyone) within five minutes, and before the player lifts her ball out of the hole [Decision 27-2b/2], the player must continue play with the original ball and abandon the provisional [Decision 27-2c/2]. Her opponent has every right to search for the player’s original ball; in this instance, it is highly advantageous for her to do so.

Thank you.
Lulu from Rutland, UK

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Ask Linda #1612-Change shirt during round

On a very wet day, a player whilst using the clubhouse toilets at the 9th hole changes into a dry shirt. She had taken the dry shirt in her golf bag at the start of the round. Did she commit an infringement of the Rules of Golf?
Hope you can help.
Lulu from Scotland

Dear Lulu,


Offhand, I can’t think of any sport that denies a player the right to change her shirt (or shorts, socks, shoes, and underwear). If you’re jealous that she now has a dry shirt and you don’t, pack one yourself for unforeseen future emergencies.

The Rules would not permit a change of clothing that unduly delays play, but that would not be an issue in the situation you describe.

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.