Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Ask Linda #1667-Take extra shots during scramble

Hi Linda,  
A 3-ball scramble:  All three players tee off on a par 3. One player is on the green, which will be the ball to take. The other two golfers, instead of picking up their balls, decide to play them up to the green!!!
Is there a breach of rules here please??
Kind regards,
Lou from Somerset, UK

Dear Lou,

This is a tough question to answer, because scrambles are not addressed by the Rules of Golf. This is really a matter for the Committee to decide.

In making their decision, the Committee should consider that when the other two players chip onto the green, they will learn something about the break and speed that they would not know if they picked up their balls and properly proceeded to the ball on the green. They will also have hit a practice stroke, which is not permissible under the Rules of Golf.

I would recommend a penalty of some sort (again, a Committee decision). I would also strongly recommend that the Committee state, in the Conditions of the Competition (or in on-course instructions to the players), that players must choose the ball they wish to play and pick up the balls that will not be played. The Committee should further state that any player hitting an extra shot will be deemed to have hit a practice shot and will incur a two-stroke penalty under Rule 7-2. Alternately, the Committee might impose a rule stating that as soon as one of the players hits the next shot, that ball becomes the ball in play for the team and the other two balls must be lifted.

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