Thursday, March 29, 2018

Ask Linda #1729-Ball embedded in water hazard

Hello Linda,
Thanks for your very helpful website.
Our question:

A player makes a shot over a large water hazard (100m, yellow stakes) and the balls lands inside at the very end of the hazard. There is no water in the hazard and the ball is embedded in the mud.

Can the player declare the ball unplayable and, with one-stroke penalty, drop in the hazard, or has he to return to the spot were the ball crossed the hazard border?

Lou from Belgium

Dear Lou,

A player may declare his ball unplayable anywhere on the golf course except in a water hazard [Rule 28]. If the player is unable to hit his ball as it lies in the hazard, he must choose one of the relief options available to him in Rule 26-1. As this ball was embedded in a yellow-staked hazard, the player has two relief choices, both under penalty of one stroke:
• Play another ball under stroke and distance
• Drop a ball on the flagline
Both options will require the player to hit his ball over the hazard.

Please note that the player is not entitled to embedded-ball relief [Rule 25-2]. Relief for an embedded ball is limited to closely-mown areas through the green. If the Local Rule that extends relief for an embedded ball to all areas of the course that are through the green is in effect, the player would still not be entitled to relief – water hazards are not “through the green.”

Copyright © 2018 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Ask Linda #1728-Competitor lifts player’s provisional

Hi Linda,
In playing a medal competition [stroke play], my ball was hit towards woods and potentially lost, so a provisional was played. My fellow competitor identified my original ball in a bush, after I described the make and the marking. He picked it up and replaced it. The provisional ball was approximately level to where the original lay, so another competitor picked it up, believing the original was found. I did not request him to do so, but by my actions it seemed clear that I had found the original.

I hacked the ball out of the bush, only to find that the ball was not mine. I had assumed my competitor had identified it properly. That was my mistake. The original ball was lost.

My question is: Was I entitled to play the original provisional ball, which my competitor had picked up, asking that he replace it? Or should I have gone back to the tee? We decided that I should incur the two-shot penalty for hitting the wrong ball, and should be allowed to play the replaced provisional, meaning that the next stroke with the provisional was my sixth.

Was this correct?

Thank you
Lou from the UK

Dear Lou,

Yes. Well done.

In stroke play there is no penalty to anyone if a fellow competitor lifts your ball [Rule 18-4]. The ball must be replaced by the player who lifted the ball, you, or your partner [Rule 20-3a]. Since the original lie of the provisional was known, the ball is placed on that spot, not dropped.

The provisional was your ball in play, since the original was not found. The stroke count is:
1 – tee shot
2 & 3 – two-stroke penalty for hitting a wrong ball
4 & 5 – stroke and distance for provisional ball
Your next shot with the provisional ball, as you concluded, is your sixth stroke on the hole.

Don’t be too hard on yourself for failing to identify the ball in the bush. I suspect that most golfers have had the experience of playing a wrong ball that a fellow competitor found and assured the player that the ball was his. Try to make it a habit of always checking a ball before you hit it. Large, distinctive identifying marks on the ball will help keep you from hitting a wrong ball.

Copyright © 2018 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Ask Linda #1727-Ball in burrowing animal hole

Hi Linda,
During a seniors match, I put my 2nd shot into a greenside bunker. We were all (4 players) certain the ball had gone into the bunker, but there was no sign of it. After much scratching of heads we investigated a hole (burrow) located in the face of said bunker. There was my ball, approximately 12 inches down the hole. We retrieved the ball, but the question then arose as to what I should do with it (within the Rules of Golf).
I was for just dropping it in the bunker, no closer to the hole, but one of the opposing pairing said no and came up with the following ruling:
As the ball had travelled 12 inches into the hole, it had gone beyond the perimeter of the bunker and the following should apply. The position of the ball should be projected vertically, and the ball should be placed on the surface the same distance as to what it had gone into the hole. As I was benefiting from such a ruling, I did not argue, but what would have been your ruling?
Lou from West Midlands, U.K.

Dear Lou,

Your opponents were mostly correct. After you establish the position of the ball above the ground, you have to drop the ball (not place it) within one club-length of that spot, no closer to the hole [Decision 25-1b/23]. In your case, the burrowing animal gave you a free pass out of the bunker. Lucky you!

Copyright © 2018 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Ask Linda #1726-Change relief option after dropping ball

Hi Linda
When a ball comes to rest in a bush and is unplayable, I think the player has the usual three options – take a two club length drop, take stroke and distance, or drop on the flagline…no problem so far.

The player elects to drop within two club-lengths. When he drops the ball the ball rolls forwards and therefore is ‘not in play yet’ and has to be re-dropped.
He then decides it is too risky to drop and elects to go back to the tee or drop on the flagline. Can he do this or is he committed to continuing with the ‘two-club-length’ relief option?

Many thanks, you are very much appreciated.
Lou from Hampshire, England

Dear Lou,

Once the player chooses a relief option and drops a ball, he is committed to that option [Decision 20-2c/5]. So if he drops a ball under the two-club-length relief option, and the ball rolls to a position that requires a re-drop (see Rule 20-2c), he must re-drop the ball. The ball is in play as soon as it is dropped, regardless of whether the drop must be repeated.

Copyright © 2018 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Ask Linda #1725-Ball in unmarked hazard

1) Ball is embedded in soft creek bed. Ball is visible but clearly half-embedded. Creek is not staked or red-lined.

How do I play?

2) Ball is not embedded in soft creek bed but is more than half covered with sticky mud. Creek is not staked or red-lined.

How do I play?

3) In either of the above, if I chose to take a stroke and drop the ball, can I clean it?

Lou from Ontario, Canada

Dear Lou,

The fact that the hazard is unmarked does not absolve the player from his responsibility to recognize that his ball lies in a hazard. If he decides that his ball is unplayable, he must choose one of the relief options in Rule 26-1. All of these options permit the player to clean the ball or substitute another ball.

Copyright © 2018 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.