Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Ask Linda #1747-Player refuses a request to move

Dear Linda,
A few months back one of our players in a Match asked his competitor if he would mind moving before taking his shot as the competitor was standing in a position within his vision.

The competitor refused to do so and claimed that there was no rule that compelled him to do so. The player was annoyed and felt this was a serious breach of etiquette but did not want to cause a fuss and so did not report the incident.

Can you confirm that the alleged action of the competitor as outlined is a breach of etiquette, and if you would consider it a serious breach, and if so how would you recommend the committee responds to the claimant and/or reminds members of their obligations. 

Many thanks,
Lou from New Zealand 

Dear Lou,

I would suggest that your first step be to talk to both players. Your narrative would indicate that all of your information is hearsay.

You need to find out what the player meant by “a position within his vision.” While the Etiquette section of the rulebook emphasizes that players should not stand close to or behind the ball (to the right of a right-handed player), or directly behind the hole, they do not suggest that players stay out of each other’s “vision.” Peripheral vision allows a player to see quite a bit of area. To be truly out of someone’s vision, everyone on the putting green (or elsewhere) would have to leave his position to gather behind the player’s back. So unless the opponent were standing behind the ball or behind the hole, the player’s request may have been unreasonable.

If you learn that the opponent stood where he should not have, meaning the player’s request for him to move was entirely reasonable, you have an etiquette violation to address. I would hope that a diplomatic explanation to the gentleman to not stand behind the ball or the hole, and to comply with other players’ requests to vacate such a position, would resolve the matter.

In the unlikely event that the gentleman insists that he has the right to stand wherever he wishes, you might want to warn him that any further incidents of such rude and inconsiderate behavior may result in disqualification. Rule 33-7 allows a Committee to impose a penalty of disqualification for a serious breach of etiquette. To my way of thinking, a player who repeats unacceptable behavior after receiving an official warning is guilty of a serious breach.

I have to add that in my many years of playing golf, I have never encountered a player who would not move away from behind the ball or behind the hole (or away from any other spot another player found distracting) when asked to do so. Why would any well-mannered person refuse to honor such a request? 

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