Friday, June 29, 2018

Ask Linda #1768-Pull out grass near ball

Hi Linda,
I would like to clarify a point of which I'm uncertain and in my previous question you were extremely helpful so hopefully you can help me with this.

Playing a qualifying Stableford this weekend, one of my fellow competitors picked a couple of blades of long grass near his ball. It really wasn't a major issue in the great scheme of things, and I doubt if it made any difference to his next shot. I said I thought this may be against the Rules as it could be deemed as improving his lie. His response was he's seen this done on the TV by the pros, which I find difficult to believe.

Can you advise if his actions broke any rules or if I'm just overreacting?

Thank you,
Lou from Rainham, Kent

Dear Lou,

Yes, a Rule was broken, and no, you are not overreacting.

It is against the Rules to improve your lie, the area of your intended stance or swing, or your line of play by pulling out anything that is fixed or growing near the ball [Rule 13-2]. The penalty is two strokes.

What your fellow competitor may have noticed on the television was a pro brushing away clumps of cut grass from the area around his ball. Cut grass is neither growing nor fixed, and is classified as a loose impediment.

Copyright © 2018 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Ask Linda #1767-Ball moves when addressed

Hi Linda,
Someone is on the fairway of the 9th hole and his ball is sitting up nicely. He grounds his wedge behind the ball and the ball rolls onto the clubface of the wedge. The player walks away and goes through his pre-shot routine again, leaving the ball in its new position. He then proceeds to play to the green, holes out and carries on his round.

What are the penalties incurred and is there any major damage done through not rectifying the error before he teed off on the 10th?

Lou from the Sunshine Coast Australia

Dear Lou,

The penalty for moving your ball in play is one stroke. If the ball is not replaced, the penalty increases to two strokes. There is no additional penalty and no need to rectify the error before teeing off on the next hole [Rule 18-2 and the Penalty Statement].

In match play, the player loses the hole if he makes a stroke at the ball he failed to replace after causing it to move. It would be a one-stroke penalty if he replaced the ball before he hit it, and he would have to advise his opponent of the penalty if his opponent did not observe it. Failure to inform his opponent as soon as practicable that he has incurred a penalty would result in loss of hole [Rule 9-2b].

Copyright © 2018 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Ask Linda #1766-Material piled for removal

Dear Linda, 
The heaps of grass cuttings, twigs, tree branches, etc., left on the Course by the Maintenance staff, with an intention to remove them later, does raise issues of interpretation of rules. When the golf ball lands in such a heap/area, it may be visible or hidden, and quite often the ball moves in the process of finding it and removing such loose impediments. Many Clubs have a Local Rule of free drop from such areas as long as the ball is found. This also saves time. Is this permissible under the Royal and Ancient golf rules? 
Regards as always,
Lou from Pune, India 

Dear Lou,

Material piled for removal is defined as Ground Under Repair [GUR]. GUR is defined as an Abnormal Ground Condition. Such conditions are governed by Rule 25-1. If you will read this Rule in its entirety, you will find out how to properly take relief when you have interference from an abnormal ground condition. If you decide to take relief from the condition (which will entail a drop outside the condition), there is no penalty for moving the ball, as you will be lifting it out of the area.

The free drop is not necessarily dependent on the ball being found. There is no requirement that a ball in an abnormal ground condition be found, provided there is knowledge or virtual certainty that the ball entered the condition. In this situation, the player will take his free relief in relation to the point where it is determined that the ball last crossed the limits of the area.

Copyright © 2018 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Ask Linda #1765-Local Rule not available prior to match

Hi Linda,
Hope you for learning purposes can help us with clearing up what is right on this strange incident/ruling.
This scenario takes place at a county school boys competition (stroke play/Stableford), played in Scotland. On this course, there is a public road separating Hole 1 and 18 from the rest of the golf course.
Two players (A and B) start the competition provided only with the Local Rules printed on the scorecard. No other Local Rules were in place in starter’s hut or announced.
Playing his second shot to the 1st green, Player A shanks the stroke, so the ball crosses the road onto the 17th green. There are no OB markers to see, and no Local Rule on the scorecard indicating that a ball that crosses the road is OB, as the ball is on the 17th and not on the road (the road itself is OB). Player A and his marker, Player B, agree that the ball is therefore in play, and continue play from there, by pitching the ball back onto the 1st hole.
After the competition they are told that the ball was OB according to the Local Rules, and Player A penalized. As a part of the argumentation for the ruling, a different set of Local Rules is provided in the form of ladies’ course Local Rules. These alternative Local Rules, which state that a ball is out of bounds if it lies on or beyond the road, were not made available to the players before or during play. And with reference to R&A Decision 27/20 and 33-8/38, the question is if the ruling was wrong.
(Player A argues that they could only decide from the Local Rules provided for play, and not deemed OB after the competition).
Lou from North Berwick, Scotland

Dear Lou,

Player A’s argument is reasonable and correct.

The Committee erred in its preparation for the event by not establishing which Local Rules were in effect. By giving the players the scorecard with Local Rules on it, and not informing them before the match of any additional Local Rules, the Rules on the scorecard are the only Local Rules in effect. The Committee’s ruling did not conform to the Local Rules provided. Player A should not have been assessed a penalty.

Copyright © 2018 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Ask Linda #1764-DZ in GUR is closer to hole

Hi Linda,
I drove the T-shot for a par 4 hole and my ball went to the Point of A, which is in the big GUR.
There were 3 Dropping Zones in that GUR as in attached drawing. Then, I couldn't drop my ball in DZ 1 or DZ 2 as it would be nearer to the hole. (Is this correct?)
I didn't want to drop at DZ 3 as it would be further than my place of A and I couldn't get on in two. Therefore, I have asked to my partners whether I can drop at Point B, which was in the rough of right side of Fairway and not nearer to the hole.  If I can drop at Point B, I can get on in two and can get par easily.
Then, my partners did not allow me to drop at Point B as there were DZs and told me I should drop at DZ 3. 
Therefore, could you please answer with the related rules and what should be the correct decision, please?
Thanks in advanced for you kind help and answer.
Lou from Yangon, Myanmar

Dear Lou,

When the course has provided Dropping Zones (DZ) for ground under repair, you may use them, regardless of whether they lie closer to the hole. The Local Rule that authorizes the DZs should state whether they are mandatory or optional, and may direct you to use the nearest DZ. Your diagram would seem to indicate the nearest DZ to be DZ 1. If the Local Rule does not specify which DZ to use, you may use any of them.

If the DZs are optional, the player may drop in a DZ, play the ball as it lies, or take the relief from ground under repair provided in Rule 25-1b. If you choose to take relief under Rule 25-1b, you must drop within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, not closer to the hole. Point B in your diagram does not meet that requirement; you may not drop at Point B. 


Copyright © 2018 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.