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.

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