Friday, July 6, 2018

Ask Linda #1771-Player steps on opponent’s ball

Dear readers,
Just a reminder that I will be away from my desk for the rest of the month. Please do not send me any questions until August 1.

Hi Linda,
In match play both me and my opponent were in the same greenside bunker. He played first and after his shot stood on my ball making my shot practically impossible. What should we have done?
Lou from Portugal

Dear Lou,

In match play, other than during search, if your opponent moves your ball he incurs a one-stroke penalty and the ball must be replaced [Rule 18-3b]. Since this occurred in a bunker, the original lie must be restored and the ball must be placed in that lie [Rule 20-3b (iii)].

Copyright © 2018 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Ask Linda #1770-Drop provisional and move one club-length

Good evening Linda,
I have a question relating to playing a provisional ball.

We played at an away golf club today. One of the Local Rules allows one-club-length placing on the fairway. One of the guys in our group indicated that he was playing a provisional ball (his second shot). He dropped the ball and then moved the ball under the local rule. Is this allowed with a provisional ball?

Kind regards,
Lou from Cape Town, South Africa

Dear Lou,

Yes. When a Local Rule is in place permitting preferred lies, the player may improve the lie of a provisional ball after he has dropped it.

Copyright © 2018 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Ask Linda #1769-Questionable Dropping Zone

Hi Linda,
I enjoy your posts regarding golf rules. I pride myself in boasting to my colleagues about rules of golf that I learned from your website every time we play.

We have a scenario where we do not know how to go about a certain ruling. We are playing a par 4-hole 330 yards long. A creek or a pond across the fairway is about 110 yards to the green. It is marked with red stakes (lateral hazard). There is a designated drop area past the water hazard located on the right side, 40 yards to the green. One of my fellow competitors, who is a big hitter, can belt it more than 300 yards away. He says that if he is going for the green hitting from the tee box and claims that if his drive does not make it to the green and goes into the water hazard instead, he is entitled to drop a ball in the drop area close to the green with a one-stroke penalty. Is this correct? My other fellow competitors say that he should drop two club-lengths from the point of entry where his ball entered the water with a one-stroke penalty. Which is correct? Appreciate your response to clear the matter for us. Thank you.

Lou from Toronto, Canada

Dear Lou,

One of the relief options for a ball in a lateral water hazard is to drop within two club-lengths of the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard under penalty of one stroke [Rule 26-1c]. Your fellow competitors are correct in mentioning this relief option.

The Committee has the option of establishing a Dropping Zone (DZ) as an additional (or mandatory) relief option [Appendix I, Part A, #6]. I have to assume that there was good reason to establish a DZ in the location chosen by the Committee (one legitimate reason might be that there is no spot to drop a ball within two club-lengths of the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard without dropping nearer to the hole). When the Committee has designated a legitimate DZ, a player whose ball lies in the hazard has the option to drop a ball in the DZ. The player in your scenario is entitled to use the DZ.

If the configuration of the hazard is such that it is possible to drop a ball under the requirements of Rule 26-1c, and you feel that the location of the DZ only 40 yards from the green is neither necessary nor fair, you should discuss your concerns with the Committee. Perhaps they will explain the necessity of this DZ to your satisfaction, or they might consider your objection and decide to eliminate the DZ.

Copyright © 2018 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Ask Linda #1769-ID and play ball; find identical ball further ahead

Last week I played in a midweek medal with two other players. On the first tee we showed each other our golf balls. One of the players was playing a Pro V1 No. 3 with his initials NWB on the ball.

On the 11th hole he hit his ball into the trees on the right of the fairway. None of us saw where it had gone, but we walked up the hole and saw a ball in the rough on the left hand side of the fairway.

We identified it as a Pro V1 No. 3 with NWB on the ball and he then hit the ball onto the green. We then walked forward to play our balls, but saw another ball in the right rough, which, unbelievably, was also a Pro V1 No. 3 with NWB on the ball.

The player was unable to confirm which of the two balls he had started the 11th with, as they were identical. There was absolutely no discernible difference in the two balls and therefore it was impossible to say which had been hit off the tee. How should we proceed?

Many thanks,
Lulu from Cheshire, U.K.

Dear Lulu,

I consulted a senior official to be sure I would get this answer right. Here is what he wrote:

“Linda, looking at Decision 27/10, I don’t think that the benefit of the doubt goes to the player when he cannot positively identify his ball. One could argue that playing the ball on the left resulted in playing a wrong ball (since the original was hit to the right), but 27/10 says his original is lost since he can’t identify it from a stray ball.”

The player will have to play a ball under stroke and distance.

Copyright © 2018 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Away in July

Dear readers,

The last column I will publish in July will be this Friday, July 6. I will be away the rest of the month with my daughter and son-in-law, taking care of my charming grandson while they rehearse and perform in The Magic Flute ( – look for Harold Wilson and Erica Miller).

I will be back at my desk on August 1. Please do not send me any questions between July 6 and August 1.