Friday, September 28, 2018

Ask Linda #1812-Lift ball that interferes without request

Hi Linda,
Is there a penalty if a person lifts and marks her ball, let’s just say a few feet from the green but still in the fairway, if she thinks it interferes with the player behind her, but without being asked to mark and move her ball by the person who will be hitting behind her?
Thank you,
Lulu from Oceanside, California

Dear Lulu,


A player is not permitted to lift her ball because she thinks it might interfere with someone else’s play, unless her ball lies on the putting green. If she has not been asked to lift her ball, she incurs a penalty of one stroke [Rule 22-2, Note 1].

A player who suspects that someone else’s ball may interfere with her play may ask to have it lifted. The owner of the interfering ball must then mark and lift the ball, and may not clean it. In stroke play, the owner of the interfering ball may choose to play first rather than lift it.

Copyright © 2018 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Ask Linda #1811-Where to drop if ball in yellow-staked hazard

Hi Linda,
A par-3 hole has red stakes up the right side of the green and a yellow-staked water hazard in front of the green and up the left hand side. If a ball lands pin high but on the left hand bank and bounces down into the hazard can it be dropped on the green side of the hazard or must it be taken to the other side of the hazard?
Thank you for all your advice!
Lulu from Edinburgh

Dear Lulu,

I’m puzzled as to why a hazard located on the side of a putting green is not marked as a lateral hazard (red stakes). You might want to discuss this with the course manager.

In the interim, since the ball lies in a yellow-staked water hazard, the ball must be dropped behind the hazard, such that the player’s next shot will have to negotiate the hazard. This ball must be dropped on the flagline. The player’s other relief choice would be to play a ball under stroke and distance [Rule 26-1].

Copyright © 2018 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Ask Linda #1810-Ball lodges in branch overhanging GUR

Hi Linda,
We have a situation in one part of our course where there is an area marked GUR (ground under repair) but outside that area there is a tree which has a branch which overhangs the GUR area.
Part of the Definition of GUR states that “the margin of ground under repair extends vertically downwards but not upwards.”
Player hits his shot and the ball lodges in that branch above the GUR.
The player declares the ball unplayable and has three options under Rule 28. Can he select option C (“drop a ball within two club-lengths of the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole” – under penalty of one stroke)?
Does he measure the two club-lengths from a position immediately under where the ball was lodged (similar to Decision 28/11), and if that position is still in the GUR can he then claim free relief?
This is the way I ruled when approached by the group concerned.
Was I correct?
Thanks Linda
Lou from extremely dry western NSW Australia

Dear Lou,

Yes. Your ruling was absolutely correct.

Copyright © 2018 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Ask Linda #1809-Shorten the number of holes during the round

Dear Linda,
I have read your column for years and recommended it to numerous players.

The following situation caused many problems within our group this past August during our Club Championship qualifier and I would appreciate your thoughts. Many in our club think we made a real mess of things.

The Championship flight consisted of four players. Two of us agreed to “play up” to that flight. If not, the two lower handicap players would simply have gone directly to the finals. We thought this would make it a bit more of a competition. 

The four of us were scheduled to play two rounds of 18 holes on consecutive days, no strokes, in order to determine which two players would advance to the finals.

The first 18 holes were played without incident. The next day it was extremely hot and humid, easily 90 degrees or higher. After 13 holes of play, one of the players became very nauseous, with a severe headache. We immediately thought of heat stroke and were correct. We called the pro shop and asked that they quickly come out to the course to get her. 

In the meantime, the sick player told us ‘I’m out. You three continue to play.” This player is our club champion and had been for the last four years. We were sort of in shock that this was happening. We did not want to continue without her. 

She was brought off the course and taken home. She did have heat exhaustion, but luckily it was caught in time.

While still on the course, the three of us asked the assistant pro: “What are our options with regard to the tournament?” He indicated that the three of us could continue to play out the remaining 5 holes or we could call the second round at 13 holes, bringing the total holes played to 31 instead of 36. This would give the player who was taken off the course the opportunity to stay in the tournament. At that point in the round, she had the second lowest score of the four players and would have advanced. We agreed to call the qualifier at 31 holes.

The next day, when asked, the player who was taken off the course did not want to play in the final. She said she had withdrawn and did not want to play, given the circumstances. So, the scores for the 31 holes were tallied and the two lowest scores of the three went on to the final match.

Here are the questions: Under the Rules of Golf, did we have the option to either continue to play without her or to call the second round at 13 holes? Would the player that was taken off the course been able to say that she was still in?

See, I told you it was a mess.

Thank you.
Lulu from Northport, Long Island, New York

Dear Lulu,

The Rules of Golf do not allow a Committee to reduce the number of holes once play has begun in that round [Rule 33-1]. The assistant pro erred in giving you the option to call the second round after 13 holes. The round should have been completed by the three remaining players; the player who withdrew was no longer in the competition.

The three remaining players who stopped play after 13 holes should not be penalized, since they were following the instructions of someone who I assume was given the authority to make such decisions by the Committee. If he did not have this authority, the players should have discussed their reason for discontinuing play with a Committee member as soon as practicable. The Committee would then have to decide whether to penalize the players (the penalty would be disqualification under Rule 6-8a) or to approve their decision to stop play.

Since the round was not completed, the Committee had the following choices if they deemed the players’ reason for stopping play satisfactory:
(a) play the remaining five holes the following day;
(b) cancel the second round and replay it (all 18 holes) on another day; or
(c) cancel the second round and reduce the qualifier to 18 holes.

The decision regarding whether the player who became ill would be eligible to rejoin the competition would depend on what she meant when she stated: “I’m out.”  If her intention was to withdraw (which seems likely, given what she said the following day), she could not be reinstated. If she meant that she could not complete that second round, and the round were subsequently canceled, she could be reinstated.

The golfer who had been your club champion four years running was absolutely correct in telling you to finish without her. The assistant pro should have checked his rulebook before making his ruling.

Copyright © 2018 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.