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Stump the Rules 2014

2012ROGphotoaHave a nagging question on the Rules of Golf you want answered? Have an argument that needs to be resolved? Saw an incident on television that has you confused?

The NCGA wants your assistance in providing more information on the Rules of Golf. Put the NCGA’s team of rules officials to the test. Submit your question/situation below and receive an almost immediate answer. The best questions each quarter will receive expanded coverage in the next NCGA Golf, with photos or diagrams to make even the most complex rulings crystal clear.

Author: rfarb

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  • James

    Player enters Red/hazed with two clubs. Chooses one for play and lays down other in the hazard. Is this a violation of grounding.

    • Ryan Farb

      No, Exception 1 to Rule 13-4 explicitly permits the player to place his clubs in a hazard without penalty, provided nothing is done that constitutes testing the condition of the hazard.

  • Bob Anderson

    Are you allowed to raise the pin on an elevated green to give direction to a player below who has a blind shot?

    • Ryan Farb

      Bob,
      Rule 17-1 permits the player to have the flagstick raised directly above the hole prior to the stroke (and if done prior to the stroke he can have it held up throughout the stroke).
      Other than with the flagstick directly over the hole, Rule 8-2 permits the player to have the line of play indicated to him prior to the stroke, but not during the stroke.

  • drwinn1@comcast.net

    A player’s ball lies on a cart path. Red stakes mark both sides of the cart path where tall brush prohibit access to nearest point of relief.
    1. Is the ball considered to be in the water hazard?
    2. what are the player’s options?
    Question #2.
    Given the situation above with a bridge connecting the cart path and the ball lies on the bridge. The bridge is considered an immoveable obstruction.
    Is the bridge considered in the water hazard?
    What option/s does the player have?

    • Ryan Farb

      Dwight,
      1. If the ball lies on the cart path in a position that is within the margin of the lateral water hazard (between the red stakes), the ball lies in the water hazard. 2. The player must play the ball as it lies or proceed under Rule 26-1. Also, when relief from an obstruction is available, remember the nearest point of relief is not necessarily the nicest point of relief. Even if a player cannot physically reach or play from the point that would be the NPR, that point is still the NPR.
      If the hazard is marked in a manner that the bridge is within the margins of the water hazard, the player must either play the ball as it lies or proceed under Rule 26-1. The bridge is still an immovable obstruction, but a player is not entitled to relief from an immovable obstruction when his ball lies in a water hazard. However, the player may ground his club on the bridge (Decision 13-4/30).

  • Ed

    Decision 31/1 is confusing me: A and B are partners playing C and D and also A vs. C and B vs D. “The exception …is with Rule 8-1 as the two partners may not exchange advice if both are playing in individual competition.” Does this mean A and B can’t give advice to each other?

    • Ryan Farb

      In a four-ball stroke-play competition with a concurrent individual competition if both A and B are playing in the individual competition they may not give each other advice. For match play see Decision 30-3/1 situation 9. The reason is to protect the field, but note also in match play if the four-ball match has concluded partners would be prohibited from giving each other advice because they would no longer be partners.

      • Ian Riggall

        In individual competition, during Four-Ball Stroke play or two man best ball stroke play, if one team player picks up after it becomes apparent he cannot contribute to the team score, what score does he use for the individual competition. For instance, he is a 9 handicap, hits into the water on the number 1 handicap par four hole, his partner hits great shot down the middle, so water ball guy hits again into water. so his next shot would have him hitting his 5th shot and he decides to pick up. For posting to handicap he correctly posts a 6. for the individual gross competition does he mark down a 6 and then for the individual net competition get a 5? Or is he DQ’d from the individual competition? In this case, Our group has been letting players take the gross 6 and net 5 and then use that for individual competition. I think that is not correct as it lets players remove “blow up” holes from their gross and net scores, assuming they knew of this local, undocumented, unshared “ruling”.

  • Benton Gross

    Last year, I asked if using a golf app on my iPhone was legal for NCGA events and you answered no, since the iPhone had a compass. However, in reading page 56 of NCGA Golf Winter 2014, I see that New decision 14-3/18 and Revised Decision 14-3/4 now permit golfers to access weather information on multi-functional devises without penalty and allow the use of a compass. Therefor, is the use of a golf app on my IPhone (which uses GPS to measure distances) now legal for NCGA events?

    • Ryan Farb

      Benton,

      Yes the new Decisions paved the way for distance-measuring apps to be permissible in competitions. Their use is still subject to certain stipulations and I highly recommend reviewing the NCGA’s Clarification on Smart Phones and Distance-Measuring Devices which can be found on the Tournament Central webpage under Regulations & Policies.

      • Benton Gross

        Thank you

  • Dennis

    I hit my ball into a hazard. After finding it I decide to play it and the ball is then lost in the same hazard. Where do I play my next shot from?

    • Ryan Farb

      Dennis,

      Rule 26-2 gives you several options. You may proceed under stroke and distance from the previous spot in the hazard. You may use the spot where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard (on the previous stroke) and proceed in accordance with Rule 26-1b or 26-1c(if a lateral water hazard). You may also play from where the last stroke outside the water hazard was made. All under penalty of one stroke. Note that if you drop a ball under stroke and distance and decide you don’t want to play it from in the hazard, you may add an additional penalty stroke and use the other listed options to play from outside the hazard. For the specific text see Rule 26-2.

  • Chuck Marshall

    The course I play has “waste areas” that because of sandy soil is hard to tell from a bunker. They are not hollowed out as most of the bunkers are but the definition for a bunker wherein it says “often a hollow” and where turf is replaced with “sand and the like” doesn’t provide me enough comfort to assume they are not hazards. Is there a way to positively tell the difference between a “bunker” and a “waste area”?

    • Ryan Farb

      It is the Committee’s responsibility to properly define which areas are “waste areas” and which are bunkers. There is no hard and fast Rule because in some events, areas that are clearly bunkers are defined as waste areas or vice versa (for example, in the 2012 PGA Championship all sandy areas were played as “through the green” which is the same status as a “waste area”).

  • Rick

    A fellow player accidentally hits the wrong ball. I understand it’s a two stroke penalty but if he hits the wrong ball two times in a row,
    is it another two strokes?

    • Ryan Farb

      The answer depends on whether or not the player becomes aware he has played a wrong ball between strokes at the wrong ball. If the player makes successive strokes at a wrong ball and finds out after those strokes that he had played a wrong ball, a single two-stroke penalty applies. If the player played a wrong ball, became aware of it, and then played a wrong ball again, separate penalties would be applied. See Decision 15-3b/2.

      • Rick

        Thanks

        Rick Caballero
        Ocean Press Multimedia
        408-453-2500

  • Michael (Tom) Terry

    Question regarding relief from a sprinkler head / drain. If a player’s ball lies in the 1st or 2nd cut just off the green and wants to putt his ball but a sprinkler head / drain is in the intended path of the put but not interfering with the player’s stance or stroke, is that player entitled to any relief? I think the answer is no but I would appreciate if you would confirm my thinking or provide the correct answer. Thanks.

    • Ryan Farb

      With no Local Rules in effect, the player is not entitled to relief for intervention by an immovable obstruction on his line of play.

      The Committee may put into a effect a Local Rule that permits a player to get relief for intervention on his line of play by an immovable obstruction that is within two club-lengths of the putting green and within two club-lengths of the ball.

  • Bruce Hoffman

    Must the golf scorecard be totaled and signed before turning it in?

    • Ryan Farb

      Rule 6-6b requires that the player ensure that the marker has signed the score card and that he signs it himself prior to returning it. The player is only responsible for the hole-by-hole scores. Rule 33-5 makes the Committee responsible for the addition of the score card.

  • Steve Dwelle

    A’s shot hit his partner’s cart, which was stopped, with his partner in the driver’s seat. His opponent was sharing the cart but was not in it at the time. Is there a 1 stroke penalty for hitting his (team”s) equipment?
    Steve Dwelle

    • Ryan Farb

      Yes. By definition the cart is deemed to be the equipment of the player or player’s side whose ball is involved, unless the cart is being moved when it is the equipment of the player moving the cart. Therefore, under Rule 19-2 the player incurs a one-stroke penalty for a ball deflected or stopped by a member of the side’s equipment.

  • john lee

    I understand that distance-measuring devices cannot factor slope. My question is if I am allowed to use a calculator (not from my smart phone, because it has a weather app that gives wind speed) to calculate uphill distances. I basically want to use a standard calculator to do the math. Its a simple geometry equation, but not always easy to do without a calculator.

    • Ryan Farb

      John,

      The use of a calculator in and of itself is not prohibited by Rule 14-3. However, the use of an electronic device, such as a calculator, to assist in calculating the effective distance between two points would be a breach of Rule 14-3 resulting in disqualification. See Decision 14-3/16 (last bullet point).

      Also, see new Decision 14-3/18 that permits the use of a Weather App during the stipulated round and the NCGA’s Clarification on Smart Phones and Distance-Measuring Devices at Tournament Central under Regulations & Policies.

  • Ed

    A player’s ball ends up buried in a bunker or in a sandy waste area. He searches for the ball and makes a good attempt to recreate the lie but clearly makes the ball much more visible than just “a small part of the ball.” If he plays the ball with the added visibility, is it a one or two stroke penalty?

    • Ryan Farb

      If the player fails to meet the requirements of Rule 12-1a by leaving a much larger portion of the ball visible than before the lie was disrupted, he would incur the general penalty for a breach of Rule 12-1, two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play.

  • gary e

    A players ball lodges in a gopher hole which is under the out side edge of low hanging branches of a pine tree. The hole is mounded with dirt, the ball is below ground level and can clearly be identified. The player takes stance and one club length laterally. This positions the ball from under the branches and just outside circumference of the tree branches but the tree still impedes backswing a great deal. The ball is played from this position. Was it proper relief?

    • Ryan Farb

      In taking relief under Rule 25-1b the player must drop the ball (if immediately recoverable) within one club-length of the nearest point of relief. I cannot tell from your description if a nearest point of relief was determined. There is also a question that the player may not have been entitled to relief because something other than the abnormal ground condition made the stroke clearly impracticable. Please see Rule 25-1 and the Exception to 25-1b for further guidance.

  • David F

    When taking relief from a cart path you must drop within one club length of nearest point of relief and the ball cannot roll more than two club lengths. Can you use any club to measure the distance? For example, if your ball drops into heavy rough and rolls farther than two wedges but not as far as two drivers, can you measure the distance with a lob wedge and redrop the ball?

    • Ryan Farb

      You must use the same club for measuring throughout an entire procedure. If you first measure your nearest point of relief with your driver, you may not then switch and measure if the ball rolled two club-lengths with a wedge. See Decision 20/1.

  • David Harmon

    We are an NCGA certified 9 hole course. We start on several holes. If we start a 4-some on Hole #9 is the next hole considered to be #10 or do you finish the front 9 and the next recorded would be #1?

  • john lee

    As a follow-up to your reply to my question on 2/19, can you clarify Decision 14-3/18? I wanted to clarify if a player can check his smartphone and weather at ANY time during a round or if its only allowed during “AN IMPENDING STORM TO PROTRCT THEIR OWN SAFETY.” If its a bright sunny day and a player is checking his phone simply to get wind speed and direction, is this allowed? The 2 sentences from the USGA website are a bit vague. Thanks.

    • Ryan Farb

      John,
      The player may access information from a Weather Application or internet website weather report without restriction so long as the phone itself is not measuring the temperature or wind direction/speed.

  • Ed

    A player was recently disqualified from an NCGA tourney for wearing metal spikes. (He obviously didn’t read the player info sheet). My question: Is there a specific moment when the dq takes place? The info sheet could be read that the dq takes place when the metal spikes touch a green for the first time or is it when the player makes his first stroke of the day?

    • Ryan Farb

      The condition against wearing traditional metal spikes would be breached once the player begins his stipulated round, so when he makes his first stroke. He can walk to the tee and has the opportunity to change his shoes before he starts his round without penalty.

  • Hee

    Q. Brian asked Kevin to mark his (Brian`s) ball while Brian was raking the bunker after playing his stroke. Is Kevin the only one who can replace Brian`s ball?

    • Ryan Farb

      Hee,

      Under Rule 20-3 there are three people who may always replace a ball, 1)the player, 2) the player’s partner, or 3) the person who originally lifted or moved the ball. So in your situation (assuming Brian has no partner), both Kevin or Brian may replace the ball.

  • BobG

    Sorry if this is a re-post, my original question does not appear. Under winter rules a player is allowed to mark, lift, clean, and place his ball (26-4). When exactly does the placed ball become “in play”? Is it when the ball touches the ground or when the mark is picked up? I thought I have seen pros fiddle with the placement to get it just so before picking up the mark.

    • Ryan Farb

      Bob,
      Under Preferred Lies, the Local Rule commonly known as Winter Rules, a player may place the ball only once. Once the hand leaves the ball on the ground, the ball is placed. Whether the mark is left in place or removed at that point is irrelevant with regards to the ball being in play.

  • Ed

    I hit my ball onto the green and notice an obvious dent on my line of putt probably put there by an angry golfer slamming his club on the green earlier in the day. What rights do I have regarding getting that damage repaired before I putt?

    • Ryan Farb

      Ed,
      If you believe the damage is severe enough to warrant the area being ground under repair, contact the Committee as soon as possible to see if they would deem it ground under repair or repair it themselves. If no Committee member is available, in stroke play you may proceed under Rule 3-3 playing one ball as it lies and the other with relief in accordance with Rule 25-1b and report to the Committee at the end of the round. In match play, you must continue the match without delay. If you take relief when not permitted or repair the damage your opponent may make a claim or overlook the breach (so long as there is no agreement to waive a Rule).

      • Ed

        In match play could my opponent agree that the damage should be gur and grant relief and we play on or would that be some sort of waiving the rules of golf problem?

        • Ryan Farb

          Ed,
          If you agree with your opponent to repair that damage or take relief when it isn’t GUR in and of itself and you are both aware that would be against the Rules, you both would be in violation of Rule 1-3. In match play, an opponent may overlook a breach, so with your opponent watching you can just repair it and take a chance that he doesn’t make a claim. If he makes a valid claim you would lose the hole under 16-1c. Not necessarily the wisest choice.

  • Dennis Anderson

    Provisional Ball question: I read is Golf Digest that a player can go forward up to 50 yards and then go back to where ball last hit and declare that player is going to hit a Provisional Ball. Is this true?
    Dennis

    • Ryan Farb

      Dennis,
      Decision 27-2a/1.5 Meaning of “Goes Forward to Search” was revised for 2014 and now provides an approximate distance of 50 yards that a player may walk forward before he is considered to have “gone forward to search.” This, however, would not necessarily apply in the (hopefully) rare cases where the original is likely to be only a short distance (i.e., under 50 yards) away.

  • pacific

    I’m about to make a stroke that gets me on the green. However, I notice loose impediments on my target landing spot or on the line that I want the ball to roll on. I could be in a greenside bunker or at 80 yards away or on the tee box of a short Par 3. Before I make my stroke, may I walk up to the green and clear the loose impediments and repair ball & spike marks?

    • Ryan Farb

      Pacific,
      If your ball is in a hazard (bunker or water hazard) you may not remove loose impediments that lie in the same hazard – Rule 13-4. However, you may remove loose impediments lying through the green or on the putting green at any time regardless of whether they are on your line of play so long as you don’t move your ball and the moved loose impediments would not influence the movement of a ball in motion – Rule 23-1. You may not repair spike marks on your line of play, putt or extension of your line of play/putt beyond the hole or anywhere if the repair might assist you in your subsequent play of the hole – Rule 16-1c. You are permitted to repair ball-marks on the putting green regardless of where your ball lies – Rule 16-1c. I would also stipulate that if you are 80 yards away or at the teeing ground of a par-3 you may be subject to penalty for undue delay (Rule 6-7) if you walked up to remove loose impediments 80 yards away or repair ball-marks on the green and then went back to play your stroke.

      • pacific

        What if my ball is not on the green and I need one stroke to get onto the green. Before I take my stroke, may I walk up to the green to remove loose impediments lying on the green? (Rule 23 is not explicit regarding removing loose impediments on the green when the ball is NOT on the green.)

        • Ryan Farb

          Pacific,

          Rule 23-1 states, “Except when both the loose impediment and the ball lie in or touch the same hazard, ANY loose impediment may be removed without penalty.” So except for in the same hazard, it makes no difference where the ball or loose impediment lie, just don’t cause the ball to move and don’t remove the loose impediment while another ball is in motion heading toward it.

  • Larry

    I am the first to putt from 15′ away and my 3 competitors are all on the green and marked. I miss the putt and it goes 18″ past the hole. I now stand on the side where the putt came from with feet astride the line of putt and make a pulling stroke as to avoid standing on anybody’s line. Is this a penalty per 16-1e or not a penalty per 16-1e exception?

    • Ryan Farb

      Larry,
      16-1e covers standing astride your line of putt. The line of putt does not extend beyond the hole(Definition of Line of Putt), so if you are on the opposite side of the hole you cannot stand on your line of putt or an extension of that line behind the ball, and you could not breach 16-1e. However, you must be careful when you say “pulling stroke” because you must make sure that you do not push, scrape or spoon the ball into the hole as that would be a violation of 14-1.

  • Bruce Hoffman

    I’m watching the Arnold Palmer golf tournament and Ian Poulter was in the water hazard…..wind is minimal, but still creating small waves. The ball was moving back and forth in the water when Poulter hit the ball. I thought, under no circumstances, are you allowed to hit a moving ball. What’s the call???

    • Ryan Farb

      Bruce,

      There was no penalty in the situation you mentioned for two reasons: 1) Although the ball was oscillating with the waves, it was not changing its position and therefore it was not “moving” according to the Rules of Golf. An oscillating ball is not a moving ball, Decision 18/2; and 2) there are several exceptions to playing a moving ball under Rule 14-5 and one of them is for a ball moving in water in a water hazard (Rule 14-6). Had Poulter’s ball been moving, there would be no penalty for playing a ball moving in water in a water hazard provided he did not delay to let the ball move to a more favorable position.

  • Julian Venturi

    what is the rule if your ball hits a power line?

    • Ryan Farb

      Julian,
      With no Local Rules in effect the ball must be played as it lies. Decision 33-8/13 provides the Local Rule for a ball that is deflected by a power line. When in effect, the player MUST cancel and replay the stroke if the ball is deflected by a power line.

  • Ian Riggall

    In individual competition, during Four-Ball Stroke play or two man best ball stroke play, if one team player picks up after it becomes apparent he cannot contribute to the team score, what score does he use for the individual competition. For instance, he is a 9 handicap, hits into the water on the number 1 handicap par four hole, his partner hits great shot down the middle, so water ball guy hits again into water. so his next shot would have him hitting his 5th shot and he decides to pick up. For posting to handicap he correctly posts a 6. for the individual gross competition does he mark down a 6 and then for the individual net competition get a 5? Or is he DQ’d from the individual competition? In this case, Our group has been letting players take the gross 6 and net 5 and then use that for individual competition. I think that is not correct as it lets players remove “blow up” holes from their gross and net scores, assuming they knew of this local, undocumented, unshared “ruling”.

    • Ryan Farb

      Ian,

      According to your question I must assume you have a four-ball stroke play tournament with concurrent individual stroke play.

      In the individual stroke play, the player MUST hole out. If he fails to do so he is disqualified from the individual competition under Rule 3-2. For posting purposes, however, the player should use the most likely score he would’ve made. In your scenario it is not clear the most likely score would be a 6. It may even be necessary to use Equitable Stroke Control and post the maximum score if that is what would be his most likely score for the hole.

      For the Four-Ball stroke play card you mark down the most likely score with an X to signify that the player did not hole out. In four-ball only one partner has to hole out. Note if both partners fail to hole out in the four-ball competition, the side is disqualified from the competition.

      • Ian Riggall

        Would the same rulling apply to individual competition in two man best ball. We award prizes for team reults and award Fedx championship type points for individual scores.

        • Ryan Farb

          Ian,

          Two-man best ball is the common term name for Four-Ball. Four-Ball is the proper Definition for that form of play.

  • jim atchison

    Is there “ground under repair” on a green? While playing in a tournament, I hit my ball onto the green. In between my ball and the hole was a fairly large bare spot whit no grass. Can I move my ball to the nearest point , without having to putt over the spot? If my ball was actually on the bare spot, would I be entitled to any relief? Or if no relief is given, may I repair the bare mark? I understand players must play over or around such conditions while elsewhere on the course. However, when on the putting green, and the proper play is to putt the ball, I believe some relief must be given, otherwise players might elect to chip the ball, thus causing more damage to the putting green. Any advice would help . Thanks

    • Ryan Farb

      Jim,

      Ground under repair can exist anywhere on the course (even in a water hazard, but if your ball were in the water hazard you would not get relief). However, areas such as you describe would not be automatically ground under repair, it would have to be declared as such by the Committee. Bare spots in and of themselves do not constitute ground under repair.

      If it were declared as GUR by the Committee, when your ball lies on the putting green you are entitled to relief for intervention by GUR on the putting green on your line of putt. You would place the ball at the nearest point of relief, and that point may be off the putting green (Rule 25-1b). You are not entitled to repair the bare spot.

  • HSX

    An area near the green directly beside a water hazard has turf missing – an area of 2 ft x 4 ft.
    This area is normally rough and never included as part of the hazard. This area is adjacent the hazard.
    This area was scheduled to be be repaired imminently per the committee. In the interim the greens keeper inadvertently painted the red line around this area which therefore included that area within the hazard.
    During play is the Club Pro/rules official allowed to intercede and state that it really is ground under repair?
    Therefore should a ball come to rest within that area should one get a free drop re Ground Under Repair? Or must it be deemed part of the hazard even though it will be repaired and should not have been part of the hazard in the first place?

    • Ryan Farb

      It is the Committee’s responsibility to ensure that the course is correctly marked under Rule 33-2. Decision 33-2a/2 permits the Committee to declare an area as ground under repair during the stipulated round, however, the Committee should not alter the marking of a boundary or hazard during a stipulated round. Therefore they could declare that area as GUR, but a player would only be entitled to relief for interference by that area if the ball lies outside the hazard margin.

  • QWERTY

    I have some rules questions relating to the putting green.
    1. A`s ball is on the putting green. B has a tap in directley in A`s line. B holes out.. What is the ruling?
    2. A marks his ball but in doing so walks in B’s line. What is the ruling?
    3 . The first described senario occurs but before B tapped in, A said “Could you please mark your ball.” What is the ruling?
    4. The first describe senario occurs but A said “Go ahead and finish.”

    • Ryan Farb

      Much depends on the form of play.
      Stroke Play:
      1. No penalty, provided the the players did not agree to play out of turn in order to give an advantage. See Rule 10-2c.

      2. Rude, but no penalty unless A did so purposely to influence the movement of B’s putt. If intentional, A would incur a two-stroke penalty under Rule 1-2. See also decision 16-1a/13.
      3. No penalty. Under Rule 22-2 in stroke play a player may play first rather than mark.
      4. No penalty.
      Match Play (assumes match between A and B):
      1. B has played out of turn and A has the right to recall the stroke and have B play in the correct order, or he may let it stand. No penalty strokes. See Rule 10-1c.

      2. See 16-1a/12 and 16-1a/13 again. Provided the action was unintentional there is no penalty. If intentional, A would lose the hole for a breach of Rule 1-2.
      3. See answer to scenario 1.
      4. B has still played out of order. A does not have the right to permit a player to play out of turn in match play in this instance, but provided he said it in ignorance of that and then did not recall the stroke, there would be no penalty and the hole would stand as played.

  • Ed

    Hi,

    During my round today the screw that allows changing the loft of my driver became loose in the normal course of play (no anger management needed). Is it ok to tighten up the screw?

    • Ryan Farb

      Ed,

      Yes you may tighten the screw to its original position. Rule 4-3a permits you to repair a club damaged in the normal course of play provided that the repair does not unduly delay play. However, you would not be permitted to tighten the screw to a new position (if it’s a slider) or change the loft.

  • Ed

    HI,
    My ball ended up on a bridge over a water hazard marked as environmental. Can I play off the bridge; doing so won’t hurt he environment.

    • Ryan Farb

      Ed,
      No. If the water hazard was not marked as an ESA, you would be permitted to ground your club on the bridge as it is not considered “ground” in the hazard (Decision 13-4/30), however, the bridge and ball are still in the hazard. Since the ball is still in the hazard, if the hazard is marked as an ESA, you are required to take relief in accordance with Rule 26 under penalty of one stroke and may not play the ball as it lies on the bridge.

  • Bruce Hoffman

    I just received my NCGA Golf, Volume 34. Number2 magazine. On page 71, Stump the Rules Expert, it states that the player is only responsible for the hole-by-hole scores. My question is this….concerning the PGA, when the pros go in to the tent to sign and turn in their score cards, does the above also apply to them or are they required to total the entire card and sign before turning it in?

    • Ryan Farb

      Bruce,

      Yes, Rule 33-5 makes the Committee responsible for the addition of the score card. Rule 6-6 only requires the player to check his hole-by-hole scores in any form of stroke play. Decision 33-1/7 specifically prohibits the Committee from making competitors responsible for the addition of their scores.

  • Ed

    A vs. B in a match. A takes relief from an unmarked area that he thinks should be relief for gur. B sees what A is doing but doesn’t say anything until after the hole is completed which A won. Before teeing off on the next hole B says, “I don’t think you should have taken relief back there.” I’m making a claim and I win the hole because you played from a wrong place. Who actually wins the hole?

    • Ryan Farb

      Ed,
      My answer would depend on whether the players agreed to the GUR procedure at the time or B just simply watched. If the two players agreed then Decision 2-5/8.5 applies and the hole stands as played. If B just simply watched, the claim was timely as it was made prior to any player in the match playing from the next teeing ground.

  • Mel

    In stroke play, a fairway mower broke down in front of the bunker guarding a 106 yard, par 3. Player A hit his shot over the green, and completed the hole with a triple bogey 6. The mower was moved, and player A replayed his shot saying the mower visually distracted him and he was entitled to replay the shot. His second score on the hole was a 4, which he recorded. Was player A entitled to replay the shot? If not, what is the penalty for replaying the shot and recording the second score?

    • Ryan Farb

      Mel,
      Absolutely not, this is not a cancel and replay situation. When the player had completed the hole, Rule 7-2 would permit the player to practice putting or chipping on or near the putting green of the hole last played, but not from a hazard. If he made strokes from a hazard (bunker or water hazard) or made any full practice strokes he was in breach of Rule 7-2 and incurred a penalty of two-strokes in addition to the 6 he actually made. If he unduly delayed play by replaying the hole from that spot, he could be subject to a two-stroke penalty under Rule 6-7.

  • Armando

    Can a senior of 76 years of age with a 18 Hcp from the white tees be allowed to play from the ladies red tees? If so how do you adjust his score and Hcp to play at the shorter tees?

    • Ryan Farb

      Armando,
      A player of any age can play from any tees as the Committee allows. Preferably the tees should be rated for men. If not the USGA Handicap manual has adjustments for unrated tees if needed. You would calculate his course handicap according to the applicable slope (either as rated for men or using the adjustment in the USGA Handicap Manual). Then calculate the difference between the two course ratings rounded to a whole number and in the case specified he would have that difference subtracted from his course handicap.

  • Walter

    When is the only time you can hit a moving ball?

    • Ryan Farb

      There are several times you can play a moving ball listed under Rule 14-5:
      When a ball is falling off the tee (Rule 11-3, no penalty but the stroke counts), When you have struck the ball more than once (Rule 14-4, one-stroke penalty), or when the ball is moving in water in a water hazard (Rule 14-6, no penalty, stroke counts).
      When the ball begins to move after you have begun the backward movement for the stroke (back-swing) and the stroke is made, you are not penalized for playing a moving ball, however you might be subject to penalty under Rule 18-2a or 18-2b for a ball at rest moved.

  • Bruce Hoffman

    I believe it is okay to repair a golf hole by way of patting the sides to even it out as long as you have completed the hole. I believe this holds true even if there are one or more golfers in your foursome still to putt. If this is true, here’s my question. My wife did just this on a particular hole. She was told that it was against their club rules to do so because it no longer allows the field to putt under the same conditions. Are they allowed to have a rule like this? My thought is, the only golfers that would play a damaged hole are those that play after it was damaged. Therefore, before the damage and when damaged are no longer playing an equal hole which would nullify their thinking. What say you???

    • Ryan Farb

      There are two applicable Decisions depending on the situation.
      To the first question: No, the club may not make a Local Rule as such.
      To the second question, it is permissible to smooth the ragged edge of a hole provided she was doing so for the sole purpose of caring for the course and not to influence the movement of a fellow-competitor’s ball – Decision 1-2/3.5
      When a hole is damaged prior to yourself putting Decision 16-1a/6 gives us guidelines for how a player should proceed depending on whether the hole’s proper dimensions have been altered.

  • Green man

    Is it within the rules to play say the fourth hole with a titleist golf ball and then tee off on the fifth hole with a Bridgestone ball ?

    • Ryan Farb

      Yes. Rule 15-1 only requires the player to hole out with the ball played from the teeing ground unless another Rule applies, therefore it is permitted to substitute golf balls of any conforming kind between the play of two holes. There is an optional Condition, commonly called the “One-Ball Rule” that is used in USGA and other high level competitions that would limit a player to one single type of golf ball for a stipulated round (so not just Titleist, but Titleist Pro-V1). See Appendix I-C-Ic.

  • David F

    Is it legal to use grip wax products during play to improve your grip on a club? What if the wax ends up on the ball or club face?

    • Ryan Farb

      Rule 14-3 permits a player to use “resin, powder and drying or moisturizing agents” in order to assist in gripping the club. Provided this wax does not materially change the shape of the grip I believe it would fall under that category. If the wax made its way onto the club face or ball there would likely be a violation of Rule 4-2b or 5-2 respectively and any stroke made with a club face or ball with the foreign material applied would likely result in disqualification.

  • Larry

    A ball is hit into an area of many gopher holes beyond a small rise such that nobody actually saw the ball roll into the animal hole. Is free relief granted or does the usual rule for lost balls apply?

    • Ryan Farb

      If it is not virtually certain that the ball is lost in an abnormal ground condition (burrowing animal hole in this case) and the ball is not found within 5 minutes, then the ball is lost and Rule 27-1 applies so the player must proceed under penalty of stroke and distance.

  • Oli

    Hi, I was recently playing in a singles knockout game and I went on my phone during the match. My opponent said that he is claiming the match because I was on my phone. He later let me off and warned me for the future and we carried on. Is that rule true? Could he have actually claimed the match?
    Thanks

    • Ryan Farb

      The Rules of Golf do not prohibit the use of a cell phone as a cell phone (i.e to make business calls, text, etc) provided the phone is not used to breach any other Rule (obtain advice, video tape the swing for advice purposes, measure the slope of a green, etc). However, if the use of the cell phone is disruptive to the proper play of the game, you could be subject to penalty under Rule 33-7 for a serious breach of etiquette. Many clubs have made it a condition of their competitions to prohibit cell phone use, which could lead to disqualification under Rule 33-7, however in the circumstances described I do not believe your opponent’s claim was valid. See Decision 14-3/16 regarding the use of Electronic Devices.

  • Ross Owen

    A certain large warehouse store has 2 Bushnell range finders on sell. One had a “slope” function (reads terrain and shows adjusted
    distance) which if I read NCGA correctly, would make scores non-postable and
    not be usable in tournaments. One can turn that function off, but I am guessing still cannot be used. I hate to not get all of the technology available. Would you please give meyour thoughts.

    My biggest reason to get is between practice and play have
    same readings. My biggest concern being able to use. And woudl like to use when allowed if “slope” function off.

    Thank you.

    • Ryan Farb

      Ross,

      If the device has a slope function available at all, it cannot be used in tournament play and would make a score ineligible for posting (see USGA Handicap Manual Decision 5-1e/2).

      If you are looking for a distance-measuring device to use with postable scores and/or for tournament play you must make sure that it does not have the capability to measure other conditions that might affect your play, including slope, temperature or club selection advice. See Decision 14-3/0.5.

    • Ross Owen

      They should have made the advanced rangefinders with a lock out on all the non allowed features that only officials could turn off.
      Thank you.

  • Kent

    Ball lands In a sand trap, on loose burrowed animal soil at entrance to burrow (squirrel). I can drop no closer to hole in trap with no penalty, correct?

    Kent

    • Ryan Farb

      Kent,

      If you have interference from a burrowing animal hole in a bunker, you may take relief without penalty in accordance with Rule 25-1 by dropping the ball within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, no nearer the hole and within the bunker.

      • Kent

        Thanks Ryan – that is what I did and my competitor had ok’d the drop, but I wanted to just confirm.
        Kent

  • http://www.tilmoneydouspartbook.com Maureen

    I hit my approach shot, hit the top of the bunker and rolled into it. No big deal. I get to my ball–a previous player had destroyed the side of the bunker for a stance and did not rake it or make any effort to restore the bunker to its previous state. My ball is in a 6 inch deep foot print on the side of the bunker, under the lip. The entire area around my ball was deep foot prints of someone who dug into the side to make a stance, but yet could not make an effort to restore the bunker.

    I understand a footprint in the bunker happens. But this was a destroyed area. Do to the extreme situation was I entitled to relief without penalty proceeding under 1-4 (equity) by taking a free drop in the bunker? Had the bunker been raked, my ball would’ve been playable.

    Should I have proceeded under 3-3 and take it up with the committee (this was a tournament) after the round?

    Or would I have had to take an unplayable and get penalized a stroke because of an inconsiderate moron who apparently intentionally left the bunker in shambles ( the rake was 4 ft away from this area)

    I just chopped it out to get it out of the hole, all the time wondering if I should’ve used 3-3. Thank you for the clarification.

    • Ryan Farb

      Maureen,

      If you are ever in doubt, you should use Rule 3-3 to protect your interests. However, a player is not entitled to relief from un-raked footprints in a bunker and you would not have been granted relief had you used Rule 3-3. Relief from damage in bunkers is usually reserved for situations where the bunker has been significantly damaged or altered and un-raked footprints, however deep, generally do not fall under that category.

      • http://www.tilmoneydouspartbook.com Maureen

        I can see your point, Ryan. However, this was damage that was unreasonable. Why wouldn’t the equity rule come into play in this situation? One would be granted relief from a burrowing animal, I would call the individual who did this a burrowing animal — a pig!

        • Ryan Farb

          Equity doesn’t apply because a bunker is a hazard. A player is not entitled to have an easy shot out of a hazard. However, in severe cases the Committee is able to declare an area of severe damage to be ground under repair, which would get you relief. See Decision 33-8/9.

          • http://www.tilmoneydouspartbook.com Maureen

            Thank you Ryan. This is good to know for the future. Generally, and thankfully, such apparent inconsideration doesn’t happen on a regular basis.

  • Debby

    Are you allowed to put your knee on the green when lining up a putt? What rule covers this?

    • Ryan Farb

      Debby,

      There is no Rule prohibiting kneeling on the putting green provided that in doing so you do not touch your line of putt (Rule 16-1a) or test the surface of the putting green by roughening or scraping (Rule 16-1d).

  • Arnel

    We were on the teeing ground before our tee time, after the rules official explained the rules too us, my partner walk off to wet his towel, upon walking off the rules official stated that he was going to give him a two stroke penalty for being late. My partner was back before the first person in our foursome had tee’d off. We brought this up after the round and the penalty was waived. Who is right in this case, us or the rules official?

    • Ryan Farb

      Arnel,
      Decision 6-3a/2.5 states in its answer:
      A. When a time of starting is listed as 9:00 AM, the starting time is deemed to be 9:00 AM and the player is subject to penalty under Rule 6-3a if he is not present and ready to play at 9:00:00 AM.

      If the player is not present and ready to play on the tee at the time of starting, he is subject to penalty under Rule 6-3a. Whether or not the first person has actually teed off does not matter unless he has not teed off because the group was delayed and could not start at the appointed time (Decision 6-3a/4).

      • Arnel

        The first player teed off at our appointed time and my partner was on the tee box before the appointed time, so the according to the rules above, was the official wrong in trying to assess a penalty?

        • Ryan Farb

          At the appointed time the player was not at the tee but off wetting his towel. The fact that he was previously on the tee is irrelevant. I won’t comment further on a ruling from today as I am the staff in charge, but feel free to contact me tomorrow at the office if you wish to discuss it further.

  • David F

    One of our players was taking a drop yesterday for cart path relief and a rules official observing the drop deemed he had tossed or flicked the ball during his drop and assessed him a 2-stroke penalty. I am not sure if he hit his ball yet or not but is there a penalty for dropping improperly or do you simply re-drop the ball again?

    • Ryan Farb

      David,

      Under Rule 20-2a if a ball is dropped in an improper manner and not corrected (by lifting and dropping in the correct manner) the player incurs a one-stroke penalty. If as a result of the improper drop the ball is dropped in a wrong place and then played, the player would incur a two-stroke penalty or loss of hole in match play.

  • David F

    A question arose yesterday after our round regarding tending the flag. If you are off the green and someone is tending the flag and your chip strikes the flag is there a penalty?

    • Ryan Farb

      David,
      Yes. The player’s ball must not strike an attended flagstick, regardless of whether the stroke was from on or off the putting green. Rule 17-3. It is a two-stroke penalty in stroke play, loss of hole in match play.

  • BobG

    If a player hits a ball into a hazard but the player feels he can play the ball if he can find may the player hit a provisional ball and then go look in the hazard for the first ball? If the player finds the ball in the hazard may he abandon the provisional and play the first ball?

    • Ryan Farb

      Bob,
      No. A provisional ball is only for a ball that may be lost outside a water hazard or out of bounds. If a player puts another ball into play because his ball is in the water hazard he has put another ball into play under penalty of stroke and distance and the original is lost. He would not be permitted to play the original if found. See Decision 27-2a/2.

  • Debby

    My ball is sitting right off the green on the first cut. In front of my ball on the green is a bad patch of sanded green not marked GUR. My opponent said I could not take relief because I had the option of chipping over the bad spot instead of putting from where I was off the green. Who is right? Thanks

    • Ryan Farb

      Debby,
      When your ball lies off the putting green you are not entitled to relief for intervention by GUR on your line of play even if the area had been marked.

  • NewSpring

    4man2bb stroke play ( i.e. a 4 men team). Pairing is done so that each team is split in 2 groups (A and B) of 2 players with a different tee time. Question: can the 2 groups share their scores during play, in other words during play can any player from group A communicate with another player from group B about their scores ? if Yes, can they use a cell phone to communicate their scores? I think communicating scores is not OK. Thanks.

    • Ryan Farb

      Sharing score information in person or via cell phone is permitted.

  • C. Silva

    I was recently informed it was a two stroke penalty for what I call ‘raking’ my putt back into the hole. My putt ran by the hole and I reached over the hole and pulled/tapped it back towards me into the hole. I was told I had to be on the side of the ball or behind it and not in front of it. Can you please tell the rule #.. Thanks

    • Ryan Farb

      C. Silva,

      Rule 14-1 states the ball must not be pushed, scraped (raked) or spooned. If you fairly made a stroke at the ball (tapped and not raked) from the opposite side of the hole, there is no prohibition against such a stroke.Rule 16-1e prohibits a player from standing astride his line of putt or an extension of that line behind the ball, however the line of putt does not extend beyond the hole, so standing on the other side of the hole to play a stroke is not prohibited provided it is not pushed, scraped or spooned.

      • C. Silva

        Thank you very much Ryan.. As I understand you interpretation of the rules I must make a stroke at the ball.. I must tap it.. I understand I cannot pull it or ‘rake’ it back towards me but I can clearly tap it towards me from the other side of the hole.. Thanks again…

  • David F

    Is there a recommended procedure for verifying scores in NCGA tournaments prior to signing and submitting cards? It always seems a little hectic at the end of a tournament and I wondered if there is a preferred method or routine for players to use to make sure their scores are correct.

    • Ryan Farb

      David,

      The scoring area is for verifying scores. The marker should have kept the correct scores on the card throughout the round. All players should come to the scoring area and verify their scores with each other and resolve any questions at the scoring table prior to returning their card to the Committee.

  • Tyler Vergho

    Can the Committee of a competition declare an obstruction to be an integral part of the course during the course of the competition (stroke play) – e.g. change the local rules?

    • Ryan Farb

      Tyler,
      Nothing in the Rules permits the Committee to change the status of an obstruction to an integral part of the course during a stipulated round. They could between the play of two rounds, however, such a change could lead to confusion and penalties caused by misunderstanding the change and would not be recommended.

  • Monty Ichinaga

    If a player takes a Mulligan, not on the green, how should his ESC score be entered, if at all? (1) If the Mulligan is a tee shot? (2) If the Mulligan is a fairway shot that lands on the green, whereas the original shot landed in a trap or not in a trap? (3) If the Mulligan is a fairway shot that doesn’t land on the green, whereas the original shot landed in a trap or not in a trap?

    • Ryan Farb

      Monty,
      There is no such thing as a mulligan in real Golf. Therefore, if a player plays out a mulligan he has played that ball under penalty of stroke and distance as that is the only Rule that applies, regardless of where the original ball is in relation to the second ball.

  • Monty Ichinaga

    So, for our everyday imaginary golf, we should post a score that adds 2 strokes for every unreal Mulligan we take. Is this correct?

    • Ryan Farb

      The Rules of Golf and the Handicap System do not contemplate mulligans. The only Rule that permits you to play another stroke from where the previous stroke was made is Rule 27-1, stroke and distance.

  • Monty Ichinaga

    I want to be absolutely certain of the NCGA posting rules. For those who play Mulligans, they should NOT post their score since Mulligans don’t exist in the rules of golf.

    • Ryan Farb

      Monty,
      You should not play with mulligans as they do not exist in the game of Golf. And no, you absolutely should post your score however, you must factor in the stroke and distance penalty for playing from where the previous stroke was made.

  • Debby

    There is still some confusion within my club members about
    an immovable object.

    We have a railing right off the green that is part of the
    water feature on that hole. Many times
    our ball will roll right up again this railing making it almost impossible to
    make your next stroke toward the hole.
    Some members say it’s part of the course design and therefore is not
    considered an immovable objects. No free
    relief. Others say it is possible to take free relief from this immoveable
    object which they feel this is and being part of the course design has nothing
    to do with it. Will you tell me which side
    comes out the winner on this? Thanks

    • Ryan Farb

      Debby,
      Any immovable artificial object not defining out of bounds, not lying out of bounds and not deemed to be an integral part of the course is an immovable obstruction. The player would be entitled to relief under Rule 24-2 for a ball lying outside the hazard. However, on the NCGA hard card and USGA hard card, artificial walls and pilings located within hazards are deemed to be integral parts of the course and relief without penalty is not available. Whether or not relief is available depends on whether or not this object has been deemed an “integral part of the course” which is a Decision the Committee makes.

  • Paul

    A golf ball is hit into an area where there are many small burrowing animal holes. What are the rulings for the following scenarios:

    1. The ball is not observed going specifically into any of several small burrowing animal holes in the landing area and it cannot be found anywhere in the vicinity within 5 minutes. It is common for this player who plays this course often (for over 30 years) to find the ball in this general area if it did not go into a small burrowing animal hole. In fact, he has routinely found his ball in this same area in some of the shallow small burrowing animal holes, over the past 30 years, but not today. The area is perfectly flat and there are no other explanations for the ball not being found in this area, i.e. there is no tall grass, obstructions, trees, water, wet areas, sand, etc. In other words the only remaining explanation is that the ball is in one of the deeper holes made by small burrowing animals, in this area where this player normally hits the ball. Also there are no other players on any adjacent hole, that could have erroneously picked up the ball. No marshal is on duty on this hole.

    2. A ball is observed in a small burrowing animal hole in the area where player’s ball landed, it is not identified as the player’s, and in the process of either the player or his opponent attempting to retrieving it, the ball is pushed further back into the hole and is not identified and or recovered within 5 minutes.

    3. A ball is observed and identified as the player’s in a burrowing animal hole, but it is not retrievable within 5 minutes.

    4. A ball is observed and identified as the player’s in a burrowing animal hole and it is retrieved within 5 minutes.

    5. The player’s ball is observed by only the player, or the player and a playing partner, or the player and a playing opponent, or just his playing partner, or just a playing opponent, or only by an observer – say a member of the group ahead, or a course marshal, going into a specific and positively identifiable small burrowing animal hole. The ball cannot be seen when looking into that specific burrowing animal hole, therefore the ball is not identified or found within 5 minutes.

    6. The ball is struck towards a sand bunker. It is observed by the player as entering the bunker and not exiting. As the player approaches the bunker no ball is observed, yet there is now observed a single hole made by a small burrowing animal at the far end of the bunker. The ball cannot be found anywhere else in the vicinity within 5 minutes. There is no other reasonable explanation for the missing ball except that it went into the single small burrowing animal hole. What is the ruling? Would there be a difference if there were two or more burrowing animal holes in this same bunker? Would it make a difference if a fresh ball mark and or ball trail is observed leading directly to the single small burrowing animal hole? Would it make a difference if a fresh ball mark and or ball trail is observed in the sand leading directly to only one of many small burrowing animal holes in the bunker? Would it matter if the sand is compacted and or raked in such a way that no ball marks or ball trails are left in the sand and there is just one – or several – small burrowing animal hole(s)? Thanks for your help on this.

  • Mike

    This
    question is in regards to the 12-man competition. We played a team 4 weeks ago
    and some of their players shot some very low scores which have not been posted
    at this time. Is there a rule about this, because we are playing them again and
    some of their handy caps have not reflected the low scores?

  • Mike

    This
    question is in regards to the 12-man competition. We played a team 4 weeks ago
    and some of their players shot some very low scores which have not been posted
    at this time. Is there a rule about this, because we are playing them again and
    some of their handy caps have not reflected the low scores?

  • Dwaine

    If a player has addressed the ball on the teebox and you noticed that he is at the wrong set of tees (Ladies) , can you warn him or is that giving advice? Thanks

    • Ryan Farb

      Dwaine,

      Information on the Rules is not advice. It would be appropriate to warn a player about to incur an infraction.

  • Craig Cannaday

    A player in match play tees off on a short par 4 dogleg. The ball can’t be located and said player returns to the tee to rehit. As the group is coming on the green, the ball is located in the hole as a hole in one.
    Does the first ball count since it is in the hole and the play has concluded for him or does he have to use his second ball having abandoned the first with a second tee shot.
    Also, what are the parameters regarding having a group looking for and finding the first ball after the player retees and within the time limit for a lost ball search? Thanks.

    • Ryan Farb

      Craig,
      The first ball counts as the hole was complete when it was holed – Decision 1-1/2.

      Once a player has put another ball into play under penalty of stroke and distance, the original ball is lost, regardless of whether it is found within the five minutes – Definition of Lost Ball.

      Note also, that once a player has gone forward to search he may not go back to play a provisional ball, a ball played under such a circumstance would be his ball in play – Rule 27-2a.

      • Craig Cannaday

        Thank you for the quick response…. I assume then even though he left the tee and searched, went back and reteed , that the only exception is when the ball is in the hole on the original shot?

        • Ryan Farb

          Craig,
          To my knowledge that is the only time, because the hole was complete once the original ball was holed.

  • Marie

    A player in match play has a caddie with a golf cart for medical use. The other player has a caddie with no cart. The caddie with the cart uses the cart to drive ahead of his player’s ball at rest to examine what “lies ahead” and what the rest of the hole looks like. The other player and caddie without the medical cart are at a disadvantage because they are on foot. It seems there should be some sort of a penalty for this type of activity like improving the line of play? It definitely isn’t what the use of the cart was intended for and it provides a huge advantage for the player who knows what “lies” ahead or is in the way.

    • Ryan Farb

      Unless the caddie actually breaches a Rule of Golf by actually improving the line of play as in Rule 13-2, or breaches another Rule such as 8-2 Indicating Line of Play there is no golf penalty for driving ahead to view the hole. If the caddie delays play in repeatedly driving ahead and then back to converse with his player, he could be subject to penalty for Undue Delay under Rule 6-7.

  • Debby

    A player hit her second shot and went forward to find it. She could not find it where she normally hits a ball. She went back and hit another ball at the place where she hit her last shot. She hits the second ball twice before getting to the green. Once on the green she finds her first ball on the green pass the hole.

    1. Her second ball is on the green also but has not been hit pass the original
    ball. Can she play the original ball into the hole now that she has found it?

    2. In researching this ruling, I’ve found that you cannot go back to the original spot. You must hit a provisional ball before going forward to search for the first ball. Is this true?

    3. IF number two is correct, wouldn’t it make for a lot of extra balls being hit in the case of not finding your ball?

    4. Please define when and when you should not hit a provisional ball in the case of not finding your ball. I know the rulings on lost in water hazards and out of bounds. Are there others instances?

  • Larry Nathan

    I have a question regarding a ball coming to rest on a bridge which spans a water hazard. Is the ball “in the hazard” or “on an immovable obstruction”? Can you please cite the rule/decision which clarifies this? Thanks. – Larry

    • Ryan Farb

      Larry,

      The answer is both. The ball lies in a water hazard because the margins of a water hazard extend vertically upward and downward (Definition of Water Hazard). The bridge is an immovable obstruction, however, since the ball lies in a water hazard the player is not entitled to relief for the obstruction. The player is allowed to ground his club on the bridge in playing the ball. See Decision 13-4/30.

  • David F

    A question came up yesterday in our group at the Poppy Ridge Zinfandel course. The No. 7 par three has a water hazard (yellow stakes) fronting the green. There was a designated drop zone for balls in the water so there was no question where to drop. A discussion came up when our tee shot cleared the hazard, landed just short of the green and backed up into the hazard. Without a designated drop zone could you: a) drop your ball behind the point the ball first crossed over the hazard in line with the flag which is just off the tee, or 2) drop your ball across the hazard in line with the flag and the point the ball entered the hazard up near the green which would put you in the No. 6 fairway?

    • Ryan Farb

      David,
      The drop zone is an additional option under Rule 26-1. When your ball comes to rest in a water hazard (yellow stakes) you always have two penalty options for relief 26-1a) proceed under penalty of stroke and distance or 26-1b) drop a ball behind the hazard keeping the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped. Where the ball LAST crossed the margin of the hazard is your reference point. Where the ball FIRST crossed is completely irrelevant.

  • Robert Molyneaux

    With respect to Rules 1-2 and 19-1, 19-2, 19-3.

    Stroke play
    In this case I and my equippment are considered an “outside agency”.

    My competitor is in a greenside bunker. I am standing on the green beyond the hole and off to the side. My wedge and towel are at my feet my putter in my hand. My competitor plays out of the bunker and the ball is rolling towards me. If the ball strikes me or my equippment it is rub of the green according to 19-1 provided it is considered accidental.

    Q1: If I pick up my wedge and towel and move out of the way am I in violation of 1-2?
    a: if it hurts my opponent?
    b: if it helps my opponent?

    Q2: If I deliberately do not pick up my wedge and towel and allow his ball to be stopped or deflected by them am I in violation of 1-2 or is 19-1 “rub of the green” the ruling here? “Deliberately” implies that I could have reasonably avoided the interference but choose to leave the equippment as it lay either because I saw an advantage in doing so or because I thought that I would be in violation of 1-2 by moving it.
    a: if it hurts my opponent?
    b: if it helps my opponent?

    Match play
    In this case I and my equippment are NOT considered an “outside agency”.

    My partner is in a greenside bunker. I am standing on the green beyond the hole and off to the side. My wedge and towel are at my feet my putter in my hand. My partner plays out of the bunker and the ball is rolling towards me. If the ball strikes me or my equippment it is a one stroke penatly according to 19-2.

    Q1: If I pick up my wedge and towel and move out of the way am I in violation of 1-2?

    My competitor is in a greenside bunker. I am standing on the green beyond the hole and off to the side. My wedge and towel are at my feet my putter in my hand. My competitor plays out of the bunker and the ball is rolling towards me. If the ball strikes me or my equippment there is no penatly according to 19-3 provided it is considered accidental. My opponent has the option to play the ball as it lies or replay the stroke.

    Q1: If I pick up my wedge and towel and move out of the way am I in violation of 1-2?

    Q2: If I deliberately do not pick up my wedge and towel and allow his ball to be stopped or deflected by them am I in violation of 1-2? “Deliberately” implies that I could have reasonably avoided the interference but choose to leave the equippment as it lay either because I saw an advantage in doing so or because I thought that I would be in violation of 1-2 by moving it.