Tuesday, 21 March 2017

David Horsey’s Ball Deflected by Official

For obvious reasons Tournament Officials don’t like to be the subject of rulings! So it will probably take a long time for the unfortunate Wanchai Meechai, who was hit by a ball played by English Pro, David Horsey, during the final round of the 2017 Hero Indian Open in New Delhi last week, to overcome his embarrassment. The circumstance was that he was driving nonchalantly down the 9th fairway (!) in a golf cart marked, “Rules 2”, when Horsey’s well-struck ball bounced to the side of him, hit him on the shoulder, rolled across the floor of his cart and dropped back onto the fairway. So what was the ruling? As both the official and the moving golf cart are outside agents and the incident was a true ‘rub of the green’, the ball had to be played from where it came to rest. This part of Rule 19-1 applies;

If a player's ball in motion is accidentally deflected or stopped by any outside agency, it is a rub of the green, there is no penalty and the ball must be played as it lies.


The surprised TV commentator jokingly remarked;

“… Could have taken it to the green; that would have done him a favour!”

Well no! Note (a) to Rule 19 deals with that circumstance. If the official had deliberately deflected or stopped the ball in the cart and then deposited it somewhere, whether closer to the hole or further away from it, the spot where the ball would most likely have come to rest without the deflection must be estimated and the ball dropped there, without penalty.

To be fair to Wanchai Meechai, the official, he immediately recognised his mistake, turned to the teeing ground and raised his arms in a gesture of apology. No harm done, as the accidental deflection of Horsey’s ball only resulted in it coming to rest just a few yards nearer to the hole than it otherwise would have.

To view this incident click on this video link.

Errors on Score Cards
If you have ever worked on a Golf Competitions Committee you are almost certain to have had a situation where a returned score card included either a wrong hole score, wrong handicap, or has not been signed.

There have been two recent instances where competitors in Tour events have had to be disqualified for returning score cards with such errors. At the Qatar Masters, German Pro, Marcel Siem, had transposed the scores from his 5th and 6th holes, so although the total strokes for the round was correctly recorded, two of the individual hole scores were not. Presumably Siem’s marker had entered the wrong scores for the two holes, perhaps a few holes after they were played, and he had not checked his individual scores before signing and returning his score card.


At last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, the reigning U.S. Amateur Champion, Curtis Luck, returned an incorrect scorecard on day two. He finished his round with a bogey, meaning that he failed to make the cut by a few strokes. However, he entered and signed for a par on his 18th hole, leading to his subsequent disqualification when the error was discovered.

I am sure that most of us can sympathise with players, especially amateurs, who make simple mistakes on their score cards. However, there can be no exceptions in applying the penalty of disqualification under Rule 6-6b, whatever rationalisation, justification or excuse is offered. A Committee that makes an exception to applying the Rules of Golf for one player will almost certainly regret its decision when it is continually raised by others seeking to receive the same preferential treatment.

Good golfing,


 


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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

More on Rules Modernis(z)ation

At this time, less than a week after the R&A and USGA unveiled their preview of the proposed new Rules of Golf, I have decided not to comment in any detail about my opinions on any of the changes. A lesson that I have learned during the 10 plus years that I have been studying and blogging on the Rules of Golf, is that there is little to be gained by making instant judgements based on personal, limited experiences and preferences, without carefully considering the potential consequences for others, as there are often several implications, which may not be immediately apparent, to absorb and think through. Overall, I welcome the proposals, particularly those that relate to improving the pace of play, which to my mind is one of the biggest issues facing the future of recreational golf.

For those of you that have not seen, or have not been interested in studying the detail of the Ruling Bodies’ proposals at this very early stage, here is my brief outline of 10 of the most significant changes affecting amateur golfers;

1.    There is no penalty when a player’s ball in motion accidentally hits them, or their equipment (e.g. it rebounds off the lip of a bunker).

2.    A ball may be dropped from any height (yes, even one inch!)

3.    Defined relief areas (e.g. for dropping) to be either 20" or 80" (not club-lengths). This translates to 50.8 cm and 203.2 cm!

4.    A ball is lost after 3 minutes search.

5.    There is to be relief for a ball that is embedded anywhere, except in sand.

6.    The flagstick may be left in the hole while putting.

7.    Spike marks and other damage to the putting green may be repaired before making a stroke.

8.    Increased use of red penalty areas (previously known as lateral water hazards), so that lateral relief is always allowed from them, even if they are not areas of water (e.g. deserts, jungles, or lava rock fields).

9.    There is no penalty for removing loose impediments in either penalty areas or bunkers.

10.    A caddie is not permitted to line up their player before they make a putt, or any other stroke.

Please remember that the above outlines just 10 of the proposals, which are not yet in operation and even if they are agreed are unlikely to replace the existing Rules until January 2019. This is the published, estimated timeline from the Ruling Bodies;

  • To March 2017: Gathering feedback on the drafts of the proposals.
  • March 1st 2017: Announcement of the proposed new Rules of Golf.
  • March 2017 to August 2017: Seeking public feedback for further evaluation.
  • August 2017 to spring 2018: Reviewing and approving the new Rules
  • Spring 2018: Announcement of the new Rules
  • January 1st 2019: The new Rules take effect
Apparently, the R&A and USGA have been working on these proposed changes for over 5 years and have gone through 7 iterative drafts. I am aware that many golfers criticise those that are closely involved with the Ruling Bodies as being geriatric, blue blazers’ ensconced in their ‘ivory tower’ and totally out of touch with the playing of the game of golf. My experience is that this is very far from the truth. I can categorically say that all those that I have met and have had dealings with are dedicated professionals of all ages and backgrounds, striving to protect and improve the game of golf for the benefit of all 60 million golfers around the world. They are to be congratulated for this attempt to make the Rules significantly easier to understand and apply, whilst preserving the character of the game and the essential principles that have served players well for more than 270 years.

A good example of this is the outstanding work that has gone into preparing a comprehensive library of resources for easy access to everything surrounding the proposed new Rules. This includes explanatory narratives, diagrams, infographics, videos, Q&As, and the proposed new Rules book. They have even provided a recommended ‘Test Rules’ for use in an unofficial (i.e. non handicap counting) event. You can explore for yourself at these links;

R&A - http://www.randa.org/RulesModernisation

USGA - http://www.usga.org/rules-hub/rules-modernization.html

I strongly recommend that everyone with an interest in the future of golf delves into these comprehensive resources. Not only do they provide the precise, but much improved wording of the proposed changes, but also the reasoning behind them. Having done so, you are encouraged to take the 10 minutes survey, to ensure that your opinions are included in the feedback before the final changes are agreed and announced.

Good golfing,


 


Don’t forget that you can quiz yourself on the Rules, as they  exist for this year and next year, by purchasing my eBook, ‘999 More Questions on the Rules of Golf’. Click on this link for more information.

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2017 and may not be copied without permission.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Modernisation of the Rules

I guess that a majority of those that play competitive golf are expectantly awaiting news of the proposed ‘modernisation’ of the Rules of Golf that has been signalled by the Ruling Bodies. It seems that we should have a good idea of what is being proposed when the first draft of what is expected to be a broad and significant change to the Rules is released next month (March 2017). I want to emphasise that there will not be any change to any Rule of Golf this year and almost certainly not next year. January 1st 2019 seems to be the earliest that any changes will become effective in competitive play. The period in between includes approximately six months for public comment, after which the R&A and USGA will take time to review the feedback and then draw up their revisions, to be revealed in late 2017, or early 2018. Remembering the lengthy discussion, early opposition and eventual acceptance prior to the comparatively simple amendments relating to anchoring a club, I anticipate that this will be a very busy time for everyone involved with the Rules in competitive golf, whether as a Committee member, Rules official or media reporter.

The first recorded Rules of Golf, drawn up in 1744, amounted to just 13 Rules in 13 sentences, hand-written on two sheets of paper (see the extract in the photo above and view the wording at this link). By the time the R&A published the first 'national' (UK) set of rules, in 1899, which were adopted by the USGA the following year, there were 35 Rules, including 17 Definitions. Today there are 34 Rules, subdivided into 126 sections, 61 Definitions, and over 1,380 Decisions on the Rules. I liken the Decisions to the ‘case law’ of the Rules of Golf; they are required to elaborate and clarify the wording of the Rules in every possible circumstance that might occur in the myriad of topographic, climatic and variable course conditions, anywhere in the world. It has taken over 270 years for the Rules to evolve to where they are today, every change and amendment resulting from actual situations that have occurred during competition. And yet, the Ruling Bodies still receive thousands of new enquiries every year from Committees who are looking for an authoritative answer to situations that they cannot resolve themselves.

The primary objectives of the modernisation of the Rules, as stated by both the Ruling Bodies, are to make them easier to read, understand and apply by golfers at all levels, whether the play is competitive or social and wherever their game is played. There has been a leaking of some of the changes that are likely to feature, though these are expected to be the tip of the iceberg.

Reduce lost ball search: 5 to 3 minutes:
This seems to be more a speed of play issue, on which any positive improvement is to be welcomed.

Greens: Allow spike mark repairs.
Great! But will other damage to the putting green also be included, e.g. heel indentations, flagstick scores, etc. If so, will this not adversely contribute to slow play?

Water Hazards: emphasis on red lines and/or stakes.
Designating water hazards as lateral water hazards provides the additional option of dropping within two club-lengths of where the ball last crossed the margin, or an equidistant point on the other side. This should eliminate some of the confusion that many golfers have over where they are permitted to drop in taking relief, under penalty, from a water hazard.

Taking relief: Allow drop from any height.
Hmmmm! Say 2 inches from the ground? If the height is not going to be specified, perhaps all references to dropping should be changed to placing.

Taking relief: Eliminate use of club-lengths.
There is not enough detail here to make a judgement. Presumably one change may be to replace club-length(s) relief with some other fixed measurement, otherwise the player would be permitted to drop a ball almost anywhere that is farther away from the hole. Club-lengths don’t have to be measured anyway, providing the player intends to drop well within the permitted area. See my blog on this subject.

Unfortunately, such a major revision of the Rules, though undertaken with the admirable intention of making learning them and complying with them much easier, is bound to create a period of confusion in the short (and probably medium) term. The multiple changes will almost certainly be challenging for Golf Committees, even if they and their members, do take the time to study and understand them. There are many golfers that never reference the existing Rules book and this is unlikely to change, which is bound to result in differences of opinion, increasing the number of issues that Committees will have to give rulings on. These issues do not arise when all competitors are playing together, as in match play, or a casual ‘skins’ game between friends, as they can resolve the situation amongst themselves, but it is obviously a different matter when the rights of the whole field have to be taken into account. It would obviously be inequitable to have one competitor proceeding with a different interpretation of a Rule to another who is faced with the same situation, but playing in a different group. I have said before that I have never got close to winning the annual Captain’s prize at my Club, but if by some miracle I was to come second and subsequently find out that the winner had breached a Rule without including the penalty on their score card, I know that I would be apoplectic!

So, although most golfers obviously wish for a dramatic reduction in the size of the Rules book, this is probably not going to happen. As previously stated, the reason for the existing number of Rules, sections, definitions and decisions is that over the years it has been necessary to update them as a result of what is regularly happening on golf courses all over the world. The welcome modernisation should certainly lead to a reduction in verbiage, but in my opinion, not nearly enough to satisfy most players, who often do not take the time to logically think through the potential unintended consequences that may occur following any change, however minor. From the comments that I receive it is clear that the Rule that most amateur golfers would like to see changed, is for them to obtain relief from divot holes on closely mown areas. I am not privy to any inside information on this, but I would be extremely surprised if this was included in the modernisation for the reasons that I explain in this blog.

Another welcome objective of the ‘Rules Modernisation’, which is expected to be far less controversial, is to identify and put into practice ways that will improve how the Rules are distributed and consumed, including increased and better use of technology. This should involve easier and more user friendly ways of accessing Rules information, for example through the use of audio, images and videos. We can all look forward to that.

Good golfing,



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Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Making a Stroke

I received a question this week asking whether the shaft or grip of a club can be used to make a stroke. I cannot imagine the circumstance that led to this question being asked, but it has prompted me to list a few points relating to making a stroke at a ball.

•    The ball must be fairly struck with the head of the club. Rule 14-1a.
•    The head of the club includes the face, back and sides of the club (so, obviously not any part of the shaft or the grip). Note that the clubhead must have only one striking face, except that a putter may have two faces if their characteristics are the same and they are opposite each other. Appendix ll, 1 / 4 / d.
•    The ball must not be pushed, scraped or spooned. See this blog for an example of what is not permitted in this respect. Rule 14-1a.
•    In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either "directly" or by use of an "anchor point." See this blog for more information on this subject. Rule 14-1b.
•    A stroke is the forward movement of the club made with the intention of striking at and moving the ball. So if a player checks their downswing voluntarily before the clubhead reaches the ball, they have not made a stroke. Definition of Stroke.
•    A player must not make a stroke while accepting physical assistance (e.g. having an umbrella held over them), or protection from the elements (e.g. aligning their bag to shelter their ball from the wind. Rule 14-2a.
•    A player must not use any artificial device or unusual equipment, or use any equipment in an unusual manner that might assist them in making a stroke. Rule 14-3. Note that this includes listening to music or a broadcast, Decision 14-3/17.
•    A player must not make a stroke at his ball while it is moving. Rule 14-5. There are 3 exceptions; a) Ball falling off tee, Rule 11-3; b) Striking the ball more than once, Rule 14-4; c) Ball moving in water, Rule 14-6. A player may make a stroke at a ball that oscillates providing it does not move off its spot.
•    A player may make a stroke one-handed, e.g. holding the flagstick in the other hand when making a short putt, Decision 17-1/5. (See photo above).
•    A player is not necessarily entitled to see their ball when making a stroke. Rule 12-1.
•    A player is not penalised for improving their lie or line of play if it occurs while making a stroke, or the backward movement of their club for a stroke, e.g. breaking or moving grasses growing behind their ball when making a stroke from a hazard. Rules 13-2 and 13-4. (Edit 10th February 2017: However, they may not touch the ground in the hazard, water in the water hazard, or move a loose impediment in the hazard with their backswing, Rule 13-4.)

Good golfing,


 


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Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Advantageously Dropping a Ball

Congratulations to 26-year-old Tommy Fleetwood, from Southport, England, who came from behind to win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship last weekend, beating Dustin Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal by one stroke. His play of the final hole provides a useful illustration of how golfers can benefit from using the Rules of Golf to their advantage. Knowing that he probably required a birdie on his 72nd par-5 hole, to either win the title or be involved in a playoff, Fleetwood did not get the start he wanted, as he hooked his drive towards the desert. Fortunately for him, but not the person who was hit, his ball bounced back off a spectator close to a path where it came to rest. Taking a natural stance for the intended stroke meant that his feet would have been on the path, so he was able to take releif under Rule 24-2. He knew that he had to determine the nearest point of relief to where his ball lay where there was no interference from the cart path and then drop a ball so that it hit the course within one club-length of that point. Most of us would imagine this dropping area and drop a ball well within the permitted limit, but Fleetwood was thinking well ahead. He knew that he had to go for the putting green, still about 270 yards away, with his second shot and the lie of his ball was crucial. So he chose to try and drop the ball in a position where it was likely to roll to a position where the path still interfered, or where it would roll nearer to the hole. In either case this would mean re-dropping the ball to comply with the requirements of Rule 20-2c. His reason for dropping the ball at an extreme permitted limit in this way was to take advantage of this part of Rule 20-2c;

If the ball when re-dropped rolls into any position listed above, it must be placed as near as possible to the spot where it first struck a part of the course when re-dropped. 

It was reported that after his win Fleetwood explained;

“There were two bits of grass, a nice bit and a bad bit, and I didn’t really want to go to the bad bit. There’s a line that I had to drop it over to make it a legal drop, basically. I can’t drop it when I’m still stood on the path. It just took me a few goes because I was trying to get it right on the edge of it. But yeah, I did actually get a really good drop in the end. It settled nicely and I was never going to not take the shot on.”

My understanding is that the reason that he “took a few goes” is that more than one drop landed outside the tiny patch that he was aiming for within the permitted area, which meant that it did not count towards the drop. There were two valid drops that were within the permitted area, but the ball rolled to a position where there was either interference from the path, or was nearer to the hole, the second of which then became the reference point where he was permitted to place the ball. Because of the accuracy of this valid re-drop he was able to place his ball sitting up on a nice little tuft of grass, almost like a tee, because this is where the ball first hit the course before rolling away. He then used his now defunct Nike 3-wood to hit a beautiful shot to the front of the green and two-putted to make the birdie, which subsequently resulted in him winning the title outright, without need for a playoff.

I have two tips for players that have the option of taking relief under the Rules; first, is not to lift your ball until you have determined exactly where the nearest point of relief is, as the permitted dropping area may be disadvantageous to where the ball is lying; and second, to try and drop your ball in such a way that it will require a re-drop and perhaps subsequent placeing of the ball after a similar re-drop, as this will obviously give you a better lie from which to make your next stroke.

Amateur Golfer Wins Car
Playing in the amateur competition of the CareerBuilder Challenge in La Quinta, California, last week, Dave Colby had a hole-in-one on the par-3 17th hole, which won him a brand new Genesis G90 luxury sedan.

For several years the USGA has allowed an amateur to win a valuable prize, such as a car, for making a hole-in-one in a round of golf, without forfeiting their amateur status, but those of us that play golf outside of USA and Mexico only received this exception when the Rules of Amateur Status were changed in this respect from 1st January 2012. Apart from this hole-in-one exception, the most valuable prize that any amateur golfer can win without losing their amateur status is US$750 / St£500, or the local currency equivalent.

Modernisation of the Rules of Golf
You will probably be aware that the Ruling Bodies are considering a major modernisation (simplification?) of the Rules of Golf. I will not be speculating on the unsubstantiated rumours that are arising, as I think that it can only cause confusion; I prefer to spend my time interpreting the Rules as they are, for the benefit of others. However, if you do want an idea of what is being leaked following a presentation made to some European Tour players last week then you can check out this link. I will not be engaging in any communication regarding this subject.

Good golfing,



 

It is time for Committees in the northern hemisphere to start planning for the upcoming season. Why not run a Rules night for your Club or Society? I have done all the work in my 'ready to run' quizzes (General, Juniors and Match Play). More information at this link.

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2017 and may not be copied without permission.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Immovable Obstruction on Putting Green

When putting greens are damaged, greenkeepers often have to protect the repaired area until growth returns and the surface is suitable for putting again. Of course, the protective netting is an immovable obstruction on the putting green, as it is not intended that players should move it to give themselves a clear path to the hole.

In the photo above, I have positioned five balls (A to E) at different positions on and around the putting green. These are the various rulings. under Rule 24-2b(iii) unless otherwise stated:

•    Ball A lies off the putting green and the netting is on the player’s intended line of play to the hole. There is no relief available, as the netting does not interfere with the player’s stance or area of intended swing and intervention on the line of play is not interference under Rule 24-2a. The player must pitch over, or play around the netting.

•    Ball B lies on the netting on the putting green. If the player chooses to take relief, they must lift the ball and place it, without penalty, at the nearest point of relief that is not in a hazard for their intended stroke to the hole. In some circumstances the nearest point of relief may be off the putting green.

•    Ball C lies on the putting green and the netting does not intervene for a left-handed player, so they must play their next stroke from where the ball is at rest. There is no relief for mental interference from the netting. Because the netting does interfere with the stance of a right handed player, they may take relief by lifting the ball and placing it, without penalty, at the nearest point of relief for their intended stroke to the hole that is not in a hazard. Sometimes the nearest point of relief may be off the putting green.

•    Ball D lies on the putting green and the netting does not intervene for a right-handed player. This time a right handed player is not entitled to relief, but a left-handed player may take relief; it is the converse of the situation with ball C.

•    Ball E lies on the putting green and the netting intervenes on the intended line of putt, so the player make take relief, without penalty, by lifting the ball and placing it at the nearest point of relief for their intended stroke to the hole that is not in a hazard. Sometimes the nearest point of relief may be off the putting green.

The above Rules are also relevant to other immovable obstructions on the putting green, such as artificial hole plugs, which I covered in this blog last year.

Top 10 Ridiculous Moments on the PGA Tour in 2016
Still in the festive mood, I found some of these amusing. (Click on this link.)


It was the first item (#10) that interested me most. I am confused by the commentary on the Rules (nothing new there!) It seems to me that the timber wall does not interfere with Phil Mickelson’s area of intended swing, in which case there was no relief from it available to him, despite what the commentator said after the ball came to rest. Not that Phil needed it; was that exquisite skill or good luck? I am also confused about the timber wall, which seems a rather bizarre, man-made obstruction. I have checked out an overhead view of the 6th hole at Sedgefield Country Club, venue of the 2016 Wyndham Championship, and it does not seem to match that shown in the video clip in that there is no wall at the side of the green and the bunkers seem to be differently located. (Edit 12th January 2017: Thanks to MD of www.progolfrefs.com for informing me that this incident occurred during the 2016 BMW Championship on 6th hole at Crooked Stick GC and not as referenced in the video clip.)

Good golfing,


 



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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

New Year Rules Teasers

It has been a regular habit of mine to offer readers of this blog teasers relating to the Rules of Golf for them to contemplate over their New Year holiday. This year, I am describing a ruling and your task is to explain the circumstance that led to it. The nine scenarios are not intended to be easy and this exercise will not appeal to every reader. My aim is to get the rest of you thinking, perhaps over a period of days, so I recommend that you don’t check the answers below until you have had a good attempt at reaching an explanation that fits. Please note that I am providing just one circumstance that matches the answer, but there could be other circumstances that are equally valid. (Edit: 29th December: No Local Rule was involved in any of the situations.)

1.    Martha’s putt from on the putting green was well wide of her intended line when it hit an opponent’s club, deflecting it against her own partner’s ball, from where it rolled into the hole. The stroke counts and no penalty is incurred. Explain!

2.    On a par-3, Stuart makes 8 strokes at his original ball before putting out with that same ball for a score of 5. Explain!

3.    In match play, Sofia plays her ball from the teeing ground on a par-3. Anna, who had the same handicap as Sofia, then plays her first stroke from the teeing ground and her ball comes to rest on the lip of the hole, so Sofia concedes the putt. Sofia makes another stroke and wins the hole. Explain!

4.    Early in her round Lynn mislaid her sand iron. After completing the 9th hole she ran into the Pro Shop to borrow a replacement, but there were no sand irons available, so she took a lob wedge with a similar loft. On the 10th hole, she topped her ball when playing from a bunker with the borrowed lob wedge, so she was pleased when a course marshall drove up to her in a buggy with her mislaid sand iron, which she then continued to use during the rest of her round. No penalty was incurred. Explain!

5.    Joerg is not happy with his tee shot to a Par 3 hole, 180 yards away. He walks forward 100 yards, but in a direction that is diagonal from a direct line from the teeing ground to the location of the hole and he drops another ball there. Explain!

6.    Having driven to the right of the fairway on the 1st hole, Tamara carries a club into the fairway bunker, shuffles her feet around, pushes her fingers deep into the sand, makes two practice strokes, brushing the sand on each occasion, and then returns to her bag. She changes the club, walks to her ball and plays it in the direction of the putting green. Tamara did not incur any penalty. Explain!

7.    Having correctly dropped a ball from a sprinkler head on a fairway, an immovable obstruction, Michael lifted that ball, took a different ball from his pocket, and dropped it at the same place. He then played that ball towards the hole, without incurring a penalty. Explain!

8.    Fellow competitors, Alan and Bob, walked to where their ball had landed and found that they were so close together they were touching. Bob lifted his ball without marking it and carefully cleaned it while Alan was clearing loose impediments from around his ball, taking care not to accidentally move it while doing so. When Alan had made his stroke towards the hole, Bob dropped his ball about 6 feet away from where it was originally at rest and played it towards the hole. No penalties were incurred. Explain!

9.    At the start of the 10th hole Mary was playing a Titleist 1 with her shamrock mark and Maria was playing a Titleist 1 with her thistle mark. When they putted out they realised that Maria had putted out with Mary's ball and Mary had putted out with Maria's ball. No penalties were incurred. Explain!

Last Golf Joke of 2016 😄
Player arrives at the first tee. Shortly before tee time, he realizes that he does not have a ball marker in his pocket. He dashes into the pro-shop and asks.....
Q: “Do you sell ball markers?”
A: “Yes we do”, says the Pro, “They are $1.00”.
Player hands the Pro a $1.00 bill.
Pro hands the player a dime ($0.10 cents)
Player says, "I thought you said the ball marker was $1.00?"
Pro replies...."I did,… that dime is your ball marker."

Answers to Teasers:
1.    Martha was competing in a four-ball match. When her ball hit an opponent’s club she had the option of choosing to let her putt stand, or to cancel it and play it again, Rule 19-3. In match play, there is no penalty for hitting another ball after a stroke made from on a putting green, Rule 19-5a.
2.    Stuart player played from outside the teeing ground and played 2 more strokes at his ball before being made aware of his error. He returned to the correct teeing ground and from there took 3 strokes to hole out (3 counting strokes, 2 penalty strokes and 3 strokes that did not count in his score, because they were played from wrong teeing ground), Rule 11-4b.
3.    Sofia had played out of turn, so Anna required her stroke to be cancelled, as it was a good shot coming to rest close to the hole, Rule 10-1c. After Sofia had conceded Anna’s putt for a birdie she then made a hole-in-one to win the hole. (See this link for several other ways that a player may score a hole-in-one with their second ball played from the teeing ground).
4.    Lynn started her round with 13 clubs, so she was entitled to add another club of any type, Rule 4-4a. There is no Rule preventing her to enter the Pro Shop providing she did not unduly delay play while doing so. When her original sand iron was returned to her she was entitled to use it, as it was one of her original 13 clubs selected for play.
5.    Joerg’s ball landed in a pond in front of the putting green. The hole was located on the left side of the green and his ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard to the right side, meaning that the permitted line of drop, under Rule 26-1b, on an extension of a line from the hole through the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard, was to the far right of the pond, nowhere near the line of flight of his ball played from the teeing ground.
6.    Tamara’s ball was at rest close to the bunker, but was not in it, so Rule 13-4 did not apply. A player may test the sand in a bunker when their ball does not lie in a bunker.
7.    After taking the drop from the immovable obstruction under Rule 24-2, Michael realised that he had dropped a different ball from the one that he lifted. However, under Rule 20-6, he was permitted to correct his mistake without penalty, as he had not made a stroke at the wrongly substituted ball.
8.    Both balls were lying in snow. Alan chose to treat the snow as casual water, dropping away from it under Rule 25-1, whereas Bob chose to treat the snow as a loose impediment, clearing some of it away before playing his ball from where it had come to rest, Definition of Loose Impediment.
9.    Mary and Maria played their balls into a water hazard at approximately the same spot. During their retrieval the balls were inadvertently exchanged. When taking relief under penalty the player may drop any ball, so they were not playing wrong balls to the putting green, Decision 15/14.

I hope that these nine scenarios tested you and that you did not find them too frustrating!

Link to New Local Rule Print Out
Good Golf Committees around the world will have already made plans to introduce the new Local Rule for the accidental movement of a ball on the putting green. If yours has not, I strongly recommend that you click on this link, print out the .pdf notice that is ready for pinning on a notice board, and bring it swiftly to their attention. Both the R&A and USGA have recommended that Committees introduce this Local Rule immediately.

Happy New Year with lots of good golfing,



Why not start the year with a New Year resolution to obtain a better understanding of the Rules of Golf and do it the easy way? Carry ‘999 More Questions on the Rules of Golf’ with you at all times on your smart phone, Kindle, laptop or tablet and then test yourself whenever you have a few minutes to spare. Click here.

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2016 / © 2017 and may not be copied without permission.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Christmas Special 2016


You know that you are probably playing too much golf when…

On a big night out, while searching for the cloakroom ticket, you find two tees, some scruffy receipts and the 10 cent coin you have been using as a ball marker.

You know your home course post code and at least three different sites/apps to check the weather forecast.

You check the first weather site, then hoping for something better, venture into a second and even a third to get their opinions on precipitation, wind direction and velocity!

European golfers have coins of at least three different currencies in their golf bag.

You keep score cards from all the different courses that you have played as a badge of honour.

There are some rounds that you cannot remember what you scored, as the card is illegible and has turned into that weird cardboard mush you only get in golf bags.

You have to pick up and wiggle any driver that is different to yours while you are waiting in the queue of the pro shop.

You can hear balls rolling around your car boot (trunk) when you drive around corners.

The pocket of your golf bag contains several dirty Pinnacles/Top Flights and one of them is always yellow.

You spend more time/money dressing for golf that going out for a meal with your partner.

You give directions like, 'there is a dogleg to the right' or ‘it is only a 5-iron from the gas station.

You have lied exaggerated to someone about your golfing abilities even though they have no idea what an ‘eagle’ is.

You cannot stop mentioning golf when chatting one-on-one with a member of the opposite sex.
 


If you are ‘guilty’ of five or more of the above you are probably playing too much golf!

10 Awkward Open moments

An amusing video from GolfShake.co that includes;
•    Tiger being accosted by a lap-dancer in her underwear
•    Ian Baker-Finch's hat blowing off as he drives his ball out of bounds to the left of the 18th on the Old Course, St. Andrews; he was playing the 1st!
•    Nick Faldo singing (he’s even worse than me!)

Click here for the compilation video, which may help some of us to realise that even Pro golfers have their embarrassing moments.


Christmas Greetings 

Wishing all my readers, wherever you play your golf, all that you wish for this Christmas season. May you balls always lie in green pastures and not in still waters!

Good golfing,


 


Check out my 'Rhodes Rules School' web site, an indispensable resource for anyone who wishes to improve their knowledge and understanding of the Rules of Golf.


The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2016 and may not be copied without permission.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Accidentally Moving a Ball on the Putting Green

By now most readers will be aware of last week’s joint announcement by R&A and USGA about the introduction of a new Local Rule that eliminates the penalty when a ball is accidentally moved on the putting green. Full details of the announcement, the recommended wording for the Local Rule, the above infographic and explanations, can be viewed at these links;

R&A: http://www.randa.org/News/2016/12/New-Local-Rule-for-Golf

USGA: http://www.usga.org/rules-hub/2017-local-rule/new-local-rule.html

I want to highlight a few points that may be missed by some golfers and golf Committee personnel;

•    This is not a new, or amended Rule of Golf.
•    It is the recommended wording for a Local Rule that may (should!) be introduced on or after 1st January 2017.
•    Committees will have to introduce the Local Rule for it to take effect on 1st Janaury 2017 and they are encouraged to do so.
•    It only applies to a ball, or ball marker, at rest on the putting green being played, not anywhere else on the course.
•    It does not matter how the ball or ball-marker was accidentally moved, e.g. with the head of a putter, kicked, or as a result of a glove being dropped on it.
•    It only applies when a ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved; it does not apply to a ball that is purposely touched or moved, e.g. a ball that is lifted without being marked.
•    It applies to the player, their partner, their opponent(s), or any of their caddies or equipment.
•    The ball or ball-marker that was accidentally moved must be replaced, as provided in Rules 18-2, 18-3 and 20-1.
•    If a player does not think that they caused their ball to move in any way they must play it from where it came to rest, e.g. if it was moved by wind, water or gravity.

I have previousl blogged on at least three high profile incidents that would not now be penalised if this Local Rule had been in effect at the time;


•    The ruling that Dustin Johnson had caused his ball to move at the 2016 US Open. Click here for details.
•    Ian Poulter dropping his ball on his ball-marker at the Dubai Championship in 2010. Click here for details.
•    Mike Clayton accidentally knocking his putter into his ball as he tried to catch it after throwing it in the air. Click here for details.

It seems that Decision 20-1/5.5 will have to be withdrawn from the next publication of the Decisions book. It rules that a player who found his ball-marker stuck to the sole of his shoe and concluded that he had accidentally stepped on it while assisting his partner in lining up a putt, would be penalised one stroke, which will not be the case when this Local Rule is implemented. (Edit: 13the December 2016: a reader has pointed out that Decision 20-1/14 will also have to withdrawn next time round and Decision 20-1/13 amended to clarify that the ball is not on the putting green. There are probably others!)

I certainly welcome this move by the Ruling Bodies, as the first step in their 'Rules Modernisation', which apparently is well under way and about which we will hear much more during 2017. There have been numerous instances where players have incurred penalties when their ball has moved, sometimes imperceptibly, on the much faster, undulating surfaces of putting greens. The only question that now has to be asked when this occurs is whether some person accidentally caused the ball to move, in which case it must be replaced, or whether something else caused it to move, e.g. wind or gravity, in which case it must be played from where it came to rest.

Good golfing,




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The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2016 and may not be copied without permission.