Friday, 31 July 2009

Is it a One Stroke or Two Strokes Penalty?

Last week, I received a query on the web site I use to promote my book, Golf Rules Questions. It was from Margaret, who said that she is still not sure when she incurs a one stroke penalty. This is an area of the Rules that puzzles many golfers. When I participated in the Royal & Ancient’s Quiz on the Rules for Golf Clubs in the UK and Ireland (discontinued in 2007), I put together a table, broken down into three distinct sections with catchy, descriptive headings to help me remember which breaches incur the penalty of one stroke. I have updated it for the changes introduced in January 2008 and am reproducing it here in the hope that it will assist readers.
‘Buying’ a Stroke:Rule 26-1&2: Ball in Water Hazard.
Rule 27-1: Ball Lost or Out of Bounds.
The ‘stroke and distance’ penalty.
Rule 28: Ball Unplayable.
Rule 25-1: Abnormal Ground Condition.
When a player elects to take relief outside of a bunker filled with water they incur a penalty of one stroke.

‘Ghost’ Strokes:Rule 14-4: Striking the Ball More than Once.
Rule 16-2 Ball Overhanging Hole.
Ball drops in after more than 10 seconds.
Rule 18-2 Ball at Rest Moved by Player, Partner, Caddie or Equipment in Match Play.
Moving the ball (accidentally), or touching it purposely (except with a club in the act of addressing it).
Equipment of the player, or their partner, causes their ball to move.
Rule 18-3 Ball at Rest Moved by Opponent, Caddie or Equipment in Match Play.
Unless it is moved accidentally during search.
Rule 19-3 Ball in Motion Deflected or Stopped by Player, Partner, Caddie or Equipment.
E.g. when, after making a stroke, the ball rebounds of an object and hits the player.

Lifting Infringements:
Rule 5-3: Ball Unfit for Play.
Failure to comply with the correct procedure (i.e. announcing intention to lift the ball to opponent or marker, marking its position and not cleaning it beyond the extent necessary to confirm that it is damaged).
Rule 6-8: Discontinuance of Play.
If a player lifts the ball without a good reason to do so (e.g. bad weather) fails to mark the position of the ball before lifting it or fails to report the lifting to the Committee.
Rule 12-2: Identifying Ball.
Failure to comply with the correct procedure, as above.
Rule 20-1 Lifting and Marking.
Lifting a ball under a Rule that requires it to be replaced, without first marking the position of that ball. N.B. Accidentally moving a ball marker incurs a one stroke penalty if it is not directly attributable to the act of marking the ball.
Rule 20-2: Dropping and Re-dropping.
Dropping the ball incorrectly (e.g. by the wrong person, or not at arm’s length or shoulder height).
Rule 20-3a: Placing and Replacing.
Wrong person places or replaces a ball.
Rule 21: Cleaning Ball.
When not permitted having lifted it correctly under the Rules to determine whether it is fit for play for identification because it is interfering with or assisting play.

An important point to remember regarding these one stroke penalties is that they apply to both stroke play and match play, whereas the general penalty in stroke play is two strokes and in match play is loss of hole. The other penalty is disqualification and I will cover this in a future blog.


Save strokes with a better knowledge of the Rules.


Barry Rhodes
Author of ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’ a book to help players of all capabilities to understand the Rules.
999Q on Twitter

14 comments:

Francis said...

I have a question:

In stroke play, I hit a tee shot outside the tee area. I incur a TWO STROKE penalty.

Question:

(1) Do I have to re-tee my next shot or I play the next shot where the ball is.

(2) It is two stroke penalty, what is my next shot: Am I hitting the 3rd shot or 4th shot?

Please advise

Barry Rhodes said...

Francis,

1) Rule 11-4b states;
"If a competitor, when starting a hole, plays a ball from outside the teeing ground, he incurs a penalty of two strokes and must then play a ball from within the teeing ground."

2) You would be playing your third stroke from the teeing ground. This is so even if you had played two or more strokes with the original ball before realising that you had played from the wrong place.

Barry

Francis said...

Thank you Barry.

If I hit my tee shot into the hazard and when I tee up again, I am hitting the 3rd shot. Isn't that a ONE stroke penalty.

If so, why I am I hitting a third stroke if it the penalty was TWO stroke (in the case of the wrong ball).

Thank you.

Barry Rhodes said...

Francis,

Because your stroke from outside the teeing ground does not count as your ball has not correctly been put into play. You are penalised a maximum of two strokes no matter how many strokes you make, so your next stroke from the teeing ground (your first legitimate stroke) is always your third.

Barry

Francis said...

Barry

Thank for the clarification. I am clear now.

I presume, hitting the wrong ball too does not count, as such if I hit my second shot a wrong ball, under two stroke penalty, my next shot will be 4th. Am I right?

Francis said...

Barry

I am interested in your book. I am in Australia. Can I get it from a bookshop in Melbourne.

Thank you

Francis

Barry Rhodes said...

Francis,

Yes that is right. Any strokes made with a 'wrong ball' do not count, So if you play a wrong ball with your second stroke you have incurred a two strokes penalty. When you find your original ball you will be playing your fourth stroke, no matter how many times you hit the wrong ball.

Barry

Barry Rhodes said...

Francis,

Unfortunately, my publisher, Green Umbrella Publishing, has gone into liquidation and so I am not sure if '999 Questions on the Rules of Golf' is available in Australia. However, you can buy the book through any of the online stores, or if you email me at barry at barryrhodes dot com I will tell you how you can buy a signed copy direct from me, posted free of charge to anywhere in the world.

Barry

Francis said...

Barry,

I will make a check with some of the book shops here and if not, I will get in touch with you.

Here is another rule problem we faced last week on the golf course.

Last wednesday (during our mid week stableford game) somebody from another group hit my golf partner's golf ball. He went to collect the ball and came to the place approximately where he hit my partner's ball.

He DROPPED my partner's ball at the approximate location.

The question: Should the person PLACE the ball instead of DROPPING the ball in this situation?

My understanding is that the person should have PLACED my partner's ball on the ground instead of DROPPING my partner's ball.

By DROPPING my partner's ball, the person is penalising my partner because the ball might drop into a deep divot when his original position was not.

Thank you.

Barry Rhodes said...

Francis,

Yes, the ball should not have been dropped. Rule 18-1 states;
"If a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced." Therefore, in your situation the ball should have been replaced on the spot from where it was moved and not dropped.

Also, note that Rule 20-3 states;
"If a ball is to be replaced, the player, his partner or the person who lifted or moved it must place it on the spot from which it was lifted or moved."

So, in most cases it is better if the player replaces their ball, rather than leaving it to the third party who moved it.

Barry

Anonymous said...

My son hit the pin which was in the hole. He was shooting from the green. The ball dropped into the cup after it hit the pin. Please explain the scoring. He would have had a 4 if the pin had not been in. So, with the penalty, should he have been scored a 5 or 6?

Barry Rhodes said...

Anonymous,

Your son scored 6 on the hole, 4 strokes plus two penalty strokes for a breach of Rule 17-3 when his ball played from the putting green struck the flagstick.

Barry

Josh Aizicowitz said...

Hey Barry - My buddies and I have been debating this for a while...so you hit your tee shot and it may have gone out of bounds but no one is really sure. You do not take the provisional and when you get up to where your ball could be, it's not there. Are you then dropping 2 and hitting 3 or taking a 2-stroke penalty and hitting 4 bc essentially you would have hit your provisional and then you would be laying 4 anyways?

Barry Rhodes said...

Josh,

If you cannot find your original ball within 5 minutes and a provisional ball has not been played, you MUST return to the spot from which the original ball was last played under penalty of stroke and distance. If this was the teeing ground you will be playing your 3rd stroke from there. Rule 27-1c.

Barry