Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Wind Direction and Speed

Photo by Kapungo - Flickr

In my previous blog, ‘Golf Rules – 9 Tips on What you Cannot Do’, I included the following tip;

8. Ask anyone, other than your playing partner, as to the direction of the wind - Rule 8-1.

Well, it seems as though I am wrong, although I have not been given any conclusive evidence from the Rules or Decisions. However, I do respect and value the opinions of those who have more experience of these matters, who collectively assure me that discussing weather conditions with your fellow competitors does not incur a penalty.

In the various communications that I had over this issue I used six questions or statements on the subject of wind to see which ones incurred a penalty and which ones did not. It may help you to understand the principle involved if I repeat them here. But first, here is the Definition of Advice from the Rules book;

‘Advice is any counsel or suggestion that could influence a player in determining his play, the choice of a club or the method of making a stroke.

Information on the Rules, distance or matters of public information, such as the position of hazards or the flagstick on the putting green, is not advice.
The situation is that Player A is about to select his club on a Par-3. Player B is his fellow competitor or opponent;

A asks B, "Is the wind behind us, or from left to right?" Not asking for advice
A asks B, "Do you think that the wind is stronger now than when we played this hole on the front 9?" Not asking for advice
A asks B, "Is one extra club enough in this wind?" Asking for advice – A incurs penalty
B says to A, "There's no wind here because we're in a shaded hollow but it's pretty strong out there." Not giving advice
B says to A, "There's a two-club wind blowing right against us." Giving advice – B incurs penalty
B says to A, "Don't forget to take the wind into account." Giving advice – B incurs penalty

The penalty is two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play.

The reasoning is that any conversation regarding wind conditions is public information and does not constitute advice. However, as soon as a player says anything directly relating to club selection for the next stroke he is likely to be breaching the Rule. It is a fine line and a little subjective, but then that applies to many of the Rules.

Apologies if I confused you with an incorrect tip, which I have since corrected on the original post.

Good golfing,

Barry Rhodes

Author of the book, ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’ – the easy way to get to know the Rules better.


Anonymous said...

A questions of semantics - since it became an issue with our wunnerful TV people trying to micromanage everything they say...except getting facts straight, of course. :-)

You say "playing partner" giving or asking for advice. You are talking about the opponent in a match or pairing for stroke play, correct ?

You are allowed to ask advice from your team partner.

Barry Rhodes said...


What I said in the original tip was "other than your playing partner". Of course, you may give advice to or seek advice from a plying partner, because they are on the same side as you (as in a fourball or foursome).

I have now edited the post to clarify that Player B in the six examples is a fellow competitor or opponent.


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