I have to confess that so far I have only scanned quickly through the new and revised Decisions and I have not seen anything that stands out as changing the game that we play in any material way.
I have chosen one interesting, revised Decision as a good illustration of an area of the Rules that needed clarification;
This is the current wording;
20-3a/2 Trademark Aimed Along Line of Putt When Ball ReplacedThis is the revised wording that takes effect from 1st January 2010;
Q. When a player is replacing his ball, is it permissible for him to position the ball so that the trademark is aimed along the line of putt to indicate the line of play?
20-3a/2 Using Line on Ball for AlignmentThere is an increasing tendency for players to draw a line around their golf balls to assist them in lining up their ball to indicate the line of play. Callaway, the golf products giant, offers their Line-M-Up Pro Guide and this picture shows a home-made ball marker using a standard PVC 1-1/4 coupling available from most hardware stores.
Q. May a player draw a line on his ball and, when replacing his ball, position the ball so that the line or the trademark on the ball is aimed to indicate the line of play?
A. Yes. (Revised)
Whilst lining up your ball in this way has always been permitted, until now there has been nothing specific in the Rules which players can point to if they are challenged on the practice. Some arguments that have been used to against using a line on the ball to line up the line of play have now been
- Rule 12-2 ..... Each player should put an identification mark on his ball (but this does not mention a line). Ruling: that mark may include a line drawn anywhere on the ball.
- Rule 8-2a ..... any mark placed by the player or with his knowledge to indicate the line must be removed before the stroke is made. Ruling: this does not refer to a mark on the ball itself.
- Rule 8-2b ..... a mark must not be placed anywhere to indicate a line for putting. Ruling: this does not refer to a mark on the ball itself.
- Definition of Tee ..... a tee must not be designed or manufactured in such a way that it could indicate the line of play or influence the movement of the ball. Ruling: but the ball may have a mark indicating the line of play on the teeing ground or on the putting green.
If you already have a copy of my book ‘999 Questions on the Rules of Golf’ then I now recommend that you acquire a copy of ‘Decisions on the Rules of Golf 2010-2011’, available from either the R&A or USGA.
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