First, many thanks to those of you that used my associate link to purchase the new R&A Decisions book from Amazon, which will earn me a few cents in commission when they are eventually delivered. Unfortunately, like me, you have probably received an email from Amazon apologising for a delay in delivery, which apparently is due to the release date being changed by the supplier at late notice. It is not clear whether this is the fault of the R&A or their printer. On checking the R&A ‘shop’ I see two contradictory messages; “Will be available to buy in December” and “Sorry sold out”! Fortunately, Amazon does expect to fulfill the orders well before Christmas (I recommend this book as an ideal present for Rules enthusiasts) and the amendments do not take effect until 1st January. For those of you that have not yet ordered for yourself, or more importantly for your Club or Society, this is the link. As I write this blog the USGA publication is still not available to order from Amazon.com, but I will update the 'Recommendations' page on my Rhodes Rules School web site as soon as it is.
|Yellow golf ball (circled) covered by leaves in a bunker.|
Under Rule 23-1, when a loose impediment and a ball lie in or touch the same hazard, the loose impediment may be not be removed without incurring a penalty. Leaves, as shown in the photo, are all loose impediments, so how do we proceed if we believe that our ball may be lying somewhere amongst a pile of leaves that have gathered in a bunker? If we refer to Rule 12-1: Searching for and Identifying a Ball, we will find the answer to this question, which can be summarised, as follows;
- Providing the player is searching for their ball they are permitted to touch and move leaves in a bunker to aid their search.
- If the ball is found, the leaves that have been moved must be replaced.
- If the player moves their ball while they are searching for it, they incur a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a and the ball must be replaced, the same as when searching for a ball through the green.
In a hazard, if the player’s ball is believed to be covered by loose impediments to the extent that he cannot find or identify it, he may, without penalty, touch or move loose impediments in order to find or identify the ball. If the ball is found or identified as his, the player must replace the loose impediments. If the ball is moved during the touching or moving of loose impediments while searching for or identifying the ball, Rule 18-2a applies; if the ball is moved during the replacement of the loose impediments, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced.Decision 12-1/4 confirms that no penalty is incurred if a player touches the sand in the bunker while probing for their ball, as Rule 12-1 overrides any prohibitions in Rule 13-4.
If the ball was entirely covered by loose impediments, the player must re-cover the ball but is permitted to leave a small part of the ball visible.
Interesting Slow Motion Video
This has nothing to do with the Rules of Golf, but I think that most golfers will be interested in seeing the fascinating difference between amateurs and professionals striking the ball at the point of impact. The short video at this link (skip the ad) was filmed, with a Konica/Minolta, 18,000 frames per second, high speed camera, during the third round of the PGA’s RBC Heritage tournament at Hilton Head earlier this year.
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