Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year's Brain Teasers

For this New Year’s brain teasers I have a few questions and answers that are a little ‘outside of the box’. So, don’t worry too much if you do not get the answers right, as they are not the sort of scenarios that you are ever likely to experience on the course. The answers are below.
  1. What is the highest number of penalty strokes accumulated in a single round by a professional golfer in a tour event? Have a guess!
  2. Explain how in a stroke play competition you can have 3 balls in play at the same time. 
  3. Explain the circumstances in which a player who has been disqualified for using a non-conforming club (or some other similar breach) wins first prize for the competition that he was earlier disqualified from. 
  4. Two fellow competitors hit their ball into the same area of a bunker where they come to rest side by side. With a Rules Official on the scene both players are then required to lift their ball under the Rules but only one of the two players is permitted to clean his ball. Neither of the balls was in an abnormal ground condition nor interfered with by an immovable obstruction. What is the likely scenario?
  5. A is scheduled to play B in match play to start at 11:00 and a referee is assigned to the match.  A arrives at the first tee ready to play at 11:02 and B arrives at 11:04. The referee informs the players the first hole has been decided and directs them to proceed to the second tee. After A tees off on the second hole, a par 3, B asks him what club he used and A answers that he used a six iron. A takes 4 strokes to hole out on the second and B takes 3. What is the state of the match?
  6. Explain the circumstances in which a player can win a competition when they returned their signed score card to the Committee without any handicap recorded on it.
  7. How can a player score a hole in one with a different ball from the one they teed off with?
  1. 26 penalty strokes were assessed on Japanese, PGA Tour player Ryuji Imada, during the Mission Hills Star Trophy in China in 2010. Imada assumed he could place the ball within a club length of its original position, as is standard on the PGA Tour, but the local rules stated that placement had to occur within the length of one scorecard, as is standard on the Asian and European tours. This was pointed out to Imada on his 12th hole and at the end of the round, Imada but guessed that he had placed outside the permitted area 13 times. So, he was assessed 13 penalties of two strokes for a total of 26 penalty strokes and a first-round score of 24-over-par 97.
  2. You are unsure of a ruling and play a second ball under Rule 3-3. You then encounter another situation where you have to invoke Rule 3-3 again for one of your two balls already in play. 
  3. The disqualification penalty was cancelled when the Committee considered that the course had become unplayable and declared play null and void with all scores cancelled for the round in question. When a round is cancelled, all penalties incurred in that round are cancelled. Rule 33-2d. The player then went on to win the re-scheduled competition.
  4. Player A hit his ball into the bunker, followed by Player B. Player B’s ball hit player A’s ball and moved it. Player A is required to lift and replace his ball and may clean it during the process. Player B is then asked to lift his ball because it interferes with the play of A (whose turn it is to play once he had replaced his ball), but B is not permitted to clean his ball in these circumstances.
  5. The state of the match on the third tee is that B is one up. As A and B both arrived at the first tee within five minutes after their starting time they each incurred the penalty of loss of hole, so the referee correctly ruled that the hole was halved. Although player B then asked player A what club he had used for his tee shot from the 2nd teeing ground, which would incur a loss of hole penalty if he had done it during his round, Decision 2/2 clarifies that in singles match play a player only begins their stipulated round when they make their first stroke in that round. Therefore, no penalty was incurred (edited 18th January) by B and A incurred the loss of hole penalty as soon as he gave B information on what club he had used.
  6. There is no requirement for a player’s handicap to be recorded on their score card when it is a scratch competition, in which all competitors play without any handicap strokes. A player may also win a best gross score prize, as handicaps are not taken into account in determining the winner.
  7. Perhaps the most likely scenario for this to happen is in match play. For example, player plays his tee shot out of turn, his opponent, B, sees that A’s ball has come to rest close to the flagstick and requires him to cancel his stroke and play again, in turn, under Rule 10-1c. A scores a hole-in-one with his next stroke from the teeing ground. However, I have listed six other possible answers to this question in an earlier blog at this link.
Wishing a spectacular New Year to all my readers,

P.S. If you find these weekly blogs on the Rules of Golf interesting please pass on the web site details to anyone else that you know that may also find them useful and/or interesting.

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Mick Kildea said...

Barry, Decision 3-3/10 states that you can not play three balls when implementing Rule 3-3. So I am assuming you mean that I can do it but can only count one of the first two?? But in order to play by the rules I can only implement Rule 3-3 once during a situation. Correct??

Barry Rhodes said...


You are correct. Thanks for spotting my mistake. I have edited my above blog accordingly.


EDOUARD RIVARD, from Canada said...

Hi dear friends

It is my understanding that Barry got it right the first time. Decision 3-3/10 deals with a situation where you can not use a third ball in one particular situation. It does not cover a new situation further on that hole with one of the 2 balls AND YOU WOULD AGAIN WANT TO USE 3-3. So theoriccaly a player could finish the hole with more than 2 balls.

Barry Rhodes said...

Thanks Edouard,

You make a compelling case and I am now almost certain that your explanation is correct and that my original question and answer stands.


Anonymous said...


With respect to your answer to Question 5, I undestand that Player B had not started his round yet, so he incurred no penalty by asking Player A what club he used. But didn't Player A lose the hole as soon as he replied that he used a 6-iron, since he had already taken a stroke from the 2nd tee (his first of the round)and had given advice that could influence Player B on how to play the hole. So while I agree that on the 3rd tee Player B was one up, he actually was one up without even having to play the 2nd hole, and that theoretically the referee could have directed the players to go immediately to the 3rd tee after hearing the exchange between the two players on the second tee?
Gene O.

Barry Rhodes said...


Well spotted and thanks! I will edit my answer accordingly.