Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Unusual Golf Penalties that Hurt

Craig Stadler was famously penalised here for building a stance (Rule 13-3).
At this time of year, when many of us are looking forward to a Christmas holiday, I thought that I would lighten-up my blog by pointing out some unusual ways that players may incur penalties.
  • In a four-ball better ball, if your partner picks-up your ball, because they mistakenly think that you are out of the hole, it is you that is penalised one stroke (Rule 18-2a(i)).
  • A fellow competitor, who has volunteered to attend the flagstick while you attempt a long putt, gets distracted and does not remove the flagstick before your ball hits it. You are penalised two strokes (Rule 17-3).
  • A fellow competitor plays your ball from the rough thinking that it was their ball. You obviously cannot find your ball in the area where you thought that it had come to rest, so after 5 minutes search you must consider the ball lost, incurring the stroke and distance penalty (Rule 27-1). The penalty applies even if an apologetic golfer brings your ball back to you after the 5 minutes has expired.
  • If you start your stroke play round before the time established by the Committee, without their authority, you incur a penalty of 2 strokes if it is within 5 minutes of the start time, or disqualification if it is more than five minutes (Decision 6-3a/5).
  • As you approach your ball on the fairway a crow picks up your ball, dropping it a few inches away as it tries to fly off with it. You drop your ball at the spot where it was at rest when the bird moved it and the ball settles in a deep divot hole. You shrug your shoulders and try to make the most of the difficult shot. Unfortunately, you incur a penalty of two strokes in stroke play, or loss of hole in match play, for playing from the wrong place, as you should have replaced the ball (Rule 20-7), but there is no additional penalty in stroke play for dropping the ball when the Rules required it to be placed (Rule 18-1).
  • If you helpfully stop a fellow competitor from teeing up a second ball when they have hit their first ball into the middle of a water hazard by saying, “You will be much better off walking down to the hazard and playing from there”, you incur a penalty of two strokes for giving advice (Rule 8-1a). You are permitted to give information on the Rules, but not to make a suggestion that could influence a player in determining their play.
  • You decide to take relief from an area marked as ground under repair (GUR), though there is no Local Rule making it mandatory, and you correctly drop your ball within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, not nearer the hole. Your ball rolls back a few inches so that your heels are just touching the white line defining GUR when you take your stance. If you continue with your stroke with this stance you incur a penalty of two strokes in stroke play, or loss of hole in match play, for not taking complete relief from the GUR, even though the Rules did not require you to take relief in the first place (Rule 20-2c(v)).
  • A 9-handicapper enters a 12-hole winter competition and thinks that they will assist the Committee by working out that 12/18ths of their handicap is 6 and entering this in the handicap section of their score card. This is a breach of Rule 6-2b There is no penalty, but the Committee must calculate the player’s score as though they had a full 18 holes handicap of 6, i.e. a handicap of 4 for the 12 holes (Decision 6-2b/0.5).
Good golfing,



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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Under local winter rules relief that allow marking cleaning and replacing the ball within 6 inches of where it was on the fringe of the green can the ball be replaced on the green if that is no nearer the hole? If not what rule is this under please.

Barry Rhodes said...

Anonymous,

It depends on the wording of the Local Rule that is in operation. A properly worded Local Rule should specify within 6 inches "on a closely mown area through the green" (if it is required that the ball is not to be placed in the rough or on the putting green), or "through the green" if it is permitted to place a ball that was at rest in the rough. Only a poorly written Local Rule would permit a ball that was on the fringe be placed within 6 inches, not nearer the hole, on the putting green and the Committee should immediately correct this situation.

Barry

Anonymous said...

Regarding the 12 hole tournament: This fall we had a 15 hole stroke play tournament and when I was handed my score card found that my 17 handicap was inflated to 21. I said it was wrong. Everyone had a higher than normal handicap. The higher the original handicap the larger the increase. A 10 handicap became 11 and would have little chance of winning this net tournament. I was told I was the only one who thought there was anything wrong. Am I crazy? In your example was the problem the the player acted as committee? If he had done nothing would have had the 9 handicap?

Barry Rhodes said...

Anonymous,

What can I say? If the facts were as you have described, the Committee must have made a mistake. The player's responsibility is always to ensure that their current, full handicap is recorded on their score card when it is returned, any adjustment to that, due to playing a shortened/lengthened round is the Committee's responsibility and, as confirmed in Rule 34-3, The Committee's decision is final.

Barry

Stewart said...

I think I have another 'unusual penalty that hurt'.

A player is on the green ready to putt and a very small bird is moving around close to (is obviously attracted to) the ball. The player waves a hand to shoo the creature away and accidentally brushes and moves the ball. Result, one shot penalty and the ball must be replaced.
However, if the inquisitive ball loving creature happened to be a butterfly, the same circumstances would not result in a penalty.
Is this correct Barry?

Barry Rhodes said...

Stewart,

Good one! In the Rules a bird is an outside agent and a butterfly (insect) is a loose impediment. There is no penalty for accidentally moving your ball that lies on a putting green while moving a loose impediment, Rule 23-1.

Barry