Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Miscellaneous Q&As on the Rules of Golf


Here are a few interesting questions that I have received over the past few weeks, slightly edited for clarity;

•    I notice that my fellow competitor is about to play their tee shot from in front of the tee markers. Should I tell them, or would that incur a penalty for giving advice?
You should tell them. Information on the Rules is not advice, Definition of Advice.


•    May I remove a weed or strand of long grass from behind my ball before playing my first stroke on a hole ball from the teeing ground?

Yes, under Rule 13-2, it is permissible to eliminate irregularities of surface on the teeing ground, which includes removing something growing. However, this only applies to irregularities on the surface of the teeing ground and not to anything overhanging the teeing ground which is rooted outside of it, such as an overhanging branch of a tree.

•    The group playing ahead of us mistakenly left the flagstick lying on the green a few feet from the hole. Would it have been a penalty if one of our group’s balls hit the removed flagstick as they played onto the green?
No, the penalty for a ball hitting a removed flagstick only applies when the flagstick has been removed with the player's authority or prior knowledge by someone in the player's match or group, Rule 17-3a.


•    In stroke play, is there penalty if a player’s ball hits the foot of a fellow competitor attending the flagstick?
Yes, the person making the putt incurs a penalty of two strokes for a breach of Rule 17-3.


•    A player lifted their ball from a newly seeded area in the rough. Were they then entitled to drop a ball on the fairway if it was within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, not nearer the hole?
Yes, the Rules do not distinguish between fairway and rough (except in Rule 25-2, Embedded Ball), they are both ‘through the green’.


•    Playing a mixed foursome, the two men drove, the two ladies played from the fairway, the two men played, one man chipped on to the green ... and now one man realised that they must have both played the wrong ball from the fairway for their second shots. What is the ruling?
In match play, the opponents should work out who played the wrong ball first and that side lost the hole, Rule 15-3a. It did not matter that the other side also played a wrong ball as they had already won the hole. In stroke play, both sides incurred a penalty of two strokes and must return to the point where their fellow competitor played their ball from, drop a ball and play out the hole from there, Rule 15-3b.


•    On one or two of our fairways we have the odd mushy area and a ball can be hit there. The players are virtually certain that the ball is lost in the boggy area.  Can we make a Local Rule for this so there is no penalty…?
First, I should confirm that there is no relief for ‘mushy areas’ whether on the fairway or in the rough, Decision 25/1. If a Committee decides that these areas are local abnormal conditions that interfere with the proper playing of the game they can define them as ground under repair, with either a permanent or temporary Local Rule. See Rule 25-1c for the procedure to follow when a ball is known or virtually certain to be lost in GUR.

Many questions that you may have on the Rules of Golf can be answered by reference to my previous blogs over the last six years. Just enter an abbreviated phrase on my blog home page in the 'Search This Blog' box, located in the top right hand corner. Or, even better, you can click here and purchase my book, ‘999 Updated Questions on the Rules of Golf 2012-2015’
($9.99/€8.99/£7.79) at this link.

Good golfing,



 

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11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Player A, on par 3 teeing ground, in individual stroke play competition, pulls out 9 iron and says to Player B, a fellow competitor 'I am not sure this 9 iron will be enough'. Player B comments 'You could be right'. Are either or both of Plater A and Player B in breach of Rule 8, and liable to 2 stroke penalty?

Barry Rhodes said...

Anonymous,

In my opinion, neither of these comments incurs a penalty, as they are not suggestions that would influence the other player in determining his play, the choice of a club or the method of making a stroke.

Barry

Anonymous said...

I would like to set up my bag about 10 feet in front of my golf ball to create a visual obstacle (which I sometimes need). Is this allowed?

Barry Rhodes said...

Anonymous,

No, the action that you describe would be a breach of Rule 8-2.

Barry

Anonymous said...

In a recent tournament (match play stage after a stroke play seeding round) a friend's daughter was playing in, her opponent dropped a towel on the green in the sightline for the next putt. The daughter, who plays extremely well when she's mad, would toss the towel aside (she won 5&4). Is dropping a towel in this manner a rule violation, or just gamesmanship?

Barry Rhodes said...

Anonymous,

The action you describe does not breach any Rule of Golf. Let us hope that it was an accident and not gamesmanship, which we can do without in golf.

Barry

Anonymous said...

Barry, thanks for the reply. Sad to say it was gamesmanship, since it happened on every hole. The opponent's coach was also warned about giving advice after my friends daughter complained to a rules official about some things the coach had said to the opponent.

Dagbone said...

Barry,

Regarding Anonymous' assertion that the gamesmanship behavior was in fact intentional (since it happened on every hole), would the Committee not have good cause to disqualify the opponent for a serious breach of etiquette?

Also, regarding the "mushy" area question for this blog, would it not be correct to say that if the area featured standing water (either before or after a player took his stance), then the player could take relief from the abnormal ground condition?

Thanks!

Dagbone

Barry Rhodes said...

Dagbone,

Yes any gamesmanship that is witnessed, e.g. intentionally distracting a player while they make a stroke, should be reported to the Committee, who should then interview the player concerned and make their ruling, which might be to disqualify them for a serious breach of etiquette.

If you read Decision 25/1, which I referenced after the question relating to mushy earth, youu will see that it states,

Soft, mushy earth is not casual water unless water is visible on the surface before or after the player takes his stance.

Barry

Anonymous said...

Barry

Barry

I have a follow up question on the second point in the blog, the capacity to "create or eliminate irregularities of surface within the teeing ground or in removing dew, frost or water from the teeing ground" as permitted under R13-2 without incurring a penalty.

Is this right available for any ball that finds its way onto to the teeing ground (ie the defined rectangle for the hole being played) or is it limited to balls being put into play first shot, provisional ball, shot played under R26-1a, R27-1a, R28a)? Does this right to pull grass out behind the ball etc also apply to a ball that has rebounded from trees after the drive back onto the teeing ground?

Thank you for a fine website, a great boon to golfers everywhere.

Barry Rhodes said...

Anonymous,

The answer to Decision 13-2/2 includes these words,

Rule 13-2 permits eliminating irregularities of surface on the teeing ground, whether or not the ball is in play.

So, it is my understanding that the player may smooth irregularities in the teeing ground of the hole being played in the circumstances that you describe.

Barry