Tuesday, 24 May 2016

‘Replacing’ When Exact Lie or Spot Not Known

Most of us think that we know what the word ‘replacing’ means, but in the Rules it does not necessarily mean the obvious. For example, Rule 18-1 states;
If a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced.
There is no problem with this requirement, providing the exact lie and location of the ball that was moved is known. However, very often this is not the case, as in the scenario where a player is 100 yards away from where their ball has come to rest in the rough and they witness someone from another group playing it by mistake. In most cases it is not possible for the player to be sure of the lie of their ball in the rough, or precisely where it was at rest. If the player does know the spot, but the lie has been altered (e.g. a divot hole has been made by the other player when making their stroke), Rule 20-3b is relevant and the ball must be placed in the nearest lie most similar to the original lie (check the wording of this Rule for the full detail). If it is impossible to determine the exact spot where the ball is to be replaced, Rule 20-3c requires that the ball must be dropped as near as possible to the place where it lay (again check the wording of this Rule for the full detail).

This subject leads to another possible area of confusion, the difference in the Rules of Golf between placing and replacing.

Placing and Replacing
One way of remembering the distinction between placing and replacing is through this convenient summary;

Placing is putting a ball on a spot for the first time;
1) Putting the original ball on a new spot (e.g. when the original lie has been altered, Rule 20-3b, as above, or when ‘Preferred Lies’ applies).
2) Putting a substituted ball on a new spot (e.g. Rule 20-3b when the original ball has been lost).
3) Putting a substituted ball on the original spot (e.g. Rule 18-1, when the ball at rest was moved by an outside agency and has been lost).
Replacing is everything else;
1) Putting the original ball back on the original spot (e.g. on the putting green, or when it has been lifted because it interfered with another player’s stroke).
2) Dropping the ball (or a ball), required to be replaced, as near as possible to an estimated spot not precisely known (e.g. Rule 20-3c, as above).
So confusingly, there are some situations in the Rules of Golf when replacing a ball may mean dropping it at the estimated spot, as in Rule 20-3c when the player does not know the exact spot where there ball was at rest. For example, unless the ball was at rest on the putting green when it was moved, e.g. by an outside agency, Rule 20-3c trumps Rule 18-1, which states, “If a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced.”
999 More Questions.
At last! I am pleased to confirm that my new eBook is available online. Please click on this link to check out ‘999 More Questions on the Rules of Golf’. Don’t hesitate to click on this link because you already have purchased my first Book, or one or more of my eDocuments. This is an entirely new publication, in an innovative format that I think will be of interest to anyone who wants to improve their understanding and knowledge of the Rules. There are nine questions, answers and most importantly, references, on 111 different golfing scenarios, most of which will be familiar to regular golfers. In addition, there are over 200 photos and diagrams, which help to clarify the content and make it easier to follow.

Once again, here is the link to my ‘999 More Questions on the Rules of Golf’.

Good golfing,


For those of you that prefer a paperback version, both of my ‘999 Questions’ books are available in a paperback format from Amazon/CreateSpace. Paperbacks do cost more. However, be warned that I have been unable to get them to remove the out of date publications, so if you do purchase paperbacks from this source be extremely carefully that you choose the most recent versions, which include the amendments to the Rules at January 2016. Also, please remember that if you purchase the Kindle version from Amazon you will only receive the .mobi format, whereas buying from me at this link results in you receiving a.pdf file at no additional charge.

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2016 and may not be copied without permission.

Monday, 9 May 2016

May Miscellany

Zac Blair, USA. Photo: Fox Sports Network
Zac Blair’s Costly Hit to His Head
You would be entitled to think that it is unique for a Tour player to be penalised for hitting his head with a putter, as was Zac Blair at the Wells Fargo Championship last week, but Woody Austin was penalised for the same breach back in 1997.

The circumstance behind Blair’s disqualification is that after missing a birdie putt he proceeded to hit himself on the head with his putter, in frustration. He then tapped his ball in for par, but on the next putting green he realised that his putter had been bent as a result of it colliding with his head. He told the officials what had happened and was disqualified for using a nonconforming club under Rule 4-3b of the Rules of Golf, which states;

If, during a stipulated round, a player's club is damaged other than in the normal course of play rendering it non-conforming or changing its playing characteristics, the club must not subsequently be used or replaced during the round.
Penalty for Breach of Rule 4-3b: Disqualification.
So Blair was disqualified, because when he tapped his ball into the hole he had used the putter that was rendered non-conforming other than in the normal course of play, to make a stroke. Apparently, at this time he had not noticed that he had bent it. If he had not used the damaged club again during the round there would have been no penalty.

There does not appear to be an online video of this Zac Blair incident, but you can see Woody Austin chastising himself with his putter at this link.

7 Players Disqualified at Shenzhen International in China
Apparently there were up to 7 players disqualified from the rain affected, European Tour event in Shenzen, from 21st-24th April 2016. This is the highest number of disqualifications during a single Pro Tour event that I am aware of. What makes it more interesting is that I have been unable to find why even one of these players was disqualified. According to ESPN Golf the players were; James Busby, Yi Cao, Bjorn Akesson, Yuxin Lin (a), Guang-ming Yang, Xu Wang and Joachim B Hansen. If anyone has information, I would be interested to learn of the circumstances.

(Edit 10th May 2016: Thanks to a reader, who pointed me to the Facebook site of Björn Åkesson, I now have an explanation for these DQs. The second round was suspended due to very poor weather and the resumption of play was scheduled for first light on the following day. Several players who were going to miss the cut anyway, chose not to play out the couple of holes thay had remaining in their second round and withdrew from the competition. Although this had to be recorded as a disqualification it was apparently with the understanding and acquiescence of Tour Officials, so there will be no fines imposed on the players involved.)

My attention has been drawn to the above web site, started about six months ago by PGA Tour Referee, Mark Dusbabek, and maintained by him and other PGA Tour Officials. The site contains a range articles about different rulings made on tour and other interesting subject matter, for example, this article by PGA Tour Referee, Steve Cox, on players calling for a second opinion when they do not agree with a ruling.

I particularly recommend that you check out this web site if you are involved in officiating golf at any level.

‘Mastering the Rules of Golf’
This is the title of a new book by English County Level Rules Official, Tony Zendle, who describes his book as follows;

“If you want to learn the Rules of Golf, either just for the hell of it, or to become a Referee or Rules Official, then learning the Rules can be a slog. Fear not, though! Help is at hand. For the first time, there is a book that will take you into the upper echelons of Rules knowledge, with lots of hints and tips that you can adapt to your own learning style. If you are preparing for a Rules Exam it will give you the tools you need for success.”
Click on this Amazon Link for more details.

Good golfing,


Please take care when ordering either of my books from any other source than from me direct (barry at barry rhodes dot com) that you are getting the latest versions, which include the amendments to Rules and Decisions that became effective from 1st January 2016. I am aware of purchasers receiving poor quality and out of date books. Of course, it is better to order from me any way, as I deliver two files; a .pdf file from which you can print out sections at your convenience, and a .mobi file for reading on any tablet, eReader or smart phone using the free Kindle app.
The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2016 and may not be copied without permission.