Tuesday, 27 December 2016

New Year Rules Teasers

It has been a regular habit of mine to offer readers of this blog teasers relating to the Rules of Golf for them to contemplate over their New Year holiday. This year, I am describing a ruling and your task is to explain the circumstance that led to it. The nine scenarios are not intended to be easy and this exercise will not appeal to every reader. My aim is to get the rest of you thinking, perhaps over a period of days, so I recommend that you don’t check the answers below until you have had a good attempt at reaching an explanation that fits. Please note that I am providing just one circumstance that matches the answer, but there could be other circumstances that are equally valid. (Edit: 29th December: No Local Rule was involved in any of the situations.)

1.    Martha’s putt from on the putting green was well wide of her intended line when it hit an opponent’s club, deflecting it against her own partner’s ball, from where it rolled into the hole. The stroke counts and no penalty is incurred. Explain!

2.    On a par-3, Stuart makes 8 strokes at his original ball before putting out with that same ball for a score of 5. Explain!

3.    In match play, Sofia plays her ball from the teeing ground on a par-3. Anna, who had the same handicap as Sofia, then plays her first stroke from the teeing ground and her ball comes to rest on the lip of the hole, so Sofia concedes the putt. Sofia makes another stroke and wins the hole. Explain!

4.    Early in her round Lynn mislaid her sand iron. After completing the 9th hole she ran into the Pro Shop to borrow a replacement, but there were no sand irons available, so she took a lob wedge with a similar loft. On the 10th hole, she topped her ball when playing from a bunker with the borrowed lob wedge, so she was pleased when a course marshall drove up to her in a buggy with her mislaid sand iron, which she then continued to use during the rest of her round. No penalty was incurred. Explain!

5.    Joerg is not happy with his tee shot to a Par 3 hole, 180 yards away. He walks forward 100 yards, but in a direction that is diagonal from a direct line from the teeing ground to the location of the hole and he drops another ball there. Explain!

6.    Having driven to the right of the fairway on the 1st hole, Tamara carries a club into the fairway bunker, shuffles her feet around, pushes her fingers deep into the sand, makes two practice strokes, brushing the sand on each occasion, and then returns to her bag. She changes the club, walks to her ball and plays it in the direction of the putting green. Tamara did not incur any penalty. Explain!

7.    Having correctly dropped a ball from a sprinkler head on a fairway, an immovable obstruction, Michael lifted that ball, took a different ball from his pocket, and dropped it at the same place. He then played that ball towards the hole, without incurring a penalty. Explain!

8.    Fellow competitors, Alan and Bob, walked to where their ball had landed and found that they were so close together they were touching. Bob lifted his ball without marking it and carefully cleaned it while Alan was clearing loose impediments from around his ball, taking care not to accidentally move it while doing so. When Alan had made his stroke towards the hole, Bob dropped his ball about 6 feet away from where it was originally at rest and played it towards the hole. No penalties were incurred. Explain!

9.    At the start of the 10th hole Mary was playing a Titleist 1 with her shamrock mark and Maria was playing a Titleist 1 with her thistle mark. When they putted out they realised that Maria had putted out with Mary's ball and Mary had putted out with Maria's ball. No penalties were incurred. Explain!

Last Golf Joke of 2016 😄
Player arrives at the first tee. Shortly before tee time, he realizes that he does not have a ball marker in his pocket. He dashes into the pro-shop and asks.....
Q: “Do you sell ball markers?”
A: “Yes we do”, says the Pro, “They are $1.00”.
Player hands the Pro a $1.00 bill.
Pro hands the player a dime ($0.10 cents)
Player says, "I thought you said the ball marker was $1.00?"
Pro replies...."I did,… that dime is your ball marker."

Answers to Teasers:
1.    Martha was competing in a four-ball match. When her ball hit an opponent’s club she had the option of choosing to let her putt stand, or to cancel it and play it again, Rule 19-3. In match play, there is no penalty for hitting another ball after a stroke made from on a putting green, Rule 19-5a.
2.    Stuart player played from outside the teeing ground and played 2 more strokes at his ball before being made aware of his error. He returned to the correct teeing ground and from there took 3 strokes to hole out (3 counting strokes, 2 penalty strokes and 3 strokes that did not count in his score, because they were played from wrong teeing ground), Rule 11-4b.
3.    Sofia had played out of turn, so Anna required her stroke to be cancelled, as it was a good shot coming to rest close to the hole, Rule 10-1c. After Sofia had conceded Anna’s putt for a birdie she then made a hole-in-one to win the hole. (See this link for several other ways that a player may score a hole-in-one with their second ball played from the teeing ground).
4.    Lynn started her round with 13 clubs, so she was entitled to add another club of any type, Rule 4-4a. There is no Rule preventing her to enter the Pro Shop providing she did not unduly delay play while doing so. When her original sand iron was returned to her she was entitled to use it, as it was one of her original 13 clubs selected for play.
5.    Joerg’s ball landed in a pond in front of the putting green. The hole was located on the left side of the green and his ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard to the right side, meaning that the permitted line of drop, under Rule 26-1b, on an extension of a line from the hole through the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard, was to the far right of the pond, nowhere near the line of flight of his ball played from the teeing ground.
6.    Tamara’s ball was at rest close to the bunker, but was not in it, so Rule 13-4 did not apply. A player may test the sand in a bunker when their ball does not lie in a bunker.
7.    After taking the drop from the immovable obstruction under Rule 24-2, Michael realised that he had dropped a different ball from the one that he lifted. However, under Rule 20-6, he was permitted to correct his mistake without penalty, as he had not made a stroke at the wrongly substituted ball.
8.    Both balls were lying in snow. Alan chose to treat the snow as casual water, dropping away from it under Rule 25-1, whereas Bob chose to treat the snow as a loose impediment, clearing some of it away before playing his ball from where it had come to rest, Definition of Loose Impediment.
9.    Mary and Maria played their balls into a water hazard at approximately the same spot. During their retrieval the balls were inadvertently exchanged. When taking relief under penalty the player may drop any ball, so they were not playing wrong balls to the putting green, Decision 15/14.

I hope that these nine scenarios tested you and that you did not find them too frustrating!

Link to New Local Rule Print Out
Good Golf Committees around the world will have already made plans to introduce the new Local Rule for the accidental movement of a ball on the putting green. If yours has not, I strongly recommend that you click on this link, print out the .pdf notice that is ready for pinning on a notice board, and bring it swiftly to their attention. Both the R&A and USGA have recommended that Committees introduce this Local Rule immediately.

Happy New Year with lots of good golfing,



Why not start the year with a New Year resolution to obtain a better understanding of the Rules of Golf and do it the easy way? Carry ‘999 More Questions on the Rules of Golf’ with you at all times on your smart phone, Kindle, laptop or tablet and then test yourself whenever you have a few minutes to spare. Click here.

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2016 / © 2017 and may not be copied without permission.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Christmas Special 2016


You know that you are probably playing too much golf when…

On a big night out, while searching for the cloakroom ticket, you find two tees, some scruffy receipts and the 10 cent coin you have been using as a ball marker.

You know your home course post code and at least three different sites/apps to check the weather forecast.

You check the first weather site, then hoping for something better, venture into a second and even a third to get their opinions on precipitation, wind direction and velocity!

European golfers have coins of at least three different currencies in their golf bag.

You keep score cards from all the different courses that you have played as a badge of honour.

There are some rounds that you cannot remember what you scored, as the card is illegible and has turned into that weird cardboard mush you only get in golf bags.

You have to pick up and wiggle any driver that is different to yours while you are waiting in the queue of the pro shop.

You can hear balls rolling around your car boot (trunk) when you drive around corners.

The pocket of your golf bag contains several dirty Pinnacles/Top Flights and one of them is always yellow.

You spend more time/money dressing for golf that going out for a meal with your partner.

You give directions like, 'there is a dogleg to the right' or ‘it is only a 5-iron from the gas station.

You have lied exaggerated to someone about your golfing abilities even though they have no idea what an ‘eagle’ is.

You cannot stop mentioning golf when chatting one-on-one with a member of the opposite sex.
 


If you are ‘guilty’ of five or more of the above you are probably playing too much golf!

10 Awkward Open moments

An amusing video from GolfShake.co that includes;
•    Tiger being accosted by a lap-dancer in her underwear
•    Ian Baker-Finch's hat blowing off as he drives his ball out of bounds to the left of the 18th on the Old Course, St. Andrews; he was playing the 1st!
•    Nick Faldo singing (he’s even worse than me!)

Click here for the compilation video, which may help some of us to realise that even Pro golfers have their embarrassing moments.


Christmas Greetings 

Wishing all my readers, wherever you play your golf, all that you wish for this Christmas season. May you balls always lie in green pastures and not in still waters!

Good golfing,


 


Check out my 'Rhodes Rules School' web site, an indispensable resource for anyone who wishes to improve their knowledge and understanding of the Rules of Golf.


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

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Accidentally Moving a Ball on the Putting Green

By now most readers will be aware of last week’s joint announcement by R&A and USGA about the introduction of a new Local Rule that eliminates the penalty when a ball is accidentally moved on the putting green. Full details of the announcement, the recommended wording for the Local Rule, the above infographic and explanations, can be viewed at these links;

R&A: http://www.randa.org/News/2016/12/New-Local-Rule-for-Golf

USGA: http://www.usga.org/rules-hub/2017-local-rule/new-local-rule.html

I want to highlight a few points that may be missed by some golfers and golf Committee personnel;

•    This is not a new, or amended Rule of Golf.
•    It is the recommended wording for a Local Rule that may (should!) be introduced on or after 1st January 2017.
•    Committees will have to introduce the Local Rule for it to take effect on 1st Janaury 2017 and they are encouraged to do so.
•    It only applies to a ball, or ball marker, at rest on the putting green being played, not anywhere else on the course.
•    It does not matter how the ball or ball-marker was accidentally moved, e.g. with the head of a putter, kicked, or as a result of a glove being dropped on it.
•    It only applies when a ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved; it does not apply to a ball that is purposely touched or moved, e.g. a ball that is lifted without being marked.
•    It applies to the player, their partner, their opponent(s), or any of their caddies or equipment.
•    The ball or ball-marker that was accidentally moved must be replaced, as provided in Rules 18-2, 18-3 and 20-1.
•    If a player does not think that they caused their ball to move in any way they must play it from where it came to rest, e.g. if it was moved by wind, water or gravity.

I have previousl blogged on at least three high profile incidents that would not now be penalised if this Local Rule had been in effect at the time;


•    The ruling that Dustin Johnson had caused his ball to move at the 2016 US Open. Click here for details.
•    Ian Poulter dropping his ball on his ball-marker at the Dubai Championship in 2010. Click here for details.
•    Mike Clayton accidentally knocking his putter into his ball as he tried to catch it after throwing it in the air. Click here for details.

It seems that Decision 20-1/5.5 will have to be withdrawn from the next publication of the Decisions book. It rules that a player who found his ball-marker stuck to the sole of his shoe and concluded that he had accidentally stepped on it while assisting his partner in lining up a putt, would be penalised one stroke, which will not be the case when this Local Rule is implemented. (Edit: 13the December 2016: a reader has pointed out that Decision 20-1/14 will also have to withdrawn next time round and Decision 20-1/13 amended to clarify that the ball is not on the putting green. There are probably others!)

I certainly welcome this move by the Ruling Bodies, as the first step in their 'Rules Modernisation', which apparently is well under way and about which we will hear much more during 2017. There have been numerous instances where players have incurred penalties when their ball has moved, sometimes imperceptibly, on the much faster, undulating surfaces of putting greens. The only question that now has to be asked when this occurs is whether some person accidentally caused the ball to move, in which case it must be replaced, or whether something else caused it to move, e.g. wind or gravity, in which case it must be played from where it came to rest.

Good golfing,




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