Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ask Linda #1650-Extract ball without removing flagstick

Dear Linda,
I have noticed  that when the pros get a hole-in-one or hole out from off the green they always take their ball out of the hole without removing the flagstick. Is there a reason for this, as they are far more likely to damage the hole this way. When I have done it by taking the flag first and then the ball, I have been threatened with penalties by those who watch golf on TV.

With thanks for your continued help.
Lou from the South of France

Dear Lou,

There is no Rule that governs how to remove the ball from the hole. The Rules assume the golfer has enough sense to figure out how to do that without instructions. There is no reason why a careful golfer can’t remove a ball without damaging the hole, regardless of the presence of the flagstick.

The next time you are threatened with a penalty, hand your rulebook to the misinformed golfer and tell him you will gladly accept a penalty if he can show you what Rule you violated.

I am inclined to recommend that when you hole a ball from off the green you remove the ball before you take out the flagstick, just as you see the pros do on television. If you pull out the flagstick and the ball at the same time, the pressure of the stick against the ball may damage the hole. You are much less likely to cause any damage if you reach in and carefully pull out the ball first.

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Ask Linda #1649-Ball hits attended flagstick

Hi Linda,
We had an instance where a fellow competitor was close to the flagstick, within touching distance, and another player was putting. Not paying attention to the putter, the fellow competitor inadvertently let the ball hit the flagstick after it was putted from the green. The putter assumed the flagstick was attended, as her fellow competitor was standing right next to the flagstick.

Who is assessed the penalty strokes in this instance? My understanding was that the person standing closest to the flagstick is responsible for attending, thus preventing the ball from hitting the flagstick.

Thanks for your response.
Lulu from Burbank, California

Dear Lulu,

The player whose ball hits the attended flagstick (i.e., the player who hits the putt) incurs the penalty, which is two strokes in stroke play, loss of hole in match play. In stroke play, the ball must be played as it lies after hitting the flagstick.

Please read Rules 17-1 and 17-3.

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Ask Linda #1648-Teeing ground

On any given tee that has markers (e.g., gold-blue-white, etc.), must a player who chooses to play (gold-blue-white, etc.) tee up the ball right between the markers, or it is allowable to hit any drive behind those markers?

My purpose for asking is, one member of our group insists that whichever marker you select to hit from you must be in line with the corresponding marker on the opposite side of the tee. I will on occasion tee up my ball behind the markers, and he insists that is not allowed.

Lou from Montrose, Colorado

Dear Lou,

The teeing ground is a rectangular area. The front and sides are defined by the outside limits of the two tee markers. The depth is limited to two club-lengths [Definition of “Teeing Ground”]. You may tee up your ball anywhere in that rectangle. Note that your feet do not have to be within the rectangle – the requirement refers only to the ball.

Assuming that by “behind” you mean “within two club-lengths,” your friend is mistaken.

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ask Linda #1647-Legal tees

Good evening once again Linda,
What is the ruling regarding height of tee? Also, are you allowed to put two tees on top of one another? I may have lost our club’s championship at the weekend to the golfer who may have contravened the rule. I eagerly wait for your advice. 
Kind regards,
Lou from Greenvale, Victoria, Australia

Dear Lou,

If you look up “Tee” in the index to the rulebook, you will be directed to “definition” (located in Appendix IV) and “use of non-conforming tee” (located in Rule 11-1).

You will learn from the definition that a tee must not be longer than four inches (101.6 mm). A tee that is longer than four inches is non-conforming. You may put one tee on top of another, provided the finished product does not measure more than four inches.

When you flip to Rule 11-1, you will discover that a player who makes a stroke at a ball on a non-conforming tee is disqualified.

Any time you encounter something unusual (such as a player using the tallest tee you have ever seen), you should question the player. By asking the question, you will alert the player to a possible breach of the Rules and give him (and you!) the opportunity to check in the rulebook or consult an official. If the player insists that it is legal, you should tell him that you want to review it with the Committee before signing your scorecard.

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Ask Linda #1646-Relief from immovable obstruction in water hazard

Linda, I have a question. We were playing in a golf tournament and my ball came to rest just outside the red lines defining the lateral hazard. For me to hit the ball I needed to stand in the hazard. The problem is there is a concrete drainage ditch running in the hazard. So I needed to stand on it to hit the ball. Would I be entitled to relief from the hazard? If so the nearest point of relief would take me to the cart path. So would I also receive relief from the cart path? I played it as it lay and scored a double.
Lou from Tennessee

Dear Lou,

You are entitled to free relief from an immovable obstruction in a water hazard or a lateral water hazard when your ball lies outside the hazard [Rule 24-2b]. The only time you are not permitted free relief from an immovable obstruction is when your ball lies in a water hazard or a lateral water hazard.

Find the nearest point of relief not nearer the hole and drop within one club-length of that point. If it turns out that your drop will be on a cart path, you must drop the ball on the path. After your drop, if you have interference from the cart path, follow the same procedure if you wish to take relief from the path.

If you had not had interference from an immovable obstruction, you would have had to play your ball as it lay outside the hazard with your stance in the hazard.

Knowing the ruling might have saved you from a double bogey. However, you are to be commended for deciding to play the ball where it lay. A player who is unsure of how to proceed will avoid risking penalty for an incorrect procedure if he plays the ball as it lies.

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.