Thursday, July 27, 2017

Ask Linda #1582-Touch out-of-bounds post with stance

Dear readers,
I received several questions this past week from Lou’s and Lulu’s wanting to know how to decide whether a ball lies out of bounds. Those questions have prompted me to explain how to decide where a ball lies under a number of different circumstances. Look for a Rules Nugget on this topic in the very near future.


This is not the usual question about those white posts…

My ball was in-bounds. My stance to play it put my ankle against –without moving– a white out of bounds post. My fellow competitor called a penalty before I played the shot saying I was not permitted to touch any such boundary marker. The argument was that it was not part of the course. I said you may play an in-bounds ball with feet outside the OB line. I guess the same question arises if one was to play an in-bounds ball with one’s back against a boundary stone wall that was also marked OB. I can find no specific rule. Can you help?

Love your clear answers to rules questions!
Lou from the UK

Dear Lou,

While you are not permitted to remove an out-of-bounds stake, nothing in the Rules prohibits you from touching the stake in fairly taking your stance to hit your ball. You may also touch a boundary wall or fence, a tree, a shed, etc., while making your stroke. If these objects are in your way, you may do anything reasonable to fairly take your stance. If you happen to move the object when you touch it, we need to take a look at Rule 13-2.

While Rule 13-2 states that a player may not move, bend, or break anything growing (e.g., a branch) or fixed (e.g., an out-of-bounds stake) to improve his lie, area of intended stance or swing, or line of play, it makes an exception if this happens while the player is trying to fairly take his stance. Please read Decision 13-2/1, which explains precisely what is meant in the Rules by “fairly” taking your stance. Here is a link to that Decision:

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Ask Linda #1581-Ask -Play out of turn

Good morning Linda,
What is the rule if a player (who uses a golf cart) hits his ball farther than others and then drives to his ball and plays it before the others at the back can reach or even hit their balls? Is there a rule that states that the one far back should hit first? Would there be a penalty for a player that plays out of turn?
Kindly advise.
Kimberley, South Africa

Dear Lou,

Please read this column I published in 2010, which explains order of play:

Please note that while players in stroke play are generally encouraged to play “ready golf,” speeding up to your ball lying way ahead of your companions and hitting before they arrive at their balls is not what is meant by “ready golf.” This is poor etiquette, plain and simple, and may actually slow play. If you have asked the player to wait his turn, and he continues this odd behavior, try to contact a Committee member. I would hope that one polite request would fix the problem.

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Ask Linda #1580-Player’s putt after concession aids partner

Dear Linda,
We were in a four-ball (better ball) match play game today.

On a par 4, my partner had a shot against the lowest handicap player and the other two didn't. She chipped her third shot to very close and was conceded a 4, net 3.

One opponent had a putt of 20 feet or so for a birdie to halve. Her partner had already played 3 so could not halve the hole, but his ball was on the same line as his partner's, 3 feet or so closer to the hole. He chose to putt first, as it would help her with the line. He missed and so did she so we won the hole. But I argued, for future reference, that he was not entitled to putt and show her the line as he was not “in the hole” any longer; we hadn't seen the need to concede his putt, but it was irrelevant to the outcome as he couldn't get a half.

Am I right in thinking he was not entitled to take his putt before hers in this case? Or was it necessary for us to formally concede his putt to prevent him putting, even though his score was irrelevant?
Lou from SW France

Dear Lou,

Since you did not concede your opponent’s putt, he was entitled to putt before his partner and show her the line. If you had conceded the putt, and the player had putted after the concession and before his partner tried her putt, the player’s partner would be disqualified for the hole [Decision 2-4/6]. There is no penalty for holing out after a concession unless the act would be of assistance to the player’s partner.

The next time this situation occurs, immediately concede the putt that will have no effect on the outcome of the hole. I would suggest you go one step further and pick up the conceded ball and hand it to your opponent. Why get embroiled in an argument about disqualifying the player’s partner (should he putt after the concession) when the simple act of lifting the ball will prevent a possible subsequent rules violation and some hard feelings?

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Ask Linda #1579-Ground club in hazard

Hi Linda, 
I understand that if a hazard is marked with a line then if any part of the ball is on the inbound side then the ball is inbound. If that is the case, may one ground one's club in address, as the ball may be inbound but the club might not!
Many thanks.
Lou from Dorset, UK

Dear Lou,

Your statement that “if any part of the ball is on the inbound side then the ball is inbound” is incorrect. When the margin of the hazard is defined by a line, the line is in the water hazard. If any part of the ball touches the line, the ball is in the hazard [Definition of “Water Hazard”]. You may not ground your club in the hazard when the ball is in the hazard [Rule 13-4b].

If no part of the ball touches the line, the ball is not in the hazard. You may ground your club in the hazard to hit a ball that is outside the hazard [Decision 13-4/1].

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Ask Linda #1578-Put a mark on the green

Playing in a 2-person team league, I hit a shot into the green, making a nice ball mark due to a light rain shower. I got behind my ball, squatted down and marked my ball. I then inspected my ball, which was dirty. I spit on my ball and rubbed it on the green, making a visible arching crescent moon-shape line near my mark, but not directly behind it and, like I said earlier, the line was arched. The other team said I should take a 2-stroke penalty for making a mark on the green, regardless of intent to aid alignment or not. I said absolutely not, because the mark was not intended to aid in my putt. The light rain shower happened late in the round, and it was late in the evening, so it could have been a combo of rain droplets and dew. I did this same thing on multiple holes before the rain with no complaints. In no way was I intending to make a mark with intent to aid my putt. What would be the correct ruling here????
Thanks in advance.

Lou from Roscoe, New York

Dear Lou,

There is no blanket penalty for simply making a stray mark on the green. There is a penalty for drawing a mark to indicate your line of putt or to aid in your alignment [Rule 8-2]. Since you apparently did neither, you did not incur a penalty.

While it is permissible to clean your ball by rubbing it on the putting green, it is not recommended [Decision 16-1d/5]. Why risk being accused of testing the surface of the green or making a mark to aid your alignment when you could simply use a towel or wipe it on your pants?

Copyright © 2017 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.