ASK JACK - About the Rules of Golf

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Comments: 342
  • #342

    Jack (Tuesday, 11 May 2021 03:56)

    Ref #341
    That was interesting Steve as I was refereeing last weekend at our PGA National Championship and that same Local Rule was in force.

    We were issued with, what they call the "Hard Card", which lists a number of Local Rules that will apply to all PGA competitions.

    P.S. Rory made a great recovery! Cheers, Jack

  • #341

    Steve (Monday, 10 May 2021 07:22)

    Hi Jack, re #340. I should have waited, the commentators just said a local rule applied this week that stated if it went in to the penalty area on the left they must play it form the left. Cheers, Steve.

  • #340

    Steve (Monday, 10 May 2021 07:17)

    Hi Jack. On the 18th at the Wells Fargo, Rory hit his ball into the penalty area where the creek runs parallel to the fairway. He took a drop out of the penalty area on the left side of the creek. As it is a lateral hazard could he have taken a point opposite side of the creek no closer to the hole?

  • #339

    Jack (Thursday, 06 May 2021 22:36)

    Ref #338
    To answer your question Elliot please refer to the following:-

    Rule 10.2b(1) - Pointing Out Line of Play for Ball Anywhere Except on Putting Green.
    A player may have his or her line of play pointed out by:
    - Having an object (such as a bag or towel) set down on the course to show the line of play, but the object must be removed before the stroke is made.

    Rule 10.2b(3) - No Setting Down Object to Help in Taking Stance.
    - A player must not take a stance for the stroke using any object that was set down by or for the player to help in lining up his or her feet or body, such as a club set down on the ground to show the line of play.
    If the player takes a stance in breach of this Rule, he or she cannot avoid penalty by backing away from the stance and removing the object.

    Penalty for Breach of Rule 10.2: General Penalty.

    Don't mark your line of play with any object on the ground Elliot or you'll be penalised. Jack

  • #338

    E (Wednesday, 05 May 2021 19:17)

    Hi Jack

    I was wondering if it is permissible to use chalk/grass clipping/tee or suchlike as a reference point for standard strokes or would it be considered a training aid?   Ie a chalk dot or grass clipping 6 inches in front of the ball, or a tee 6 inches in front (but wide as so no contact through stroke) 

    Hope that makes sense

    Kind Regards


  • #337

    Jack (Friday, 30 April 2021 22:24)

    Ref #34
    To answer your question Rick, we need to look at two Rules depending whether you are playing Stroke or Match Play.

    Match Play - Rule 9.5b - Penalty for Lifting or Deliberately Touching Ball or Causing It to Move

    If the opponent lifts or deliberately touches the player’s ball at rest or causes it to move, the opponent gets one penalty stroke.

    Stroke Play - Rule 9.6 -
    Ball Lifted or Moved by Outside Influence

    If it is known or virtually certain that an outside influence (including another player in stroke play or another ball) lifted or moved a player’s ball:
    There is no penalty, and
    The ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated).

    On the matter of identifying a ball, the first line of
    Rule 7.2 - How to Identify Ball
    "A player’s ball at rest may be identified in any one of these ways:

    " By the player or anyone else seeing a ball come to rest in circumstances where it is known to be the player’s ball."

    So Rick, your friend's bad habit gets a penalty in Match Play, but nothing in Stroke Play.
    Tell him how he annoys you with his actions.

  • #336

    Jack (Friday, 30 April 2021 21:37)

    Ref #333
    Hi Edwina
    I had this same question recently from Cathy - See #312
    and my reply #315.

    Your in the penalty!!

    Regards, Jack

  • #335

    Jack (Friday, 30 April 2021 21:28)

    Ref #332
    Sorry for my late reply Pat. I am refereeing at PGA tournament this weekend.

    Returning score cards is covered in Rule 3.3b(2) :-
    Player’s Responsibility: Certifying Hole Scores and Returning Scorecard.
    During the round, the player should keep track of his or her scores for each hole.
    When the round has ended, the player:

    Should carefully check the hole scores entered by the marker and raise any issues with the Committee,
    Must make sure that the marker certifies the hole scores on the scorecard,
    Must not change a hole score entered by the marker except with the marker's agreement or the Committee's approval, and
    Must certify the hole scores on the scorecard and promptly return it to the Committee, after which the player must not change the scorecard.

    If the player breaches any of these requirements in Rule 3.3b, the player is disqualified.

    To maintain the integrity of the WHS it is important to return all cards - good or bad.
    When you are out on the course to practice, you should
    not print a card as any scores would be incorrect when playing extra balls.

  • #334

    Rick (Thursday, 29 April 2021 03:32)

    Jack - someone I play with often has a habit of checking whether a ball at rest on the fairway is mine by moving it with his fingers backwards and forwards to 'check' the marking. This even if I know it is my ball, and he knows where his ball is. He says he can do this as the ball is returned to its original spot. I say he shouldn't move my ball at all, unless he thought he was moving his own and not mine. My understanding of the rules about identifying a ball is that it is 'the player' - i.e. the owner of that ball - who is entitled where necessary to lift a ball and not another person.

  • #333

    Edwina (Wednesday, 28 April 2021 22:33)

    Hi Jack,

    My ball was on the green and I went behind the green to help one of my playing partners find her ball. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, another playing partner hit her ball on to the green and hit my ball. She marked where my ball had been originally, putted out then went to help look for the lost ball. I came back to finish the hole and putted in from where my ball lay. I then asked the other playing partner to finish the hole as we’d run out of time and she responded that she had and the marker on the green was where my ball had been. I had no idea my ball had been moved. Do I have to take a penalty? I believe 9.2 says you have to be virtually certain it has moved - I was completely unaware that it had! It was further from the hole so no advantage to me.

  • #332

    Pat (Wednesday, 28 April 2021 00:12)

    Our Club Captain is stating that it is a rule of NZ golf that all 9 & 18 Holes played must have the cards put in.
    Dont think this is correct ? What if you practise 9 & play second ball to a green after poor shot? Thanks

  • #331

    Jack (Monday, 26 April 2021 04:05)

    Ref #330
    You were out of time Taz, your ball was "LOST" as it was not found within 3 minutes. (See Definition of Lost).
    The fact that you found it later in the bunker means you can't play it and you should pick it up.

    At that point, you could have gone back to the tee and played a ball under Stroke and Distance (Rule 14.6a)..
    That would have been your 3rd shot.

    If your club included in the Local Rules the special local rule for a ball lost or out-of-bounds, allowing dropping a ball on the fairway for two penalty shots, that would have been and alternative action.

    Finally, you could have saved time by playing a Provisionable Ball from the tee (Rule 18.3) as you all had doubts where the first ball finished.

  • #330

    Taz (Sunday, 25 April 2021 08:54)

    Hi Jack.. today I was playing a par 4.. hit a solid drive but wasn't sure if it drew back into the fairway.. my playing partners were adamant that it didn't and was in the trees to the right... so we looked there and couldn't find it (took 3 mins)... so we carried on and walked further up and it was in the fairway bunker. What are my options here? I realise I was out of time. Thanks.

  • #329

    Jack (Tuesday, 20 April 2021 19:25)

    Ref #328
    You are correct Tony in stating that Animal Holes are Abnormal Ground Conditions but the following definition expands on this:-

    Animal Hole
    Any hole dug in the ground by an animal, except for holes dug by animals that are also defined as loose impediments (such as worms or insects).
    The term animal hole includes:
    The loose material the animal dug out of the hole,
    Any worn-down track or trail leading into the hole, and
    Any area on the ground pushed up or altered as a result of the animal digging the hole underground.

    Additionally, the following Interpretation:-
    Interpretation Animal Hole/1 - Isolated Animal Footprint or Hoof Mark Is Not Animal Hole
    An isolated animal footprint that is not leading into an animal hole is not a hole made by an animal but rather is an irregularity of the surface from which relief without penalty is not allowed.

    Nowhere is there any mention regarding the age or condition of an Animal Hole, but if any hole on your course meets these definitions, relief is available.

    As rabbit holes will normally only be in the General Area of the course, the following Rule applies:-

    Rule 16.1b Relief for Ball in General Area
    If a player’s ball is in the general area and there is interference by an abnormal course condition on the course, the player may take free relief by dropping the original ball or another ball in this relief area (see Rule 14.3):
    Reference Point: The nearest point of complete relief in the general area.
    Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: One club-length, but with these limits:
    Limits on Location of Relief Area:
    Must be in the general area,
    Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point, and there must be complete relief from all interference by the abnormal course condition

  • #328

    Tony Jackson (Tuesday, 20 April 2021 03:18)

    Hi good morning
    Play on our local links golf course which has a big problem with rabbits. Under the new rules animal holes are abnormal ground conditions which is not a problem with fresh holes. What is the ruling with old holes that have regrown with fresh grass etc as we have several arguments on free relief or unplayable golf ball.
    Really hope you can help on this issue I’ve had no luck in finding a explanation. Thank you.
    Kind regards

  • #327

    Jack (Friday, 16 April 2021 03:23)

    Ref #326
    This is answered Wazza under Rule 9.6 which reads:-
    "If it is known or virtually certain that an outside influence (including another player in stroke play or another ball) lifted or moved a player’s ball:
    There is no penalty, and
    The ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated) (see Rule 14.2)."

    As both balls finished in the water - a Penalty Area - the player whose ball struck the other ball then can take relief under Rule 17.1 which has options depending whether the Penalty Area is marked Red or Yellow.

  • #326

    Wazza (Friday, 16 April 2021 00:26)

    A player hits a shot from the fairway and hits another players ball in the group on the fairway , both balls finish in a water hazard , what is the ruling?

  • #325

    Harry (Wednesday, 14 April 2021 04:53)

    Definitely, thanks for clarifying that jack

  • #324

    Jack (Wednesday, 14 April 2021 00:17)

    Ref #323
    When your playing partner played his first provisional ball, he had a one-stroke penalty and would be playing his third shot.
    With his second provisional, he had another penalty and was playing his fifth shot.
    This continues -
    Third provisional = seventh shot
    Forth provisional = ninth shot.
    As this was the ball he decided to play on with, it meant he was playing his tenth shot from the fairway!!

    Perhaps Harry, he should have tried to find one of the earlier balls to prevent such a high score for the hole!

  • #323

    Harry (Tuesday, 13 April 2021 14:13)

    Hi jack, a question on hitting a provisional, my playing partner hit his tee shot and it went wild right into the trees, so he played a provisional tee shot and the same happened, he then played a 3rd provisional tee shot and same again, so he proceeded to play a 4th provisional from the tee and hit it straight down the middle and continued to play with this ball, what stroke would he be after hitting his 4th provisional, (he said this would still only count as his 3rd stroke, surely that can’t be right.

  • #322

    Jack (Monday, 12 April 2021 14:39)

    Ref #321
    The following Rule answers your question Dave:-

    Rule 15.1a - Removal of Loose Impediment
    Without penalty, a player may remove a loose impediment anywhere on or off the course, and may do so in any way (such as by using a hand or foot or a club or other equipment).
    But there are two exceptions which you can read in your Rule Book.

    Under "Definitions" in the Rule Book a Loose Impediment is detailed as "Any unattached natural object" followed by a list of examples. Worth reading.

  • #321

    Dave (Sunday, 11 April 2021 17:23)

    On chip shots when you want to bounce prior to the green, can you remove impediments in your landing zone, like acorns?

  • #320

    john Frehner (Saturday, 10 April 2021 21:51)

    Thank you Jack.

  • #319

    Jack (Saturday, 10 April 2021 21:08)

    Ref #318
    Hi John
    Your partner was correct to a degree but read below.

    Rule 18.3c - Playing Provisional Ball Until It Becomes the Ball in Play or Is Abandoned

    (1) Playing Provisional Ball More Than Once.
    The player may continue to play the provisional ball without it losing its status as a provisional ball so long as it is played from a spot that is the same distance or farther from the hole than where the original ball is estimated to be.

    This is true even if the provisional ball is played several times.

    (2) When Provisional Ball Becomes Ball in Play.
    The provisional ball becomes the player’s ball in play under penalty of stroke and distance in either of these two cases: -

    When Original Ball Is Lost Anywhere on Course Except in Penalty Area or Is Out of Bounds. The original ball is no longer in play (even if it is then found on the course after the end of the three-minute search time) and is now a wrong ball that must not be played
    When Provisional Ball Is Played from Spot Nearer Hole Than Where Original Ball Is Estimated to Be. The original ball is no longer in play (even if it is then found on the course before the end of the three-minute search time or is found nearer the hole than had been estimated) and is now a wrong ball that must not be played (see Rule 6.3c).

    Rule 18.3c Spells this out very clearly John and I hope it clarifies the situation for you. Regards, Jack

  • #318

    john Frehner (Saturday, 10 April 2021 19:00)

    Hi Jack,
    I had a situation the other day when my playing partner told me that after playing a provisional ball he could then play that ball next, prior to finding and then hitting the original ball.
    Is this ok as it does not seem logical to me.
    I thought the original ball takes precedence and then if that ball is lost or out of bounds then the provisional ball is played as the counting ball.
    appreciate your input.

    kind regards


  • #317

    Jack (Friday, 09 April 2021 20:44)

    Ref #314
    Under Rule 5.2b Sam, it is quite clear that your plan to play in a stroke competition on the same course and on the same day as the match-play round, is NOT permitted.

    Rule 5.2b -
    On the day of a stroke-play competition:
    A player must not practise on the course before a round, except that the player may practise putting or chipping on or near his or her first teeing area and practise on any practice area.

    A player may practise on the course after completing play of his or her final round for that day.

    Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.2:
    Penalty for first breach: General Penalty (applied to the player’s first hole).
    Penalty for second breach: Disqualification.

  • #316

    Jack (Friday, 09 April 2021 20:17)

    Ref #313
    A Local Rule like you describe Maureen, is permitted under R&A and USGA Rules and, in this instance, come under the heading of Preferred Lies.

    When local abnormal conditions might interfere with fair play, the affected parts of the course can be defined as ground under repair and the Committee can adopt a Local Rule under Preferred Lies to allow fair play or protect the course.

    Such a Local Rule should be withdrawn as soon as conditions allow.

    Whether scores can be submitted for handicap purposes, the Committee should consult the Handicap System operating in your local jurisdiction.

  • #315

    Jack (Friday, 09 April 2021 19:45)

    Ref #312
    This situation Cathy is covered under Rule 9.6 :-
    If another player in stroke play lifted or moved your ball, there is no penalty, and the ball must be replaced on it's original spot.

    As you played your ball from a wrong place, you would normally be subject to a 2-stroke penalty under Rule 14.7a.

    HOWEVER - The following Interpretation amends the issue for you:-
    "9.6/3 Player Learns That Ball Moved After Stroke Made
    "If it is not known or virtually certain that the player's ball has been moved by an outside influence, the player must play the ball as it lies. If information that the ball was in fact moved by an outside influence only becomes known to the player after the ball has been played, the player did not play from a wrong place because this knowledge did not exist when the player made the stroke."

    The definition of "Outside Agency" covers several things including "Any person (including another player)"
    So, no penalties Cathy!

  • #314

    Sam (Thursday, 08 April 2021 13:50)

    a player enterd a match play tournament after the 1st round, he will be playing the next round , the next day. he now enterd for a stroke play tournament on the same 1st day he played his 1st round of the match play. What's the ruling

  • #313

    Maureen (Thursday, 08 April 2021 06:41)

    When can you have a local rule to tee up through the general area in a stroke round and be compliant with the R&A rules of golf?

  • #312

    Cathy (Thursday, 08 April 2021 04:35)

    Jack A fellow competitor marked my ball on the green while I was unsighted below the back of the green. Cast my ball 5m away. Didn’t tell me. I arrived and not knowing it had been marked and moved away I putted it from where it lay. Who is penalised?

  • #311

    Jack (Wednesday, 07 April 2021 00:27)

    Ref #310
    To answer your question Libby, I have to guess that the "hazard" that the ball ricocheted into after striking the bridge was a separate hazard from the water hazard that the bridge covered.

    Under the new Rules this should have been identified as a Red Penalty Area in which case refer to Rule 17.1d in your "Player's Edition of the Rules of Golf" and you will see the three options for taking relief.

    To identify where to take relief, you must establish the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the area in which it finished.

    If this does not fully answer your question, please give me more information.

  • #310

    Libby Long (Tuesday, 06 April 2021 17:00)

    A ball hits the railings of a bridge over a water hazard which ricochets to the left into a hazard on the left. Where does the player drop the ball. ?
    The ball of entry hitting the bridge or takes two club lengths from the lateral hazard where the ball ricocheted into?

  • #309

    Jack (Sunday, 28 March 2021 17:52)

    Ref #307
    The tree does come under the definition of Ground Under Repair Jack. See Definitions in your Rule book.

    "Ground under repair also includes the following things, even if the Committee does not define them as such:
    "Grass cuttings, leaves and any other material piled for later removal. But:
    "Any natural materials that are piled for removal are also loose impediments, and the edge of ground under repair should be defined by stakes, lines or physical features."

    Refer to Rule 16.1 for all relief conditions.

  • #308

    Jack (Sunday, 28 March 2021 17:33)

    Ref 306
    In your original question Terry, you wrote "When he was playing a further shot with the provisional he mistakenly hit a wrong ball."
    That is why he is penalised.

    Other penalties could include - lifting or moving the ball (Rule 9.4), Lifting ball to identifying it (Rule 7.3) not marking, cleaning, etc.

  • #307

    Jack (Saturday, 27 March 2021 15:09)

    Hi Jack,
    Thanks for having this portal available.
    A tree falls down the week before and is left in the rough just off the fairway.
    Players playing the following week are asking if the tree is an abnormal course condition? I don't believe it is. What is the rule? Thanks.

  • #306

    Terry (Wednesday, 24 March 2021 21:35)

    Thanks Jack
    I hear you! but he was (he though) playing THAT ball and incurred the penalty playing THAT ball what other penalty that fits within the problem could there be

    Thanks again

  • #305

    Jack (Wednesday, 24 March 2021 16:14)

    Ref #304
    Yes Terry, under Rule 6.3c your player does incur a two-stroke penalty for playing a wrong ball in this situation.

    There is an interesting ruling at Rule 18.3c(3) which reads:-
    "All strokes with that provisional ball before it was abandoned (including strokes made and any penalty strokes solely from playing that ball) do not count."

    However this only applies to any penalty strokes when playing THAT ball, i.e. The Provisional ball.

  • #304

    Terry Wilson (Tuesday, 23 March 2021 02:30)

    Hi Jack can you throw some light on this one. A player hits a drive then decides he should hit a provisional. He hit the provisional same direction but shorter. When he was playing a further shot with the provisional he mistakenly hit a wrong ball. Just as he was correcting this mistake his original ball was found and playable. Q:- does he incur a penalty for hitting a wrong ball whilst in the belief it was his provisional he was playing.

  • #303

    Steve (Monday, 22 March 2021 06:15)

    Thanks for your reply Jack ... #302

  • #302

    Jack (Sunday, 21 March 2021 17:32)

    Ref #301
    My response was different Steve, because we are dealing with different situations and different Rules.

    #290 involved Rule 16, whereas the incident with Shane Lowry is about relief from a Red Penalty Area which is covered by Rule 17.
    See my response #298 where I covered a question regarding this Rule and allowed the drop on the Putting Green.

  • #301

    Steve (Sunday, 21 March 2021 05:12)

    Re your response #290. I just watched Shane Lowry hit his ball in the water in the Honda Classic R3 hole 11. Red stakes. He took relief with 2 clubs length from the point of entry and no closer to the hole. This enabled him to take relief on the putting surface. There was rules official present that told him his drop was correct. Why is this different to #290 response?

  • #300

    Jack (Wednesday, 17 March 2021 03:18)

    Ref #299
    I cannot see any reason why you can't mark your glove with lines or arrows providing that the glove is standard equipment.

    Nothing should be attached to the glove Todd.

  • #299

    Todd (Monday, 15 March 2021 10:26)

    Can I mark my glove with a line or arrows? I noticed L. Oosthuizen when he won his Open Championship he had a dot on his glove as a focus point. If I can make a line on my golf ball, why not my glove?

    Thank you

  • #298

    Jack (Sunday, 14 March 2021 18:58)

    Ref #295
    There are three options for relief from a Red Penalty area Suren and these are clearly detailed and illustrated in your Player's Edition of the Rules of Golf under Rule 17.1d.

    Rule 17.1d(1) Stroke-and-Distance Relief. The player may play the original ball or another ball from where the previous stroke was made.
    Rule 17.1d(2) Back-On-the-Line Relief. The player may drop the original ball or another ball in a relief area that is based on a reference line going straight back from the hole through the estimated point where the original ball last crossed the edge of the penalty area.
    Rule 17.1d(3 ) Lateral Relief. Where the ball last crossed the edge of a red penalty area, the player may drop the original ball or another ball within two club lengths in this area.
    - Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point - - May be in any area of the course

    That last line confirms you can drop the ball on the green.

  • #297

    Jack (Sunday, 14 March 2021 18:15)

    Ref #294
    Your drain comes under the classification of an Immovable Obstruction Graeme, and under Rule 16.1 no relief is allowed if it doesn't interfere with the player's stance or area of intended swing.

    Rule 16.1a(1) "If the abnormal course condition is close enough to distract the player but does not meet any of these requirements, there is no interference under this Rule."

    Sorry Graeme, no free drop.

  • #296

    Jack (Sunday, 14 March 2021 17:57)

    Ref #293
    The Definition of "Embeded Ball"is as follows:-
    When a player’s ball is in its own pitch-mark made as a result of the player’s previous stroke and where part of the ball is below the level of the ground.
    The main point Brian, is in the last six words.

    Rule 16.3a(2) Determining Whether Ball Is Embedded.
    A player’s ball is embedded only if:
    It is in its own pitch-mark made as a result of the player’s previous stroke, and
    Part of the ball is below the level of the ground.

    You did the right thing by taking a penalty. as the ball buried in long grass is not likely to meet the above ruling.

  • #295

    Suren Vally (Saturday, 13 March 2021 19:14)

    A Penalty area red staked forms about 25% of the border of the 1st green . There are two bunkers on the opposite side of the green. If one plays a ball from the bunker on to the green and it rolls into the hazard, and one selects the relief option of penalty drop 2 clubs from margin where ball crossed , and not nearer the hole, can that spot be on the green?

  • #294

    Grseme (Saturday, 13 March 2021 08:20)

    My partners ball lands near drain but it not affecting his stance or swing. Can he take a free drop away from drain?

  • #293

    Brian D (Friday, 12 March 2021 13:48)

    Ball became embedded in rough as a result of a very bad top - so the ball did not move other than to go downwards on stroke into the ground. Took a penalty to remove ball from plug - was this the right thing to do - or was relief without penalty available?