ASK JACK - About the Rules of Golf

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Comments: 202
  • #202

    Yahya Osman (Monday, 21 September 2020 09:42)

    Hello jack
    I had a situation in match play where i was on the putting green with my opponent in one yard who was putting the same number of shots with my partner
    I unintentionally moved hes ball thinking lt was Mine As our balls where with in one meter and i was out with shots on that whole
    Due to that they gave us a lost of hole?we won the hole oponent triple putted and my partner putted twice
    Whats the ruling?

  • #201

    Jack (Sunday, 20 September 2020 19:32)

    Ref #199
    When taking relief under this local rule Curtis, the normal procedure applies. Refer to Rule 14.3.

    That is that you find your nearest point of relief where the sprinkler head does not interfere with your line of play. You must drop your ball within one club-length of that point (not nearer the hole). If your ball rolls outside that drop area, you drop a second time, if it rolls out again, you place it where you last dropped.
    The ball is now "in play".

    No more running away 15 feet!! Good luck.

  • #200

    Jack (Sunday, 20 September 2020 19:16)

    Ref #198
    To answer your question Mike, I will quote the wording in Rule 4.1a(3) which reads:-
    " Deliberately Changing Club’s Performance Characteristics During Round.
    "A player must not make a stroke with a club whose performance characteristics he or she deliberately changed during the round..........."
    "By applying any substance to the clubhead (other than in cleaning it) to affect how it performs in making a stroke."

    Wiping your club on the ground is a common method of cleaning while playing the game so, if that is all you are doing, I cannot see any violation of the Rules.

  • #199

    CURTIS (Saturday, 19 September 2020 05:30)


  • #198

    Mike Charvat (Thursday, 17 September 2020 20:52)

    I notice early in the morning when my driver has dew on it, I hit the ball straighter. Would intentionally wiping the face of my club on the wet ground be considered a rules violation?

  • #197

    ian (Thursday, 17 September 2020 05:57)

    Jack thanks for the ruling. He did play the ball before the original ball was found.

  • #196

    Jack (Wednesday, 16 September 2020 22:56)

    Ref #193
    Interesting situation Ian but you didn't give me quite enough information to fully answer the question.

    When you said "the player takes relief", I assume he dropped a ball BUT did he play it BEFORE his original ball was found?

    Under Rules 14.4 & 14.5 if he had dropped a ball and the first ball was found before he played it, he could have corrected the mistake.
    If he had played the dropped ball, then that became the ball in play including the penalty stroke for relief from the Red Penalty Area (no longer called Lateral Water Hazard!) and the original ball no longer counts.

    You should read these two Rules as they are very detailed.

  • #195

    Jack (Wednesday, 16 September 2020 18:08)

    Ref #192
    Your question is easily answered by 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) (see Rule 14.2).

    So Ball A, is replaced where it was on the fairway, and Ball B is played from where it lies.

    Stephe, it is important to understand the Definition of "Outside Inflence" -
    "Any of these people or things that can affect what happens to a player’s ball or equipment or to the course:
    Any person (including another player), except the player or his or her caddie or the player’s partner or opponent or any of their caddies,
    Any animal, and
    Any natural or artificial object or anything else (including another ball in motion), except for natural forces."

  • #194

    Jack (Wednesday, 16 September 2020 17:48)

    Ref #191
    Sorry Mark, no practising while playing a hole.
    Rule 5.5a :-
    "No Practice Strokes While Playing Hole"
    While playing a hole, a player must not make a practice stroke at any ball on or off the course.

    These are not practice strokes:
    - A practice swing made with no intent to strike a ball.
    - Hitting a ball back to a practice area or to another player, when done solely as a courtesy.

    Rule 5.5b also restricts practise between holes:-
    "Between two holes, a player must not make a practice stroke."
    Exception – The player may practise putting or chipping on or near:
    The putting green of the hole just completed and any practice green (see Rule 13.1e), and
    The teeing area of the next hole.

    But such practice strokes must not be made from a bunker and must not unreasonably delay play (see Rule 5.6a).

  • #193

    Ian (Tuesday, 15 September 2020 14:51)

    Player A hits a shot toward a lateral water hazard marked with red stakes. The players all agree (known or virtually certain) that the ball went into the hazard and under Rule 17.1d the player takes relief.
    After taking relief the original ball was found in the general area outside of the penalty area by the players playing ahead. What is the ruling?

  • #192

    Stephe (Tuesday, 15 September 2020 09:09)

    If you could help resolve a dispute that was raised yesterday regarding a players ball striking another players ball.

    Ball A (the other players ball) was on the fairway, not on the putting surface. Ball B was on the fairway. Ball B was hit towards the green and strikes Ball A. Ball A is advanced onto the green and Ball B remains on the fairway.

    The dispute is, does Ball A stay on the green we’re it now lies or is it places back on the fairway?

  • #191

    Mark (Monday, 14 September 2020 08:21)

    Can a player hit a practice ball after hitting his original ball on to the green

  • #190

    Jack (Thursday, 10 September 2020 22:16)

    Ref #184
    You are perfectly allowed to ground you putter in front of the ball on the putting green Rob.

    Rule 8.1b = Actions That Are Allowed
    Lists eleven actions that a player can take in preparing to play or making a stroke.

    Item (4) reads:-
    Ground the club lightly right in front of or right behind the ball.

    But this does not allow:
    Pressing the club on the ground, or
    When a ball is in a bunker, touching the sand right in front of or right behind the ball (see Rule 12.2b(1)).

  • #189

    Jack (Thursday, 10 September 2020 21:58)

    Ref #185
    Having looked for the ball for "just over 3 minutes" means that the ball was LOST.
    See Definition of LOST in the Rules of Golf :
    "The status of a ball that is not found in three minutes after the player or his or her caddie (or the player’s partner or partner’s caddie) begins to search for it."

    The player who went back to play a "provisional" was in fact, playing another ball under Stroke and Distance Rule 14.6a - "Previous Stroke Made from Teeing Area"
    "The original ball or another ball must be played from anywhere inside the teeing area (and may be teed) under Rule 6.2b"

    By finding the "Lost" ball and then finishing the hole with that ball, you are penalised in breach of Rule 6.3c(1) : General Penalty -
    (Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.)
    If you were playing Stroke Play, Rule 6.3c also reads:-
    "If the player does not correct the mistake before making a stroke to begin another hole or, for the final hole of the round, before returning his or her scorecard, the player is disqualified."

    That means both players in foursomes. As you can see Dave, it is a serious offence !!

  • #188

    Jack (Thursday, 10 September 2020 20:17)

    Ref #176 & 187
    Firstly my apologies for the late reply.
    Match Play - See 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.

    But there are several exceptions:
    Exception 1 – Opponent Allowed to Lift Player’s Ball: There is no penalty when the opponent lifts the ball:
    When conceding a stroke, a hole or the match to the player, or
    At the player’s request.
    Exception 2 – Marking and Lifting Player’s Ball on Putting Green by Mistake: There is no penalty when the opponent marks the spot of the player’s ball and lifts it on the putting green in the mistaken belief that it is the opponent's own ball.

    Stroke Play - See 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) (see Rule 14.2).

    Now the question about the moved ball and where to putt from - this is answered in the Official Guide Reference 9.6/3 as follows:-
    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.

    A long answer which I hope clarifies the situation.

  • #187

    Ann (Tuesday, 08 September 2020 19:19)

    My Question is the similar to Ron's # 176
    In an individual stroke round a player marks another player's ball on the putting green without authorisation. Rule 14.1b states authorisation is required but no mention of the penalty for the unauthorised action.
    Thank you

  • #186

    Ed (Monday, 07 September 2020 20:59)

    Thanks for your August 18th answer

  • #185

    dave (Monday, 07 September 2020 04:57)

    playing foursomes both teams have driven off and one drive went into bushes.we looked for the ball for just over 3 minutes and the partner of the player who hit his drive into bushes then went back to tee to hit a provisional ball,having driven off moments later his partner found his ball and they carried on playing with the "lost" ball.what are the rules regarding this once the ball has been declared lost and search time has elapsed.

  • #184

    Rob (Sunday, 06 September 2020 20:44)

    I like to place my putter ahead of the ball to help line up my putt and makes it easier for me to pick my spot to follow through towards. Is this illegal? Technically i'm delicately placing my putter briefly in my line. I don't see how it is any different from players when they pat down the greens with their putters to improve their line.

  • #183

    Jack (Saturday, 05 September 2020 17:27)

    Ref #182
    Yes Barbara, in Stroke Play the 2-stroke penalty still applies when a player plays a wrong ball.
    In Match Play, the penalty is Loss-of-Hole.

    This is now called the "General Penalty".

    Refer to Rule 6.3c Wrong Ball in the Rules of Golf

  • #182

    Barbara Sands (Friday, 04 September 2020 23:00)

    Under the new rules of golf is it still a 2 stroke penalty for hitting a wrong ball ....

  • #181

    Linda (Thursday, 03 September 2020 21:39)

    Ref: 177
    Thank you for your response Jack.
    Battenburg is played a few times a year as a fun competition at our club in Slinfold, England. This can be a fun mixed event.

  • #180

    Jack (Tuesday, 01 September 2020 21:32)

    Ref #178
    Hi Fred, it is a pity you had not read Rule 7.4.

    The part that answers your question ia as follows:-
    "Ball Accidentally Moved in Trying to Find or Identify It
    There is no penalty if the player’s ball is accidentally moved by the player, opponent or anyone else while trying to find or identify it.

    "If this happens, the ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated) (see Rule 14.2).

    Something to remember for next time!

  • #179

    Jack (Tuesday, 01 September 2020 21:23)

    Ref #177
    I am not familiar with Battenburg golf Linda, but I understand it is a Stableford competition. However there must be rules for this competition that I have never seen.

    Being Stableford, the results are based on the number of stableford points per hole and the total points at the end of the round. Being based on Stroke Play, the other team members who teed off the wrong tee would each be subject to a 2-stroke penalty - Rule 14.7

    Unless there is a Local Rule to the contrary, scoring zero for that hole would appear correct as, if they corrected the error, it would be unlikely that they could produce a better score.

    Where do you play Battenburg and is it a regular competition? Regards, Jack

  • #178

    Fred (Tuesday, 01 September 2020 01:58)

    Hello Jack
    Another player located my lost ball by inadvertently standing on it in the thick grass. It is therefore likely the ball was pressed deeper into the grass/soil (but not provable). I therefore thought it best to play it as it lied, which probably disadvantaged me. Could I though have lifted and dropped instead? Thanks

  • #177

    Linda (Sunday, 30 August 2020 15:38)

    When playing Battenburg the other team teed off from wrong tees but did not correct the mistake and play from right tee just scored themselves zero for hole. Is this correct or should they be disqualified?

  • #176

    Ron (Friday, 28 August 2020 00:37)

    Further to Duane's question: another player marks my ball on the green without my knowledge and without my noticing his action. I then play my ball from where he had rolled my ball. Have I incurred a penalty for playing from a wrong place? Does the other player incur a penalty for lifting/marking my ball without authorisation?

  • #175

    Jack (Thursday, 27 August 2020 03:41)

    Ref #174
    Thank you Duane for your questions and no problems with either.
    1. - Rule 14.1b Who May Lift Ball
    "The player’s ball may be lifted under the Rules only by:
    The player, or Anyone the player authorizes, but such authorization must be given each time before the ball is lifted rather than given generally for the round."
    "Exception – Caddie May Lift Player’s Ball on Putting Green Without Authorization."

    2 - Rule 15.3b Ball Anywhere on Course Interfering with Play.
    "Meaning of Interference by Another Player’s Ball. Interference under this Rule exists when another player’s ball at rest:
    "Might interfere with the player’s area of intended stance or area of intended swing,
    "Is on or close to the player’s line of play such that, given the intended stroke, there is a reasonable chance the player’s ball in motion could hit that ball, or
    "Is close enough to distract the player in making the stroke.
    "The player may require the other player to mark the spot and lift the ball (see Rule 14.1), and the ball must not be cleaned......."

    This clarifies that in both cases the answer is "Yes".
    If you want to follow this up further Duane, go to a Rule book or R&A website and look up these Rules as there is quite a lot more to read.

  • #174

    Duane (Tuesday, 25 August 2020 14:33)

    Can your caddie or teammate mark your ball on the green for you?
    Off the green, your ball is interfering with my line. Can I ask you to mark your ball?

  • #173

    Bill (Tuesday, 25 August 2020 11:54)

    Hi Jack. It is the third hole at Doon Golf in Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario. A city owned public course.
    Cheers, Bill

  • #172

    Peter Lawrence (Tuesday, 25 August 2020 09:46)

    My first ball we thought was OOB so I said and played a provisional ball. We looked in the OOB and didn’t find it so played my second shot of my provisional ball. 20 yards down the fairway and my original ball was in play. I was told that was now deemed lost and therefore couldn’t play it. What is correct ruling please.

  • #171

    Jack (Sunday, 23 August 2020 18:15)

    Ref #170
    Thanks for your message Bill. It sounds like an interesting hole that is quite challenging.
    If it is your home course, good luck when you play next time!

    Where is the course?

  • #170

    Bill (Sunday, 23 August 2020 10:41)

    I belive the reason for the drop area is from the blue tees to the white tee there is a pond and narrow opening. The reason I went off the drop area is the opening on each side of the white tee is very narrow with overhanging tree and just past the red tees at the drop area it opens up to a wide fairway. Did not want to take the chance chance of hitting a branch again off white Tee. Also short par four so not much advantage with a driver off Tee as still a second shot into green.
    Thanks again.

  • #169

    Jack (Saturday, 22 August 2020 18:42)

    Ref #168
    Sorry for the delay in replying Bill.
    I find it difficult answering your question as I do not have enough information.
    Why was there a drop area in front of the Red Tee? Normally this should be covered in the club's Local Rules which advises players why this area is marked and when it may be used.
    You are correct that having dropped in the drop area you would be playing your 4th shot, but it might have been a better choice to replay from the white tee, also for the same score. See Rule 14.6a.

  • #168

    Bill (Wednesday, 19 August 2020 11:47)

    Hi Jack.
    Plying off the white T and hit a ball only a few feet into rough marked with red stake even before the forward red T box. Found my ball. There is a drop area in front ot the red T box. I played my second shot off the the drop area. I am hitting 3 from the drop area. Should I have played where I went in or was it OK to advance a bit to the drop area?

  • #167

    Jon (Wednesday, 19 August 2020 11:01)

    Thanks Jack

  • #166

    Jack (Tuesday, 18 August 2020 19:49)

    Ref #164
    No Jon, your tee is NOT allowed!
    Rule 10.2b Other Help :-
    (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.

  • #165

    Jack (Tuesday, 18 August 2020 19:32)

    Ref #163
    Interesting situation Ed, which is covered in Rule 20.1b:-
    Rules Issues in Match Play
    (1) Deciding Issues by Agreement. During a round, the players in a match may agree how to decide a Rules issue:
    The agreed outcome is conclusive even if it turns out to have been wrong under the Rules, so long as the players did not deliberately agree to ignore any Rule or penalty they knew applied (see Rule 1.3b(1)).

    By applying the two-stroke penalty instead of loss-of-hole, player (A) would still have won the match 2 up. Making no difference to the match result - a Win.

  • #164

    Jon (Monday, 17 August 2020 17:41)

    Can an object, such as a tee, be placed in front of the ball for alignment on the tee area?

  • #163

    Ed (Sunday, 16 August 2020 16:20)

    Match play: player (A) hits wrong ball. Opponent says" is there a penalty for that?" player (A) says "yes, 2 stokes". With the penalty, the hole is tied. Player (A) wins match 3 up (cards are signed) and after the round finds out he made a mistake - it should have been loss of hole. What happens?

  • #162

    Jack (Thursday, 13 August 2020 19:02)

    Ref #160
    The following should answer your question Martyn.
    Rule 17.1b reads -
    "Player May Play Ball as It Lies in Penalty Area or Take Penalty Relief
    The player may either:
    Play the ball as it lies without penalty, under the same Rules that apply to a ball in the general area (which means there are no specific Rules limiting how a ball may be played from a penalty area), or
    Play a ball from outside the penalty area by taking penalty relief under Rule 17.1d or 17.2."
    In the first paragraph it clarifies that playing a ball from a Penalty Area is covered by the same Rules as in the General Area.
    You were therefore subject to the General Penalty for Playing a Wrong Ball in Breach of Rule 6.3c(1)

    General Penalty:-
    Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.

  • #161

    Jack (Thursday, 13 August 2020 18:32)

    Ref #159
    Hi John,
    The definition of a Stroke is as follows:-
    "The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.
    But a stroke has not been made if the player:
    Decides during the downswing not to strike the ball and avoids doing so by deliberately stopping the clubhead before it reaches the ball or, if unable to stop, by deliberately missing the ball.
    Accidentally strikes the ball when making a practice swing or while preparing to make a stroke."
    So no problem John - no penalty. Just clean your club and ball and start again!!
    It is not a stroke unless you "intend" to strike a ball.

  • #160

    Martyn (Thursday, 13 August 2020 13:14)

    I played a wrong ball out of a penalty area upon realising my mistake I went back and played my original ball what is the correct play or is it a penalty for playing a wrong ball from a penalty area

  • #159

    john Frehner (Wednesday, 12 August 2020 02:52)

    Hi Jack,
    I had a practice swing and some mud flew up and knocked my ball off the tee BUT it remained within the designated tee ground.I had not addressed the ball either.I assumed no penalty as the ball remained within the tee area.Hopefully I was correct?

  • #158

    Jack (Sunday, 02 August 2020 20:25)

    Ref #157
    To begin Mat, I must ask you to refer to the section of the Rules book - ‘Definitions”.
    In your question you use the term “alternative cup” which, in the Rules, falls into the Definition “Ground Under Repair” – Any hole made by ……….the maintenance staff setting up the course.

    Then read Rule 16. “Purpose of Rule” - These conditions are not treated as part of the challenge of playing the course, and free relief is generally allowed except in a penalty area.

    Also Read Rule 11. “ Purpose of Rule” - Rule 11 covers what to do if the player’s ball in motion hits a person, animal, equipment or anything else on the course. When this happens accidentally, there is no penalty and the player normally must accept the result, whether favourable or not, and play the ball from where it comes to rest.

    Your comment “Rub of the Green” is correct in this instance. Take an example of your ball striking a tree in GUR and the ball comes back into the fairway. You cannot pick it up and play again, and you wouldn’t want to either!

    I hope this answer clarifies your situation. Cheers

  • #157

    Mat (Sunday, 02 August 2020 02:51)

    Another tough one for you Jack… I'm really hoping you can point to a decision or reference here.

    We were playing today on a course where they keep two cups on the greens. I assume it lets them swap locations quickly, but once in a while, it becomes a problem. Now, we know that we get relief from the line if on the green, but this question is about the hole when the ball is in play.

    My understanding is that if the ball is affected by an alternative cup, the player has the right to cancel the shot and replay from the same position. This makes sense since it shouldn't be there. However it's been brought up that it's "rub of the green" and that if it were to come to rest in the cup, it's an "abnormal condition", and you have to pull it out, take a few inches of relief, and the shot counts always.

    Can you clarify this one? Even the long-timers at my club are having issues with this, and we need a definitive decision… and every search online is coming up empty.

    Thanks again!

  • #156

    Jack (Sunday, 26 July 2020 18:44)

    Ref #155
    From your description, I guess you assumed the tee on the green was marking the correct position of your ball and had been placed there by your fellow competitor.
    If this was the case, the following Rule applies:-

    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) (see Rule 14.2).

    You don't say where you placed your ball but the last sentence above should have been your action.

  • #155

    bsimpson (Sunday, 26 July 2020 05:33)

    playing in a medal my ball landed within five feet of the hole in walking past the green
    i thought it was a good shot, in taking my putter out with my back to the green i then
    turned to the green and approach my ball and and in doing so i saw a tee thinking my ball was being in the way of my fellow players with this i picked my ball up to move to what i thought was my ball position not seeing my follow player putting from the fringe and marking is ball whats the penalty

  • #154

    Jack (Saturday, 25 July 2020 19:03)

    Ref #153
    You were right Conail. Your playing partner had no right to drop another ball as there was no Local Rule allowing such a drop. In the 2019 Rules, there is a Local Rule available that does allow such relief with a 2-stroke penalty, but it must be posted on the Local Rules of the club.
    Quite simply, the player's ball was lost as it was not found within three minutes, and he should have returned to the tee and played his third from there.
    It might have been different if his first ball 'might' have been in a penalty area, but you make no mention of that. (Rule 17)
    When you all saw his first ball land, that is when the player should have played a Provisional Ball (Rule 18.3) to save the time of returning to the tee.
    Finally, the player should not have recorded a bogey as the score. If you read Rules 14.7a & b - Playing from a Wrong Place - his was a serious breach and as he didn't correct it before beginning another hole, he would have been disqualified.
    A long answer Conail, but it shows how it helps if players have some basic knowledge of the Rules!!

  • #153

    Conail. (Friday, 24 July 2020 13:06)

    Hi Jack,

    During our weekly medal my playing partner hits his ball off the tee and its final trajectory was obscured by a tree, so none of the 3 of use seen it land. When we went to look for it we could not find it and my playing partner claimed it was embedded in the ground and he should be allowed to get a free drop, i.e. place another ball where he expected his ball to land without penalty. I disagreed as none of us saw his ball "plug", he dropped one anyway and went onto register a bogey.

    The ball in my opinion would not have hit the fairway but instead the semi rough and could have possibly have carried on into the rough. Again none of us saw his ball hit the ground.

    There is no "local" rule in place saying that he could drop another ball without penalty.

    Was he right to drop another ball without a penalty?


    Conail McBrearty.