ASK JACK - About the Rules of Golf

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Comments: 285
  • #285

    Jack (Thursday, 04 March 2021 19:19)

    You are in a bunker beside a green and you hit the top of the bunker with your shot and the ball goes over your head backwards and into the water behind you. Where do you drop your ball after taking penalty stroke?

  • #284

    Jack (Tuesday, 02 March 2021 21:29)

    Ref #283
    Before your question can be answered we need to refer to Rule 9.2b and establish what caused the ball to move.

    Rule 9.2b (1) Four possible causes:
    - Natural forces, such as wind or water (see Rule 9.3),
    - The player, including the player’s caddie (see Rule 9.4),
    - The opponent in match play, including the opponent's caddie (see Rule 9.5), or
    -An outside influence, including any other player in stroke play (see Rule 9.6).

    In this case Steve we can assume it is either of the first two causes and you, or another player, are the only ones who can answer.

    Rule 9.3 - There is no penalty and the must be played from it's new spot.
    Rule 9.4 - If you caused it to move by taking your stance, grounding your club near the ball or something similar, you receive a one stroke penalty and the ball must be replaced.

    Clean and Place is a Local Rule and you, no doubt, would have been permitted to replace the ball within a certain distance (15cm, 30cm or one club length) from the spot where it originally lay.

    I hope you can answer the question Steve with this information.

  • #283

    steve hygate (Monday, 01 March 2021 19:37)

    Clear and place is on. Ball marked and lifted at the top of a steep slope. Ball cleaned and replaced and marker removed. Prior to taking the next shot the ball rolls down the steep slope.

    What is the ruling?

  • #282

    Jack (Wednesday, 24 February 2021 01:43)

    Ref # 277 - 281
    Your question Macca has been the source of much discussion amongst several Rules Officials and after some research an Interpretation has been located that fully answers it. Fully authorised by the R&A and USGA.

    Rule 6.5 Interpretations
    6.5/1 Another Ball Played After Hole Was Unknowingly Completed
    When a player has holed out, the play of that hole is completed and the player gets no penalty for playing another ball.
    For example:
    - Being unable to find his or her ball, the player puts another ball in play or concedes the hole (the concession is not valid as the hole is completed).
    - After searching for his or her ball for three minutes, the player cannot find it and continues play with a provisional ball.
    - Believing it is the original ball, the player plays a wrong ball.
    If the player did not know the hole was completed and attempts to complete play of the hole with another ball, the player's further play is not considered practice (Rule 5.5a).

    We’ve all learnt something which makes the study of the Rules such an interesting subject.

  • #281

    Hang on a second... (Monday, 22 February 2021 04:52)

    Macca, Jack, I'm not so sure about #277.

    If a person scored a blind ace, it's unreasonable for him to know he's done so. It was so unreasonable, he played a wrong ball. His intent to play a ball is all you need to know that he had no idea his side has completed.

    Thus, it's hardly an "unreasonable" situation that he played a ball. In fact, it's entirely reasonable, since no one in the group knew until it was played.

    Under 5.5, it's "practice" - can't be, because anyone who'd have seen the ace would have clearly notified the player the hole was won.

    Under 5.6, it's "reasonable" that the delay occurred. You can't play a wrong ball after the hole is won.

    I think any penalty at all is a wrong call. But ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • #280

    Jack (Saturday, 20 February 2021 16:25)

    Ref #279
    Hi Macca
    Reading your question #277 again, I agree with your point that the player should have received the General Penalty for practising from the bunker as per Rule 5.5.
    No comment of delaying play was mentioned.

    The penalty of 2-strokes applies to the next hole so his Ace still counts!!!!

    Cheers. Jack

  • #279

    Macca (Friday, 19 February 2021 16:47)

    Thanks Jack for your reply #278.
    Just a point of clarification. Breach of rule 5.5 is the General Penalty while Breach of 5.6 is one shot penalty, in both instances they carry to the next hole. Does this agree with your view?


  • #278

    Jack (Thursday, 18 February 2021 18:06)

    Ref #277
    Very simple answer to your question Macca.
    The player who scored a hole-in-one has completed the hole with a score of 1.

    However he is penalised one stroke for playing a ball from the bunker as this is considered "practising" and under Rule 5.5b:-
    "Where Player Allowed to Practise Putting or Chipping: 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)."
    Penalty for Breach of Rule 5.6a:
    Penalty for first breach: One penalty stroke.

  • #277

    Macca (Thursday, 18 February 2021 01:53)

    G'day from Downunder Jack.

    During a 4BBB stableford round, a player has holed in one on a par 3 where the bottom of the flag can't be seen and is unaware of his achievement. He then proceeds to the greenside bunker and unwittingly plays a wrong ball onto the green. He then discovers that his original ball is in the hole. What is your interpretation of the rules in this instance?
    Many thanks

  • #276

    Jack (Sunday, 07 February 2021 19:30)

    Ref #275
    Rule 16.1 refers to Abnormal Course Conditions and from your description John, the player's ball position did not fall into the definition of an Abnormal Course Condition. (see below)

    Definition of Abnormal Course Condition
    Any of these four defined conditions:
    Animal Hole,
    Ground Under Repair,
    Immovable Obstruction, or
    Temporary Water.

    You were right John - No free relief.

  • #275

    John (Sunday, 07 February 2021)

    A right handed player hooks his tee shot and it comes to rest beside a tree root on the fence line.i deny him free relief as it is clearly unplayable.he then wants to utilise rule 16.1 so he can play back towards the tee , ??? Comments please

  • #274

    John (Sunday, 07 February 2021)

    Two players putt at the same time and the balls make contact???ruling please

  • #273

    Jack (Sunday, 31 January 2021 21:14)

    Ref #272
    Yes Joe, when a player decides to take Stroke and Distance relief - Rule 14.6 applies and states "the player may use either the original ball or another ball".

    Rule 14.6a advises that if the previous stroke was made from the Teeing area, the original ball or another ball must be played from anywhere inside the teeing area and may be teed.

  • #272

    Joe kelly (Sunday, 31 January 2021 11:12)

    If a player takes an unplayable after a bad tee shot & decides to go back to tee may he take a new ball out of his bag or must he play original ball assuming it is not damaged?

  • #271

    Jack (Saturday, 23 January 2021 18:21)

    Ref #269
    An interesting situation Graham, but if you are certain that another player played your opponent's ball, Rule 9.6 is your answer.

    "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).

    This applies whether or not the player’s ball has been found.

  • #270

    Jack (Saturday, 23 January 2021 18:11)

    Ref #268
    When marking a ball on the green without authorisation, there is a different ruling between Stroke Play and Match Play Phillip.

    In Stroke Play there is no penalty under Rule 9.6.

    In Match Play the opponent receives a one stroke penalty under Rule 9.5b. There are exceptions such as lifting by mistake or causing it to move by accident.

    In both forms of play , the ball can be replaced by the player or the person who lifted it – Rule 14.2b

  • #269

    Graham Gorham (Saturday, 23 January 2021 02:13)

    Hey mate what is the correct ruling on this please. I was playing match play and my opponent ball was suspiciously hit out of bounds by another player in a on coming 4 some. The incident wasnt seen tho. So we couldn't find his ball. He went back to the tee does he get to replay the hole or is he hitting 3 of the tee. Please help thanks

  • #268

    Phillip (Friday, 22 January 2021 17:27)

    what penalty if any if on the green another players ball is marked without the authorisation of the owner by another player

  • #267

    john Frehner (Thursday, 21 January 2021 21:05)

    Thanks Jack,
    Just as well I didn't place my ball on the green!!
    So my playing partner was correct in his interpretation.



  • #266

    Jack (Thursday, 21 January 2021 17:21)

    Ref #265
    When you say you have a "preferred distance" to place your ball John, I assume you are referring to a Local Rule on Preferred Lies posted by your club.
    The wording of this Local Rule must clearly state where the 30cm placing can be taken and without seeing it, I can only outline the correct wording from the R&A or USGA:- (abbreviated)
    "When a player's ball lies in a part of the general area cut to fairway height or less, the player may take free relief once by placing the original ball in and playing it from this relief area:
    Limits on Location of Relief Area:
    Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point, and
    Must be in the general area.”
    Sorry John, you are not allowed to improve your lie by placing on the green. If you placed and played from the green you would receive the General Penalty - 2 strokes on Stroke Play or Loss-of=hole in Match Play.

  • #265

    john Frehner (Wednesday, 20 January 2021 21:58)

    if my ball is next to the green and I have preferred distance of 30cm can I place the ball on the green?
    I realise this is improving my lie I improve my lie on the fairway too so logically I think the answer to my question is yes but I seek confirmation.
    Thanks a lot Jack

  • #264

    Graham (Sunday, 10 January 2021 16:38)

    Thanks Jack for clarifying that. Hadn't realized ball could be changed when taking a relief option, even although ball was found. I suppose player has choice to play or not play the ball. I said he declared the ball was unplayable, but I was wrong. He obviously just decided it was unplayable so chose to take a relief option.

  • #263

    Jack (Saturday, 09 January 2021 20:20)

    Ref #262
    Yes Graham, the player would have been taking his relief as per the following Rule.

    Rule 17.1d - Relief for Ball in Penalty Area
    If a player's ball is in a penalty area, the player has these relief options, each for one penalty stroke:

    (1) Stroke-and-Distance Relief. The player may play the original ball or another ball from where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6).

    (2) Back-On-the-Line Relief. The player may drop the original ball or another ball in a relief area ........... (see Rule 14.3)....

    (3) Lateral Relief (Only for Red Penalty Area).

    A ball in a penalty area cannot be declared unplayable and a relief option must be taken.

    As you can see in 17.1d(1) "The player may play the original ball or another ball".

  • #262

    Graham (Saturday, 09 January 2021 18:06)

    Just. saw Justin Thomas declare a ball in hazard unplayable. (Red stakes rough). He headed back to tee. He threw original ball away and took a new ball back with him. Is this allowed?

  • #261

    Jack (Friday, 01 January 2021 20:50)

    Ref #260
    You didn't say whether you were playing Stroke or Match Play so I will try to answer for both.

    The player lying 7, who struck his partners ball by mistake - No Penalty Match Play, 2-stroke penalty in Stroke Play.
    Having moved his partner's ball, that ball must be replaced (Rule 9.4). If not replaced, the player is in breach of Rule 6.3c and receives the General Penalty - 2-stroke penalty (Stroke Play) Loss of Hole (Match Play).

    Either way Gihan, you and your partner won the hole!!
    Hope this answers your question!

  • #260

    Gihan (Wednesday, 30 December 2020 10:26)

    My partner and I got a 5 on a par 5, playing a 4 ball.

    One of the opponents was lying 7 on the green while the other was lying 4 putting for par. Also he had a stroke.

    The opponent lying 7 decided to putt near his partner’s ball to then show him the line.

    Mistakenly he hit the partner’s ball which he was not asked to be marked.

    The guy lying on 4 putted and made a par. HOWEVER he did not replace the ball as the partner’s ball moved it.

    Are there penalties for both and how many strokes please?

  • #259

    Jack (Tuesday, 29 December 2020 18:24)

    Ref #258
    No Ken, you cannot deliberately warm up a golf ball when playing.

    Rule 4.2a(2) - Deliberately Altered Ball Must Not Be Played.
    A player must not make a stroke at a ball whose performance characteristics have been deliberately altered, such as by scuffing or heating the ball or by applying any substance (other than in cleaning it).

    Penalty for Making Stroke in Breach of Rule 4.2a: Disqualification.

    As for trying to keep golf balls warm, don’t bother. Several years ago, Golf Laboratories performed a test that showed you could not get a ball warm enough to have any impact because the ball almost instantly adopts to the outside temperatures.

  • #258

    Ken (Sunday, 27 December 2020 11:33)

    Can you artificially 'warm up' a golf ball during a round? When so many players use various types of hand warmers during the winter months, can a player, for example when walking from green to tee, have his golf ball and the hand warmer in the same pocket to warm up the ball? As it is generally understood, a warm ball travels further than a cold ball.

  • #257

    Jack (Saturday, 19 December 2020 20:23)

    Ref #254
    No problem John. You are entitled to free relief under Rule 16.1b but you must be certain that the ground to the right of the cart path is definitely a Penalty Area.

    Rule 16.1b - Relief for Ball in General Area
    ".........the player may take free relief by dropping the original ball or another ball in this relief area."

    "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."

  • #256

    Jack (Saturday, 19 December 2020 20:05)

    Ref 253
    The player himself should know if he is late for the starting time and call the penalty on himself .
    Rule 5.3a - Is very clear on start times and if you are 2 minutes late Colin, you will receive the General Penalty.

    However your details about the information from the Caddy Master is something you have to take up with the Tournament Committee, if that was the cause of your late arrival.

  • #255

    Jack (Saturday, 19 December 2020 01:36)

    Ref #252
    I am quite unable to answer your question regarding the Texas Scamble and Florida Scramble and the problems which led to your DQ by the committee.

    From what you relate about the competition Lindsay, it was a poorly run competition with no clear instructions and you need to have a discussion with the committee. Normal Stroke Play Rules should apply.

  • #254

    John (Friday, 18 December 2020 11:13)

    I hit a tee shot that came to rest against the right side of a cart path, the concrete above ground level about 1 inch. The ground to the right of the cart path is understood to be a red penalty area.
    Do I get relief in that situation per cart path rules, or do I take a drop (one stroke penalty) per penalty area rules?
    Thank you.

  • #253

    Colin (Friday, 18 December 2020 10:09)

    I would like to know, if the Starter in a stroke play tournament is obligied to notify a player of a penalty for a 2 minute late arrival at the first tee. If the Starter remains silent, is the Tournament Committee obliged to formally notify the player of the penalty soon after. If no notification is given at all, what is the ruling.
    This is a special circumstance whereby the Caddy Master wrongly advised the player of later tee of time by 8mins on the players arrival at the Caddy Masters office. The player viewed this as a changed tee off time but, was penalised by the Starter regardless.

  • #252

    Lindsay (Sunday, 13 December 2020 11:05)

    Texas Scramble
    No notice in club about T&C’s for play
    It was left for pro shop (pro’s daughter) to verbally advise each 4 ball. My club apparently use a version of scramble where chosen players ball skips out of next shot more generally known as far as I am concerned as Florida Scramble.
    Having not been advised we played what the R&A golf app refers to as Texas Scramble in everyone playing a shot.
    On 3rd hole another group spotted this and advised us of our error. We fortunately had gained no advantage over the 2 holes and we immediately post round advised the club what had happened.
    We were summarily DQ and accused by the the club of blatantly ignoring or not listening to pro shop instructions - effectively accusing us of lying.
    Given the club admitted in writing they were not clear in giving instructions should we be DQ.

  • #251

    Jack (Friday, 11 December 2020 18:00)

    Sorry David. #250 should read Ref #248

  • #250

    Jack (Friday, 11 December 2020 17:57)

    Ref #249
    From your description David, I drew a simple sketch and, as per Rule 16.1b you must find your nearest point of complete relief in the GENERAL AREA. (No dropping on top of the wall, etc.!!)

    Your nearest point of relief is just off the left side of the path opposite where your ball is lying. Take your stance with your feet just off the path and mark the reference point. You can then drop your ball within one club length of that point, not nearer the hole.

  • #249

    Jack (Thursday, 10 December 2020 21:46)

    Ref #247
    No Keith, two players cannot agree to use mats if the ground is wet as this is firstly against :-

    Rule 8.1 - "Rule 8 covers a central principle of the game: “play the course as you find it”. When the player’s ball comes to rest, he or she normally has to accept the conditions affecting the stroke and not improve them before playing the ball". Then we have :-

    Rule Rule 1.3b(1) "If two or more players deliberately agree to ignore any Rule or penalty they know applies and any of those players have started the round, they are disqualified "

    However, under the circumstances of this match, it is not unreasonable to consider your suggestion to finalise a competition BUT this must be decided by the Committee. The following Rule could be applied:-

    Rule 20.3 -Situations Not Covered by the Rules
    “Any situation not covered by the Rules should be decided by the Committee:
    Considering all the circumstances, and
    Treating the situation in a way that is reasonable, fair and consistent with how similar situations are treated under the Rules.”

    This is my answer to your question Keith, but your committee would have to agree!!

  • #248

    David (Thursday, 10 December 2020 17:12)

    I am a left handed golfer. My ball comes rest on the right hand side of a path in the general area and immediately to the right of my ball is a 2ft wide 4ft high stone wall. Immediately to the right of the wall is a penalty area. My club rules provide that all paths are immovable obstructions and relief is allowed under 16.1. Where do I take the nearest point of relief . Can this be in the penalty area ? If the top of the wall is the nearest point of relief can I take my one club length measurement from this point and then drop my ball within that measurement which would be in the penalty area and about 1ft from the wall .

  • #247

    keith (Wednesday, 09 December 2020 14:25)

    can 2 players agree to use mats if the ground is so wet in a match play game. when mats are not used on that course

  • #246

    Ken (Wednesday, 09 December 2020 13:26)

    Thank you, it's great to be able to get some of the "debatable" rules cleared up.

  • #245

    Jack (Tuesday, 08 December 2020 20:18)

    Ref #244
    Two good questions Ken. I'll answer in the same way.

    Question 1 -
    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.

    Definition - Any of these four defined conditions:
    Animal Hole,
    Ground Under Repair,
    Immovable Obstruction, or
    Temporary Water.

    The General Area
    The general area covers the entire course except for the four specific areas of the course described in Rule 2.2b.
    (the Teeing areas, Penalty areas, Bunkers, Putting areas.)
    As your ball is in the General area, you take your relief as instructed and answer is "YES".as both rough and fairway are part of the General area.

    Question 2. - Is a NO" answered by the above as you must drop in the General area.

    Sorry Ken, no "Rub of the Green" !!

  • #244

    Ken (Tuesday, 08 December 2020 13:10)

    Hi Jack, This regards "casual water". 2 Questions. (1) If I am in the rough and in casual water, and my nearest point of relief is on the fairway, is this where I take my drop ?
    (2) And if so, I still have a 1 club length placing which would put my ball on the green , (all this is "not nearer the pin" of course). Is this considered "the rub of the green"?

  • #243

    Jack (Saturday, 28 November 2020 19:51)

    Ref #241
    This "hole out" situation is not covered in the Rules except that Rule 22 clearly states the order of play.

    Rule 22.3 - Side Must Alternate in Making Strokes
    "On each hole, the partners must make each stroke for the side in alternating order".

    The fact that one hole is out Richard, should not change the Alternate Shot routine. All it will mean is that the even tee player will become the odd tee player.

  • #242

    Jack (Saturday, 28 November 2020 17:26)

    Ref #240
    Hi Robyn. Yes, as learner, you will get advice but not always according to the Rules of Golf!

    To answer your question we need to look at the Definition of a "Stroke" which reads:-
    "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."

    The main point is that the player must INTEND to strike the ball, and if he/she misses or hits the ground, it is still a stroke.

  • #241

    Richard (Saturday, 28 November 2020 10:12)

    I have a Question about Foursomes, in a competition if a hole is out of play should you keep the alternate teeing off nature of the game or say it’s the 16 hole out of play should the player taking odd holes tee off 15 and 17 two holes in a row. Thank you

  • #240

    Robyn (Friday, 27 November 2020 17:42)

    Hi if a player steps up and puts their club to the ball and knocks the ball off the tee is this counted as a shot ? Or only if they had pulled their club back to take a swing ? Also I always thought air shots and hitting ground instead of ball also counted as shots. Has that changed too ? Many thanks. Learner golfer. It seems to depend on whom I am playing what rules they are applying. I count everything !! Cheers.

  • #239

    Jack (Sunday, 22 November 2020 01:22)

    Ref 238
    Guides to the Rules of Golf have been around for many years Bruce and can be useful for a quick reference, but if a serious ruling is required during a game, they can only be "a guide".

    The only true reference is the official "Rules of Golf" and there are ways of delaying a ruling until the end of a round explained in his book.

  • #238

    Bruce Miller JD (Thursday, 19 November 2020 23:37)

    What do you think about guides to the rules of golf? They give quick answers rather than flipping pages and slow up play

  • #237

    Jack (Thursday, 19 November 2020 02:17)

    Ref 235
    Sorry for the late reply Ray.
    As your opponent asked you to lift the provisional ball, he incurs a one-stroke penalty under Rule 9.4b. It must be replaced as per 9.4a.

    The other Rule that now applies is 1.3c(4) it reads:-
    - Multiple Procedural Breaches. If a player’s single act or related acts breach more than one of the procedural requirements for marking, lifting, cleaning, dropping, replacing or placing a ball where the penalty is one stroke, such as both lifting a ball without marking its spot and cleaning the lifted ball when not allowed, the player gets one penalty stroke in total.

    This penalty is the same in Stroke and Match Play.

  • #236

    Jack (Tuesday, 17 November 2020 18:32)

    Ref #233
    I cannot find any reference to the drop you mention Cliff, but knowing the PGA, I cannot imagine there was anything wrong with the drop or he would have been spoken to.

    Perhaps the camera angle gave a wrong impression of the distances.