Rules Q&A

Rules Q&A

Sometimes, when I am taking my stance, I feel loose sticks and/or rocks underneath my feet. Since these sticks and/or rocks are loose impediments, I move them away. But I do so using my feet, by brushing my feet along the ground until the sticks and/or rocks are gone. Is this considered "building a stance" (Rule 13-3)?

I would not consider your actions as building a stance. However, by using your feet be careful not to move anything that is embedded, such as rocks. Also be aware that this action is not permissible in a bunker or water hazard. Under these circumstances, a favorite expression of mine comes to mind, “avoid the appearance of evil”.

Your ball is plugged in the bunker under the lip, and you decide that it is unplayble. You decide to take the option of dropping the ball in the bunker under penalty of 1 stroke. Footmarks were created in the bunker by the player when trying to locate the ball. Question: Is the player allowed to rake the bunker before they drop the ball under penalty?

No. The general rule of thumb would be that, should a player create irregularities in the bunker prior to playing from that bunker, the player would have to deal with those footprints. Should the player repair any damage prior to playing he would be subject to penalty under Rule 13.

In a stroke play competition, my opponent asked me to span my ball marker on the outing green, which I did. I forgot, however to span it back to its original place. I putted out and we went on to the next tee box. Only after I had teed off did I realize my error. What is the penalty?

Unfortunately you incurred a two-stroke penalty for playing from a wrong place (see Rule 20-7). The good news is that it is not considered a serious breach that could end up with a disqualification penalty if not corrected.

I was playing a par three with a pond in front of the green. My tee shot hit the green past pin high and spun back into the pond. I dropped my ball on the green side of the pond taking a one-stroke penalty. After making four on the hole I was told by my playing partners that I should have taken a drop on the tee side of the pond and not where I dropped. I crossed the hazard and thought I made a proper drop. There wasn't any drop area for the hole. When we finished the round I signed my scorecard and then was told that I was DQ for signing for a wrong score because of where I dropped the ball on the par 3. What's the ruling?

When you dropped a ball on the green side of the hazard you dropped a ball closer to the hole than the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the hazard. (See options under Rule 26-1). When you played the dropped ball you played from a wrong place. Normally when a ball is played from a wrong place the player incurs a penalty of two strokes and must continue the play of the hole. Unfortunately in your case you committed a serious breach, (see Note 1 at the end of Rule 20). By not correcting your error, you would be disqualified. For proper procedure see Rule 20-7c.

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