Rules Q&A

Rules Q&A

When on the green and the hole has an abnormality as if someone pulled the ball out with their putter head, can you fix the rim by running your fingers in a circle around the rim as long as you do not do it before your putt but fix it before another’s putt? Someone stated you can do it after you have finished the hole but not during the hole while putting out.

When there is damage to a hole, try to remember these three steps and you’ll always get it right under the Rules. 
Step 1 – Is the damage a ball mark?  If yes, fix it and it’s over.  If it’s not a ball mark, go to the next step.
Step 2 – Does the damage materially change the dimensions of the hole?  If no, play without fixing the damage.  It would be a sign of good etiquette to fix the damage once all have finished the hole.  If yes, go to the next step.
Step 3 – Is a member of the committee readily available?  If yes, ask them to fix the damage.  If not, you may fix the damage. 
You will find a detailed explanation of these three steps in Decision 16-1a/6.  In the example you cited, unless the damage to the hole was significant, you would probably have to play without being able to fix the damage.  By all means, please fix the damage after all in your group have finished the hole.

Player A hits a blind shot hole in one. Player B hits onto the green also. Player A lines up his opponents ball and makes it for a seeming birdie. Player B calls a penalty on Player A for playing the wrong ball. Player A claims that his original shot was already holed out and marks an ace on the card. Who is right?

My first question; where is Player B when Player A is lining up Player B’s ball?  She should be questioning why she sees only one ball on the green.  Regardless, golf is a simple game.  Once you have holed out, there is very little you can do to change that.  The answer is found in the Decisions on the Rules of Golf, Decision 1-1/4:  A.Since the play of the hole was completed when the original ball was holed (Rule 1-1), the player was not in breach of Rule 15-3 for subsequently playing a wrong ball.

A player lies 3 on the green.  She removes a loose impediment and in doing so moves her ball.  She replaces the ball and decides to mark, but not clean her ball.

She accidentally kicks her ball as she is lining up her putt.  She again replaces her ball, marks it and now decides to clean it.  She putts her ball and it overhangs the lip of the hole.  She stares at the ball for a few seconds, then walks to the hole, waits 15 seconds and the ball falls into the hole.  What is the player's score for the hole?

The total score is 6.  There is no penalty for moving your ball on the green when you move a loose impediment.  There is no problem for marking your ball and not cleaning it.  Accidentally kicking your ball is a one stroke penalty and you must replace it.  Marking your ball a second time and now cleaning it is not a violation.  Once your ball overhangs the lip of the hole, a player has a reasonable amount of time to arrive at the hole plus an addition ten seconds.  If the ball subsequently falls in the hole, it counts and an additional penalty stroke is added.  So one stroke and two penalty strokes after the player already had played 3 to the green makes a total of 6 for the hole.

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I live in South Dakota. We often have 25 - 35 mph winds. If my ball is on the green and I move to address the ball to putt and the wind moves my ball, what are my options?

If you had not addressed the ball and done nothing to cause it to move, you should have continued to play the ball from its new position without penalty.

My question involves the tee box and where you can stand within the tee box markers. What is the area that defines the tee box for stance and ball placement? Can you tee in front of the tee markers and how far left, right and back of the markers can you tee-up from?

The answer to your question can be found in a reading of Rule 11 and the definition of the Teeing Ground in the rule booklet. In summary the teeing ground is a two club-length area that is measured by the front and outside of the two tee markers. A ball is outside the teeing ground when all of it is outside the teeing ground. In other words the ball must be teed within the two club-length area to begin the play of the hole. The player need not be standing within that two club-length area when starting the play of the hole. Should the ball be outside the designated area Rule 11-4 clarifies the correct procedures in the various forms of play.

I have to stand on a cart path to hit the ball. I find my nearest point of relief but because of a wall marking out of bounds, I can not get one club length from the nearest point of relief. Do I have to drop in the six inches between the spot of nearest relief and the wall or am I entitled to find a place where I can get the nearest point plus one club length. I know that I can play my ball as it lies.

This is not uncommon when a cart path is adjacent or close to an out of bounds fence or wall. The first thing to remember is that interference by an immovable obstruction occurs when a ball lies in or on the obstruction, or when the obstruction interferes with your stance or the area of your intended swing. If you find your nearest point of relief as described above, then you must drop the ball within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than that point. If the ball when dropped comes to rest nearer the hole or rolls back into the condition where interference still exists, you are required to re-drop. (See Rule 20-2c regarding re-dropping procedure).

During a stable four tournament I shot my second shot over the green into a deep ravine believing it was unplayable. I shot a provisional ball with one less club and it went in the hole. I thought I had made par. My opponent's caddy found my ball in the ravine in an unplayable situation, and my opponent argued that I had to play the first ball because provisional balls only apply to lost or out of bounds balls. Who was right?

Scenario 1
You are not allowed to play a provisional ball for a ball that might be unplayable, therefore when you dropped and played another ball, that ball became the ball in play under the stroke and distance option (Rule 28a). When you holed your next stroke your score for the hole was four.
Scenario 2
If you thought that your ball might have been lost outside a water hazard or out of bounds, you were entitled to play a provisional ball. However, you had to tell your fellow-competitor or opponent before proceeding. If you failed to do so and played another ball, that ball became the ball in play under penalty of stroke and distance. The original ball was lost. (See Rule 27-2a). Your score for the hole would have been four.
Scenario 3
If you had proceeded correctly under the provisional ball rule, (Rule 27-2), and the original ball was found before the provisional ball was picked out of the hole, then you were obligated to complete the hole with the original ball.
Several Decisions relating to this question: Dec. 27-2a/2 and Dec. 27-2b/2

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