2019 CONGU Unified Handicap System Manual

Hello

Hope you all have enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and looking forward to a New Year of Golf.

Just a quick note to let you know that CONGU have just released their 2019 Version of the UHS Handbook.

You will be able to download a Player’s Quick Guide, Secretaries Quick Guide and a Full Version of the Manual if you click on Quick Guide to 2019 CONGU UHS.

Happy New Year and good golf!

Tony

Email: tony@my-golf.uk

Rules Blog: www.my-golf.uk

 

Update to Rules of Golf 2019 – Major Changes Most Relevant to Golfers

Rules of Golf 2019 – Major Changes Most Relevant to Golfers

I have added a video to this page under item 19.

Touching Loose Impediments or Ground in a Penalty Area.

It better illustrates Rule 17.1b, ‘play the ball as it lies, without penalty, under the same rules that apply to a ball in the General Area, i.e. there are no specific Rules limiting how a ball may be played from a penalty area.

To view the video click on Touching Loose Impediments or Ground in a Penalty Area

Tony

Is removing loose impediments, if they lie in front of or behind a ball, considered to be improving the lie?

A Second misconception:

Is removing loose impediments, if they lie in front of or behind a ball, considered to be improving the lie?

The answer is NO!

Under Rule 15.1, without penalty, loose impediments may be removed from anywhere on or off a course. They may be removed in any way, using a hand, foot, club or any equipment.

Under Rule 8.1 Player’s actions that improve conditions affecting the stroke does not apply to the removal of loose impediments or movable obstructions.

Loose impediments and movable obstructions (Rule 15.2) are not regarded as part of the challenge of playing a course. A player is, therefore, normally allowed to remove them when they interfere with play.

The only action a player must be careful of when removing loose impediments or obstructions close to his or her ball, anywhere off the putting green, is that the ball does not move while removing them, otherwise there will be a 1-stroke penalty, (Rule 9.4b) and the ball must be replaced on its original spot or estimated spot, Rule 14.2.

There are other issues to be mindful of when removing loose impediments, which relate to situations where a ball must be replaced or deliberately removing loose impediments or obstructions to affect a ball in motion. These are mentioned in the Rules below.

The relevant Rules 8.1, 15.1 and 15.2 are reproduced below:

Rule 8.1

Player’s Actions That Improve Conditions Affecting the Stroke

To support the principle of “play the course as you find it,” this Rule restricts what a player may do to improve any of these protected “conditions affecting the stroke” (anywhere on or off the course) for the next stroke the player will make:

  • The lie of the player’s ball at rest,
  • The area of the player’s intended stance,
  • The area of the player’s intended swing,
  • The player’s line of play, and
  • The relief area where the player will drop or place a ball.

This Rule applies to actions taken both during a round and while play is stopped under Rule 5.7a.

It does not apply to:

  • The removal of loose impediments or movable obstructions, which is allowed to the extent provided in Rule 15, or
  • An action taken while a player’s ball is in motion, which is covered by Rule 11.

Rule 15.1:

Loose Impediments
a
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:

Exception 1 – Removing Loose Impediment Where Ball Must Be Replaced: Before replacing a ball that was lifted or moved from anywhere except the putting green:

  • A player must not deliberately remove a loose impediment that, if moved when the ball was at rest, would have been likely to have caused the ball to move.
  • If the player does so, he or she gets one penalty stroke, but the removed loose impediment does not need to be replaced.

This exception applies both during a round and while play is stopped under Rule 5.7a. It does not apply to a loose impediment that is removed as a result of marking the spot of a ball, lifting or replacing a ball or causing a ball to move.

Exception 2 – Restrictions on Deliberately Removing Loose Impediments to Affect Ball in Motion (see Rule 11.3).

b
Ball Moved When Removing Loose Impediment

If a player’s removal of a loose impediment causes his or her ball to move:

  • The ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated) (see Rule 14.2).
  • If the moved ball had been at rest anywhere except on the putting green (see Rule 13.1d) or in the teeing area (see Rule 6.2b(6)), the player gets one penalty stroke under Rule 9.4b, except when Rule 7.4 applies (no penalty for ball moved during search) or when another exception to Rule 9.4b applies.

Penalty for Playing Incorrectly Substituted Ball or Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Rule 15.1: General Penalty Under Rule 6.3b or 14.7a.

If multiple Rule breaches result from a single act or related acts, see Rule 1.3c(4).

Rule 15.2

Movable Obstructions

This Rule covers free relief that is allowed from artificial objects that meet the definition of movable obstruction.

It does not give relief from immovable obstructions (a different type of free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1) or boundary objects or integral objects (no free relief is allowed).

a
Relief from Movable Obstruction

(1) Removal of Movable Obstruction. Without penalty, a player may remove a movable obstruction anywhere on or off the course and may do so in any way.

But there are two exceptions:

Exception 1 – Tee Markers Must Not be Moved When Ball Will Be Played from Teeing Area (see Rules 6.2b(4) and 8.1a(1)).

Exception 2 – Restrictions on Deliberately Removing Movable Obstruction to Affect a Ball in Motion (see Rule 11.3).

If a player’s ball moves while he or she is removing a movable obstruction:

  • 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).

(2) Relief When Ball Is in or on Movable Obstruction Anywhere on Course Except on Putting Green. The player may take free relief by lifting the ball, removing the movable obstruction and dropping the original ball or another ball in this relief area (see Rule 14.3):

  • Reference Point: The estimated point right under where the ball was at rest in or on the movable obstruction.
  • 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 same area of the course as the reference point, and
    • Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point.

(3) Relief When Ball Is in or on Movable Obstruction on Putting Green. The player may take free relief by:

  • Lifting the ball and removing the movable obstruction, and
  • Placing the original ball or another ball on the estimated spot right under where the ball was at rest in or on the movable obstruction, using the procedures for replacing a ball under Rule 14.2b(2) and 14.2e.
b
Relief for Ball Not Found but in or on Movable Obstruction

If a player’s ball has not been found and it is known or virtually certain that it came to rest in or on a movable obstruction on the course, the player may use this relief option instead of taking stroke-and-distance relief:

  • The player may take free relief under Rule 15.2a(2) or 15.2a(3), using the estimated point right under where the ball last crossed the edge of the movable obstruction on the course as the reference point.
  • Once the player puts another ball in play to take relief in this way:
    • The original ball is no longer in play and must not be played.
    • This is true even if it is then found on the course before the end of the three-minute search time (see Rule 6.3b).

But if it is not known or virtually certain that the ball came to rest in or on a movable obstruction and the ball is lost, the player must take stroke-and-distance relief under Rule 18.2.

Penalty for Playing Incorrectly Substituted Ball or Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Rule 15.2: General Penalty Under Rule 6.3b or 14.7a.

If multiple Rule breaches result from a single act or related acts, see Rule 1.3c(4).

Enjoy your golf,

Tony

In taking free-relief for a ball embedded in a fairway, should the ball be dropped or placed?

It is good to hear that Golf Clubs are running Rules Presentations to inform members of the new Rules of Golf and help them through the transition period from the current R&A and USGA Rules.

I have been aware, however, of some misconceptions and would like to clear them up if I can.

The first is concerning Balls Embedded in the General Area:

In taking free-relief for a ball embedded in a fairway, should the ball be dropped or placed?

The ball has come to rest in the General Area, so free relief is allowable under  Rule 16.3a, and the procedure to follow is set out in Rule 16.3b of the Rules of Golf.

The ball is dropped within a defined relief area, and the pitch-mark must not be repaired until after the shot is played, otherwise the action is improving the lie and the General Penalty of 2 strokes is incurred.

Because the ball is being dropped the position of the ball does not have to be marked, although it is always recommended to do so, to indicate a point of reference, and the ball may be cleaned.

Diagram Illustrating Fre Relief for a ball Embedded in the General Area
Diagram Illustrating Free Relief for a ball Embedded in the General Area

The ball must be dropped:

  1. From knee-height,
  2. Remain within a defined relief area of
  3. 1 club-length of a point directly behind the ball, and not just as close as possible to where the ball lies, either behind or to the side, as in the current Rules. See the diagram above.
  4. The relief area must not be nearer to the hole than the reference point and must be in the General Area.

However, if a Local Rule for Preferred Lies (Winter Rules), is in operation, after dropping the ball, and it has come to rest within the relief area, it may be marked, lifted again, cleaned and placed within 6 inches or a scorecard width of the spot where it came to rest. (Remember to remove the ball-marker before playing your next stroke, otherwise you incur a 1-stroke penalty, Rule 14.1a).

The explanation above relates only to a ball embedded in the General Area of a course.

This means that it does not apply to a ball embedded in a penalty area or a bunker.

The situation in these areas have relief rules that apply specifically to them.

Similarly, if a ball becomes embedded on the putting green being played to      (which is not considered part of the General Area), then a different procedure for free-relief is allowable under Rule 16.3a:

  1. Mark the spot where the ball has come to rest
  2. Lift and clean the ball
  3. Repair the damage caused by the ball’s impact
  4. Replace the ball ON ITS ORIGINAL SPOT, Rule 13.1c(2).

The relevant rules in full are:

Rule 16.3a

Embedded Ball

When Relief Is Allowed:

  • (1) Ball Must Be Embedded in General Area. Relief is allowed under Rule 16.3b only when a player’s ball is embedded in the general area.
  • There is no relief under this Rule if the ball is embedded anywhere except in the general area.
  • But if the ball is embedded on the putting green, the player may mark the spot of the ball and lift and clean the ball, repair the damage caused by the ball’s impact, and replace the ball on its original spot (see Rule 13.1c(2)).
  • Exceptions – When Relief Not Allowed for Ball Embedded in General Area: Relief under Rule 16.3b is not allowed:
  • When the ball is embedded in sand in a part of the general area that is not cut to fairway height or less, or
  • When interference by anything other than the ball being embedded makes the stroke clearly unreasonable (for example, when a player is unable to make a stroke because of where the ball lies in a bush).
  • (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.
  • If the player cannot tell for sure whether the ball is in its own pitch-mark or a pitch-mark made by another ball, the player may treat the ball as embedded if it is reasonable to conclude from the available information that the ball is in its own pitch-mark.
  • A ball is not embedded if it is below the level of the ground as a result of anything other than the player’s previous stroke, such as when:
  • The ball is pushed into the ground by someone stepping on it,
  • The ball is driven straight into the ground without becoming airborne, or,
  • The ball was dropped in taking relief under a Rule.

Rule 16.3b

Relief for Embedded Ball

  • When a player’s ball is embedded in the general area and relief is allowed under Rule 16.3a, 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 spot right behind where the ball is embedded.
  • 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, and
    • Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point.
  • See Committee Procedures, Section 8; Model Local Rule F-2 (the Committee may adopt a Local Rule allowing relief only for a ball embedded in an area cut to fairway height or less).

A second misconception concerns the Removal of Loose Impediments and will be dealt with in the next post.

Enjoy your golf

Tony

A Quick Guide to the Rules of Golf

A Quick Guide to the Rules of Golf

I have just published a Quick Guide to the Rules of Golf Page which you can reach by clicking A Quick Guide to the Rules of Golf.

With the New Rules looming high on the horizon, I hope it will provide a useful shortened version of the rules to guide the hardened golfers amongst you to cope with your early rounds of golf under the New Rules of Golf.

There is a link on the page to download a PDF copy, which you can then print.

Have a good weekend of golf!

Tony

Ball Hitting Unattended Flagstick Deflected into Hole

Ball Hitting Unattended Flagstick Deflected into Hole

Another recent question that I was asked.

Q. If my ball on the putting green strikes a Flagstick, that has been removed from the hole and laid down on the putting green, and is deflected into the hole, has my ball been holed?

A. The answer is yes and no penalty incurred, unless the Flagstick had been placed strategically in such a position to deflect your ball or to stop your ball; in that case your ball will not have been considered holed, you would incur the General Penalty of 2-strokes , have to reposition the Flagstick, replace your ball and play your stroke again. (Rule 13.2b(2)).

Enjoy your golf!

Tony

No Relief for Ball in Divot Hole

No Relief for Ball in Divot

Rather quiet for now on the Rules-front.

Inevitable in view of the fact that New Rules only 4 weeks away and no one has yet fully played to them.

However I have had a few questions put to me.

Q. I know I may not improve my lie but may I get relief for my ball that comes to rest in a divot-hole or if it has been filled with sand or the divot partially replaced may I treat it as ‘Ground Under Repair’?

A. Unfortunately there is no Free-relief from a Divot-hole, open or repaired. The R&A and USGA refer to the fundamental principles of the game of Golf

  • Play the course as you find it, and
  • Play your ball as it lies

As we all experience, there can be bad outcomes from good shots, and good outcomes from bad shots, it is part of Golf.

The governing bodies consider that “to provide relief in that situation would really challenge that principle”

The other problem is how to define a ‘divot’, would every small indentation in a fairway be a divot, how would a light divot be distinguished from an old divot, what if it is filled with sand or a divot partially replaced – would these be GUR?

There might be situations where players could question every spot in the fairway that they think is unfavourable, it could become a pace-of-play nightmare.

So, although you do not get Free-relief you may declare your ball Unplayable, under Rule 19, and play your ball, applying a 1-stroke Penalty, dropping your ball within a 2 club-length relief area.

There is more to come.

I am hoping to produce a Quick Guide to the Rules of Golf for you to download, as an easy reference for your first rounds of golf under the new Rules of Golf.

I am also working on an interactive Rules Quiz, which will have a range of questions testing your knowledge at three levels.

Meanwhile

Enjoy your golf!

Tony