Accidentally Knocking your Ball off the Tee

Accidentally Knocking Your Ball off the Tee

Most of us have accidentally knocked our ball off the tee when setting up for our drive.

Then, there’s always somebody in your group who shouts’, “One”.

 But is it actually a stroke? Does it count? NO!

Rule 6.1a tells us that we start a hole by making a stroke and a stroke, by definition, is the forward movement of the club with the intent to hit the ball. Knocking the ball off the tee by accident is not an intent to hit the ball, so it doesn’t count as a stroke. You can put the ball back on the tee and hit away with no penalty.

The teeing area is a special part of the golf course. The teeing area is a rectangle with the corners being the front edges of the tee markers and two club lengths backwards.

You can alter the surface, move bend or break grass, remove dew or press down grass or dirt within the teeing area before you start the hole.

If you make a stroke with the intention of hitting your ball, then that stroke counts even if you barely make contact with your ball or even whiff it (air-shot).

If your ball moves outside the teeing area you must play your ball as it lies.

However, should you barely make contact with your ball or even whiff it (air-shot) and your ball stays within the teeing area you have many more options than you had before the 2019 rules changes.

  1. You can play your ball as it lies, pick it up and move it anywhere within that teeing area with no penalty to make your next stroke. (Rule 9.4b).
  2. You can even tee it up again or substitute a new ball!

The new rules have made the teeing area a free for all in many respects and knowing this rule can be used to your advantage.

But when is your ball in the Teeing Area?

Your ball is in the teeing area when any part of your ball touches or is above any part of the teeing area.

See the diagram below:

Image detailing when a ball is in the teeing area
WHEN BALL IS IN TEEING AREA The dotted line defines the outside edges of the teeing area (see Definition of Teeing Area). A ball is in the teeing area when any part of the ball touches or is above part of the teeing area.

Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) – Updated August 2022

Update on the Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) August 2022

At the end of each day, the playing conditions calculation takes place automatically to determine if scores made at the course were significantly higher or lower than the expected scores of the players who made them, primarily due to weather and/or course set up.

If scores were abnormally low or high, a PCC adjustment between -1 and +3 will be applied in the calculation of Score Differentials™ of everyone who played that day. A negative (-) adjustment means the course played easier than expected and a positive (+) adjustment means the course played more difficult than expected. A PCC of 0 means the course played as expected, which will be the case on most days.

The PCC:

  • Uses scoring data so no action is required by the club/course staff or golfer (except for posting scores),
  • Includes only scores made by players with a Handicap Index® of 36.0 or below,
  • Considers both 9-hole and 18-hole scores in the calculation, and
  • Only takes place if at least 8 scores were posted on a given day.
  • (Rule 5.6, Rules of Handicapping)

Date published: 22 Aug 2022

Since the launch of the World Handicap System in November 2020, England Golf has received feedback from golfers, clubs and counties on a wide range of topics.

One of the most talked about aspects of WHS has been the Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) and its lack of movement compared to the old Competition Scratch Score (CSS).

England Golf have been analysing this very carefully across GB&I and have presented this to The R&A to help with their own research and that of other countries on this topic. As a result of this work, we can report that a change will be made to the algorithm that calculates PCC.

Statement from The R&A/USGA

Analysis of scoring data provided from 24 countries around the world indicates that a change to the rounding method used within the current PCC algorithm would increase the instance of an adjustment for abnormal conditions by an average of 5%.

For example, in countries where an adjustment for PCC only occurs on average 10% of the time on eligible days, this change will increase the average to about 15%.

This small change, recently approved by the Handicap Operations Committee, is in response to feedback from national associations that the current PCC algorithm is too conservative.

While this may feel like a small change, we expect the impact to be significant in highlighting days where a player’s performance was significantly different from that expected by the system.

Please note that there will be no change to the visibility of the calculation. This is an algorithm built within the WHS and is not available to clubs.

This change will not be made retrospectively and will take place on or around Monday 22 August 2022.

Mobile Score Input – Update

Mobile Score Input – Update

We were informed, by England Golf, in August 2022, that a World Handicap System scheme has launched allowing golfers across the UK to submit their scores online via a Mobile Scoring App when playing outside their respective countries.

A pilot scheme allowing golfers in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales to put in scores when playing across their respective countries has gone live.

Nearly two years after its launch, players across the Home Nations, in GB&I, can finally submit their scores via their jurisdiction’s App on a Mobile Device.

The project, being shepherded by England Golf and Scottish Golf on behalf of the R&A and USGA, means you should now be able to easily submit scores from rounds played and submitted in one country to your WHS record.

It’s been one of the weaknesses since the system launched in November 2020 that players have had to go through a convoluted process if they wanted to, for example, have general play scores from Scottish courses count towards their English handicaps.

But, Richard Flint, England Golf’s chief operating officer, said the ability to automatically transfer scores is now possible across the home nations – and the governing body is hoping to soon add more countries across the world.

“We feel we’re in a good place with WHS, but there’s more that can be done,” “Interoperability is another thing we’re conscious of and we’re really pleased with Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, that we now have that in place across borders in terms of handicap lookup and submitting scores through GB&I.

“That’s been the test case for the rest of the world and so we’re really eager that we can take that on and have that interoperability with the rest of the world because then it is truly a worldwide handicap system.”

But how many of you had the experience when you tried to submit your score of being presented with a blank screen, suggesting nothing had changed.

If you’re a member of an English club, for example, and have played a round in Scotland and want it to count towards your handicap, what do you have to do?

A score has to be entered by the host venue into the WHS platform. Scores still cannot be posted by the MyEG App when played outside England.

Although software companies have been given the specification to develop a link, they are only at a testing stage for Mobile Devices.

This is not ideal, but it’s probably less of a nuisance than what you had to do before, where you had to tell your own club you were going to put in a score, then tell the host club, give your card to that club when the round was over so that you knew the PCC, if one was applied, take a copy of that card and return it to your own club, who would finally submit the score to the WHS platform.

In time, you should be able to enter your scores into your Mobile App and in the club computer at the course you are playing, in the same way that you would do at your home Club when playing a competition or putting in a general play score.

New regulations for the returning of General Play Scores

The GB&I Golfing governing bodies have introduced new regulations for the returning of General Play Scores for the purpose of “Safeguarding Handicap Integrity”.

These regulations stipulate a maximum distance that the player can be from the club when a round is pre-registered, and a score is returned using a mobile device. They are also stipulating a minimum duration between pre-registration and score submission.

These distance/time limits are as follows for the different home unions:

  • England 2 Miles/3.2km – minimum 1 hour for 9 holes, 2 hours for 18
  • Ireland 1.86 Miles 3Km – minimum 1 hour for 9 holes, 2 hours for 18
  • Scotland 1 Mile/1.6Km – minimum 45 minutes for 9 holes, 1 hour 30 minutes for 18
  • Wales 1.86 Miles/3Km – minimum 1 hour for 9 holes, 2 hours for 18

“Pre-Registration” equals “Sign-In”.

What is Stroke Index?

Stroke Index

Stroke Indexes are designed to allow for handicap Match Play games. In Strokeplay between players of unequal handicaps, it is simple to determine a winner – deduct each player’s handicap from the gross score and you get the net score and lowest net score wins.

But in Match Play, when the competition is to win individual holes, on which holes should the handicap be applied? This is where we need Stroke Index, For example:

With a difference in Playing Handicaps between Tony and John, Tony  has to give John 4 shots during the round – but on which holes? The answer is on the stroke index 1, 2, 3 and 4 holes.

Stroke index is also used in other competitions, prime among them Stableford competitions. Here points are earned on each hole in relation to each golfer’s net par for the hole. To work out the net par for each hole you need the stroke index. For example:

If Sarah has a playing handicap of 10, she will get one extra shot on the holes with stroke index 1 to 10 inclusive. Ann, with a playing handicap of 19 will get two extra shots on SI 1 and one extra shot on each of the other 17.

Although The ‘Handicap Stroke Index’ was designed for Match Play, because it is also used widely for Stableford, Par and Bogey competitions in these forms of stroke play competition the need to have a uniform and balanced distribution of strokes is less compelling. There is therefore a strong case for the Index in such competitions to be aligned to the ranking of holes in terms of playing difficulty irrespective of hole number.

For this reason, some clubs have two sets of stroke index, one for Match Play and one for Stableford. The Stableford ranking is more a straightforward ranking of the difficulty of each hole.

Stroke Index Allocation

The recommended procedure for the allocation of stroke index values in the Rules of Handicapping under the World Handicap System (WHS) has changed from the recommendations found in the previous USGA and CONGU Handicap Systems.

For the WHS a simple, consistent and data-based approach is used that can be applied to any course in the world, regardless of the number or type of players at the course.

Because stroke allocation is used in match play, but also in certain forms of stroke play such as four-ball stroke play and Stableford. It was not preferred to maintain a separate stroke index table for both Match Play and Stroke Play for a number of reasons, keeping things simple was the primary factor.

The conclusion was to base the stroke index table on overall hole difficulty relative to par as a starting point, then use the procedures that work well to provide equity in match play, including placing odds and evens on different sides, avoiding consecutive low stroke index holes, and avoiding low stroke index holes at the beginning or end of a nine. It was also a recommendation to have separate stroke index tables for women and men, but not have multiple stroke index tables per gender as that can lead to players selecting tees in order to gain an advantage, especially if trying to maximize strokes between partners in team events.  

From worldwide research, in match play, the stroke index order is not really important in producing equitable results as long as the strokes are spread out, consecutive low strokes are avoided, and low strokes at the beginning or end of each nine are avoided. So, applying the triad concept of using three-hole clusters (with the lowest stroke hole on each nine in the middle of the nine), spreading out low stroke holes, and avoiding consecutive low stroke holes produces a simple but effective method for allocation.

As stroke index values are also used in stroke play or Stableford play, it was important to generate an allocation based on overall difficulty, which is where the Course Rating data is used. Using Course Rating data, which factors in both effective playing length and obstacle ratings, provides a consistent method regardless of the makeup of players at the course. While the stroke index values are ultimately adjusted to accommodate the recommended procedures for match play, they are generally consistent with the order of difficulty as ranked using Course Rating data. Stroke Indexes also play a part in Handicap Index Calculation, because it is used to determine the maximum score that can be recorded for a player on each hole.

Since the maximum hole score allowed for handicap purposes is based on a net double bogey, which is tied to the stroke index value, it is important to have the holes ranked in a general order of difficulty. 

As with the previous Handicap Systems, stroke index allocation is a recommendation and courses are free to use whichever method they choose. There is no recommendation for a course to run a new allocation solely due to the move to the WHS. However, for courses that are looking to run a new allocation, the new WHS method produces consistent and acceptable values without the need to find specific players and collect hundreds of scores from a common tee.  

For more information on Stroke Index Allocation under the World Handicap System Click Here.