When is a Player Penalised for Accidentally Hitting their Ball with a Practice Swing?

When is a Player Penalised for Accidentally Hitting their Ball with a Practice Swing?

Well, there’s been another talking point about the Rules of.

This concerns hitting your ball and moving it during a practice swing.

If you were watching the second round of the Masters Tournament last Friday, you may have seen Zach Johnson accidentally strike his ball with a practice swing on the 13th teeing area at Augusta National Golf Club. Johnson then re-teed his ball and played on without penalty.

Watch the video by clicking on Zach Johnson Accidentally strikes Ball with Practice Swing.

For many of you, this may raise the question about when exactly you may be penalised for accidentally striking and moving your ball with a practice swing.

The answer comes down to whether you may have played a stroke, your ball was in play and on what area of the course it may have occurred.

Let’s start by looking at a couple of definitions.

Firstly, the definition of ‘in play’, or the relevant part of the definition,

  • A ball first becomes in play on a hole:
    • When the player makes a stroke at it from inside the teeing area, or
    • In match play, when the player makes a stroke at it from outside the teeing area and the opponent does not cancel the stroke under Rule 6.1b.
  • That ball remains in play until it is holed, except that it is no longer in play:
    • When it is lifted from the course,
    • When it is lost (even if it is at rest on the course) or comes to rest out of bounds, or
    • When another ball has been substituted for it, even if not allowed by a Rule.

Secondly, the definition of ‘stroke’, or the relevant part of the definition,

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.

For a stroke to be made you have to have the intention of wishing to hit your ball, therefore since you are making a practice swing you are not intending to hit your ball and it does not count as a stroke in the Rules of Golf, even if you strike your ball accidentally

Now we come to the outcomes for hitting your ball with a practice swing on different areas of the golf course, and this is where you will see inconsistencies in the Rule remembering the definitions I have just mentioned:

  • On the Teeing Area: When you are playing a ball from the teeing area, the ball is not in play until a stroke has been made at it. This means that when your ball is teed or on the ground in the teeing area and you make a practice swing that accidentally strikes and moves the ball, you have not made a stroke or moved a ball in play. The Rules of Golf allow you to re-tee the same ball, or another ball, without penalty. This is exactly what happened to Johnson. Note that there is also no penalty if this occurs when playing again from the teeing area after starting the hole (such as after hitting a ball out of bounds or hitting a tee shot that strikes a tree and ricochets back within the teeing area). This is covered under Rule 6.2b(5) and 6.2b(6). Please note that the “teeing area” does not include the entire tee box. It only includes the two club-length-deep area measured from the tee boxes on the tee you are playing.
  • On the Putting Green: Just as in the teeing area, the Rules of Golf are lenient if you strike and move your ball which is already on the putting green with a practice swing (or accidentally cause your ball to move in any other way), you can simply replace your ball on its original spot, or estimated spot, without penalty and play on. This is covered under Rule 9.4b Exception 3

Exception 3 – Accidental Movement on Putting Green: There is no penalty when the player accidentally causes the ball to move on the putting green (see Rule 13.1d), no matter how that happens.

  • Anywhere Else on the Course: This would include a ball that lies in a bunker, a penalty area, or anywhere in the general area (defined as anywhere on the golf course that is not the teeing area, the putting green, a bunker or a penalty area). When your ball lies in any of these areas, it is already in play. If you then take a practice swing and cause your ball to move, you still have not made a stroke, but you will get a one-stroke penalty for moving your ball in play. The ball must be replaced on its original spot. This is covered under Rule 9.4. If the player instead plays the ball from where it was moved to after their practice swing, it becomes a two-stroke penalty (or a loss-of-hole penalty in match play) and the player may or may not be required to correct their mistake (see Rule 14.7 for more information).

So, there we have it. The inconsistencies as I see them are:

  1. In the General Area, even though according to the definition of ‘stroke’ you have not made a stroke at your ball, you get a 1 Stroke-penalty
  2. On the putting green, even though your ball is in play, according to the definition of ‘in play’, you are not penalised.

Please let me know your thoughts on this, I may be wrong.

Enjoy your Golf,

Tony

Rules of Golf Blog: www.my-golf.uk

Email: tony@my-golf.uk

Clarifications of the 2019 Rules of Golf Updated April 9 2019

Clarifications of the 2019 Rules of Golf
Updated April 9 2019

The USGA and The R&A have provided a clarification that introduces a Local Rule, allowing players to replace a broken or significantly damaged club, except in cases of abuse.

Under the Local Rule, a club is “broken or significantly damaged” if it meets the following conditions:

  • the shaft breaks into pieces, splinters or is bent (but not when the shaft is only dented)
  • the club face impact area is visibly deformed (but not when the club face is only scratched)
  • the clubhead is visibly and significantly deformed
  • the clubhead is detached or loose from the shaft or
  • the grip is loose

However, a player is not allowed to replace his or her club solely because there is a crack in the club face or clubhead.

Committees can begin using this Local Rule immediately.

The R&A and USGA have also decided that Clarifications will normally be updated on a quarterly basis in January, April, July and October.
The next quarterly update will be in early July 2019.

New Clarifications

Rule 17.1d(2)
1. Reference Point for Back-On-the-Line Relief Must Be Outside Penalty Area
Model Local Rule G-9
2. Local Rule G-9 Replacing Club that is Broken or Significantly Damaged

RULES

Rule 1:
Rule 1.3c(4):
1. Playing From a Wrong Place Is Related to Causing the Ball to Move:
If a player moves his or her ball in play in breach of Rule 9.4 and plays it from its new location rather than replacing it, the player gets only the general penalty under Rule 14.7 for playing from a wrong place. The act of moving the ball in breach of Rule 9.4 is related to playing from a wrong place in breach of Rule 14.7. (Added 12/2018)

Rule 4:
Rule 4.1b(3)
See the Committee Procedures section at end of this document for MLR G-9 Replacement of Broken or Significantly Damaged Clubs
Rule 4.1c:
1. Club Taken Out of Play Must Not Be Used During That Round:
If an extra club was taken out of play before a round and carried during the round, or a club was taken out of play during the round, it must not be used for the remainder of that round. This includes a situation where a player is allowed to replace a club, and is an additional restriction in Rule 4.1b(4). (Added 12/2018)

Rule 5:
Rule 5.2:
1. First Breach Happens When First Stroke Made:
The penalty for the first breach of Rule 5.2 applies when a player commits a single act (such as making a stroke). The disqualification penalty for the second breach applies when that player commits any subsequent act that is not allowed (such as rolling a ball or making another stroke). These are not treated as related acts under Rule 1.3c(4). (Added 12/2018)

Rule 10:
Rule 10.2b(4):
1. Meaning of “Begins Taking a Stance for the Stroke”:
Rule 10.2b(4) does not allow a player to have his or her caddie deliberately stand on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball for any reason when the player begins taking a stance for the stroke. Reference to “the stroke” means the stroke that is actually made.
The player begins to take the stance for the stroke that is actually made when he or she has at least one foot in position for that stance.
If a player backs away from the stance, he or she has not taken a stance for the stroke that is actually made, and the second bullet point in Rule 10.2b(4) does not apply.
Therefore, if a player takes a stance when the caddie is deliberately standing on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball, there is no penalty under Rule 10.2b(4) if the player backs away from the stance and does not begin to take a stance for the stroke that is actually made until after the caddie has moved out of that location. This applies anywhere on the course.
Backing away means that the player’s feet or body are no longer in a position where helpful guidance on aiming at the intended target line could be given. (Added 2/2019)
2. Examples of Caddie Not Deliberately Standing Behind Ball When Player Begins Taking Stance for Stroke
Rule 10.2b(4) does not allow a player to have his or her caddie deliberately stand on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball for any reason when the player begins taking a stance for the stroke.
The use of the term “deliberately” requires the caddie to be aware that (1) the player is beginning to take a stance for the stroke to be played, and (2) he or she is standing on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball.
If the caddie is unaware of either of these two things, the caddie’s action is not deliberate and Rule 10.2b(4) does not apply.
Examples of when a caddie’s action is not considered to be deliberate include when:
– The caddie is raking a bunker or taking some similar action to care for the course and is not aware that he or she is doing so on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball.
– The player makes a stroke and the ball comes to rest near the hole and the player walks up and taps the ball into the hole while the caddie is unaware he or she is standing on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball.
– The caddie is standing on an extension of the line of play behind the ball but, when the player moves in to begin taking a stance, the caddie is facing away from the player or looking in a different direction and is unaware the player has begun to take his or her stance.
– The caddie is engaged in a task (such as obtaining a yardage) and is unaware that the player has begun to take the stance.
But, in the examples given above, when the caddie becomes aware that the player has already begun to take a stance for the stroke to be played and he or she is standing on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball, the caddie needs to make every effort to move out of the way.
Common acts that caddies take unrelated to the player setting up to the ball, such as checking to see if a player’s club will hit a tree, whether the player has interference from a cart path or holding an umbrella over a player’s head before the stroke, are not treated as deliberate actions under Rule 10.2b(4). After helping the player with such an act, there is no penalty so long as the caddie moves away before the stroke is made.
If either the player or caddie is attempting to circumvent the primary purpose of Rule 10.2b(4), which is to ensure that aiming at the intended target is a challenge that the player must overcome alone, the caddie’s actions are treated as being deliberate. (Added 2/2019)
3. Alignment Help Before Player Has Begun Taking Stance for Stroke:
Interpretation 10.2b(4)/1 explains that the primary purpose of Rule 10.2b(4) is to ensure that aiming at the intended target is a challenge that the player must overcome alone.
In a situation where a player has not yet begun to take his or her stance for the stroke but:
– the player’s feet or body are close to a position where useful guidance on aiming could be given and
– the caddie is deliberately standing on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball,
the player is treated as having begun to take a stance for the stroke (even though his or her feet are not in that position) only if the caddie gives the player help with alignment.
If alignment help is given but the player backs away before making the stroke and the caddie moves out from behind the line of play, there is no breach of the Rule. This applies anywhere on the course.
Alignment help includes when the caddie gives help by standing behind the player and moving away without saying anything but, by doing so, is giving a signal to the player that he or she is correctly aimed at the intended target. (Added 2/2019)

Rule 10.3b(2):
1. Caddie May Lift Ball When Player Will Take Relief:
So long as it is reasonable to conclude that the player is taking relief under a Rule, his or her caddie is treated as being given authorization to lift the ball and may do so without penalty. (Added 12/2018)

Rule 11:
Rule 11.1b:
1. How To Apply Exception 2 to Rule 11.1b:
Exception 2 to Rule 11.1b is to be applied using the “known or virtually certain” standard. Therefore, if there is knowledge or conclusive evidence that the ball played from the putting green accidentally hit a person, animal or movable obstruction on the putting green, the stroke does not count. (Added 12/2018)
2. Living Insects Are Animals:
Exception 2 to Rule 11.1b applies to living insects since they are animals. (Added 12/2018)

Rule 13:
Rule 13.1c(2):
1. Status of Damage From Hail:
Damage on the putting green caused by hail may be repaired. (Added 12/2018)

Rule 14:
Rule 14.3b(2):
1. Tee Is Player’s Equipment:
A tee that is being used by the player, or is being carried by the player or his or her caddie, is the player’s equipment (such as a tee marking the reference point). (Added 12/2018)Rule 14.3d:
1. Penalty for Deliberately Deflecting or Stopping Dropped Ball Always Applies:
If a player drops a ball in the right way and deliberately deflects that ball before it comes to rest in breach of Rule 14.3d, the player must drop a ball again.
When doing so, the player is not considered to be correcting a mistake under Rule 14.5b(3) and gets the general penalty under Rule 14.3d. (Added 12/2018)

Rule 14.5c:
1. Player Not Penalized When Improvement Has No Effect on Relief Area Ball Played From:
If a player improves the relief area but drops the ball in a wrong way, the player would get no penalty under Rule 8.1a if he or she dropped in the right way in a different relief area so long as the improvement did not also improve the relief area that the player played from. (Added 12/2018)

Rule 16:
Rule 16.1a(3):
1. Meaning of “Clearly Unreasonable to Play Ball” When Deciding If Relief Is Allowed:
The purpose of Rule 16.1a(3) is to prevent a player from obtaining free relief when it is clearly unreasonable for him or her to make a stroke because of interference by something from which free relief is not available. But it does not apply, for example, if a player’s ball is embedded in the general area and he or she is standing on an immovable obstruction. In this case, the player may take relief from either condition unless relief is unreasonable because of something other than either condition. (Added 12/2018)

Rule 16.3b:
1. Player Not Always Allowed to Take Embedded Ball Relief:
If a player’s ball is embedded in the general area but neither the reference point nor any part of the course within one club-length of the reference point is in the general area, the player is not allowed to take free relief under Rule 16.3b.
For example, free relief is not allowed if:
– a ball is embedded at the very base of the lip, wall or face above a bunker,
– the spot right behind the ball is in the bunker and
– within one club-length of and not nearer the hole from that reference point, there is no part of the relief area that is in the general area. (Added 12/2018)

Rule 17:
Rule 17.1d(2):
1. Reference Point for Back-On-the-Line Relief Must Be Outside Penalty Area:
When taking back-on-the-line relief from a penalty area, the reference point must be outside that penalty area. (Added 04/2019)

Rule 24:
Rule 24.4b:
1. Advice Giver Must Not Deliberately Stand Behind Player:
If an advice giver deliberately stands behind a player from when he or she starts to take a stance, if the player asks or authorizes the advice giver to do this, he or she gets the general penalty under Rule 10.2b(4) – see Rule 1.3c(1), first bullet point.
If the player did not ask or authorize the advice giver to stand in that location but knows that this is not allowed and does not take reasonable steps to object or stop it from happening, the player gets the general penalty under Rule 10.2b(4) – see Rule 1.3c(1), second bullet point. (Added 12/2018)

DEFINITIONS

Club-Length:
1. Meaning of “Club-Length” When Playing with Partner:
In partner forms of play, either partner’s longest club, except a putter, may be used for defining the teeing area or determining the size of a relief area. (Added 12/2018)

Relief Area:
1. Determining Whether Ball in Relief Area:
When determining whether a ball has come to rest within a relief area (i.e. either one or two club-lengths from the reference point depending on the Rule being applied), the ball is in the relief area if any part of the ball is within the one or two club-length measurement. However, a ball is not in a relief area if any part of the ball is nearer the hole than the reference point or when any part of the ball has interference from the condition from which free relief is taken. (Added 12/2018)

COMMITTEE PROCEDURES

Model Local Rule B-2:
1. Point on Opposite Edge Must Not Cross Another Area of the Course:
With the Model Local Rule in use, if the straight line from the edge where the ball last crossed into the penalty area to the other edge that is an equal distance from the hole crosses outside the penalty area, the player is not allowed to use that opposite point. (Added 12/2018)

Model Local Rule F-5:
1. Immovable Obstruction Is Not Required to Be in General Area:
In relation to the location of the immovable obstruction, the term “within two club-lengths of the putting green” includes an immovable obstruction that is on the putting green. (Added 12/2018)

Model Local Rule G-9:
1. Local Rule G-9 for Replacement of Club that is Broken or Significantly Damaged

Model Local Rule G-9
“Rule 4.1b(3) is modified in this way:
If a player’s club is “broken or significantly damaged” during the round by the player or caddie, except in cases of abuse, the player may replace the club with any club under Rule 4.1b(4).
When replacing a club, the player must immediately take the broken or significantly damaged club out of play, using the procedure in Rule 4.1c(1).
For the purposes of this Local Rule:
• A club is “broken or significantly damaged” when:
➢ the shaft breaks into pieces, splinters or is bent (but not when the shaft is only dented)
➢ the club face impact area is visibly deformed (but not when the club face is only scratched)
➢ the clubhead is visibly and significantly deformed
➢ the clubhead is detached or loose from the shaft, or
➢ the grip is loose.
Exception: A club face or clubhead is not “broken or significantly damaged” solely because it is cracked.
Penalty for Breach of Local Rule – See Rule 4.1b.” (Added 4/2019)

You may download a full copy of the revised clarifications by clicking on the download button below:

Download “R&A and USGA Clarifications of the Rules of Golf - April 2019 2019” – Downloaded 0 times –

Enjoy your golf,

Tony

Rules of Golf Blog: www.my-golf.uk

Email: tony@my-golf.uk

15 The Boundaries

Lympsham

Somerset

BS24 0DF

Concessions in Match Play

Concessions in Match Play

Well a couple of points have come to light regarding strokes being conceded. Remember that it is against the Rules of Golf to concede strokes in Stroke Play, balls have to be holed-out, unless you are playing a social game amongst your friends when you may give ‘gimmes’ to speed up play.

The first point came as a question from a subscriber to my Rules Blog concerning the matter of a player, in a team 4BBB Match Play event, continuing to putt out after her/his putt had been conceded by an opponent, but before her/his partner has putted, who may be in a position to better the player’s score for that hole.

The question was:

“”Whilst there is no penalty when a player putts out after their next stroke has been conceded, if this would be of help to a partner in a Four-Ball or Four Ball Better Ball Match, the player’s score for the hole stands, without a penalty, but the partner’s score for the hole cannot count for the side. (Exception to Rule 23.6)”

I have read this over a number of times, but I cannot understand the final words “but the partner’s score for the hole cannot count for the side”.

If the partner of the player (that had received a concession but still holed out for the 4BBB) actually gets a better score on the hole (for the Match Play – or the 4BBB), why can’t the partner’s score count for the side (in the Match Play)?

I must be missing something but will appreciate clarification.”

The answer to this question comes in the Exception to Rule 23.6

Rule 23.6 Side’s Order of Play

 Partners may play in the order the side considers best.

This means that when it is a player’s turn to play under Rule 6.4a (match play) or 6.4b (stroke play), either the player or his or her partner may play next.

Exception – Continuing Play of Hole After Stroke Conceded in Match Play:

A player must not continue play of a hole after the player’s next stroke has been conceded if this would help his or her partner.

If the player does so, his or her score for the hole stands without penalty, but the partner’s score for the hole cannot count for the side.

The relevant wording in the exception is, ‘a player must not continue play of a hole after the player’s next stroke has been conceded if this would help his or her partner.’

If a player’s putt may help her/his partner read a line-of-putt or pace-of-putt etc. then it would be better for the partner to putt first, before any concession is made.

Match Play is a game of strategy, and if an opponent sees that a player’s putt may help his partner then it is likely that the opponent may jump in and concede the player’s putt before s/he has a chance to give her/his partner any help in reading their putt. The player’s partner still has an opportunity to putt out, for a better score, provided the player does not putt out after the concession, otherwise the player’s score counts.

So, if your next putt has been conceded, but your partner could record a better score, don’t putt-out after the concession, in case your opponents consider it may help your partner, otherwise your score must count.

 The next point I have on ‘Concessions’ is the incident that Sergio Garcia had in the recent World Golf Championships in Austin Texas, during his Quarter Final match against Matt Kuchar when he misses his putt for par on the 7th Hole.

Watch the video below, sorry that there are ads in this video but click on the play button after each ad to see what Sergio does

Sergio went on to lose the quarter-final and felt hard done by because Matt Kuchar had not conceded his putt or offered to halve the hole.

In Kuchar’s defence, Sergio acted recklessly and too quickly in striking his ball with the back of his putter, not allowing Kuchar time to make a concession. A concession must be made immediately, before a player makes another stroke at her/his ball.

A concession cannot be made retrospectively and so Garcia had to accept that, through his impetuous action, he had lost the hole.

Anyway, why should Kuchar reward Sergio for such unprofessional behaviour?

Because Sergio had on a previous occasion conceded a hole to Ricky Fowler because he felt that in delaying play by asking for a second referee’s ruling on the lie of his ball he had led Ricky Fowler to lose the hole they were playing.

This was a generous and sportsman-like act on Sergio’s behalf, but should not lead him to automatically expect the same sort of action from other players whatever the reason.

So, what are concessions in Match Play?

Rule 3.2b of Rules of Golf states

(1) Player May Concede Stroke, Hole or Match. A player may concede the opponent’s next stroke, a hole or the match:

  • Conceding Next Stroke. This is allowed any time before the opponent’s next stroke is made.
    • The opponent has then completed the hole with a score that includes that conceded stroke, and the ball may be removed by anyone.
    • A concession made while the opponent’s ball is still in motion after the previous stroke applies to the opponent’s next stroke, unless the ball is holed (in which case the concession does not matter).
    • The player may concede the opponent’s next stroke by deflecting or stopping the opponent’s ball in motion only if that is done specifically to concede the next stroke and only when there is no reasonable chance the ball can be holed.
  • Conceding a Hole. This is allowed any time before the hole is completed (see Rule 6.5), including before the players start the hole.
  • Conceding the Match. This is allowed any time before the result of the match is decided (see Rules 3.2a(3) and (4)), including before the players start the match.

(2) How Concessions Are Made. A concession is made only when clearly communicated:

  • This can be done either verbally or by an action that clearly shows the player’s intent to concede the stroke, the hole or the match (such as making a gesture).
  • If the opponent lifts his or her ball in breach of a Rule because of a reasonable misunderstanding that the player’s statement or action was a concession of the next stroke or the hole or match, 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).

Although there are various types of concession, in our games of golf the most common situation that we will come across is that of conceding a putt.

A “conceded putt” is a putt that your opponent in a golf match gives you; that is, your opponent allows you to count the putt as made without requiring you to actually putt it into the hole.

As soon as your opponent tells you s/he’s conceding your putt, your putt is considered holed. For example if you were lying four and your putt is conceded, you pick up your golf ball, mark down a “5” on your scorecard and move on.

The act of telling an opponent you are conceding her/his putt is called “conceding the putt” or “giving the putt”; a putt that’s been conceded is a “concession.”

Reasons to Concede a Putt and the Strategies Involved

 Why would anyone concede an opponent’s putt? Why wouldn’t you force them to make every putt on the chance they might miss?

Well, if your opponent’s ball is just a few inches from the cup, a concession might be given just to keep up a good pace of play.

If the opponent’s ball is two feet from the cup, then the decision whether to concede may require more thought.

Conceding putts is not mandatory; if you want to make your opponent hole out on every green, just don’t offer any concessions.

The idea that one should never concede a putt to an opponent in a match is certainly one that is held by many golfers but there are different schools of thought among golfers when it comes to concessions:

  1. Never concede a putt. Think that every putt is missable, after all, no matter how unlikely; even a 6-inch putt can be missed. So, force your opponent to hole-out every single time. However, be mindful of the fact that if you take the never-concede-a-putt approach, that your opponent is not going to offer you any concessions, either.
  2. Concede every putt that is short enough. “Short enough” means whatever distance you feel is close enough to allow a ‘concession’. This approach will speed up play, and, perhaps, foster goodwill. A golfer who is conceding every very short putt is more likely to have the same-length putts of his own conceded.
  3. Concede very short putts early, but not late. This is a tactical approach favoured by some golfers that may work on the theory that you should deny your opponent a chance to get comfortable over those short, nervy putts. Golfers who don’t get to roll any of those short putts into the hole, early in a match (because of concessions), might be more prone to miss such a putt later in the match when the pressure is higher and when a concession is suddenly withheld.

No matter what Match Play strategy you subscribe to there is a bit of advice from Gary McCord, in the instructional book Golf for Dummies:

“Always ask yourself whether you’d fancy hitting the same putt. If the answer is ‘no’ or even ‘not really,’ say nothing and watch.”

Your concession strategy might also be influenced by how much you know about your opponent. Knowing your opposition to be a strong or weak putter, or to have a strong or weak mental game, can influence when and how often you concede a putt.

Concessions Are Given, Never Requested

Note that conceded putts are not something you should request; concessions are solely at the discretion of the opponent. It’s entirely up to you whether your match play opponent gets to pick up his ball without putting out; it’s entirely up to your opponent whether or not to concede your putt. You may not ask for a concession!

Can You Rescind a Conceded Putt?

For example, if you inform an opponent you are conceding her/his putt, but before s/he picks up the ball, you change your mind. Can you rescind the concession?

No. A concession means the ball is holed. Concessions must be made immediately and as soon as you concede an opponent’s stroke, that ball is considered holed and your opponent’s play of that hole is over. If your opponent decides to putt out anyway, after your concession, and misses, it doesn’t matter. (Remember, however, the point I made about a partner putting out after a concession has been made in a Four-ball Format). When a concession is given, that golfer’s play of a hole is over.

How Do You Indicate That You Are Conceding a Putt?

If you decide to concede a putt, be sure that your concession is clear and not misunderstood. You may indicate the concession verbally or by some unambiguous signal.

Most golfers who are giving a concession simply say to their opponent, “that’s good” or “pick that one up.”

However, if you ever see or hear something from an opponent and you are unclear whether your putt has been conceded or not, ask them to repeat it and clarify. Never pick a ball up unless you are certain a concession has been offered.

Can You Concede a Putt Retrospectively?

The short answer is NO. A concession has to be made immediately, before your opponent makes another stroke at her/his ball.

Hope you have found this useful, especially when you come to playing your Club’s Knockout Competitions this season.

Enjoy your golf!

Tony

Email: tony@my-golf.uk

Rules Blog: www.my-golf.uk

Pros Getting it Wrong – Relief from Yellow Penalty Areas

Pros Getting it Wrong – Relief from Yellow Penalty Area

One more error from a Professional Golfer that, by not knowing or applying a Rule of Golf, cost him dearly in a Big Tournament.

But before I say anymore just a reminder of the Definitions of Relief Area and Relief from a Yellow Penalty Area.

  • Definition of Relief Area

The area where a player must drop a ball when taking relief under a Rule. Each relief Rule requires the player to use a specific relief area whose size and location are based on these three factors:

  • Reference Point: The point from which the size of relief area is measured.
  • Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: The relief area is either one or two club-lengths from the reference point, but with certain limits:
  • Limits on Location of Relief Area: The location of the relief area may be limited in one or more ways so that, for example:
    • It is only in certain defined areas of the course, such as only in the general area, or not in a bunker or a penalty area,
    • It is not nearer the hole than the reference point or must be outside a penalty area or a bunker from which relief is being taken, or
    • It is where there is no interference (as defined in the particular Rule) from the condition from which relief is being taken.

In using club-lengths to determine the size of a relief area, the player may measure directly across a ditch, hole or similar thing, and directly across or through an object (such as a tree, fence, wall, tunnel, drain or sprinkler head), but is not allowed to measure through ground that naturally slopes up and down.

See Committee Procedures, Section 2I (Committee may choose to allow or require the player to use a dropping zone as a relief area when taking certain relief).

  • Relief for Ball in Penalty Area

If a player’s ball is in a penalty area, including when it is known or virtually certain to be in a penalty area even though not found, 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 (see Rule 14.3) in a relief area that is based on a reference line going straight back from the hole through the estimated point where the original ball last crossed the edge of the penalty area:

  • Reference Point: A point on the course chosen by the player that is on the reference line and is farther from the hole than the estimated point (with no limit on how far back on the line):
    • In choosing this reference point, the player should indicate the point by using an object (such as a tee).
    • If the player drops the ball without having chosen this point, the reference point is treated as being the point on the line that is the same distance from the hole as where the dropped ball first touched the ground.
  • Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: One club-length, but with these limits:
  • Limits on Location of Relief Area:
    • Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point, and
    • May be in any area of the course except the same penalty area, but
    • If more than one area of the course is located within one club-length of the reference point, the ball must come to rest in the relief area in the same area of the course that the ball first touched when dropped in the relief area.
Relief Yellow Penalty Area
Relief Yellow Penalty Area

DIAGRAM – RELIEF FOR BALL IN YELLOW PENALTY AREA

When it is known or virtually certain that a ball is in a yellow penalty area and the player wishes to take relief, the player has two options, each for one penalty stroke: (1) The player may take stroke-and-distance relief by playing the original ball or another ball from a relief area based on where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6 and Diagram 14.6). (2) The player may take back-on-the-line relief by dropping the original ball or another ball in a relief area based on a reference line going straight back from the hole through point X. The reference point is a point on the course chosen by the player that is on the reference line through point X (the point where the ball last crossed the edge of the yellow penalty area). There is no limit on how far back on the line the reference point may be. The relief area is one club-length from the reference point, is not nearer to the hole than the reference point and may be in any area of the course, except the same penalty area. In choosing this reference point, the player should indicate the point by using an object (such as a tee).

The point in question then, took place in the 2nd Round of the 2019 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Florida, Friday the 15th March 2019

Tiger Woods scored a quadruple-bogey on the 17th Hole, Island Green, when in fact he could have had an opportunity to have scored a bogey or he might even have holed out for an incredible par.

Why do I say this? Because of where the flag was positioned on the Friday, towards the back of the green, and where his ball actually fell into the water.

Shots Tiger Woods Played at the 17th Hole The Players Sawgrass 2019
Shots Tiger Woods Played at the 17th Hole The Players Sawgrass 2019

It was probably the only pin-position on the green where he could keep the point where the ball went into the penalty area (see 1 in the diagram below), between himself and the hole and not be standing in the water.

Relief Tiger Woods could Have Taken at The Players 17th Hole Sawgrass 2019
Relief Tiger Woods could Have taken at The Players 17th Hole Sawgrass 2019

Under the new rules Woods was perfectly entitled to drop the ball on the walkway to the green, within one club-length (2) of a reference point on a back-on-line-relief from the flagstick to the point where his ball entered the penalty area (1), (See DIAGRAM – RELIEF FOR BALL IN YELLOW PENALTY AREA, above)

Tiger then could have had an ‘easy’ chip, or even a putt, to the flag, rather than playing a shot from the drop zone that he took on and unfortunately also put in the water.

He could not have contemplated this play under the previous Rules of Golf, because in taking relief under a back-on-line-relief the ball had to be dropped on that line of relief and Tiger would have been standing in the Water to play a stroke.

So remember, now, that in the Rules of Golf, when taking relief allowed under a Rule of Golf, determine your reference point according to the Rule you wish to apply e.g. the point your ball is at rest with an unplayable lie, or just behind your ball with an embedded ball, nearest-point-of-complete-relief with abnormal ground condition or immovable obstruction, and a point on the line for back-on-the-line-relief.

The size of the Relief Area will then be determined as either two club-lengths for an Unplayable Lie or Lateral Relief from a Red Penalty Area, or one club-length for all other situations.

The Rules of Golf are designed to help you cope with difficult situations and are not always there to penalise you.

Enjoy your Golf!

Tony

Penalised for Dropping from Shoulder Height

Penalised for Dropping from Shoulder Height

Old habits die hard.

Rickie Fowler last Friday incurred a one stroke penalty in WGC-Mexico Championship for dropping from shoulder height, and not correcting the error before making a stroke:

Posted by JT Aimpointcoach on Saturday, 23 February 2019

 

Fowler’s stroke went out of bounds and therefore he had to play from the spot, where he last played from with a one stroke penalty.

Unfortunately he dropped his substituted ball from shoulder-height and not knee-height. He then played a stroke at his incorrectly dropped ball, thus incurring a penalty. Because the ball was dropped and remained within the relief area of one club-length, the penalty was one stroke.

Had his ball not remained within the one club-length relief area but come to rest outside the area, and he played a stroke at it, his penalty would have increased to two penalty-strokes.

Being unaware of the new Rule of Golf,  unfortunately Rickie Fowler also did not take advantage of the new rule in that you don’t have to play from the exact same spot anymore – you can drop a ball within one club-length of that spot, not nearer the hole.

In fact he could have dropped on the fairway (rather than in the rough) and given himself a better lie, completely in accordance with the Rule.

Ball Must Be Dropped in Right Way

The player must drop a ball in the right way, which means all three of these things:

(1) Player Must Drop Ball. The ball must be dropped only by the player. Neither the player’s caddie nor anyone else may do so.

(2) Ball Must Be Dropped Straight Down from Knee Height Without Touching Player or Equipment. The player must let go of the ball from a location at knee height so that the ball:

  • Falls straight down, without the player throwing, spinning or rolling it or using any other motion that might affect where the ball will come to rest, and
  • Does not touch any part of the player’s body or equipment before it hits the ground.

“Knee height” means the height of the player’s knee when in a standing position.

(3) Ball Must Be Dropped in Relief Area. The ball must be dropped in the relief area. The player may stand either inside or outside the relief area when dropping the ball.

If a ball is dropped in a wrong way in breach of one or more of these three requirements:

  • The player must drop a ball again in the right way, and there is no limit to the number of times the player must do so.
  • A ball dropped in the wrong way does not count as one of the two drops required before a ball must be placed under Rule 14.3c(2).

If the player does not drop again and instead makes a stroke at the ball from where it came to rest after being dropped in a wrong way:

  • If the ball was played from the relief area, the player gets one penalty stroke (but has not played from a wrong place under Rule 14.7a).
  • But if the ball was played from outside the relief area, or after it was placed when required to be dropped (no matter where it was played from), the player gets the general penalty.

Get to know the Rules of Golf, they can work in your favour.

Enjoy your Golf,

Tony

www.my-golf.uk

Clarifications of Rules of Golf 6 February Issued by the R&A and USGA

Clarifications of Rules of Golf 6 February Issued by the R&A and USGA

Introducing new Rules inevitably brings with it occasions when some clarification may be needed to better understand the rules and their application.

It will also expect the authorities i.e. R&A and USGA to be willing to act quickly when necessary.

Recent events where caddies stood behind players while they were taking their stance, so infringing Rule 10.2b(4), led to the R&A and USGA issuing an immediate suspension of the rule  followed quickly by a clarification of the Rule.

Since then, on 6 February 2019,  the R&A and USGA have published a full list of the recent clarifications to the Rules of Golf.

You can find them by clicking on Clarifications of the Rules of Golf 6 February 2019, or download a copy by clicking on the download button below.

Download “R&A Clarifications of Rules of Golf - 6 February 2019” – Downloaded 0 times –

Enjoy your Golf

Tony

My-Golf.uk

Rules of Golf – Playing a Ball Incorrectly Dropped

Playing a Ball Incorrectly Dropped

A recent enquiry concerned whether a penalty was incurred when a player played a ball that had been incorrectly dropped.

Q. Having dropped the ball from shoulder height, I have then hit the ball. I think that could be a PENALTY. If you have dropped the ball from shoulder height and realise your mistake you pick up the ball and drop from the knee and then hit the ball, I think no penalty. Would this be correct please?

A. Under the Rules of Golf 2019 you are allowed to correct a mistake before a breach of rule happens, if this is done before you make a stroke at your ball then no penalty may apply.

If you do not correct your mistake before you make a stroke at your ball, then penalties may be incurred.

In the case mentioned the penalty that would be incurred would depend upon where the ball came to rest and was played from. So:

  1. Decide upon the appropriate relief area in which to drop your ball.
  2. If your ball is dropped incorrectly i.e. not from knee-height or within the relief area, you may lift your ball and drop it as many times as you like, until you drop it correctly
  3. If, however, you drop your ball incorrectly and then play it, a penalty is incurred and the level of penalty will depend on where the ball came to rest and was played from:
    • If your ball comes to rest within the appropriate relief area and is played from within the relief area then the penalty incurred is 1 Penalty-stroke, both in Match Play and Stroke Play
    • If your ball, however, comes to rest outside the appropriate relief area and you play it from that spot, you incur the General Penalty of 2 Penalty-strokes in Stroke Play or Loss of Hole in match Play

Enjoy your golf

Tony

Email: tony@my-golf.uk

Rules Blog: www.my-golf.uk

Rules of Golf – Tree Roots

Rules of Golf Concerning Exposed Tree-roots

A question was received recently concerning Tree-roots on a Golf Cou

A. We have several mature tree areas where we have previously, under local rule allowed free drop when the ball has stopped against a tree root and is likely to damage the club or cause injury to the player if played from its resting place.

We have felt that in line with our duty of care responsibility this rule should apply even when a ball is on a root in the rough.

Can we still apply this as a local rule?

Q. Under the old Rules of Golf, the Committee was mistaken in adopting a Local Rule for relief from Tree Roots in the Rough. The Committee was only allowed to make a local rule giving relief from Tree Roots if an abnormal condition existed. Generally, it was considered that the existence of exposed Tree roots was not an abnormal condition and the premise that you play the course as you find it and the ball as it lies prevailed. Relief would have been available only under the Unplayable Ball Rule. However, if the tree roots encroached onto the fairway/closely-mown area of the course the Committee could have been authorised to make a Local Rule providing relief under Rule 25-1 (Abnormal Ground Conditions), for exposed tree roots when a ball lies on the fairway/closely-mown area. The Committee may have restricted relief to interference for the lie of the ball and the area of the intended swing.

Under the new Rules the Committee can choose to treat exposed tree roots in the fairway as Ground Under Repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1b.

The R&A, however, now recognise that in some circumstances, where exposed tree roots can also be found in the rough close to the fairway that they can treat such roots, within a specified distance from the edge of the fairway, as ground under repair form which again free relief may be obtained under Rule 16.1b.

Reference to this, and a wording for an appropriate Model Local Rule Under Committee Procedures, Local Rules 8F-(F-9), is copied below.

8F

F-9

Relief from Tree Roots in Fairway

Purpose. In the unusual situation where exposed tree roots are found in the fairway, it may be unfair not to allow the player to take relief from the roots. The Committee can choose to treat such tree roots in the fairway as ground under repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1b.

In some circumstances where exposed tree roots are also found in short rough close to the fairway, the Committee can also choose to treat such tree roots within a specified distance from the edge of the fairway, (for example four club-lengths or in the first cut of rough) as ground under repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1b.

In doing so, the Committee can choose to limit relief to interference with the lie of ball and the area of intended swing.

Model Local Rule F-9.1

“If a player’s ball is at rest in a portion of the general area cut to fairway height or less and there is interference from exposed tree roots that are in a part of the general area cut to fairway height or less, the tree roots are treated as ground under repair. The player may take free relief under Rule 16.1b.

[But interference does not exist if the tree roots only interfere with the player’s stance.]

Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a.”

Model Local Rule F-9.2

“If a player’s ball is in the general area and there is interference from exposed tree roots that are in a part of the general area cut to fairway height or less [or in the rough within specify number of club-lengths of the edge of the ground cut to fairway height or less] [or in the first cut of the rough], the tree roots are treated as ground under repair. The player may take free relief under Rule 16.1b.

[But interference does not exist if the tree roots only interfere with the player’s stance.]

Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a.”

Enjoy your Golf,

Tony

Email: tony@my-golf.uk

Rules of Golf Blog: www.my-golf.uk

Rules of Golf Quiz – Intermediate Level

Hope everyone is getting to grips with the new Rules of Golf and not finding them intimidating.

To help you further in learning the Rules I have produced a second quiz which is pitched at a higher level for you.

You can access the quiz by clicking on Rules of Golf Quiz Number Two

At the moment there are only nine questions; I will be adding more over the next few days.

My time was taken up producing the Guide to the Rules of Match Play.

Have fun.

Tony

Email: tony@my-golf.uk

Rules Blog: www.my-golf.uk

15, The Boundaries, Lympsham, Somerset, BS24 0DF

Rules of Match Play 2019

Well I hope everyone had a good Christmas and is looking forward to a New Year of great golf, under the 2019 Rules of Golf.

Because many clubs play Match Play, especially in regular Knockout Competitions, I have published a Rules of Match Play page on the My Golf Rules Blog.

There are a number of differences between Stroke Play and Match Play rules, which you must be aware of if you do not want to incur penalties or lose a match.

Certain specific rules governing match play are so different from those governing Stroke Play that combining the two formats is not recommended and in the previous Rules of Golf was not permitted.

The R&A and USGA have however recognised that groups of players, although entered into one competition often like to play a separate cometiton within their group.

The R&A and USGA have therefore included in the New Rules of Golf guidelines for dealing with these events.

You can read the Rules of Match Play on the Webpage or download your own PDF or Microsoft Word Copy from the page, by clicking on the download button below.

Download “Rules of Match Play - PDF” Match-Play-2019.pdf – Downloaded 800 times – 267 KB

Download “Rules of Match Play - Word” Match-Play-2019-1.docx – Downloaded 266 times – 101 KB

Enjoy your golf, and have a great New Year

Tony

Email: tony@my-golf.uk

Rules Blog: www.my-golf.uk

15, The Boundaries, Lympsham, Somerset, BS24 0DF