The Rules of Golf are complicated to say the least. That’s why some of my favorite posts come from the mind of noted USGA Rules Official Dr. Robin Farran. Dr. Farran teaches Advanced Rules at the Golf Academy as is widely regarded as one of the country’s top USGA Rules Officials. In this week’s Diary of a USGA Rules Official, Dr. Farran reviews scenarios involving bunkers and score cards.
1. Player A’s stroke in a deep bunker results in the ball being embedded in the sand in the bunker face. Player A informs his fellow-competitors that he will “take an unplayable” and replay the stroke.
Prior to dropping the ball, Player A carefully rakes the area where he had played the stroke, restoring the damaged area to the original condition before he entered the bunker. Player A dropped the ball on the spot where he had played his stroke in the bunker and continued the hole.
**Player A incurred a two-stroke penalty in stroke play or loss of hole in match play for a breach of Rule 13-4a. Also, see Decision 13-4/0.5. Rule 13-4 does not permit raking that would improve an area where a ball would be dropped when the ball is lifted from the bunker and will be dropped in the bunker.
2. Player B’s stroke in a bunker goes out of bounds.
Prior to dropping a substituted ball, Player B carefully rakes the area where he had played the stroke, restoring the damaged area to the original condition before he entered the bunker. Player B dropped the substituted ball on the spot where he had played his stroke in the bunker and continued the hole.
**Player B proceeded in accordance with Rule 13-4 and Exception 2 to Rule 13-4. Also, see Decision 13-4/37.
1. In stroke play, if a competitor signs a score card with a lower score for a hole than actually taken that he knew was incorrect prior to the close of competition there is no time limit on disqualification.
**See Rule 34-1b, Exception (iii) and Decision 34-1b/1.
2. In stroke play, a player writes a score of 4 on his score card and returns the score card to the Committee – no penalty strokes were incurred on the hole. If it becomes known after the competition has closed that the correct score was 5, the player must be disqualified.
** See Rule 34-1b, Exception (iii).
3. Which of the following statements about score cards is FALSE?
a) The Committee is responsible for the addition of a score card.
b) If a player returns a score for a hole higher than actually taken, the score stands.
c) An error on the score card discovered after the score card has been returned may be corrected without penalty by the player prior to the close of competition. **Note 1 to Rule 6-6d supports a) and Rule 6-6d supports b) as true statements. Rule 6-6c clarifies c) as being false, and Decision 6-6b/1 clarifies that d) is a correct statement.
d) There is no penalty if a marker signs the competitor’s score card in the space provided for the competitor’s signature and vice versa.
4. Prior to the close of competition, a player after signing and returning his score card, remembered that he had forgotten to include a penalty that he knew he had incurred on the 7th hole.
The player reported the error to the Committee.
a) The score card should be corrected without penalty.
b) The player is disqualified for returning a score for a hole lower than actually taken. **See Rule 6-6d and Decisions 34-1b/1.5 and 6-6d/10. The Exception to Rule 6-6d does not apply since the penalty was known to the player prior to returning his score card.
c) The score for the 7th hole should not be changed since the omission of the penalty was inadvertent.
d) The score card should be corrected and a penalty of two strokes should be added.