The USGA Rules Official is back! Dr. Robin Farran teaches Advanced Rules at the Golf Academy of America in Phoenix and is widely considered to be one of the preeminent Rules Officials in the country.
In this month’s installment of Diary of a USGA Rules Official, Dr. Farran ties up a few loose ends and also dishes out a few penalty strokes.
1. In which case would the player not be penalized?
a) He carries a non-conforming club but does not use it during the round.
b) He carries a 15th club but is careful not to use the club during the round.
c) He adds lead tape to a club during the round.
d) His 5-iron becomes unfit for play while making a stroke. He replaces the damaged club with a sand wedge.
**See Rule 4-3a(iii). Also, see Rule 4-1 and the Penalty Statement and Rules 4-2 and 4-4.
2. The player’s ball is in a bunker. The player begins his backswing for the stroke and during the backswing his clubhead touches and moves a loose impediment in the bunker. The player stops his swing.
a) There is no penalty since the player stopped his swing.
b) The player may remove the loose impediment prior to his stroke.
c) In stroke play, the player incurs a two-stroke penalty.
d) In match play, the player incurs a two-stroke penalty.
**See Rule 13-4c.
3. A competitor’s ball lies on a grassy bank within a water hazard. The player removes a stick in the water hazard near his ball and then, as he takes his stance, the player accidentally moves his ball in play. The player then elects to take relief from the water hazard. Including the one-stroke penalty for relief from the water hazard, how many total penalty strokes has the player incurred?
**See Rule 13-4c and Rule 18-2. See Decisions 18-2/15 and 26-1/9. Also, see Decisions 13-4/17 and 13-4/28. Decision 13-4/35.7 has important guidance as well.
4. In individual stroke play, Ball A in motion after a stroke through the green is deflected by Ball B in motion after a stroke through the green. The collision occurs on the putting green.
a) Both players incur a penalty of one stroke. The strokes must be canceled and replayed.
b) Both players incur a penalty of two strokes. The strokes must be canceled and replayed.
c) Both strokes must be canceled and replayed without penalty.
d) Both balls are played as they lie. No penalties are incurred by either player.
**See Rule 19-5b.
Who’s Turn to Play?
In single match play:
1. Player A’s ball lies on the putting green 40 feet from the hole. Player B’s ball lies in a bunker 25 feet from the hole.
**It is Player A’s turn to play. See Rule 10-1b.
2. The strokes played from the fairway by Player C and Player D land in a water hazard. The locations of the balls in the water hazard are not known. Both players intend to use the DZ option for relief from the water hazard.
**The order of play is determined by lot. See Rule 10-1b.
3. The strokes played from the tee on a par-3 hole by Player E and Player F land in a water hazard. The locations of the balls in the water hazard are not known. Player E plans on replay from the teeing ground (162 yards) and Player F plans on proceeding under Rule 26-1b (108 yards).
**The order of play is determined by lot. See Rule 10-1b.
4. On a drivable par-4 hole, Player G’s ball lies in a greenside bunker about 30 yards from the hole. Player H’s ball landed in the water hazard just short of the putting green; judgment by spectators and spotters, about 10 yards from the hole. Player H drops a ball 100 yards from the hole in proceeding under Rule 26-1b. Prior to Player H’s play of the dropped ball, Player G asks the referee who’s turn is it to play.
**It is Player G’s turn to play. The order of play is determined by the locations of the balls relative to the hole prior to relief being taken. See Rule 10-1b and Decision 10/2.
Placing and Replacing
In each incident, the ball was played from the location as described.
1. Player A proceeded under Rule 26-1c for his ball in a lateral water hazard. The first and second drops landed within the prescribed area and rolled across the red line into the hazard. The third drop remained within the prescribed area.
**Player A incurred the general penalty for not proceeding in accordance with Rule 20-2c. Rule 20-2c requires the ball to be placed as near as possible to the spot where it first struck the course on the re-drop.
[In stroke play, the two-stroke penalty is in addition to the one-stroke penalty for relief under Rule 26-1c.]
2. Player B’s ball came to rest on a putting green and was picked up accidentally by a player in a preceding group who explained the mistake to Player B when Player B arrived at the putting green. Player B knowing the general area where the ball had originally lay but not the exact location, dropped the ball as near as possible to where it originally lay.
**Player B incurred the general penalty for a breach of Rule 20-3c(iii). On the putting green, Rule 20-3c(iii) requires the ball to be placed as near as possible to the place where it lay. (Also, see Decision 20-6/1.)
3. As Player C walked over to an adjacent fairway to look for his tee shot, a competitor on that hole approached Player C with an apology and Player C’s ball. The competitor had played Player C’s ball by mistake from the fairway. The competitor had a reasonable estimate of about where Player C’s ball originally lay. Player C made a good-faith effort and placed a ball in the fairway.
**Although Rule 15-3a and Rule 15-3b state that “its owner must place a ball on the spot from where the wrong ball was first played”, Rule 20-3 is also referenced. Player C was required to drop a ball as prescribed by Rule 20-3c(i).
Player C incurred the general penalty for a breach of Rule 20-3c.
4. Player D’s first drop in taking relief from a cart path, landed where required by Rule 20-3a and rolled back onto the cart path. The second drop also landed where required and rolled back onto the cart path and then more than two club-lengths. After retrieving the ball, Player D could not recall where the ball struck the course on the second drop so Player D dropped the ball as near as possible to where he thought the second drop had landed.
**Rule 20-2c is the applicable Rule and requires that the ball be placed as near as possible to where the ball first struck a part of the course on the re-drop. (Rule 20-3c is not applicable.) Player D incurred the general penalty for a breach of Rule 20-2c.
**General Penalty – loss of hole in match play; two-stroke penalty in stroke play**