Diary of a USGA Rules Official: The Sewailo Incident

Sewailo Golf Club
From behind the 18th green at Sewailo Golf Club you can see Casino del Sol.

Sewailo Golf Club is a course located on Tucson’s southwest side. It’s also managed by Troon Golf in Scottsdale, the same company that handles La Paloma Country Club where I work. That’s just part of the reason why I decided to include a review of the course back in August.

Flash forward a few months, and what should appear in my email inbox? Why, a Rules incident at Sewailo from none other than Dr. Robin Farran himself! As you know, I frequently post varying Rules scenarios from the mind of Dr. Farran. He teaches Advanced Rules at the Golf Academy of America in Phoenix and is one of the USGA’s top Rules Officials. Here’s what happened out at Sewailo:

The Sewailo Incident
Player A’s tee shot came to rest in a bunker. Player A bladed his shot from the bunker over the putting green into an area of bushes and other vegetation. After a brief search, Player A found a ball in a bush in a terrible lie. He lifted the ball and proceeded under Rule 28c, playing the ball onto the green.

Upon reaching the green, Player A discovered that the ball he lifted and dropped from the bush was not the ball played from the bunker. After a brief search for the ball played from the bunker, Player A, not sure at all of what to do next, returned to the bunker and dropped the ball found in the bush on the spot where he had earlier played from the bunker.

Player A played the dropped ball onto the putting green and completed the hole with two putts. What was Player A’s score for the hole?

**Player A’s score for the hole was 8 strokes:
Tee shot – 1s
Ball played from bunker – 1s
Substituted ball played from wrong place for a ball not found –   serious breach – 2p
Ball dropped and played from bunker under penalty of stroke and distance – 1s + 1p
Two putts – 2s
Score for hole – 5s + 3p = 8 strokes

When Player A played his 3rd shot from a distance much nearer the hole and not finding his original ball that was played from the bunker, the player committed a serious breach for playing from a wrong place and much correct the error. The player did correct his error in the real-life incident, fortunately. In the absence of correcting the error for a serious breach of playing from a wrong play, Player A would have been disqualified.

See Rule 20-7, Decision 27-1/3 and Decision 28/10.

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