Rule of the Month

September 2020

Rule 15: Relief from LOOSE IMPEDIMENTS and MOVABLE OBSTRUCTIONS (including Ball or Ball-Marker Helping or Interfering in Play).

Loose Impediments are all those unattached Natural Objects found around the course such as stones, leaves and twigs. They can be removed from anywhere but if the removal of them causes the ball to move, the ball must be replaced under penalty of one. The exception being on the Putting Green when the ball must be replaced but no penalty will be incurred.
Movable Obstructions are man-made, artificial objects that can be easily moved without causing damage or delaying play, such as a water bottle or a rake. If the ball moves replace the ball without penalty.

Loos impediments 1 Moved by rake

If the ball is in or on the Movable Obstructions then you must mark underneath the Obstruction (plastic bag or golf towel) and the Ball. The Ball-Marker will be the Reference Point which must be in the same area of the course as the Obstruction and no nearer the hole. The Relief Area is within one club-length of the reference point, no nearer the hole and the ball must be dropped from knee height into the Relief Area and come to rest in the Relief Area without penalty.

Obstruction Moving Obstruction

August 2020

Maureen, I took a practice swing on the fairway and accidentally moved my ball. What do I do now?

Rule 9 Ball Played as it Lies; Ball at Rest Lifted or Moved.

replace on spotThe ball at rest has moved when it leaves its original position and comes to rest in another place and the movement is seen by the naked eye. If this happens on the Putting Green or during a fair Search there is no penalty. If the player caused the ball to move by taking a practice swing too near the ball, or by moving a loose impediment anywhere on the course except on the Putting Green the player must add a penalty stroke to his or her score and must replace the ball. If the ball is not replaced the player will incur the General Penalty - Loss of Hole in Match Play and 2 strokes penalty in Stroke Play.

 

July 2020

Identifying the Ball since January 2019

Identify Ball

  • If you see a ball and cannot see your identification mark on it you MUST still mark the ball to identify it. You can then lift the ball (or rotate it) to ensure it is your ball.
  • There is now no requirement to announce or for your opponent or fellow-competitor to observe the identifying.
  • The ball cannot be cleaned unless completely covered in mud and then can only be cleaned to the extent necessary to identify it.
  • If it is your ball you MUST replace the ball on the original spot – if it is deep in the rough it must be replaced deep in the rough, if it is under sand in a bunker it must be replaced under the sand in the bunker. If it is in sand you can leave a small part of the ball visible in order to see the ball when you take your shot.

June 2020

What are my Options when I am in a Penalty Area?

Penalty Areas
 
Rule 17 Diagram showing Penalty Area Relief Options – (When marked as Red)
• Ball is played from 1 and crosses into water at X
• Player has option to go back to where he/she last played (stroke and distance) - point 1
• Back on a line relief – player selects a reference point back on the line and drops the ball within a club-length - point 2
• Lateral relief – player must drop a ball within two club-lengths of point X - point 3
• All under penalty of one
If the Penalty Area is marked as yellow the Lateral Relief at point 3 is not available.
There is now no relief equidistant from the pin on the opposite side of the Penalty Area (water hazard) unless a Club Committee brings in a Local Rule for a particular Penalty Area.

May 2020

Please can you explain the new dropping procedure?

When dropping the player may use the original or another ball. Only the player can drop the ball in singles (but in foursomes and four-ball a partner may also drop the ball). Drop straight down from knee height, as shown in the picture, without throwing, spinning or rolling. Ball must strike the ground in the Relief Area and be played from the Relief Area. If you forget and drop from shoulder height correct the error before you hit your shot or you will be penalised a stroke.

 

Dropping Procedure

Knee Height:
  • Must be dropped from knee height.
  • Must be dropped straight down without touching player or equipment before hitting ground.
  • Must be dropped in Relief Area.
Note: 'Knee height' means the height of a player's knee when in a standing position.
Dropping procedure crop

 

April 2020

What are my options when I cannot possibly play my ball because it in such a bad lie in a Bunker?

Dropping in bunkerRule 19.3 – Relief Options for Unplayable Ball in Bunker. Three options for relief under penalty of one stroke: - (1) Stroke and Distance relief: Stroke and Distance is going back to where you played the previous shot under penalty of one. If you played the previous shot from the Teeing Area you can tee the ball anywhere within the Teeing Area. If the previous shot was in the bunker then the relief must be in the bunker. (2) Back on a line relief: Back on a line relief is going back on a line with the ball and the pin, marking the point of relief and dropping in a relief area of one club length not nearer the hole in the Bunker, or (3) Lateral Relief: Lateral Relief is dropping in the Relief Area 2 club lengths from the ball not nearer the hole in the Bunker. Additionally for a penalty of 2 strokes the player may take back-on-a-line relief, outside the bunker, straight back from the hole and the ball position. (See 4 in diagram)

March 2020

What are my options when my ball is in such a bad lie I cannot possibly play it?

Unplayable Ball – Rule 19 – Three options for relief under penalty of one stroke: - Stroke and Distance relief (see 1 below), Back on a line relief (see 2 below) or Lateral Relief (see 3 below). Stroke and Distance is going back to where you played the previous shot under penalty of one. If where you played the previous shot was the Teeing Area you can tee the ball anywhere within the Teeing Area. Back on a line relief is going back on a line with the ball and the pin, marking the point of relief and dropping in a relief area of one club length not nearer the hole, and Lateral Relief is dropping in the Relief Area 2 club lengths from the ball not nearer the hole. Remember to drop from knee height. Unplayable ball

February 2020

Help, what do I do when the bunker is full of water?

Club Committees can declare Bunkers an Abnormal Course Condition - Ground Under Repair which allows the player to take a free drop out of the Bunker within one club length of the nearest point of complete relief not nearer the hole. However, scores will not be Qualifying/Acceptable Scores for Handicap if more than 50% of bunkers are taken out of play.
The R&A Rules of Golf do cover the relief from Temporary Water in Bunkers under Rule 16.1c as follows:-
For free relief, the player must determine the nearest point of complete relief in the bunker, not nearer the hole, and drop ball within relief area. For penalty relief, the player must pick a reference point outside the bunker, back on the line from the flagstick and drop the ball in the relief area for penalty of one stroke. (See diagram)
If the bunker is full of water and there is no nearest point of complete relief the player may still take relief using the maximum point of relief in the bunker (in the shallowest water) not nearer the hole without penalty.

Water in Bunker