THREESOMES AND FOURSOMES: GENERAL
Changing Partners After Driving from First Tee
Q.A and B are to play C and D in a foursome match in which the conditions of the competition permit substitutions. D is absent at the time the match is to start. Accordingly, E is substituted for D. C plays the first stroke for Side C–E. At that point, D arrives. May D be reinstated in the match since E has not made a stroke?
A.No. Once any player in a foursome match has played from the first tee, the composition of neither side may be changed.
• 2/2 Stipulated Round in Match Play.
Mixed Foursome in Which Different Tees Used by Men and Women; Tee Shot Out of Bounds
Q.In a mixed foursome in which the men play from the back tees and the women play from the forward tees, a man hits a tee shot out of bounds. Does his partner play the next stroke from the back tee or the forward tee?
A.The partner must play from the back tee.
Player in Foursome Match Practices Putts on Previous Green After Partner Has Driven from Next Tee
Q.A and B are partners in a foursome match. A was practicing putts on the 11th green after B drove off the 12th tee. Was A playing practice strokes during the play of a hole?
A.Yes. A and B lost the 12th hole for a breach of Rule 7-2.
• 30-3f/12 Player in Four-Ball Practices Putts on Previous Green After Partner Has Driven from Next Tee.
Dropping Ball in Foursome Competition
Q.Rule 20-2a provides that "the player himself" must drop a ball. Under the Definition of "Partner," it is stated that, in the case of threesomes and foursomes, the term "player" includes his partner where the context so admits. When a side in a foursome is required to drop a ball, may either member of the side drop it?
A.No. In view of the requirement of Rule 20-2a that the player himself shall drop the ball, the member of the side whose turn it is to play next must drop the ball.
• 20-2a/4 Ball Dropped in Improper Manner Moves When Addressed; Player Then Lifts Ball and Drops It in Proper Manner.
Hitting Sand in Bunker with Club After Failing to Extricate Ball; Foursome Match
Q.In a foursome match, A and B are partners. A plays a bunker shot, fails to get the ball out and takes a swing with his club into the sand. This action does not improve the position of the ball in the bunker. What is the ruling?
A.In a foursome, the word "player" includes his partner, where the context so admits – see Definition of "Partner." In these circumstances, the prohibitions in Rule 13-4 apply to both the player and his partner. Therefore, Side A-B incur a penalty of loss of hole for a breach of Rule 13-4 – see Decision 13-4/35.
• 30-3f/2 Hitting Sand in Bunker with Club After Failing to Extricate Ball; Partner's Ball in Same Bunker.
• 30-3f/2.5 Touching Sand with Practice Swing After Partner Has Extricated Ball from Bunker; Four-Ball Match.
Signing of Score Card in Foursome Stroke Play
Q.Rule 31-3 dealing with scoring in four-ball stroke play states: "Only one of the partners need be responsible for complying with Rule 6-6b." What is the ruling in this regard in foursome stroke play?
A.Although Rule 29 is silent on the matter, in foursome stroke play only one of the partners need comply with Rule 6-6b.
Other Decisions related to Rule 29: See "Foursomes" in the Index.
THREESOMES AND FOURSOMES: ORDER OF PLAY
Ball Played from Outside Teeing Ground in Foursome Match
Q.A and B are playing C and D in a foursome match. A plays from outside the teeing ground and Side A-B is required by C and D to replay the stroke. Should A or B replay it?
A.A must replay the stroke. The original stroke does not count.
Competitor Plays from Outside Teeing Ground in Foursome Stroke Play; Partner Replays Stroke
Q.In foursome stroke play A plays in correct order but from outside the teeing ground. B, his partner, then plays from within the teeing ground, whereas A should have done so. What is the ruling?
A.The side is penalized two strokes for playing from outside the teeing ground (Rule 11-4) and two strokes for playing in incorrect order (Rule 29-3). A must now play another ball from within the teeing ground. Otherwise, the side is disqualified.
• 11-4b/6 Ball Played from Outside Teeing Ground Goes Out of Bounds.
• 11-5/4 Ball Played From Wrong Teeing Ground in Stroke Play; Error Corrected.
• 34-3/4 Dispute as to Whether Competitor Played from Outside Teeing Ground.
Who Plays Provisional Ball in Foursome
Q.A and B are partners in a foursome. A drives and there is doubt whether the ball is out of bounds. They decide to play a provisional ball. Who plays it?
A.The provisional ball is played by B.
Provisional Ball Played by Wrong Member of Side in Foursome
Q.A and B were partners in a foursome competition. A drove from the tee and, since the ball might be lost, A-B elected to play a provisional ball. A played the provisional ball, whereas, under Rule 29, B should have played it. What is the ruling?
A.If the original ball was found in bounds and thus the provisional ball did not become the ball in play, there was no penalty.
If the original ball was lost and the provisional ball became the ball in play, A-B lost the hole in match play (Rule 29-2) or incurred a penalty of two strokes in stroke play (Rule 29-3). In stroke play, the provisional ball would have to be abandoned and B would have to play from the tee (Rule 29-3).
Play of Provisional Ball in Foursomes When Partner Has Already Gone Ahead
Q.A and B are partners in foursomes play. It is A's turn to play from the teeing ground, and B walks ahead to where he thinks the ball might land. A's tee shot comes to rest in an area where it may not be found. Without searching for the original ball, B immediately returns to the tee with the intention of playing a provisional ball, by which time A has walked forward a considerable distance towards the original ball in the knowledge that it may be lost. Rule 27-2a prohibits the play of a provisional ball after the player or his partner has gone forward to search for the original ball. As a result of A having gone forward to search, is B prohibited from playing a provisional ball under Rule 27-2a?
A.Rule 27-2a does not contemplate such a case and, in view of the fact that the purpose of Rule 27-2 is to enable players to save time and that B's desire and actions to play a provisional ball in such a case are consistent with this purpose, B is permitted to play a provisional ball, provided the original ball has not been found. However, the five-minute period for search for the original ball commences as soon as A has begun to search for it.
Order of Play If Player Accidentally Moves Ball After Address
Q.In a foursome match, a player accidentally moves the ball after addressing it and incurs a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2b. Does the player or his partner play the next stroke?
A.The player must play the next stroke. Penalty strokes do not affect the order of play (Rule 29-1).
Player Misses Ball Accidentally When Making Stroke
Q.In a foursome event, A and B are partners. A attempts to strike the ball and misses. Whose turn is it to play?
A.An accidental miss is a stroke – see Definition of "Stroke." It is B's turn to play.
Player Misses Ball Purposely So Partner Would Play Ball Over Water
Q.A and B, partners in a foursome competition, were faced with a difficult shot over a pond. A, a poor player, swung but purposely missed the ball. B, an expert player, then played the ball to the green. Is this permissible?
A.No. Since A had no intention of moving the ball, he did not play a stroke – see Definition of "Stroke" – and it remained his turn to play.
When B played instead of A, A and B incurred a penalty of loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play (Rules 29-2 and 29-3). In stroke play, A must play a ball at the spot from which B played. If A did not do so before the side played from the next teeing ground, A and B were disqualified (Rule 29-3).
Order of Play in Foursome Stroke Play When Wrong Ball Played
Q.In foursome stroke play, A played a wrong ball. Who plays the next shot, A or his partner, B?
A.A must play the next stroke. In a foursome competition, penalty strokes do not affect the order of play – see Rule 29-1. The Side A-B incurs a penalty of two strokes – Rule 15-3b.
Both Player and Partner Drive at Same Tee in Foursome Play
Q.A and B are partners in foursome play. At the 5th hole, forgetting that they were playing in a foursome competition, A and then B drive. What is the ruling:
(a) if it was A's turn to drive?
(b) if it was B's turn to drive?
A.(a) If it was A's turn to drive, B's ball would be the side's ball in play under penalty of stroke and distance and would be lying 3 – see Rule27-1a.
(b) If it was B's turn to drive, the side loses the hole in match play or incurs a penalty of two strokes in stroke play (Rules 29-2 and 29-3). In stroke play, the side must continue with B's ball which lies 3. (Revised)
• 10-2c/1 Ball Played Out of Turn from Tee Abandoned and Another Ball Played in Proper Order.
• 18-2a/1 Player Who Misses Tee Shot Tees Ball Lower Before Making Next Stroke.
• 18-2a/2 Ball Falling Off Tee When Stroke Just Touches It Is Picked Up and Re-Teed.
• 18-2a/11 Tee Shot Wrongly Thought to Be Out of Bounds Lifted; Competitor Plays Another Ball from Tee.
• 27-2b/10 Provisional Ball Lifted Subsequently Becomes Ball in Play; Competitor Then Plays from Wrong Place.
Other Decisions related to Rule 29-1: See "Foursomes" in the Index.
THREESOMES AND FOURSOMES: ORDER OF PLAY IN MATCH PLAY
Wrong Partners Drive for Both Sides in Foursome Match
Q.A and B are playing C and D in a foursome match. A and C drive off at a hole at which B and D should have driven. The error is then discovered. What is the ruling?
A.The side which drove first loses the hole under Rule 29-2.
Side Drives for Three Holes in Wrong Order and Then Claim Is Made
Q.In a foursome match, A and B are playing C and D. A drives at the 9th hole and again, in error, at the 10th hole. B drives at the 11th and A drives at the 12th. The error is then discovered. C and D claim the 10th, 11th and 12th holes, and the matter is referred to the Committee. What is the ruling?
A.A and B lose the 12th hole under Rule 29-2.
C and D's claim of the 10th and 11th holes could have been considered only if C and D had been given wrong information by A and B and the claim had been based on facts previously unknown to C and D. A and B are deemed to have given wrong information to C and D – see Rule 9-2b(i). However, C and D must have seen A and B play out of order on all three holes. Therefore, the claim was not based on facts previously unknown to C and D.
Other Decisions related to Rule 29-2: See "Foursomes" in the Index.