Misc./1 Course Record
The term "course record" is not defined in the Rules of Golf. However, it is generally accepted that a record score should be recognized as the official "course record" only if made in an individual stroke-play competition (excluding bogey, par or Stableford competitions) with the holes and tee-markers in their proper medal or championship positions.
It is recommended that a record score should not be recognized as the official "course record" if a Local Rule permitting preferred lies is in operation.
Misc./2 Whether Rakes Should Be Placed In or Outside Bunkers
Q. Should rakes be placed in or outside bunkers?
A. There is not a perfect answer for the position of rakes, but on balance it is felt there is less likelihood of an advantage or disadvantage to the player if rakes are placed outside of bunkers.
It may be argued that there is more likelihood of a ball being deflected into or kept out of a bunker if the rake is placed outside the bunker. It could also be argued that if the rake is in the bunker it is most unlikely that the ball will be deflected out of the bunker.
However, in practice, players who leave rakes in bunkers frequently leave them at the side which tends to stop a ball rolling into the flat part of the bunker, resulting in a much more difficult shot than would otherwise have been the case. This is most prevalent at a course where the bunkers are small. When the ball comes to rest on or against a rake in the bunker and the player must proceed under Rule 24-1, it may not be possible to replace the ball on the same spot or find a spot in the bunker which is not nearer the hole — see Decision 20-3d/2.
If rakes are left in the middle of the bunker, the only way to position them is to throw them into the bunker and this causes damage to the surface. Also, if a rake is in the middle of a large bunker, it is either not used or the player is obliged to rake a large area of the bunker, resulting in unnecessary delay.
Therefore, after considering all these aspects, it is recommended that rakes should be left outside bunkers in areas where they are least likely to affect the movement of the ball.
Ultimately, it is a matter for the Committee to decide where it wishes rakes to be placed.
DECISIONS APPLICABLE ONLY IN THE USGA'S RULES JURISDICTION
USGA/2-3/100 Player Who Wins First Nine Holes in Nassau Match Withdraws During Second Nine
Q. The "Nassau" System of scoring is used in a team match, i.e., in each match three points are awarded as follows: one point to the winner of the first nine holes, one point to the winner of the second nine and one point to the winner over 18 holes. In one match, a player who had defeated his opponent on the first nine holes withdrew due to illness during the second nine. Should the player retain the point he won on the first nine or, since he withdrew, should he lose all three points?
A. The player should be awarded one point; his opponent won the other two points by default.
USGA/4-1/100 Club Face Markings
Q. May a player use a golf club with a groove spacing to groove width ratio of 2.3 to 1, if that club was manufactured before March 31, 1990, even though Appendix II 5c(i) requires that the groove spacing to groove width ratio must be no less than 3 to 1?
A. Yes. It is, however, the responsibility of the player to provide proof of the date on which the club was manufactured. If the player cannot provide such proof, the club must conform with the specifications described in Appendix II 5c(i).
USGA/5-1/101 Status of Ball Not on List of Conforming Golf Balls
Brands of balls not appearing on the current List of Conforming Golf Balls fall into three categories:
1. Brands which have never been tested,
2. Brands which appeared on a previous List but which have not been re-submitted for inclusion on the current List, and
3. Brands which have been tested and found not to conform to the Rules and specifications set forth in Appendix III.
Balls in categories 1 and 2 are presumed to conform and the onus of proof is on the person alleging that the ball does not.
All balls of brands in category 3 are deemed to be non--conforming.
USGA/5-1/102 Status of Ball to Be Removed from List of Conforming Golf Balls
Q. A brand of ball included on the current List of Conforming Golf Balls is tested further and found not to conform to the specifications set forth in Appendix III. The brand will therefore be deleted from the next List published. What is the status of the ball in the interim period?
A. Players are entitled to assume that all balls of a brand included on the current List of Conforming Golf Balls conform to the Rules and Appendix III. Accordingly, players may continue to use balls of the brand in question until the publication of the next List, unless by a condition of the competition the Committee has specifically excluded that brand. This applies whether or not it is a condition of the competition that only brands of golf balls on the List of Conforming Golf Balls may be used.
USGA/6-2/100 Meaning of "Handicap"
Q. A player's Handicap Index is 4.8. On the course to be played in the competition, the player's Course Handicap is 6. Which is his "handicap" for the purposes of Rule 6-2?
A. 6. In a stroke-play competition the player must ensure that the handicap for the course which he is to play (i.e., from the set of tees to be used by him in the competition) is recorded on his score card when it is returned to the Committee.
USGA/8-1/100 Advice in Team Competitions Among Educational Institutions
In a team competition among educational institutions in which the conditions of competition do not permit the use of caddies, the Committee may adopt a modification of the Note to Rule 8 providing that each team may appoint up to two persons who may give advice to members of that team, notwithstanding that the Note contemplates only one such person.
USGA/17/100 Flagstick Dimensions
The USGA recommends that the flagstick be at least seven feet in height and that its diameter be not greater than three-quarters of an inch from a point three inches above the ground to the bottom of the hole.
USGA/29/100 Penalty in "Pinehurst" Foursome Not Related to Ball Holed Out
Q. In a foursome competition played under the so-called "Pinehurst" format, A and B were partners. In accordance with the format, A hit a second shot with B's ball. B then hit a second shot with a ball he thought was A's, but which in fact was a wrong ball. Since B's shot with the wrong ball was a poor one, B picked up the wrong ball and he and A proceeded to play out the hole with B's ball. It was then discovered that the ball B picked up was not A's ball, but rather a wrong ball.
Do A and B incur any penalty because B played a wrong ball in view of the fact that the hole was completed with B's ball which was not related to the play of the wrong ball?
A. The Rules of Golf do not cover this form of play.
It is recommended that a penalty in this form of play should be incurred only if related to the ball ultimately holed out by the side. Thus, as the ball played by B from the tee was ultimately holed out, the side should not have incurred a penalty because B played a stroke with a wrong ball instead of A's ball.
USGA/33-8/100 Local Rule for Lateral Water Hazard with Bunker Adjacent
Q. The 18th hole at the Pebble Beach Golf Links is bordered along the left side by Carmel Bay, and there is a sea wall which begins more than 100 yards short of the green and extends to the back of the green. There is a bunker approximately 12 feet wide between the sea wall and the fairway for much of this distance.
The bay is a lateral water hazard and the sea wall is the natural margin of the hazard. Accordingly, a player, when dropping a ball under Rule 26-1c(i), must drop in the bunker. The sand at this point is soft and a dropped ball usually plugs.
Would it be permissible to place the line defining the lateral water hazard along the right edge of the bunker, making the bunker part of the lateral water hazard, or alternatively, make a Local Rule to the effect that, when obtaining relief under the lateral water hazard Rule, the player may drop a ball to the right of the bunker?
A. In all cases, the hazard should be marked along its natural boundary, i.e., the sea wall — see Decision 33-2a/4.
If the Committee does not wish to require a player to drop a ball in the bunker when proceeding under the lateral water hazard Rule, the Committee may establish a series of Dropping Zones along the right-hand side of the bunker and make a Local Rule stating that a player whose ball comes to rest in the lateral water hazard (having last crossed the hazard margin at a point where, when proceeding under Rule 26-1c(i), the player may drop a ball in the bunker) may drop a ball, under penalty of one stroke, on the nearest Dropping Zone which is not nearer the hole.
USGA/34-3/100 Committee Intervention in Match Play
In the absence of a referee, a Committee has no authority to intervene in match play unless there is a reason to believe Rule 1-3 is being infringed or a breach of Rule 6-7 is involved. When there is no referee, the players must protect their own rights by invoking Rule 2-5 and by referring to the Committee any dispute they cannot resolve — see Rule 34-3.
USGA/34-3/101 Committee Intervention in Match Play When Search for Lost Ball Exceeds Five Minutes
Q. Decision USGA/34-3/100 permits a Committee member to intervene in a match to which a referee has not been assigned in case of a breach of Rule 6-7 (Undue Delay).
Would it be in order for a Committee member to intervene in such a match if he has observed that a player has looked for his ball for five minutes and is continuing to search?
A. Yes. It would be appropriate for a Committee member to intervene and advise the player that the ball is lost under the Rules and, if he does not resume play immediately, a penalty for undue delay will result.