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THE GAME OF GOLF: GENERAL

1-1/1

Two Balls in Play Simultaneously at Different Holes

Q.Two players on the 8th hole play their approach shots to the 8th green. They agree to tee off at the 9th hole and then putt out on the 8th green. This is to avoid having to walk back up a hill to the 9th tee and to save time. What is the ruling?

A.In match play, the players are disqualified under Rule 1-3 for excluding the operation of Rule 2-1 by failing to play the stipulated round, provided the players knew that this was a breach of the Rules. If they did not know that their action was a breach of the Rules, both holes stand as played.

In stroke play, the competitors are disqualified under Rule 3-2 for failing to hole out on the 8th hole before making a stroke from the 9th tee. (Revised)

1-1/2

Player Unaware He has Holed Out Puts Another Ball into Play

Q.A player, unable to find his ball, puts another ball into play. He then discovers that his original ball is in the hole. What is the ruling?

A.The score with the original ball counts. The play of the hole was completed when the player holed that ball.

1-1/3

Player Discovers Original Ball in Hole after Searching Five Minutes And then Continuing Play with Provisional Ball

Q.At a par-3 hole, a player, believing his original ball may be lost, plays a provisional ball. He searches five minutes for the original ball and then plays the provisional ball onto the green. At that point, the original ball is found in the hole. What is the ruling?

A.The player's score is 1. The play of the hole was completed when the player holed the original ball (Rule 1-1).

1-1/4

Player Discovers Own Ball Is in Hole After Playing Wrong Ball

Q.A player played to a blind green and putted what he thought was his ball. He then discovered that his own ball was in the hole and that the ball he had putted was a wrong ball. What is the ruling?

A.Since the play of the hole was completed when the original ball was holed (Rule 1-1), the player was not in breach of Rule 15-3 for subsequently playing a wrong ball.

Related Decisions:

2-4/9 Player Concedes Hole After Which It Is Discovered Opponent Had Played Wrong Ball.

2-4/11 Player with Lost Ball Concedes Hole; Ball Then Found in Hole.

EXERTING INFLUENCE ON MOVEMENT OF BALL OR ALTERING PHYSICAL CONDITIONS

1-2/0.5

Serious Breach of Rule 1-2

Q.Should the standard for determining whether a serious breach of Rule 1-2 has occurred be the same in match play and stroke play?

A.In deciding whether a player has committed a serious breach of Rule 1-2, the Committee should consider all aspects of the incident. Given the different impact on players in match play and stroke play, it is possible for the same act to constitute a serious breach of Rule 1-2 in stroke play but not in match play. In many cases in match play (e.g., a player who intentionally stops his ball from entering a water hazard), a penalty of loss of hole is sufficient while in stroke play the player should be disqualified for a serious breach. In some cases (e.g., the purposeful act of damaging the line of putt referred to in Decision 1-2/1), a penalty of disqualification in match play may be appropriate.

1-2/0.7

Meaning of "Sole Purpose of Caring for the Course"

Q.What is the meaning of the phrase "sole purpose of caring for the course" in Exception 2 to Rule 1-2?

A.The phrase "sole purpose of caring for the course" in the Exception refers to the performance of acts that are encouraged in the Etiquette Section of the Rules of Golf provided they are taken at the appropriate time and in a manner permitted by the Rules. The provisions of Rule 1-2 do not prevent a player from taking acts that conform with the Etiquette Section, so long as the player does so for the sole purpose of caring for the course and without intentionally influencing the movement of a ball, or the physical conditions affecting play, of a player in the player's group or match. For example, while a player may not smooth the ragged edge of a hole or tap down spike marks in order to influence the movement of a ball of an opponent, fellow-competitor or partner, the player may generally smooth the ragged edge of a hole or tap down spike marks as a courtesy to players in following groups or matches, or for care of the course (see Decision 1-2/3.5). Similarly, while a player may not press down a piece of turf in the area in which a ball in motion may come to rest or in the area in which a ball is to be dropped or placed with the intention of influencing the movement of the ball, a player generally may attempt to tidy up the course by repairing divot holes and/or replacing divots that do not affect play of the hole by a player in the player's group or match (see Decision 1-2/8).

1-2/1

Line of Putt Altered Purposely by Opponent or Fellow-Competitor by Stepping on It

Q.An opponent or a fellow-competitor purposely steps on the player's line of putt with the intention either of improving the line (e.g., by pressing down a raised tuft of grass) or of damaging it (e.g., by making spike marks). What is the ruling?

A.In either case, the opponent or the fellow-competitor was in breach of Rule 1-2. The penalty is loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play, unless the Committee decides to impose a penalty of disqualification – see the penalty statement of Rule 1-2.

In stroke play if the line of putt has been damaged, the player, in equity (Rule 1-4), may restore the line of putt to its previous condition. A player is entitled to the lie and line of putt he had when his ball came to rest. The line of putt may be restored by anyone.

Decisions related to 1-2/0.5 and 1-2/1:

13-2/36 Competitor Sanctions Repair of Spike Damage on His Line of Putt by Fellow-Competitor.

16-1a/13 Line of Putt Damaged Accidentally by Opponent, Fellow-Competitor or Their Caddies.

17-3/2 Opponent or Fellow-Competitor Attending Flagstick for Player Fails to Remove It; Player's Ball Strikes Flagstick.

19-1/5 Ball Deliberately Deflected or Stopped on Putting Green by Fellow-Competitor.

• See also "Equity: player entitled to lie, line of play and stance when ball comes to rest after stroke" in the Index.

1-2/1.5

Competitor Alters Line of Play of Fellow-Competitor

Q.In stroke play, A's ball is under a partially detached tree branch from which he believes he is entitled to relief without penalty. A calls for a ruling. B, A's fellow-competitor, argues A's case to a referee and, during the conversation, lifts the branch and improves or worsens A's line of play. What is the ruling?

A.As B did not alter physical conditions with the intent of affecting A's playing of the hole, B is not in breach of Rule 1-2. A incurs no penalty. A may replace the branch, but he is not required to do so.

1-2/2

Shielding Line of Putt from Wind

Q.May a player lay his golf bag parallel to the line of putt to shield the line from the wind?

A.No. Such an action taken with the intent to influence the movement of the ball would be a breach of Rule 1-2, even if the golf bag were removed prior to the stroke being made.

1-2/3

Breaking Bush in Area into Which Ball May Roll After Drop

Q.A player elects to take relief from an area of ground under repair through the green. He correctly determines his nearest point of relief and the one club-length area in which the ball must be dropped under Rule 25-1b(i). The player is aware that there is a small bush located outside the dropping area. Fearing that his ball could come to rest close to the bush when dropped, without a re-drop being required under Rule 20-2c, the player intentionally breaks off and removes part of the bush. What is the ruling?

A.As the player has not improved the area in which a ball is to be dropped, (i.e., the area in which the ball must first strike a part of the course when dropped under Rule 25-1b(i)), Rule 13-2 does not apply. However, the player is in breach of Rule 1-2 for taking an action with the intent to affect the playing of the hole by altering the physical conditions.

The same principles apply to a situation where a player's ball is at rest, but he fears that it might move. For example, if a player's ball is at rest on a steep slope through the green and he breaks an attached tree branch that might interfere with his swing if the ball were to roll ten feet down the slope, the player is in breach of Rule 1-2 for taking an action with the intent to affect the playing of the hole by altering the physical conditions.

1-2/3.5

Player Repairs Hole After Holing Out But Before Opponent, Fellow-Competitor or Partner Holes Out

Q.After holing out, a player observes that the edge of the hole is ragged. He pats the ragged edge with his hand and smoothes it. Does the player incur a penalty under Rule 1-2 if his opponent, fellow-competitor or partner has not holed out?

A.If the player smoothed the edge of the hole solely for the purpose of caring for the course, he was not in breach of Rule 1-2. However, if the smoothing of the ragged edge was in any way intended to influence the movement of his opponent's, fellow-competitor's or partner's ball, or alter physical conditions with the intent of affecting the playing of the hole, he was in breach of Rule 1-2. It is recommended that a player should only smooth the ragged edge of a hole after all players in the group or match have completed play of the hole.

As the player had holed out, he is not subject to penalty under Rule 16-1a or Rule 13-2.

In a four-ball competition, if the player's partner had not completed play of the hole, the partner incurs the penalty for a breach of Rule 16-1a – see Definition of "Partner."

Related Decisions:

16-1a/6 Damaged Hole; Procedure for Player.

33-2b/2 Relocating Hole After Ball Already Positioned Nearby on Putting Green.

1-2/4

Player Jumps Close to Hole to Cause Ball to Fall into Hole

Q.A player whose ball overhangs the lip of the hole jumps close to the hole in the hope of jarring the ground and causing the ball to fall into the hole. Is the player penalized under Rule 1-2 for trying to exert influence on the movement of his ball in play?

A.If the player's ball was at rest (or deemed to be at rest under Rule 16-2) and does not move, Rule 1-2 does not apply because the player was attempting to move a ball at rest and this is specifically covered by Rule 18-2a (see Exception 1 to Rule 1-2). As the ball did not move, there was no penalty under Rule 18-2a.

If the player's ball was at rest (or deemed to be at rest under Rule 16-2) and the ball moves, Rule 1-2 does not apply because Rule 18-2a specifically covers a ball at rest moved by the player – see Exception 1 to Rule 1-2. The player is deemed to have caused his ball to move and incurs a penalty of one stroke in both match play and stroke play under Rule 18-2a and the ball must be replaced.

If the player's ball was still moving when the player jumped, Rule 1-2 was the applicable Rule because the player took an action with the intent to influence the movement of the ball. In match play, he lost the hole. In stroke play, he incurred a penalty of two strokes and must play the ball from where it came to rest; if the ball was holed, the player completed play of the hole with his last stroke and must apply the two-stroke penalty under Rule 1-2.

Related Decisions:

2-4/2 Ball Falls into Hole After Concession of Next Stroke.

16-2/2 Ball Overhanging Hole Knocked Away by Opponent Before Player Determines Status.

18-2a/23 Ball Knocked from Lip of Hole in Disgust.

18-2b/10 Ball Falls into Hole After Being Addressed.

1-2/5

Player Putts with One Hand and Catches Ball in Hole with Other Hand

Q.A player whose ball is on the lip of the hole putts with one hand and catches the ball with his other hand after the ball is below the level of the lip of the hole. What is the ruling?

A.The player purposely stopped his moving ball.

In match play, he lost the hole – Rule 1-2.

In stroke play, he incurred a penalty of two strokes and was required to place his ball on the lip of the hole and hole out – Rule 1-2. If he did not do so, he was disqualified under Rule 3-2 for failing to hole out.

In order for a ball to be holed (see Definition of "Holed"), it must be at rest within the circumference of the hole.

Related Decision:

16/5.5 Player Holes Short Putt and Allegedly Removes Ball from Hole Before It Is at Rest.

1-2/5.5

Player Purposely Stops or Deflects Ball; Where Next Stroke Must Be Played from

Q.A player's ball lies through the green. After playing a pitch shot up a slope, the player sees his ball start to roll back towards him. He places his club in front of the ball and stops it. The ball would have rolled only a few yards more and remained through the green. What is the ruling?

A.Since the player purposely stopped the ball, he is in breach of Rule 1-2. As the breach was not serious, the player incurs a penalty of loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play. In stroke play, he must play the ball from the point where he stopped it with his club – see Note 2 to Rule 1-2.

If the player had purposely deflected the ball but not stopped it, in match play, he would lose the hole. In stroke play, if a serious breach has not occurred, he would incur a two-stroke penalty and must then play the ball from its new position – see Note 2 to Rule 1-2. In stroke play, if a serious breach has occurred, the player is disqualified.

Rule 19-2 is not applicable since it only covers situations when a player accidentally deflects or stops his ball.

Related Decision:

20-2c/4 Caddie Stops Dropped Ball Before It Comes to Rest; When Penalty Incurred.

1-2/6 (Reserved)

1-2/7

Player Purposely Deflects Partner's Ball in Motion on Putting Green

Q.In four-ball match play, A and B are playing C and D. All four balls lie on the putting green in five strokes. A lies four feet from the hole and B lies 30 feet from the hole. Player A is standing near and behind the hole with respect to B's line of putt while B putts. B's ball goes past the hole and is rolling towards where A is standing. Without waiting for B's ball to come to rest, A knocks B's ball back to B. What is the ruling?

A.A's intentional interference with the movement of B's ball is a breach of Rule 1-2. However, the penalty for that breach is incurred by B – the partner whose ball was in motion – and results in disqualification from the hole for B. A may continue to represent the side without penalty as the breach of Rule 1-2 did not assist him.

1-2/8

Player Presses Down Turf as Ball Is Rolling Towards Area

Q.A player's ball lies through the green at the bottom of a slope. The player makes a stroke and sees that his ball is rolling back down the slope towards the spot from which he just played. Before the ball reaches that spot, the player presses down a raised piece of turf in that area with the intent of ensuring that his ball will not come to rest against the raised piece of turf or in the divot hole. Is the player in breach of Rule 1-2?

A.Yes, as he acted with the intent to influence the movement of his ball in play and with the intent to alter the physical conditions affecting playing of the hole. As the pressing down of the raised piece of turf was not for the sole purpose of caring for the course, Exception 2 to Rule 1-2 does not apply.

If the player had not realized his ball was returning to the area, there would be no breach of Rule 1-2.

1-2/9

Player Presses Ball into Surface of Putting Green

Q.In replacing his ball but before putting it back into play, a player firmly presses the ball into the surface of the putting green in order to prevent it from being moved by the wind or gravity. What is the ruling?

A.In altering the surface of the putting green, the player has breached Rule 1-2 by intentionally taking action to influence the movement of a ball in play and to alter physical conditions that affect the playing of the hole.

In match play, the player loses the hole – Rule 1-2.

In stroke play, the player incurs a penalty of two strokes and must play the ball as it lies – Rule 1-2.

Related Decisions:

14-5/2 Making Stroke at Oscillating Ball.

18/2 Ball Oscillates During Address.

20-3d/2 Ball in Bunker Moves Closer to Hole When Obstruction Removed and Ball Will Not Remain at Rest When Replaced; All Other Parts of Bunker Are Nearer Hole.

1-2/10

Player Wraps Towel Around Self or Places Towel on Cactus Before Taking Stance

Q.A player's ball lies near a cactus, and to play the ball, the player would have to stand with his legs touching the cactus. To protect himself from the cactus needles, the player wraps a towel around his legs before taking his stance. He then plays the ball. What is the ruling?

A.Provided the player does not breach Rule 13-2 (i.e., he takes his stance fairly), there is no breach of the Rules. However, if the player were to place the towel on the cactus, the player would be in breach of Rule 1-2 for altering physical conditions with the intent of affecting the playing of the hole; as a result, he would lose the hole in match play or incur a penalty of two strokes in stroke play.

Related Decision:

13-3/2 Making Stroke While Kneeling on Towel.

Other Decisions related to Rule 1-2: See "Exerting Influence on Ball/Altering Physical Conditions" in the Index.

AGREEMENT TO WAIVE RULES

1-3/0.5

When Breach of Rule 1-3 Occurs

Q.While walking to the 1st green, A and B agree that for a ball that is out of bounds they will drop a ball at the spot where the ball went out of bounds under penalty of one stroke, even though they know the penalty is stroke and distance. Someone overhears this conversation and advises A and B that they may not make such an arrangement. Neither player has yet hit a ball out of bounds. What is the ruling?

A.A and B are disqualified under Rule 1-3 for agreeing to waive Rule 27-1b.

Even though A and B had not yet acted on the agreement, they were in breach of Rule 1-3 as soon as the agreement was reached during the stipulated round.

In match play, if the players in a match agree to waive the Rules before their stipulated round, they are in breach of Rule 1-3 if either of them starts the stipulated round without having canceled the agreement.

In stroke play, if competitors agree to waive the Rules before their stipulated round, each competitor is in breach of Rule 1-3 if one competitor who was part of the agreement starts his stipulated round without having canceled the agreement.

1-3/1 (Reserved)

1-3/2

Agreement to Concede Short Putts

Q.In a match, the two players agree in advance to concede all putts within a specified length. Is this agreement contrary to Rule 1-3?

A.In order to be in breach of Rule 1-3 for agreeing to waive a Rule, players must be aware that they are doing so. Therefore, the answer depends on whether the players knew that Rule 2-4 only allows the concession of the "next stroke" and does not permit them to agree in advance to concede putts within a specified length.

If the players were unaware that the Rules prevented them from agreeing to concede putts in this manner, there is no penalty under Rule 1-3.

If the players were aware that they were excluding the operation of a Rule then they are disqualified under Rule 1-3.

1-3/3 (Reserved)

1-3/4

Failure of Players to Apply Known Penalty

Q.In a match, a player discovers at the 2nd hole that he has 15 clubs in his bag contrary to Rule 4-4a, but his opponent refuses to apply the penalty. The extra club is declared out of play and the match continues. The Committee disqualifies both players. Is this correct?

A.Yes. Since the players agreed to waive the penalty, they should be disqualified under Rule 1-3.

1-3/5

Players Unaware Penalty Incurred

Q.In a match, A incurred a penalty stroke under Rule 12-2 for lifting his ball for identification without announcing his intention to B, his opponent. A did not penalize himself and B did not make a claim because neither A nor B was aware a penalty had been incurred. Should the Committee disqualify A and B under Rule 1-3 for agreeing to waive a penalty?

A.No. Since the players were not aware a penalty had been incurred, there could have been no agreement between them to waive the penalty.

Related Decisions:

2-1/1 Players Unable to Resolve Rules Problem Agree to Consider Hole Halved.

2-5/8.5 Player and Opponent Agree on Incorrect Procedure; Whether Valid Claim May Be Made After Procedure Followed.

1-3/6

Marker Attests Wrong Score Knowingly and Competitor Aware Score Wrong

Q.In stroke play, B failed to hole out at a hole. A few holes later he realized he had erred. A, B's marker and fellow-competitor, was aware both that B had infringed the Rules and that B knew this, but nevertheless he signed B's card. B was disqualified under Rule 3-2 (Failure to Hole Out). Should A, who knowingly overlooked the breach, be penalized?

A.A should have been disqualified for a breach of Rule 1-3.

Related Decisions:

6-6a/5 Marker Attests Wrong Score Knowingly But Competitor Unaware Score Wrong.

33-7/9 Competitor Who Knows Player Has Breached Rules Does Not Inform Player or Committee in Timely Manner.

1-3/7

Agreement That Side Losing After 18 Holes of 36-Hole Match Will Concede Match

Q.Prior to a 36-hole match, the players agree that they will play only 18 holes and whoever is behind at that point will concede the match, despite being aware that this is a breach of the conditions of competition. Is this permissible?

A.No. Both players should be disqualified under Rule 1-3 for agreeing to exclude the operation of a condition of the competition (Rule 33-1). If the players were not aware that their action was a breach of the conditions of competition, the concession would stand. (Revised)

Related Decisions:

2-4/21 Wrong Form of Play Used to Decide Which Side Concedes Match.

6-1/1 Wrong Form of Play Used in Match-Play Event.

33-1/4 Match Decided by Wrong Form of Play by Agreement of Players.

Other Decisions related to Rule 1-3: See "Agreement to Waive Rules" in the Index.

EQUITY

1-4/1

Player Distracted by Ball Dropped by Another Player Mis-Hits Ball

Q.As A was making his backswing, B accidentally dropped a ball, which rolled within six inches of A's ball. The appearance of the dropped ball startled A, causing him to top his shot. In equity, should A be permitted to replay his stroke?

A.No. Distractions are a common occurrence which players must accept.

1-4/2

Ball Adhering to Face of Club After Stroke

Q.A player plays a stroke from wet sand or soil and the ball adheres to the face of the club. What is the ruling?

A.In equity (Rule 1-4), the ball should be dropped, without penalty, as near as possible to the spot where the club was when the ball stuck to it. (Revised)

1-4/3

Flagstick Stuck into Green Some Distance from Hole by Practical Joker

Q.A practical joker removes the flagstick from the hole and sticks it into the putting green some distance from the hole. The players approaching the green are unaware of this action and they play towards the flagstick and not the hole. Do the players have the option to replay?

A.No. In equity (Rule 1-4), the players must accept the resultant advantage or disadvantage.

1-4/4

In Anger Player Strikes Ball Played by Player in Following Group

Q.A is nearly struck by a ball played by a player in the following group. In anger, A hits the ball back towards the group. Has A played a practice stroke or a wrong ball?

A.No. However, in equity (Rule 1-4), A should incur the general penalty of loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play.

Related Decision:

7-2/5.5 Player Finds Ball and Hits It to Player Who Lost It.

1-4/5

Removal of Obstruction in Hazard Would Move Loose Impediment

Q.In a hazard, a player's ball lies against a movable obstruction. A loose impediment lies on top of the obstruction in such a position that the player cannot remove the obstruction without also moving the loose impediment. The player is entitled to move the movable obstruction under Rule 24-1 but is not entitled to move the loose impediment under Rule 23. What is the procedure?

A.The player may remove the obstruction as authorized by Rule 24-1. As the loose impediment will be moved in the process, in equity (Rule 1-4), the player incurs no penalty and must place the loose impediment as near as possible to the spot where it originally lay. If the player fails to place the loose impediment as required, in equity (Rule 1-4) and in view of the purpose of Rule 13-4, he would lose the hole in match play or incur a penalty of two strokes in stroke play.

Related Decisions:

13-4/16 Removal of Loose Impediment in Water Hazard Covering Wrong Ball.

13-4/35.7 Player Deems Ball Unplayable in Bunker, Lifts Ball and Then Removes Loose Impediment from Bunker.

23-1/6.5 Removal of Loose Impediments from Spot on Which Ball to Be Placed.

23-1/7 Loose Impediment Affecting Lie Moved When Ball Lifted.

23-1/8 Loose Impediments Affecting Lie Removed While Ball Lifted.

1-4/6 (Reserved)

1-4/7

Ball Lost in Either Water Hazard or Casual Water Overflowing Hazard

Q.A ball is lost. It is either in a water hazard or in casual water overflowing the hazard. What is the proper procedure?

A.In equity (Rule 1-4), the player must proceed under the water hazard Rule.

Related Decision:

25/2 Overflow from Water Hazard.

1-4/8

Nearest Point of Relief from Cart Path Is in Casual Water; Nearest Point of Relief from Casual Water Is Back on Cart Path

Q.A player's ball lies on a paved cart path from which he wishes to take relief under Rule 24-2b(i). It appears that the nearest point of relief will be in a large area of casual water which adjoins the cart path and the nearest point of relief from the casual water under Rule 25-1b(i) would be back on the cart path. What are the player's options?

A.The player may proceed in accordance with Rule 24-2 and then, if applicable, Rule 25-1. He is not entitled to take relief from both the immovable obstruction and the casual water in a single procedure, unless after proceeding under these Rules, the player is essentially back where he started and it is evident that such a procedure is necessary to obtain relief from both conditions.

Therefore, the player should proceed as follows:

1. He may lift and drop the ball in accordance with Rule 24-2b(i) in the casual water.

2. He may play the ball as it lies or take relief from the casual water, in which case he would lift and drop the ball in accordance with Rule 25-1b(i).

3. If the ball when dropped comes to rest in such a position that there is interference by the cart path, he may play the ball as it lies or proceed in accordance with Rule 24-2b(i). If the nearest point of relief is in the casual water, as an additional option, the player may, in equity (Rule 1-4) obtain relief without penalty as follows: Using the new position of the ball on the cart path, the nearest point of relief from both the cart path and the casual water shall be determined which is not in a hazard or on a putting green. The player shall lift the ball and drop it within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief, on a part of the course which avoids interference by the cart path and the casual water and is not in a hazard or on a putting green.

If the dropped ball rolls into a position where there is interference by either the cart path or the casual water, Rule 20-2c applies.

The same principle would apply if there was interference from any two conditions, i.e., casual water, a hole made by a burrowing animal, an immovable obstruction, from which relief without penalty was available and in taking relief from one condition it resulted in interference from the second condition.

Related Decision:

25-1b/11.5 Ball in Casual Water Within Ground Under Repair; Whether Player Entitled to Take Relief from Both Conditions in Single Procedure.

1-4/8.5

Nearest Point of Relief from Cart Path Is in Casual Water, Nearest Point of Relief from Casual Water Is Back on Cart Path; Impracticable for Player to Drop Ball Into Area of Casual Water

Q.In the circumstances described in Decision 1-4/8, if the nature of the area of casual water were such that it was impracticable or impossible for the player to drop the ball, when taking relief from the cart path, into the area of casual water, how may the player proceed?

A.If it is impracticable for the player to proceed under one of the two Rules, he may, in equity (Rule 1-4), obtain relief without penalty as follows: Using the position of the ball on the cart path, the nearest point of relief from both the cart path and the casual water must be determined that is not in a hazard or on a putting green. The player must lift the ball and drop it within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief, on a part of the course that avoids interference by the cart path and the casual water and is not in a hazard or on a putting green.

It would be considered impracticable for the player to drop the ball in the area of casual water if the casual water were so deep that unreasonable effort would be required to retrieve a ball lying in this area of casual water – see Decision 25-1/1.

Other examples of conditions into which it would be considered impracticable for the player to drop the ball would include:

  • in or under an immovable obstruction such that it would be extremely difficult or impossible to drop the ball (e.g., inside a locked building or beneath a rain-shelter that is raised off the ground).
  • within a large hole made by a greenkeeper or similar area of ground under repair from which the player could not reasonably be expected to play a ball.

1-4/9

Bird's Nest Interfering with Stroke

Q.A player's ball comes to rest in a bird's nest or so close to the nest that he could not make a stroke without damaging it. In equity (Rule 1-4), does the player have any options in addition to playing the ball as it lies or, if applicable, proceeding under Rule 26 or 28?

A.Yes. It is unreasonable to expect the player to play from such a situation and unfair to require the player to incur a penalty stroke under Rule 26 (Water Hazards) or Rule 28 (Ball Unplayable).

If the ball lay through the green, the player may, without penalty, drop a ball within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest spot not nearer the hole that would allow him to make his stroke without damaging the nest and that is not in a hazard and not on a putting green. The ball when dropped must first strike a part of the course through the green.

If the ball lay in a hazard, the player may drop a ball, without penalty, within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest spot not nearer the hole that would allow him to make his stroke without damaging the nest. If possible, the ball must be dropped in the same hazard and, if not possible, in a similar nearby hazard, but in either case not nearer the hole. If it is not possible for the player to drop the ball in a hazard, he may drop it, under penalty of one stroke, outside the hazard, keeping the point where the original ball lay between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped.

If the ball lay on the putting green, the player may, without penalty, place a ball at the nearest spot not nearer the hole and not in a hazard that would allow him to make his stroke without damaging the nest.

If interference by anything other than the bird's nest makes the stroke clearly impracticable or if damage to the bird's nest would occur only through the use of a clearly unreasonable stroke or an unnecessarily abnormal stance, swing, or direction of play, the player may not take relief as prescribed above, but he is not precluded from proceeding under Rule 26 or 28 if applicable.

1-4/10

Dangerous Situation; Rattlesnake or Bees Interfere with Play

Q.A player's ball comes to rest in a situation dangerous to the player, e.g., near a live rattlesnake or a bees' nest. In equity (Rule 1-4), does the player have any options in addition to playing the ball as it lies or, if applicable, proceeding under Rule 26 or 28?

A.Yes. It is unreasonable to expect the player to play from such a dangerous situation and unfair to require the player to incur a penalty under Rule 26 (Water Hazards) or Rule 28 (Ball Unplayable).

If the ball lay through the green, the player may, without penalty, drop a ball within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest spot not nearer the hole that is not dangerous and is not in a hazard and not on a putting green.

If the ball lay in a hazard, the player may drop a ball, without penalty, within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest spot not nearer the hole that is not dangerous. If possible, the ball must be dropped in the same hazard and, if not possible, in a similar nearby hazard, but in either case not nearer the hole. If it is not possible for the player to drop the ball in a hazard, he may drop it, under penalty of one stroke, outside the hazard, keeping the point where the original ball lay between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped.

If the ball lay on the putting green, the player may, without penalty, place a ball at the nearest spot not nearer the hole that is not dangerous and that is not in a hazard.

If interference by anything other than the dangerous situation makes the stroke clearly impracticable or if the situation would be dangerous only through the use of a clearly unreasonable stroke or an unnecessarily abnormal stance, swing, or direction of play, the player may not take relief as prescribed above, but he is not precluded from proceeding under Rule 26 or 28 if applicable.

Related Decision:

33-8/22 Local Rule Treating Ant Hills as Ground Under Repair.

1-4/11

Meaning of "Dangerous Situation"

Q.According to Decision 1-4/10, a ball lying near a live rattlesnake or a bees' nest is a "dangerous situation" and relief should be granted in equity.

If a player's ball comes to rest in or near an area of plants such as poison ivy, cacti or stinging nettles, should the provisions of Decision 1-4/10 apply?

A.No. The player must either play the ball as it lies or, if applicable, proceed under Rule 26 (Water Hazards) or Rule 28 (Ball Unplayable).

Decision 1-4/10 contemplates a situation which is unrelated to conditions normally encountered on the course. Unpleasant lies are a common occurrence which players must accept.

1-4/12

Player Breaches Rules More Than Once; Whether Multiple Penalties Should Be Applied

Situations arise prior to or as a result of a stroke in which a player breaches a single Rule more than once, or breaches separate Rules, in a single act or in different but sequential acts. The question arises whether it is appropriate to apply a penalty to each separate breach.

The Rules expressly provide that multiple penalties are not to be applied in certain situations (e.g., Rules 15-2, 18, 20-7 and 21). However, there are many other situations where multiple breaches of the Rules may occur and the Rules themselves do not expressly specify whether a penalty should be applied to each separate breach. In such cases, equity (Rule 1-4) applies, and the following principles should be used:

1. One Act Results in One Rule Being Breached More Than Once – Single Penalty Applied

Example: In stroke play, a competitor's ball on the putting green strikes a fellow-competitor's ball in breach of Rule 19-5a and then strikes another fellow-competitor's ball, also in breach of Rule 19-5a. The ruling would be a single two-stroke penalty.

2. One Act Results in Two Rules Being Breached – Single Penalty Applied

Example: In stroke play, a competitor is considering putting his ball from a bunker and rakes a footprint in the bunker on his line of play. Both Rule 13-2 and Rule 13-4a have been breached. The ruling would be a single two-stroke penalty.

3. Related Acts Result in One Rule Being Breached More Than Once – Single Penalty Applied

Example 1: In stroke play, a competitor takes several practice swings in a hazard, touching the ground each time. The practice swings are related acts breaching a single Rule. The ruling would be a single two-stroke penalty under Rule 13-4b (see Decision 13-4/3 but also see Principle 6 Example 3).

Example 2: A and B are fellow-competitors playing a par three hole. B is to play first and A asks B whether it is best to play for the center of the green or to play for the flagstick and B advises that it is best to play for the center of the green. A then asks what club B is going to use. B says he will hit a six iron. After B's stroke, which fell short of the green, A asks B if he had hit it well and B confirms that he did. A then hit his shot. The ruling is that both competitors incur a single two-stroke penalty under Rule 8-1 for seeking or giving three related pieces of information all of which might assist A in his choice of club for his next stroke and the way to play it (But see also Principle 6 Example 2).

4. Related Acts Result in Two Rules Being Breached – Single Penalty Applied

Example 1: In stroke play, a competitor is considering putting his ball from a bunker and rakes several footprints in the bunker on his line of play. Both Rule 13-2 and Rule 13-4a have been breached multiple times by related acts. The ruling would be a single two-stroke penalty.

Example 2: In stroke play, a competitor's ball moves prior to address and, while it is in motion, it is accidentally stopped by the competitor's club in breach of Rule 19-2 and comes to rest against it. The competitor then moves the club, as a result of which his ball moves – a breach of Rule 18-2a. These related acts would result in a single one-stroke penalty (see Decision 19-2/1.5).

5. Unrelated Acts Result in Two Rules Being Breached – Multiple Penalties Applied

Example 1: In stroke play, a competitor (1) touches the ground in a hazard with his club while taking practice swings in a hazard and (2) improves his line of play by bending a shrub with his hand. The ruling would be a two-stroke penalty under Rule 13-4 (touching the ground in a hazard with his club) and a further penalty of two strokes under Rule 13-2 (for the unrelated act of improving his line of play by moving something growing), giving a total penalty of four strokes (see Decision 13-4/28).

Example 2: Under Example 2 in Principle 4 above, if the ball is not replaced before the competitor makes his next stroke, the failure to replace the ball is an unrelated act and the competitor incurs an additional penalty of two strokes under Rule 18-2a.

6. Unrelated Acts Result in One Rule Being Breached More Than Once – Multiple Penalties Applied

Example 1: In stroke play, a competitor (1) purposely steps on another player's line of putt with the intention of improving the line, and then (2) purposely stops his own ball in motion after it began moving without apparent cause before address. As the two acts were unrelated, the ruling would be two separate penalties, each of two strokes, for breaches of Rule 1-2, giving a total penalty of four strokes.

Example 2: A and B are fellow-competitors waiting for the green to clear at a par three hole. A, who has been hitting all his iron shots right of target, asks B if his (A's) alignment has been wrong. B confirms that A's alignment has been wrong. After the green clears A asks B what club B is going to play. B does not answer. The ruling would be that A and B both incur a two-stroke penalty for asking for and giving advice about A's alignment (advice on the method of making a stroke). A incurs an additional two-stroke penalty for asking for information from B, which might assist A with his choice of club. Although both requests by A are breaches of the same Rule (Rule 8-1) their character is sufficiently different to warrant two separate penalties.

Example 3: Under Example 1 in Principle 3 above, the competitor then makes a stroke and fails to get the ball out of the hazard. He makes two more practice swings in the hazard, again touching the ground each time. The ruling would be two separate two-stroke penalties under Rule 13-4b. The link between the acts was broken by the competitor's intervening stroke (see also Decision 1-4/14).

For the purposes of this Decision:

  • in making the judgment whether two acts are related or unrelated, the Committee should consider, among other things, the similarity of the acts, how close to one another they are in terms of time and location and whether there were any intervening events;
  • each principal subsection of a Rule is considered a separate Rule (e.g., Rules 1-2, 1-3 and 1-4 are considered separate Rules); and
  • he following sub-subsections (but only these ones) are also considered separate Rules: 4-3a, 4-3b, 13-4a, 13-4b, 13-4c, 14-2a, 14-2b, 16-1a, 16-1b, 16-1c, 16-1d, 16-1e, 16-1f, 17-3a, 17-3b, 17-3c, 18-2a and 18-2b.

1-4/13

Player Advised of Breach of Rule; Player Breaches Same Rule Prior to Stroke

Q.In stroke play, a competitor, whose ball lies in a bunker, makes a practice swing and touches the ground in the bunker with his club. His fellow-competitor advises him that his action may be a breach of the Rules. The competitor disagrees and makes several more practice swings prior to making his stroke, touching the sand each time. What is the penalty?

A.As the competitor was correctly advised that touching the ground in the bunker with his club during a practice swing was a breach of the Rules (Rule 13-4b), the third principle in Decision 1-4/12 is not applicable. Therefore, the competitor is penalized four strokes – two strokes for the initial breach and two strokes for all subsequent breaches when the additional practice swings were made.

Related Decisions:

13-4/3 Touching Ground in Hazard with Several Practice Swings.

13-4/28 Grounding Club, Moving Loose Impediments and Improving Area of Intended Swing in Hazard.

1-4/14

Player Breaches Same Rule Before and After Stroke

Q.In stroke play, a competitor whose ball lies in a bunker makes a practice swing, touching the ground in the bunker with his club in breach of Rule 13-4. He makes the stroke, but the ball remains in the bunker. Before his next stroke, he makes another practice swing, again touching the ground in the bunker. What is the penalty?

A.The competitor incurs two separate penalties, each of two strokes, for breaches of Rule 13-4, giving a total penalty of four strokes. The third principle in Decision 1-4/12 does not apply in this case as the player made a stroke between the two breaches.

1-4/15

Player Breaches Two Rules with Different Penalties; More Severe Penalty Applied

Q.In stroke play, a competitor is searching for his ball under a tree. He accidentally moves his ball with his foot in breach of Rule 18-2a and, at the same time, breaks a branch, improving the area of his intended swing in breach of Rule 13-2. What is the ruling?

A.The competitor has breached two Rules as a result of a single act. In accordance with the second principle in Decision 1-4/12, the competitor only incurs a single penalty. However, in this case, the Rules that have been breached by the competitor give different penalties (i.e., Rule 18-2a carries a one stroke penalty and Rule 13-2 carries a two stroke penalty). In such circumstances, in equity (Rule 1-4), the more severe of the two penalties must be applied and, therefore, the competitor is penalized two strokes under Rule 13-2.

If the same circumstances arose in match play, the player would lose the hole for the breach of Rule 13-2.

Decisions related to Decisions 1-4/12 through 1-4/15, whether multiple penalties apply: See "Multiple Penalty Situations" in the Index.

Other Decisions related to Rule 1-4: See "Equity" in the Index.

Rules

Decisions

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