Rules of the Game

QUESTION: Cliff and Butch are playing in a tournament. On the 4th hole green, Cliff replaces his ball in front of Butch’s marker.  He putts the ball and it rests close to the hole. Butch mentions there is a problem so Cliff lifts the ball and places it in front of his own marker. Cliff knocks the ball into the hole. Butch says there is a big problem. Is he correct?

ANSWER: When Cliff replaces his ball in front of Butch’s marker and putts, he played from a wrong place and thus incurred a two-stroke penalty; the ball was in play. When Cliff lifted the ball which was close to the hole, the ball was not marked before it was lifted and the rules require it be replaced. Therefore, there is another one-stroke penalty. Because the ball was not replaced, there is also a general one-stroke penalty for a breach of Rule 20-1. In all, Cliff has incurred a penalty of 4 strokes. Butch should say there is a big problem.  See USGA Decisions on the rules of Golf, 2014-2015, 20-7c/2.

Golf clinics continue on Saturday mornings, 10:30-12;00  I continue to work on individual concerns. Private lessons can also be arranged by calling me at GMNGC (422-GOLF).  Remember, the swing’s the thing and continuous improvement is what it’s all about.

Alan Jeffery is a golf professional at GMNGC.

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