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Test Your Rules Knowledge


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In stroke play, a player playing from off the putting green sees that the fl agstick is leaning toward him, making it more diffi cult for him to hole the stroke. Rather than having the fl agstick attended or removed, he centers the fl agstick in the hole. What is the ruling? A. No penalty B. One-stroke penalty C. Two-stroke penalty D. The player is disqualifi ed for infl uencing the movement of the ball


In stroke play, on a calm day, a player’s ball comes to rest on a small slope on the putting green. After the ball has been addressed, the ball starts to roll down the slope and rolls into the hole. The player claims gravity caused it to move and the ball should be holed. What is the ruling? A. The ball is holed, no penalty B. The ball must be replaced with a one-stroke penalty


C. The ball is holed with a two-stroke penalty D. The ball must be replaced with a two-stroke penalty


Which of the following results in a penalty of disqualifi cation? A. A player uses a compass to check his shot direction against common wind conditions


B. A player taps the ball into the hole using a billiard-type motion


C. A player consults a weather app on his smartphone


D. A player uses a thermometer on his bag to determine if the temperature might affect his distances


In stroke play, a player hits a tee shot toward some trees on a dogleg right hole. Think- ing he cleared the dogleg the player walks forward about 25 yards before changing his mind and deciding to go back to play a pro- visional ball. The player then fi nds his original ball in the rough, plays it and picks up the provisional. He fi nishes the hole and tees off from the next hole when his marker questions the player’s procedure on the previous hole. What is the ruling? A. No penalty, the player proceeded in accordance with the Rules


B. The player incurs a two-stroke penalty for playing a practice stroke when not permitted


C. The player incurs three total penalty strokes for playing a wrong ball and for a lost ball


D. The player is disqualifi ed for playing a wrong ball and failing to correct his error prior to playing from the next teeing ground


The Rules of Golf


Stump the Rules Expert


BALL STRIKES FLAGSTICK Tim writes: Q: A player’s ball is about 40 yards from the green, but well below the level of the green, so the player asks a fellow competitor to hold the fl agstick high above the hole to indicate the location of the hole. After the stroke is made, the fellow-competi- tor replaces the


fl agstick in the hole, and the ball then strikes the fl agstick. Was there a penalty? A: The player incurs a two- stroke penalty under Rule 17-3 for striking an attended fl agstick. Note 3 to Rule 17-1 states “If anyone attends or holds up the fl agstick while a stroke is being made, they are deemed to be attending the fl agstick until the ball comes to rest.” Even though the fellow-competitor had replaced the fl agstick in the hole, they are still deemed to be attending the fl agstick until the ball comes to rest, and the ball must not strike a fl agstick that is attended, held up or removed, regard- less of where the stroke is made from.


BUNKERS AS GROUND UNDER REPAIR Carol writes: Q: Bad weather causes several bunkers to fl ood on a particular day. Is it permis-


sible for the committee to make a local rule declaring ALL bunkers to be classifi ed as ground under repair? A: No. That Local Rule would not be permissible. You may make a local Rule that specifi c bunkers are ground under repair, but not for all bunkers. See Decision 33- 8/27.


BALL ASSISTING ANOTHER PLAYER Greg writes: Q: Recently one of my golf buddies has been claiming that no one is supposed to mark their ball on the green until everyone is on the green. Just prior to him chipping he will even say, “Do not mark your ball.” He claims he has a right to request this so that our ball might stop his possible er- rant chip. Is this permissible? A: No. Under Rule 22, if any player believes a ball may assist another player, he or she may lift it, or have it lifted. If a fellow-competitor in stroke play honors a request to leave a ball in place that might assist the player, both players would be disqualifi ed – see Decision 22/6. Also, a player may mark and lift his or her ball on the putting green at any time (except when another ball is in motion and the lifting might infl uence the movement of the ball) regard- less of the location of another player’s ball in play.


Edited by RYAN FARB, assistant director of rules and competitions. To submit questions, email rfarb@ncga.org or visit the Stump the Rules Expert page of NCGA.org (under the Rules menu).


TEST YOUR RULES KNOWLEDGE ANSWERS: 1-A, No Penalty. The player has the right to have the fl agstick centered in the hole or leave it as is. Decision 17/4. 2-B, The ball must be replaced with a one-stroke penalty. Gravity is not a force that is considered when applying the Exception to Rule 18-2b. The player incurs a one-penalty stroke under Rule 18-2b for moving his ball at rest after address and it must be replaced. Decision 18-2b/1. 3-D, It is a breach of Rule 14-3 to use an artifi cial device such as a thermometer for the purpose of measuring distance or conditions that might affect play. Decision 14-3/18 specifi es the thermometer as such a device. Decision 14-3/18 also permits accessing the weather app. De- cision 14-1/2 specifi es the penalty for a billiard type motion is two-strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play, not disqualifi cation. Decision 14-3/4, revised in 2014, now permits the use of a compass. 4-A, Decision 27-2a/1.5 now specifi es a distance of approximately 50 yards a player is permitted to go forward before he is no longer able to play a provisional ball.


WINTER 2014 / NCGA.ORG / 57


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