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Grounding a club in a water hazard.......question

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ball landed in a water hazard, but stayed in high grass, it was playable.

I dont want to ground my club, but need clarification on whether my club can touch any grass blades in the hazard before the ball makes contact...its impossible...

If by grounding does it mean resting the club on the dirt of the hazard? the fluff of the grass? I have to address the ball and hover the club 4 or 5 inches behind the ball to start my backswing...by moving blades of grass do incur penalty? theres just no way to tell if 10 blades were undisturbed...
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There is no penalty for touching grass or anything growing in a hazard. Grounding your club in tall grass means letting the weight of the club rest on the grass. As long as you hold the club in the air above and behind the ball, no penalty. Just be certain that you do nothing that may be interpreted as testing the condition of the hazard.

From Rule 13-4:
Note: At any time, including at address or in the backward movement for the stroke, the player may touch, with a club or otherwise, any obstruction, any construction declared by the Committee to be an integral part of the course or any grass, bush, tree or other growing thing.

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There is no penalty for touching grass or anything growing in a hazard. Grounding your club in tall grass means letting the weight of the club rest on the grass. As long as you hold the club in the air above and behind the ball, no penalty. Just be certain that you do nothing that may be interpreted as testing the condition of the hazard.

Not sure about that one, what about the British guy on the PGA Tour (Brian Davis I think) who was in the hazard on the 18th and just touched a blade of weed or something in the hazard on his backswing and called a penalty on himself and cost him the tournament?

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Not sure about that one, what about the British guy on the PGA Tour (Brian Davis I think) who was in the hazard on the 18th and just touched a blade of weed or something in the hazard on his backswing and called a penalty on himself and cost him the tournament?

How many times does this have to be gone over? Fourputt is correct. He even quoted the actual rule and emboldened the relevant part which applies to Davis' situation. Davis moved a loose impediment - grass that was not attached to the ground. If it had been growing there would have been no problem.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty View Post
None

How many times does this have to be gone over? Fourputt is correct. He even quoted the actual rule and emboldened the relevant part which applies to Davis' situation. Davis moved a loose impediment - grass that was not attached to the ground. If it had been growing there would have been no problem.

So what is the rational for having a TWO (2) stroke penalty for your club inadvertently touching a loose blade of grass in a hazard while there is no penalty when your club touches a blade that is growing?  Wouldn`t a 1 stroke penalty for touching a loose impediment be more in line with the crime?  2 strokes seems overly penal.

I ask this because of Blayne Barber, who easily made it through Stage 1 of Q school but disqualified himself 6 days later when he realized he should have assessed himself a 2 stroke instead of a 1 stroke penalty for possibly touching a leaf on his back swing. http://www.pgatour.com/2012/r/11/14/dorman-column/index.html#

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty View Post
None

How many times does this have to be gone over? Fourputt is correct. He even quoted the actual rule and emboldened the relevant part which applies to Davis' situation. Davis moved a loose impediment - grass that was not attached to the ground. If it had been growing there would have been no problem.

So what is the rational for having a TWO (2) stroke penalty for your club inadvertently touching a loose blade of grass in a hazard while there is no penalty when your club touches a blade that is growing?  Wouldn`t a 1 stroke penalty for touching a loose impediment be more in line with the crime?  2 strokes seems overly penal.

I ask this because of Blayne Barber, who easily made it through Stage 1 of Q school but disqualified himself 6 days later when he realized he should have assessed himself a 2 stroke instead of a 1 stroke penalty for possibly touching a leaf on his back swing. http://www.pgatour.com/2012/r/11/14/dorman-column/index.html#

Because it's a loose impediment.  You can't differentiate between a 2 foot long branch and a 2 inch long blade of grass.  Both are loose impediments and both are treated the same under the rules.  It would be inconsistent to do it any differently.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

Because it's a loose impediment.  You can't differentiate between a 2 foot long branch and a 2 inch long blade of grass.  Both are loose impediments and both are treated the same under the rules.  It would be inconsistent to do it any differently.

ok, but why a 2 stroke penalty instead of a 1 stroke penalty?  Just seems overly penal to me...wouldn`t a fairer penalty for grounding your club in a hazard or touching a loose impediment with your club be 1 shot?  How often will breaching that rule improve your score by more than a shot?  My guess is that it would rarely improve your score by more than 1/2 shot on average...

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Originally Posted by MEfree

ok, but why a 2 stroke penalty instead of a 1 stroke penalty?  Just seems overly penal to me...wouldn`t a fairer penalty for grounding your club in a hazard or touching a loose impediment with your club be 1 shot?  How often will breaching that rule improve your score by more than a shot?  My guess is that it would rarely improve your score by more than 1/2 shot on average...

MEfree, I would like to agree with you, especially as you mentioned Mr Barber's incident. In that particular instance this seems like the dumbest rule ever written because there was no intention. But as Fourputt says, the rules cannot differentiate between different loose impediments. All are equal. I think the two stroke penalty is also fitting. The player could have taken a drop and only been penalized the one stroke but instead made a conscious decision to try the higher risk shot. If the rule were not as it is, you could "accidentally touch" and sweep away all loose impediments on your back swing and save yourself potentially two strokes. One for the avoided drop and another for giving yourself a clean shot at the ball.

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Originally Posted by reedf

Quote:

Originally Posted by MEfree

ok, but why a 2 stroke penalty instead of a 1 stroke penalty?  Just seems overly penal to me...wouldn`t a fairer penalty for grounding your club in a hazard or touching a loose impediment with your club be 1 shot?  How often will breaching that rule improve your score by more than a shot?  My guess is that it would rarely improve your score by more than 1/2 shot on average...

MEfree, I would like to agree with you, especially as you mentioned Mr Barber's incident. In that particular instance this seems like the dumbest rule ever written because there was no intention. But as Fourputt says, the rules cannot differentiate between different loose impediments. All are equal. I think the two stroke penalty is also fitting. The player could have taken a drop and only been penalized the one stroke but instead made a conscious decision to try the higher risk shot. If the rule were not as it is, you could "accidentally touch" and sweep away all loose impediments on your back swing and save yourself potentially two strokes. One for the avoided drop and another for giving yourself a clean shot at the ball.

This is the answer.  Again, you can't penalize by degree for the same offense.  Accidentally moving a small leaf seems minor, but the same act could move a 2 foot branch, and that would be major.  In equity, the same penalty must apply in both cases.

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Thread bump with relevant (albeit perhaps silly) question:

Is it ONLY illegal to ground your club in a hazard when you intend to play your ball, or is it illegal at all times?  Meaning ... if I hit my ball into a hazard and it's reachable, but for whatever reason not playable (embedded, or under water, etc) can I just rake it out of there with my wedge, or would that be a penalty for grounding the club?

Thanks all!

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The point is testing the surface of the hazard to help you with the stroke. If you have decided to take the penalty and drop out of the hazard you're not intending to play a stoke in the hazard therefore no penalty when you retrieve your ball.

The testing the hazard is the key - you can actual place your bag in the hazard without penalty however touching the surface with a club is a penalty (obviously).

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Originally Posted by Wansteadimp

The point is testing the surface of the hazard to help you with the stroke. If you have decided to take the penalty and drop out of the hazard you're not intending to play a stoke in the hazard therefore no penalty when you retrieve your ball.

The testing the hazard is the key - you can actual place your bag in the hazard without penalty however touching the surface with a club is a penalty (obviously).

I figured as much ... just wanted to be safe though, and not assume anything.  Thanks!

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

Thread bump with relevant (albeit perhaps silly) question:

Is it ONLY illegal to ground your club in a hazard when you intend to play your ball, or is it illegal at all times?  Meaning ... if I hit my ball into a hazard and it's reachable, but for whatever reason not playable (embedded, or under water, etc) can I just rake it out of there with my wedge, or would that be a penalty for grounding the club?

Thanks all!

It is against the rules to ground your club in a hazard if your ball lies in the hazard.  It doesn't matter if you intend to lift the ball, all that matters is that it lies there.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

It is against the rules to ground your club in a hazard if your ball lies in the hazard.  It doesn't matter if you intend to lift the ball, all that matters is that it lies there.

Oh.

OK, then ... since I am not a rich pro who gets his balls for free, would I be correct to assume that once I have decided to take the penalty and then dropped a new ball in play, THEN I can reach in there and grab my ball since it's not really the ball in play anymore that lies in the hazard?

If not, once I have PLAYED the new ball, then can I reach in and rake the other one out?

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

It is against the rules to ground your club in a hazard if your ball lies in the hazard.  It doesn't matter if you intend to lift the ball, all that matters is that it lies there.


Sorry you are wrong fourputt see the exceptions below

From the USGA Rules of Golf

13-4. Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Actions

Except as provided in the Rules, before making a stroke at a ball that is in a hazard (whether a bunker or a water hazard) or that, having been lifted from a hazard, may be dropped or placed in the hazard, the player must not:

a. Test the condition of the hazard or any similar hazard;

b. Touch the ground in the hazard or water in the water hazard with his hand or a club; or

c. Touch or move a loose impediment lying in or touching the hazard.

Exceptions:

1. Provided nothing is done that constitutes testing the condition of the hazard or improves the lie of the ball, there is no penalty if the player (a) touches the ground or loose impediments in any hazard or water in a water hazard as a result of or to prevent falling, in removing an obstruction, in measuring or in marking the position of, retrieving, lifting, placing or replacing a ball under any Rule or (b) places his clubs in a hazard.

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Originally Posted by NM Golf

Sorry you are wrong fourputt see the exceptions below

OK, so not such a silly question after all, seeing as how the answer wasn't so cut and dried. :)

Anyways, seems as though NM's linked reference will stand as the winner here.  It specifically lists retreiving the ball as an exception to the rule, so that should be the end of it.  I think ;)

Thanks!

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