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Bman

Are you allowed to play on the wrong fairway?

44 posts in this topic

One of my golf buddy hit a nasty snap hook and ended on an adjacent fairway.  The 2 holes run parallel to each other with a small "forest" of huge trees between the 2 fairways.  We all said his only option was to aim back towards our tee box, or take a penalty stroke and re-tee because he could not advance forward through the trees.  However he knew the course well so he intentionally hit down that fairway then hit across back our green.  He said there was no stake so he can continue to play on, he said he only needed to re-tee if there were white stakes between the fairways.  It actually became a short cut because our fairway dogleg around the trees where the 2 greens of these 2 holes came back closer together at the end.

Is there any rule against playing on the wrong fairway intentionally?

I can understand if someone hit a bad hook or slide ended on the wrong fairway, but continue to play on the wrong fairway is just seem wrong.  Bad course design is one thing, holding up the players on the other fairway should be a no-no, but it's also unfair for the rest playing a longer par 5 around the trees.

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Providing the adjacent hole has not been marked/staked as in internal out of bounds, there is no rule prohibiting it.

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Yep, I play the wrong fairway all the time! Not a concern.

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As one of my buddies said when arriving at the 18th green after playing up the 9th hole ( a substantial "sort cut"), "I think I discovered the Northwest Passage."

IMO, Unless you are impeding other players by playing up the wrong hole, it is not even bad form or manners. So in our case, if there are players on the ninth hole, it is bad form to do it on purpose off the 18th tee because you second shot should end up near the ninth green. But if you hank it over to number nine fairway, it may be you only play.

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Just in the past year I've seen Mickelson and McIlroy do it during tournaments.  I believe McIlroy did it in Abu Dhabi.

Brandon

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Originally Posted by bplewis24

Just in the past year I've seen Mickelson and McIlroy do it during tournaments.  I believe McIlroy did it in Abu Dhabi.

Brandon


.Tiger has done it too, more than once.

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No rule at all. One time it hit a ridiculously high, majestic drive (unintentionally) into an adjacent fairway, and decided to play up that hole to avoid having to hit over the trees between the holes. It was a par-five, and I ended up making birdie. So that was nice.
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google "Hinkle tree, Inverness" and you will find out about playing down/thru the wrong fairway and the extent to which the US Open went to discourage it.

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I had to play down the wrong fairway just a couple days ago, and the guys I was playing with were sticklers for the Rules of Golf and know the rule book better than most PGA officials.  They would have penalized me instantly if it was.   As long as you're not impeding someone on that hole, there's no problems with it at all.

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Good question!! I did that on this past Saturday on the 10th hole. Bad slice and off to the right it went. There wasn't anyone playing on that fairway at the time so I hit it just short of the proper green. Glad to know it's not a penalty.

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If the course or committee wants to make it a penalty, they make it OB. Happened at our local muni when they held Western Open qualifying there. Those huge hitters simply played one hole up the wrong fairway avoiding the OB left and the water and trees on the right on their own fairway. Needed to be super long to pull this stunt off so it was not an everyday issue. But if you could carry your drive 275-300 or more over the trees and water, you cut the dogleg and were hitting to the green from a nice lie in the wrong fairway. It was a pace of play disaster and seemed outside the spirit of the hole. Next year, the committee made that other fairway OB and that was the end of that.

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Originally Posted by jamo

No rule at all. One time it hit a ridiculously high, majestic drive (unintentionally) into an adjacent fairway, and decided to play up that hole to avoid having to hit over the trees between the holes. It was a par-five, and I ended up making birdie. So that was nice.

I was about to tell the same story.  Mine was in a tournament and I ended up 3rd, so that was even nicer.

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Originally Posted by Wally Fairway

google "Hinkle tree, Inverness" and you will find out about playing down/thru the wrong fairway and the extent to which the US Open went to discourage it.

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FWIW, the rules don't really define a "fairway" that belongs to a given hole. There's just a hole's teebox, green, and some "shortly cut grass". The rules don't have official distinctions for which part of "through the green" belongs to which hole.
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Originally Posted by B-Con

FWIW, the rules don't really define a "fairway" that belongs to a given hole. There's just a hole's teebox, green, and some "shortly cut grass". The rules don't have official distinctions for which part of "through the green" belongs to which hole.

Well stated. In the US, most courses have obvious distinctions between holes. You post reminded me that at St. Andrews (luck enough to play there once), you see no such distinctions on most holes. #1 and #18 are perhaps the most obvious on TV as they are just a big rectangle with no rough between them. But on many holes, you need a caddie to point out where you are aiming as invisible bunkers are the issue and not "your" fairway vs some other fairway.

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Heck yeah! I usually play out of the other fairway!!!

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At my old home course, the closest I came to an "earned" par on the 9th hole came from the wrong fairway. It's a ~425 or so, slightly uphill hole with a dogleg left a bit over 200 yards from the elevated green. It used to be a nice par 5 from what I've told, but was modified to keep players from hooking off the course. So now it's a very tough par 4 if you don't have a reliable draw. Anyway, as usual I faded a bit and wound up overshooting the dogleg and into the 1st hole fairway. The line of tall, bushy trees meant that either going over or pitching under was a pretty dicey proposition, so I just took my second shot up the 1st fairway. It left me a nice 9 iron over the last few trees that squarely hit the center of the green, giving me a GIR+1 and a makeable putt for par.

Incidentally, don't ask about that "makeable putt." I'll just note that when I finally did make par on the hole, it was a skulled chip that didn't even hit the lip as it landed squarely in the hole. I felt dirty as hell about it, but a par is a par.

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I've done that before, its rare, but it happens, but there is no penality unless there is white stakes.

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