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CraiginKSA

Too many clubs - what do I do?

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Two of my really good buddies are playing a match. I'm just along for the ride - not competing, but playing. Im just a spectator. We get to 17 and the score is one up. There is a wait on the tee box. I notice that the one guy has a new set of irons. I'm asking him about the clubs and we're talking about where he got them, price etc. One of the irons is a 56 degree sand wedge. Then I notice he also has his old 55 degree Cleveland wedge - OH NO! Sure enough, he forgot to take out one of the wedges when he put his new set of irons in the bag and now he's got 15 clubs. The one who had 15 clubs ended up losing 2-down, but what was I to do if he had won the last two holes and the match? I would have been the biggest a-hole for pointing that out. But hey, count your clubs before teeing off!! Do I have an obligation as a mere spectator to speak up. If someone had taken an illegal drop or was deliberately cheating then sure, but this was such an obvious mistake - no one carries both 55 deg and 56 deg wedges.
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I should have pointed it out to the player with 15 clubs.

Than it's up to him if he talks to his competitor about it.

Than you can also see if he's an honest guy, or he is the a-hole.

Can't stand it if  someone is not honest. Specially on the course

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How does that make a difference?

Regardless of the intention, a rules violation is the same.  Isn't that what all these TV spectators do when they call in to report a rules violation they saw on TV?

Originally Posted by CraiginKSA

Two of my really good buddies are playing a match. I'm just along for the ride - not competing, but playing. Im just a spectator. We get to 17 and the score is one up. There is a wait on the tee box. I notice that the one guy has a new set of irons. I'm asking him about the clubs and we're talking about where he got them, price etc. One of the irons is a 56 degree sand wedge. Then I notice he also has his old 55 degree Cleveland wedge - OH NO!

Sure enough, he forgot to take out one of the wedges when he put his new set of irons in the bag and now he's got 15 clubs.

The one who had 15 clubs ended up losing 2-down, but what was I to do if he had won the last two holes and the match? I would have been the biggest a-hole for pointing that out. But hey, count your clubs before teeing off!!

Do I have an obligation as a mere spectator to speak up. If someone had taken an illegal drop or was deliberately cheating then sure, but this was such an obvious mistake - no one carries both 55 deg and 56 deg wedges.

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Originally Posted by Yukari

How does that make a difference?

Regardless of the intention, a rules violation is the same.  Isn't that what all these TV spectators do when they call in to report a rules violation they saw on TV?

+1. Recall Ian Woosnam in the 2001 Open. His caddie left an additional driver in the bag, but Woosnam was penalized nonetheless.

Really hard to prove intent. That's why the rules are pretty black and white when it comes to the number of clubs.

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While I agree with the sentiment to call the guy on it, match play is a different format and Tomvk77 has the best answer in this case.  Inform the player with the extra club of his breach and see what he does.  You are neither referee nor committee, so calling it yourself is just going to cause a lot of bad feelings.  If the guy has any self respect at all he is going to go straight to his opponent and explain, take the penalty of the loss of 2 holes, and accept the consequences.

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That is ridiculous.  If he didn't know that he had his old wedge in there, he was obviously going to make no intent to take a shot with it.  I store my bag at home while I am at college for the year.  My parents placed a few loose end clubs into my bag (clubs that I would never use).  After about 2 or 3 weeks of golfing this year I finally decided to count clubs and the 2 extra clubs that my parents stored in my bag brought me up to 15.  I had played a scramble tournament with these 15 clubs in my bag and played maybe 3 18 hole rounds.

It wasn't a tournament give the guy a break.  If someone would have pointed this out before the round even started he would have easily obliged and removed his old wedge.  Now if he used the 55 degree as well then yes you should point it out, but from your story it sounds like he had just forgot to remove it.

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Originally Posted by trackster

That is ridiculous.  If he didn't know that he had his old wedge in there, he was obviously going to make no intent to take a shot with it.  I store my bag at home while I am at college for the year.  My parents placed a few loose end clubs into my bag (clubs that I would never use).  After about 2 or 3 weeks of golfing this year I finally decided to count clubs and the 2 extra clubs that my parents stored in my bag brought me up to 15.  I had played a scramble tournament with these 15 clubs in my bag and played maybe 3 18 hole rounds.

It wasn't a tournament give the guy a break.  If someone would have pointed this out before the round even started he would have easily obliged and removed his old wedge.  Now if he used the 55 degree as well then yes you should point it out, but from your story it sounds like he had just forgot to remove it.

It was a match.  A match is a competition.  There are rules which have to apply to a competition.  Sorry if that offends you sensibilities.  It doesn't make the tiniest bit of difference why the extra club is there.   It doesn't matter that he never intended to use it.  All that matters is that he had 15 clubs and that is a breach of Rule 4-4.

If you played a scramble with 15 clubs, then you were cheating.  No amount of rationalizing can change that fact.  You don't come into a rules forum and start saying that it's okay to cheat or breach the rules in a competition.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

It was a match.  A match is a competition.  There are rules which have to apply to a competition.  Sorry if that offends you sensibilities.  It doesn't make the tiniest bit of difference why the extra club is there.   It doesn't matter that he never intended to use it.  All that matters is that he had 15 clubs and that is a breach of Rule 4-4.

If you played a scramble with 15 clubs, then you were cheating.  No amount of rationalizing can change that fact.  You don't come into a rules forum and start saying that it's okay to cheat or breach the rules in a competition.

This sounds more like a mental thought that this wedge was out of play.  Same with the clubs that I had in my bag.  If my opponent had an accidental 15th club that he hand no intention of having in the bag to begin with, I would give him the benefit of the doubt as as he does not use it.  I'm starting to become a huge stickler for the rules and I try to inform others I play with of correct rulings, but breaches of the rules like this I believe garner discussion.

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arrghhh! The heartache of dispare/dispair. Well every golfer has the duty to ensure that they are within the guidlines of the USGA or local rules. I beleive your friend with the 15 clubs , in a tournement round, would have been disqualified or DQ'd...and regardless of score the competitor would have won the match.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by trackster View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

It was a match.  A match is a competition.  There are rules which have to apply to a competition.  Sorry if that offends you sensibilities.  It doesn't make the tiniest bit of difference why the extra club is there.   It doesn't matter that he never intended to use it.  All that matters is that he had 15 clubs and that is a breach of Rule 4-4.

If you played a scramble with 15 clubs, then you were cheating.  No amount of rationalizing can change that fact.  You don't come into a rules forum and start saying that it's okay to cheat or breach the rules in a competition.

This sounds more like a mental thought that this wedge was out of play.  Same with the clubs that I had in my bag.  If my opponent had an accidental 15th club that he hand no intention of having in the bag to begin with, I would give him the benefit of the doubt as as he does not use it.  I'm starting to become a huge stickler for the rules and I try to inform others I play with of correct rulings, but breaches of the rules like this I believe garner discussion.

That makes no difference.  You are not allowed to have 15 clubs in your possession at the start of a round, period.  If you do, you incur the appropriate penalty of 2 strokes per hole (up to 4 stroke max) in stroke play, or loss of hole for each hole (2 holes max) in match play.  If you start a round with more than 14 clubs, you may declare the excess clubs out of play for the remainder of the round, but you still incur the penalty on the first hole.  You may not declare an excess club out of play before the start of the round, so carrying an extra club is guaranteed to cost you at least one hole's worth of penalty.  Even if it is discovered immediately after your first tee shot, you have incurred the penalty.

Quote:

DECLARING EXCESS CLUB OUT OF PLAY

4-4c/1

Excess Club Declared Out of Play Before Round and Placed on Floor of Golf Cart

Q. Before the start of a round, a player discovers that there are 15 clubs in his golf bag. He declares one of the clubs out of play, removes it from his bag, places it on the floor of his golf cart and begins the round. Is the player subject to penalty?

A. Yes, for starting the round with more than 14 clubs. Rule 4-4c has to do with declaring an excess club out of play on discovery of a breach after a round has started. There is nothing in the Rules to permit carrying, during a round, an excess club declared out of play before the round.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jodastra View Post

arrghhh! The heartache of dispare/dispair. Well every golfer has the duty to ensure that they are within the guidlines of the USGA or local rules. I beleive your friend with the 15 clubs , in a tournement round, would have been disqualified or DQ'd...and regardless of score the competitor would have won the match.

The only way that the player is disqualified under this rule is if he uses the club after the breach is discovered.

Quote:

c . Excess Club Declared Out of Play

Any club or clubs carried or used in breach of Rule 4-3a(iii) or Rule 4-4 must be declared out of play by the player to his opponent in match play or his marker or a fellow-competitor in stroke play immediately upon discovery that a breach has occurred. The player must not use the club or clubs for the remainder of the stipulated round .

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 4-4c :

Disqualification.

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Since it was a match, wouldn't the score have been adjusted to show the 15-clubber having lost the first and second holes....and then the score updated from there (vs. the last two)?  I'm not sure it makes a difference, in fact I'm pretty sure it doesn't (I'm just too tired to do math right now), but I'm wondering about the technical aspect of the ruling.

I remember years ago in a tournament, I had taken my hybrid to the range with me to warm up.  Well, wouldn't you know I forgot to ditch the 2-iron or hybrid before I started...caught it in the 1st fairway.  Two strokes to start an 18-hole tournament.  What fun!

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Originally Posted by minitour

Since it was a match, wouldn't the score have been adjusted to show the 15-clubber having lost the first and second holes....and then the score updated from there (vs. the last two)?  I'm not sure it makes a difference, in fact I'm pretty sure it doesn't (I'm just too tired to do math right now), but I'm wondering about the technical aspect of the ruling.

I remember years ago in a tournament, I had taken my hybrid to the range with me to warm up.  Well, wouldn't you know I forgot to ditch the 2-iron or hybrid before I started...caught it in the 1st fairway.  Two strokes to start an 18-hole tournament.  What fun!

In match play, you simply adjust the state of the match to reflect the penalty (see Decision 4-4a/9 for a full explanation).  For reference, Player B had the excess club and was 1 down to Player A.  Since it was at the 17th hole, Player B would receive the maximum penalty of the loss of 2 holes.  He was one down on the 17th tee before the penalty, so now he is 3 down with 2 to play and the match is over.

It's an unusual penalty in the sense that a player who is in breach of this rule and has already lost the first 2 holes before the breach is discovered, can actually be down 4 after having only played 2 holes.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

It's an unusual penalty in the sense that a player who is in breach of this rule and has already lost the first 2 holes before the breach is discovered, can actually be down 4 after having only played 2 holes.

See, I knew I was too tired to do that math last night.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

While I agree with the sentiment to call the guy on it, match play is a different format and Tomvk77 has the best answer in this case.  Inform the player with the extra club of his breach and see what he does.  You are neither referee nor committee, so calling it yourself is just going to cause a lot of bad feelings.  If the guy has any self respect at all he is going to go straight to his opponent and explain, take the penalty of the loss of 2 holes, and accept the consequences.

I agree with the idea that as an outside agent (not referee, nor committee, nor player) that it's not something I'd really want to get involved in beyond informing the offender.  After that. you get to learn about both of them based on how each of them handles it from here on out.

Had I been the buddy with the 15 clubs, I cannot imagine that I wouldn't have noticed it myself while showing my new clubs to my friend, but assuming I didn't and then he did inform me, I absolutely would have gone to my opponent and told him of the problem and taken my penalty.

But here's where it gets messy for me.  Had I been the opponent, and this guy comes to me and explains that he just got new clubs, accidentally left his old wedge in there even though he never used it nor intended to, and thus deserves a penalty, I would say don't worry about it, and let's just finish the match.  I know that's against the rules as well, and if the other guy was really adamant about it, I'd go ahead and accept it, but assuming he's just a normal, laid back guy (he's my friend, so that's probably the case ;)) then he's not getting a penalty.  We're playing the last 2 holes with me 1-up, and that's that.  I would not want to win a match by what basically amounts to a forfeit.

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To the original poster - you must either go to the opponent (the player without 15 clubs) or ignore the situation.

If you go to the player who has 15 clubs, he will report it to his opponent and then the penalty MUST be applied.  If they choose not to apply the penalty, they are both disqualified for a breach of Rule 1-3.

If you go to that player's opponent (the one without 15 clubs), this player has the choice of ignoring the breach of Rule 4-4, or having the Rule and penalty applied.

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

I agree with the idea that as an outside agent (not referee, nor committee, nor player) that it's not something I'd really want to get involved in beyond informing the offender.  After that. you get to learn about both of them based on how each of them handles it from here on out.

Had I been the buddy with the 15 clubs, I cannot imagine that I wouldn't have noticed it myself while showing my new clubs to my friend, but assuming I didn't and then he did inform me, I absolutely would have gone to my opponent and told him of the problem and taken my penalty.

But here's where it gets messy for me.  Had I been the opponent, and this guy comes to me and explains that he just got new clubs, accidentally left his old wedge in there even though he never used it nor intended to, and thus deserves a penalty, I would say don't worry about it, and let's just finish the match.  I know that's against the rules as well, and if the other guy was really adamant about it, I'd go ahead and accept it, but assuming he's just a normal, laid back guy (he's my friend, so that's probably the case ;)) then he's not getting a penalty.  We're playing the last 2 holes with me 1-up, and that's that.  I would not want to win a match by what basically amounts to a forfeit.

I would look at it the other way.  I wouldn't want to win a match because my opponent decided to overlook a penalty I had legitimately incurred.  I would look at it as patronizing, as if I wasn't a responsible adult who should be held accountable for his actions.  If I do the crime I expect to do the time.

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I would look at it the other way.  I wouldn't want to win a match because my opponent decided to overlook a penalty I had legitimately incurred.  I would look at it as patronizing, as if I wasn't a responsible adult who should be held accountable for his actions.  If I do the crime I expect to do the time.

That's why I say it gets messy for me. I agree with you. I wouldn't want to win while breaking the rules, but I also wouldn't want to win because my opponent inadvertently broke a rule that had absolutely no bearing on our match. It's good in ops case that the guy with 15 clubs just lost outright. :)

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