or Connect
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Clubhouse › Rules of Golf › Virtual Certainty?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Virtual Certainty?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I have seen scenarios similar to the following two discussed but am having trouble reconciling the differences in those discussions.

 

A)  You hit a shot towards a water hazard and hear it hit a tree located within the hazard, but don't see it ricochet out.   There is OB 30 yards to the right of the line you hit your ball.  Other than the sound of the ball hitting the tree, there is no evidence that the ball left the hazard.

 

B) You hit a shot towards a water hazard and see the ball go splash.  The hazard is a fast moving river with the property line of the golf course 30 yards down river.  Other than the fast moving current, there is no evidence that the ball left the hazard.

 

You fail to find your ball in both circumstances.  Would you have virtual certainty that your ball was in the hazard in A, B, both or neither?

post #2 of 23

I think you need to take a break from the River Course b2_tongue.gif. I've actually seen the water carry balls away there. They actually featured it on Altitude Sports and showed balls being swept away.

 

Anyway probably not a common occurrence just about everywhere else. At the courses I frequent it's not common to see balls coming out of hazards. Someone skipping it on the water or hitting a rock or concrete on the edge is the only thing that comes to mind. If I see my ball enter a hazard I haven't had any situations where there would be reason to doubt it's in there.

post #3 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

I have seen scenarios similar to the following two discussed but am having trouble reconciling the differences in those discussions.

 

A)  You hit a shot towards a water hazard and hear it hit a tree located within the hazard, but don't see it ricochet out.   There is OB 30 yards to the right of the line you hit your ball.  Other than the sound of the ball hitting the tree, there is no evidence that the ball left the hazard.

 

B) You hit a shot towards a water hazard and see the ball go splash.  The hazard is a fast moving river with the property line of the golf course 30 yards down river.  Other than the fast moving current, there is no evidence that the ball left the hazard.

 

You fail to find your ball in both circumstances.  Would you have virtual certainty that your ball was in the hazard in A, B, both or neither?

 

 

Quote:

A)  You hit a shot towards a water hazard and hear it hit a tree located within the hazard, but don't see it ricochet out.   There is OB 30 yards to the right of the line you hit your ball.  Other than the sound of the ball hitting the tree, there is no evidence that the ball left the hazard.

 

 

 

Questions like these are impossible to answer, because you have to be able to be there to evaluate the whole situation.  What are the other factors involved.  How far into the hazard from the margin is the tree?  Are there other trees to further complicate the issue.  What kind of tree is it (some are more likely to trap the ball, while others will allow a free bounce)?  Is there anyplace outside of the hazard where the ball could have deflected to and become lost?  After these and other questions have been answered, it still comes down to the likelihood of the ball being in or out of the hazard.  Virtual certainty is not absolute certainty.  You ultimately have to make such a determination after reviewing all of the facts.

 

 

Quote:
B) You hit a shot towards a water hazard and see the ball go splash.  The hazard is a fast moving river with the property line of the golf course 30 yards down river.  Other than the fast moving current, there is no evidence that the ball left the hazard.

 

No way I'd rule that the ball was anywhere except in the hazard.  I've seen a ball hit into a near waterfall and get hung up in a pocket in the rocks.  Water flowing over an uneven surface creates a lot of holes and eddies which can trap relatively light objects.  If you don't find it out of bounds, then it's in bounds.  That is all the evidence you have available.

 

You are again obsessing about and overthinking this.  We went through this last year, and you admitted that you are a bit OC.  I think that sometimes you need to just take a deep breath and listen to the common sense angel on you right shoulder. a2_wink.gif

post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 

I was forced to take a break today as they were closed for snow.  They have several signs up this year warning of swift waters that they did not have up last year- much better run off with the spring snow we had.

 

I think there are lots of situations at Keystone where it is difficult to have 100% certainty that a ball that entered a hazard actually stayed there, but I don't think we are the only course to suffer from that problem-

http://sanantonio.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/sanantonio12/newsletter/gsaamateurgolf/Feb2012/rules_of_golf_known_or_virtually_certain/index.htm

 

Suppose there are a number of trees located both in and adjacent to a water hazard and the ball is observed flying into the top part of one of those trees, perhaps a tree rooted in the hazard.  The ball is heard to strike the tree and is not seen again.  If a search for the ball fails to find it, we lack “Virtual Certainty” that the ball is in the hazard.  The ball may have ricocheted to some location outside the water hazard.   Therefore, the ball is considered to be “lost” and the player must continue under Rule 27-1 for relief procedures. 

Suppose the grass immediately in front of and to the line defining the margin of the hazard is closely mowed and a ball is observed to land on the ground and continue to roll at a good rate of speed toward that hazard and disappears down the slope toward the water and is not found.  In this example, such observation would very likely lead to the conclusion of “Virtual Certainty” that the ball is in the hazard.

Suppose the grass immediately in front of and to the line defining the margin of the hazard is closely mowed and a ball is observed to land on the ground after flying high in the air.   However, on this particular day, perhaps as a result of heavy rain, overnight watering, or heavy dew the ground is quite wet.  While in the previous example we reached the conclusion of “Virtually Certainty” that the ball is in the hazard, that is NOT the case under these circumstances.  Because of the wetness of the ground it is possible that a ball traveling at high speed and dropping after a high soaring shot by a player could be embedded in the fairway and may not be in the water hazard at all.  We would be lacking “Virtual Certainty” and therefore must conclude that ball is lost outside the water hazard and must be treated as a “lost ball.”

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

Questions like these are impossible to answer, because you have to be able to be there to evaluate the whole situation.  What are the other factors involved.  How far into the hazard from the margin is the tree?  Are there other trees to further complicate the issue.  What kind of tree is it (some are more likely to trap the ball, while others will allow a free bounce)?  Is there anyplace outside of the hazard where the ball could have deflected to and become lost?  After these and other questions have been answered, it still comes down to the likelihood of the ball being in or out of the hazard.  Virtual certainty is not absolute certainty.  You ultimately have to make such a determination after reviewing all of the facts.

 

This answer is exactly why I don't think there should be a difference in the rules between a lost ball, out of bound and a ball in a hazard.  I get that you and others consider it way worse to hit a ball off the golf course property than to hit it into a hazard but at courses like Keystone you can hit it into a hazard but fail to have virtual certainty and end up playing it like it was OB (although it real life, most players just assume it is in the hazard and play it as such).

 

Because you have to "evaluate the whole situation" to determine virtual certainty I think it is very likely that different players would come to a different conclusion given the exact same scenario as some may have different opinions about things like which type of tree is more likely to trap the ball.  Equalizing the lost ball, OB and hazard rules would eliminate this possibility.

post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

I was forced to take a break today as they were closed for snow.  They have several signs up this year warning of swift waters that they did not have up last year- much better run off with the spring snow we had.

 

I think there are lots of situations at Keystone where it is difficult to have 100% certainty that a ball that entered a hazard actually stayed there, but I don't think we are the only course to suffer from that problem-

The Platte is high down here. Yeah I don't doubt it mountain golf is a different animal. We were at Beaver Creek last week and I'll be at the River Course in July. Looking forward to it, even if I hit it in the river, which I likely will.

post #7 of 23

B is virtual certainty for me.  

 

A seems closer to a lost ball, but would need more or to actually be there to see it.  If you can't see it ricochet, or more specifically, if I can't see it ricochet, then that must mean my vision was blocked by something.  That leads me to believe it went deep into the trees.  No way to know if it went in the hazard.

post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

This answer is exactly why I don't think there should be a difference in the rules between a lost ball, out of bound and a ball in a hazard.  I get that you and others consider it way worse to hit a ball off the golf course property than to hit it into a hazard but at courses like Keystone you can hit it into a hazard but fail to have virtual certainty and end up playing it like it was OB (although it real life, most players just assume it is in the hazard and play it as such).

 

Because you have to "evaluate the whole situation" to determine virtual certainty I think it is very likely that different players would come to a different conclusion given the exact same scenario as some may have different opinions about things like which type of tree is more likely to trap the ball.  Equalizing the lost ball, OB and hazard rules would eliminate this possibility.

However using something like the River Course as an example is extreme because there's a lot of quirky things about it. We played Red Sky Ranch last summer and there were some real head scratchers up there. I don't think what makes sense for courses like that is a realistic adjustment for all courses. Honestly I am surprised they don't publish local rules up there to assist with issues like that, even if they were unauthorized. I know of at least one course down here that does.

post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave2512 View Post

However using something like the River Course as an example is extreme because there's a lot of quirky things about it. We played Red Sky Ranch last summer and there were some real head scratchers up there. I don't think what makes sense for courses like that is a realistic adjustment for all courses. Honestly I am surprised they don't publish local rules up there to assist with issues like that, even if they were unauthorized. I know of at least one course down here that does.

I definitely think there are way more virtual certainty issues at Keystone (both River and Ranch) than your average course, so maybe that is why this has become a pet peeve of mine as that is where I have played 90% of my rounds the last 12 months.  Feel free to PM me in July if you want to try to tee it up together (although I can't make advanced times with my pass).

 

With that said, another issue I have with virtual certainty and the lost ball rule in general is that they favor players with larger galleries (as well as players with fore caddies and/or playing partners with good eye sight).  If Tiger played a tournament at Keystone, I can't imagine him ever lacking virtual certainty that a ball was in a hazard and I doubt that he would ever lose a ball even if he hit some in the trees.  OTOH, a regular player might hit an identical shot to Tiger's misses but have to take a lost ball because nobody was around to help them.   

post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

A)  You hit a shot towards a water hazard and hear it hit a tree located within the hazard, but don't see it ricochet out.   There is OB 30 yards to the right of the line you hit your ball.  Other than the sound of the ball hitting the tree, there is no evidence that the ball left the hazard.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

Questions like these are impossible to answer, because you have to be able to be there to evaluate the whole situation.  What are the other factors involved.  How far into the hazard from the margin is the tree?  Are there other trees to further complicate the issue.  What kind of tree is it (some are more likely to trap the ball, while others will allow a free bounce)?  Is there anyplace outside of the hazard where the ball could have deflected to and become lost?  After these and other questions have been answered, it still comes down to the likelihood of the ball being in or out of the hazard.  Virtual certainty is not absolute certainty.  You ultimately have to make such a determination after reviewing all of the facts.

Let me ask a follow-up question to this one then.  Regular old low level amateur tournaments like we all would play have no scorers traveling with the groups, no rules officials with the groups, no independent outside parties at all, so the only people watching this happen are likely the player and 3 of his competitors.  Since this likely comes down to best judgment, who gets to make the final call?  If its my ball, for example, and I am virtually certain that it's still in the hazard but one of the other 3 disagrees.  What if it's 2 against 2, or all 3 of the others disagree?  Do we vote on it?  Do I get to make the final decision?

 

In all fairness, I am not a confrontational person, and to be safe, I'd probably just allow the majority of the other competitors in my group make the call, but I'm just curious what is right?

post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

 

With that said, another issue I have with virtual certainty and the lost ball rule in general is that they favor players with larger galleries (as well as players with fore caddies and/or playing partners with good eye sight).  If Tiger played a tournament at Keystone, I can't imagine him ever lacking virtual certainty that a ball was in a hazard and I doubt that he would ever lose a ball even if he hit some in the trees.  OTOH, a regular player might hit an identical shot to Tiger's misses but have to take a lost ball because nobody was around to help them.   

 

This is so not true.  Virtual certainty is flexible.  That's why it doesn't say "absolute certainty".  It simply requires that you make an honest assessment with all of the facts you have at your disposal.  Just because you have fewer facts available than a pro has doesn't mean that you can't make an honest ruling based on the information you have to work with.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

Let me ask a follow-up question to this one then.  Regular old low level amateur tournaments like we all would play have no scorers traveling with the groups, no rules officials with the groups, no independent outside parties at all, so the only people watching this happen are likely the player and 3 of his competitors.  Since this likely comes down to best judgment, who gets to make the final call?  If its my ball, for example, and I am virtually certain that it's still in the hazard but one of the other 3 disagrees.  What if it's 2 against 2, or all 3 of the others disagree?  Do we vote on it?  Do I get to make the final decision?

 

In all fairness, I am not a confrontational person, and to be safe, I'd probably just allow the majority of the other competitors in my group make the call, but I'm just curious what is right?

 

 

Rule 3-3.  Play a ball as you feel proper, and another one which you are positive is correct under the rules (say maybe a provisional ball or return to the tee if necessary, and not necessarily what your fellow competitor says is right), state which one you want to score with if it's allowed.  Hole out with both balls, then let the committee sort it out before you return your card.

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

Rule 3-3.  Play a ball as you feel proper, and another one which you are positive is correct under the rules (say maybe a provisional ball or return to the tee if necessary, and not necessarily what your fellow competitor says is right), state which one you want to score with if it's allowed.  Hole out with both balls, then let the committee sort it out before you return your card.

Yes, but it's still going to come down to a he said / she said type of thing, right?  How does the committee make that determination if they weren't there either?

post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

I definitely think there are way more virtual certainty issues at Keystone (both River and Ranch) than your average course, so maybe that is why this has become a pet peeve of mine as that is where I have played 90% of my rounds the last 12 months.  Feel free to PM me in July if you want to try to tee it up together (although I can't make advanced times with my pass).

 

I agree and that may be why you get some of the responses you do, most people here probably can't envision what you are talking about. I'll keep the invite in mind.

post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

Rule 3-3.  Play a ball as you feel proper, and another one which you are positive is correct under the rules (say maybe a provisional ball or return to the tee if necessary, and not necessarily what your fellow competitor says is right), state which one you want to score with if it's allowed.  Hole out with both balls, then let the committee sort it out before you return your card.

Yes, but it's still going to come down to a he said / she said type of thing, right?  How does the committee make that determination if they weren't there either?

 

The one time I had to proceed under that rule, myself, my disputing fellow competitor, and 2 members of the committee returned to the spot, went over the entire scenario, and my play was upheld.  I had weight on my side as both of my other fellow competitors saw it like I did, and they had already given their stories to the committee.  This is how the committee investigates such an issue.  I had one such dispute when I was working as a rules official at a CGA tournament, and it took interviewing all of the players' fellow competitors, then I had to tell what I'd observed, then we went out to the site.  He was charged with 2 strokes for moving loose impediments in a hazard.

post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

The one time I had to proceed under that rule, myself, my disputing fellow competitor, and 2 members of the committee returned to the spot, went over the entire scenario, and my play was upheld.  I had weight on my side as both of my other fellow competitors saw it like I did, and they had already given their stories to the committee.  This is how the committee investigates such an issue.  I had one such dispute when I was working as a rules official at a CGA tournament, and it took interviewing all of the players' fellow competitors, then I had to tell what I'd observed, then we went out to the site.  He was charged with 2 strokes for moving loose impediments in a hazard.

Got it.  OK, that makes sense.  Always invoke 3-3 as a precaution, and then just tell the "judge" your side of the story and let him sort it out.  Thanks.

post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 

Here is the crux of my issue with "Virtual Certainty" and making a differentiation between a ball that is clearly lost in a hazard and a ball that may be lost outside a hazard.

 

A hits it way off line and into the middle of the lake where everyone sees it splash.  He can't find the ball but has virtual certainty it is in the hazard and can proceed under the hazard options.

 

B, hitting from the same spot as A, hits it less off line towards the edge of the same hazard.  Nobody sees it splash, but everyone thinks that it is more likely than not in the same hazard as A hit into.  When B walks up the line his ball took towards the hazard, there is some soft ground and light rough leading into the hazard.  More likely than not he is in the hazard, but if he is honest with himself, he can't be virtually certain he is in the hazard so the rules require that he play it as a lost ball.

 

I fail to understand why it should be an advantage to hit it deeper into a hazard just because it makes you more certain you are in the hazard.

 

There are 10 holes on the two courses that I play most often where the virtual certainty issue has the possibility of arising.  While many people I play with have no clue on the rules, some do and even attempt to follow them for the most part, but I have NEVER seen someone play a ball hit toward the edge of a hazard as a lost ball.  I have however found many balls located at the edge of hazards, but outside the hazard boundaries.  I can guarantee you that 99.9% of these balls were played as if they were lost in the hazard (unless they guy simply took a mulligan or some other non-rules option)

 

Virtual Certainty almost never arises on TV Golf because spectators and TV coverage help locate balls so there are very few instances where a ball is lost outside a hazard.  I realize that some course have few natural hazards but the rules of golf should cover all courses fairly (except in the most unusual situations which is not what I consider natural water hazards to include).  

 

I am not exactly sure of the history of "virtual certainty" but this seems to indicate that it could be as new as 2008.

http://sanantonio.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/sanantonio12/newsletter/gsaamateurgolf/Feb2012/rules_of_golf_known_or_virtually_certain/index.htm

The term “known or virtually certain” was introduced to the Rules of Golf in 2008 and its application has not always been completely understood or appreciated by some players.  The principle application of this term has been related to determining if a ball was in a water hazard or lateral water hazard. 

 

Suppose the grass immediately in front of and to the line defining the margin of the hazard is closely mowed and a ball is observed to land on the ground and continue to roll at a good rate of speed toward that hazard and disappears down the slope toward the water and is not found.  In this example, such observation would very likely lead to the conclusion of “Virtual Certainty” that the ball is in the hazard.

 

Suppose the grass immediately in front of and to the line defining the margin of the hazard is closely mowed and a ball is observed to land on the ground after flying high in the air.   However, on this particular day, perhaps as a result of heavy rain, overnight watering, or heavy dew the ground is quite wet.  While in the previous example we reached the conclusion of “Virtually Certainty” that the ball is in the hazard, that is NOT the case under these circumstances.  Because of the wetness of the ground it is possible that a ball traveling at high speed and dropping after a high soaring shot by a player could be embedded in the fairway and may not be in the water hazard at all.  We would be lacking “Virtual Certainty” and therefore must conclude that ball is lost outside the water hazard and must be treated as a “lost ball.”

post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

Here is the crux of my issue with "Virtual Certainty" and making a differentiation between a ball that is clearly lost in a hazard and a ball that may be lost outside a hazard.

 

No need. Here's the crux of why "virtual certainty" exists.

 

You have to set the bar somewhere. You have to clearly define when something "is" or "isn't." Virtual certainty is the phrase they chose and thus the bar they chose.

 

It's that simple, and for someone who wants things to be simple, that should resonate with you.

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

B, hitting from the same spot as A, hits it less off line towards the edge of the same hazard.  Nobody sees it splash, but everyone thinks that it is more likely than not in the same hazard as A hit into.  When B walks up the line his ball took towards the hazard, there is some soft ground and light rough leading into the hazard.  More likely than not he is in the hazard, but if he is honest with himself, he can't be virtually certain he is in the hazard so the rules require that he play it as a lost ball.

 

If the ground is soft everywhere because of a recent big rain, then tough beans - them's the breaks. You could lose your ball hitting it anywhere - in the middle of the fairway, even. It's just a bad break, and one that everyone playing the course that day will have to deal with.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

I fail to understand why it should be an advantage to hit it deeper into a hazard just because it makes you more certain you are in the hazard.

 

It is not an advantage. B lost his golf ball. A knows where his golf ball is (with virtual certainty).

 

A hits a ball into the trees and it caroms off and rebounds back into the middle of the fairway. B hits his ball, it hits a sprinkler head in the fairway, and darts off into the woods where nobody can find it.

 

You can't eliminate all good and bad breaks with the rules.

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

There are 10 holes on the two courses that I play most often where the virtual certainty issue has the possibility of arising. While many people I play with have no clue on the rules, some do and even attempt to follow them for the most part, but I have NEVER seen someone play a ball hit toward the edge of a hazard as a lost ball.  I have however found many balls located at the edge of hazards, but outside the hazard boundaries.  I can guarantee you that 99.9% of these balls were played as if they were lost in the hazard (unless they guy simply took a mulligan or some other non-rules option)

 

d2_doh.gif

 

You really should consider playing courses where these setup issues aren't so rampant, or talk to the superintendent or head pro about them. I've played several courses this year and haven't found a single hole where that situation is likely to occur. The areas around and outside the hazards are areas where you could reasonably find a golf ball with a brief search with a known general region, and if not found, you're virtually certain it's in the hazard (outside of the heavy rain thing which would affect the entire course, fairways, etc.).

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

Virtual Certainty almost never arises on TV Golf because spectators and TV coverage help locate balls so there are very few instances where a ball is lost outside a hazard.

 

It happened to Tiger Woods earlier this year. At the Honda, I think. He hit a ball that went near the hazard line, they couldn't find it, and he re-teed. Regardless, TV has nothing to do with this except that it provides more evidence and helps those player more accurately determine the facts.

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

I realize that some course have few natural hazards but the rules of golf should cover all courses fairly (except in the most unusual situations which is not what I consider natural water hazards to include).

 

The Rules of Golf do cover all courses fairly. You've not taken the first step towards proving otherwise. Just because an idiot (seemingly) sets up a course you typically play doesn't mean the Rules are at fault.

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

I am not exactly sure of the history of "virtual certainty" but this seems to indicate that it could be as new as 2008.

 

http://www.ruleshistory.com/rules2008.html

The term 'Reasonable evidence' replaced by 'known or virtually certain'.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

Suppose the grass immediately in front of and to the line defining the margin of the hazard is closely mowed and a ball is observed to land on the ground after flying high in the air.   However, on this particular day, perhaps as a result of heavy rain, overnight watering, or heavy dew the ground is quite wet.  While in the previous example we reached the conclusion of “Virtually Certainty” that the ball is in the hazard, that is NOT the case under these circumstances.  Because of the wetness of the ground it is possible that a ball traveling at high speed and dropping after a high soaring shot by a player could be embedded in the fairway and may not be in the water hazard at all.  We would be lacking “Virtual Certainty” and therefore must conclude that ball is lost outside the water hazard and must be treated as a “lost ball.”

 

Yep. Makes sense to me.

 

You can't legislate all forms of luck. The player lost his golf ball and is not certain the golf ball is in the hazard.

post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

Here is the crux of my issue with "Virtual Certainty" and making a differentiation between a ball that is clearly lost in a hazard and a ball that may be lost outside a hazard.

 

A hits it way off line and into the middle of the lake where everyone sees it splash.  He can't find the ball but has virtual certainty it is in the hazard and can proceed under the hazard options.

 

B, hitting from the same spot as A, hits it less off line towards the edge of the same hazard.  Nobody sees it splash, but everyone thinks that it is more likely than not in the same hazard as A hit into.  When B walks up the line his ball took towards the hazard, there is some soft ground and light rough leading into the hazard.  More likely than not he is in the hazard, but if he is honest with himself, he can't be virtually certain he is in the hazard so the rules require that he play it as a lost ball.

 

I fail to understand why it should be an advantage to hit it deeper into a hazard just because it makes you more certain you are in the hazard.

 

 

 

Irrelevant.  It goes to course set up and specific conditions, and luck.  The guy who hit the middle of the lake was luckier than the other guy.  The example given by another poster the other day is all that's needed to refute this argument.  Two players play from the tee - both balls lie within 2 feet of each other.  One has a clear shot to the green, while the other lies unplayable between 2 tree roots.  Since they both hit nearly identical shots, why should one have a clear shot and the other have to take a penalty?  Luck of the draw.  

 

Quote:

I am not exactly sure of the history of "virtual certainty" but this seems to indicate that it could be as new as 2008.

http://sanantonio.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/sanantonio12/newsletter/gsaamateurgolf/Feb2012/rules_of_golf_known_or_virtually_certain/index.htm

The term “known or virtually certain” was introduced to the Rules of Golf in 2008 and its application has not always been completely understood or appreciated by some players.  The principle application of this term has been related to determining if a ball was in a water hazard or lateral water hazard. 

 

It evolved from the previous requirement of reasonable doubt.  It's the glass half full - glass half empty philosophy.  One looks at the issue from a point of view that there must be reasonable doubt that the ball is in the hazard while the other sees it as needing virtual certainty that it does lie there.  In both cases there is some slight wiggle room, but it can really only be applied in a few rare situations.  The scenarios you present do not qualify.  In your example, if you aren't certain (forget the virtually part for this ruling), then it isn't in the hazard.  

 

 

Quote:

There are 10 holes on the two courses that I play most often where the virtual certainty issue has the possibility of arising.  While many people I play with have no clue on the rules, some do and even attempt to follow them for the most part, but I have NEVER seen someone play a ball hit toward the edge of a hazard as a lost ball.  I have however found many balls located at the edge of hazards, but outside the hazard boundaries.  I can guarantee you that 99.9% of these balls were played as if they were lost in the hazard (unless they guy simply took a mulligan or some other non-rules option)

 

If a course is set up according to USGA guidelines, these issues will be rare because the long grass is recommended to be included within the hazard margin.  A course which is not set up according to those guidelines is not valid to use as an example for questioning the rule.

 

 

Quote:
Virtual Certainty almost never arises on TV Golf because spectators and TV coverage help locate balls so there are very few instances where a ball is lost outside a hazard.  I realize that some course have few natural hazards but the rules of golf should cover all courses fairly (except in the most unusual situations which is not what I consider natural water hazards to include).  
 
Suppose the grass immediately in front of and to the line defining the margin of the hazard is closely mowed and a ball is observed to land on the ground after flying high in the air.   However, on this particular day, perhaps as a result of heavy rain, overnight watering, or heavy dew the ground is quite wet.  While in the previous example we reached the conclusion of “Virtually Certainty” that the ball is in the hazard, that is NOT the case under these circumstances.  Because of the wetness of the ground it is possible that a ball traveling at high speed and dropping after a high soaring shot by a player could be embedded in the fairway and may not be in the water hazard at all.  We would be lacking “Virtual Certainty” and therefore must conclude that ball is lost outside the water hazard and must be treated as a “lost ball.”

 

That is irrelevant.  The same conditions apply to all players in a given competition or casual round, so they are fair by definition.  Luck cannot be legislated out of the game.

 

 

 

x

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Rules of Golf
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Clubhouse › Rules of Golf › Virtual Certainty?