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What Ruling Would You Have Made?

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 

I committed a Tiger-esque rules infraction last weekend in a match play round.  Felt like a heel.  But would love to hear some opinions on how it went down.

 

The 13th at the course is a dogleg right par 4.  On the right and short is a pond - and you more or less have to hit over some part of the pond to hit the fairway.  Along the left and long is a creek.  It also has a drop area - which I have marked in red with a "D".

I have played this hole a thousand times and found the pond about 600 times, the creek about 150 times and the fairway the rest.  It is a pretty tough tee shot in my opinion.  Since I was up in my match, I decided to play it super safe and hit iron more or less toward the drop zone since I end up there pretty often anyway.  My thinking was that it was better to be there in 1 than in 2.

 

So of course I crush the shot like never before and pull-hook it.  It appears to go off into the creek or thereabouts at the red X - somewhere I've never hit it before.  I search for it and conclude it must have gone in the drink.

 

Frustrated, I drop one in the drop zone, play out, and card a 6. My opponent also got a 6 - but he is awesome at golf and so he had to give me a stroke and I win the hole.

 

In the middle of regaling the details of the match to a friend the next day - it occurs to me that the drop zone might not (probably doesn't) apply to all of the hazards on the hole - but rather just the pond. I had never given it a second thought when on the course b/c normally if you hit it in the creek - you hit it in much closer to the hole and the drop zone wouldn't really be a consideration.  This was the first time I'd been in the creek - but still near the drop zone.

 

So I called the clubhouse and told them about it.  Turns out the drop zone is meant to only apply to the pond.  And in thinking about it now in retrospect, I don't know if a drop zone would ever be used for a lateral hazard.  Not sure.  That's one of the reasons I'm posting it.  Anyway, about this time, I'm sure I'll have to forfeit the match.

 

Turns out another guy had done the same thing and so they already had a ruling.  They rule that since the card and the rules sheet they handed out did not specify which hazard(s) the drop zone was to be used for - that they couldn't hold us responsible for playing it wrong.  The card says something like - Optional drop zones on holes 4, 7, 13 and 17.

 

I feel like I got off pretty easy on this one.  Mainly because now it occurs to me that I don't ever remember seeing a drop zone for lateral hazards - and maybe it is something a golfer should know.  Further, it seems strange to have a rule that - if you don't know the rule, you are exempt from following it.

post #2 of 45

Several things to think about here. I'll take one of them. Since it was match play and your opponent, evidently, did not make a "claim" prior to teeing off on the next hole, he, whether he knew it or not, (from Rule 2-5):

 

"Note 1: A player may disregard a breach of the Rules by his opponent provided there is no agreement by the sides to waive a Rule (Rule 1-3).

 

It doesn't matter whether the drop was compliant or not. The result of the match should stand.

post #3 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asheville View Post
 

Several things to think about here. I'll take one of them. Since it was match play and your opponent, evidently, did not make a "claim" prior to teeing off on the next hole, he, whether he knew it or not, (from Rule 2-5):

 

"Note 1: A player may disregard a breach of the Rules by his opponent provided there is no agreement by the sides to waive a Rule (Rule 1-3).

 

It doesn't matter whether the drop was compliant or not. The result of the match should stand.

 

Yes.  Because it was a match, and you both agreed to the procedure followed in ignorance of the correctness of it, the match stands as played.  This is one of the beauties of match play - no retroactive rulings.  You can use it to learn from, but no sense in beating yourself up over it because he had as much responsibility as you did for knowing the how the drop area was supposed to be used.

post #4 of 45
If you hit into a lateral hazard don't you have to edit her bring it as far back on the line it went in or drop in the drop zone?
post #5 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick1998bunker View Post

If you hit into a lateral hazard don't you have to edit her bring it as far back on the line it went in or drop in the drop zone?

You can't go back on the line it went in with any water hazard, lateral (red) or regular (yellow).

 

 

26-1. Relief For Ball In Water Hazard

It is a question of fact whether a ball that has not been found after having been struck toward a water hazard is in the hazard. In the absence of knowledge or virtual certainty that a ball struck toward a water hazard, but not found, is in the hazard, the player must proceed under Rule 27-1.

If a ball is found in a water hazard or if it is known or virtually certain that a ball that has not been found is in the water hazard (whether the ball lies in water or not), the player may under penalty of one stroke:

a. Proceed under the stroke and distance provision of Rule 27-1 by playing a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5); or

b. Drop a ball behind the water hazard, keeping the point at which the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly between the holeand the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind thewater hazard the ball may be dropped; or

c. As additional options available only if the ball last crossed the margin of a lateral water hazard, drop a ball outside the water hazard within two club-lengths of and not nearer the hole than (i) the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard or (ii) a point on the opposite margin of the water hazard equidistant from the hole.

post #6 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick1998bunker View Post

If you hit into a lateral hazard don't you have to edit her bring it as far back on the line it went in or drop in the drop zone?

Gotta learn those drops stone cold Nick.
post #7 of 45
The thing is cut off. What can you do if you go in a lateral?
post #8 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick1998bunker View Post

The thing is cut off. What can you do if you go in a lateral?

I'm on my phone so I won't go into detail to repeat the above post, but if you can't see it all on the mobile version, go to the bottom of the page and select the desktop version of the site and you should be able to read it. Failing that, read rule 26-1 on the USGA rules site.
post #9 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick1998bunker View Post

The thing is cut off. What can you do if you go in a lateral?

 

It's all in post #5 in blue !!

post #10 of 45

Was there any place else your ball could have been besides the creek?

post #11 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post
 

Was there any place else your ball could have been besides the creek?

 

"knowning or virtual certainty" has nothing to do with this, as far as I understood. The main question was, was DZ meant also for lateral hazard or only for the pond WH. It was meant only for the poind but as it was a match the results stand. And for the future, they need to update their LR/Scorecard texts.

 

Closed case.

post #12 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meltdwhiskey View Post
 

 

So of course I crush the shot like never before and pull-hook it.  It appears to go off into the creek or thereabouts at the red X - somewhere I've never hit it before.  I search for it and conclude it must have gone in the drink.

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by luu5 View Post
 

 

"knowning or virtual certainty" has nothing to do with this, as far as I understood. The main question was, was DZ meant also for lateral hazard or only for the pond WH. It was meant only for the poind but as it was a match the results stand. And for the future, they need to update their LR/Scorecard texts.

 

Closed case.

I agree that he did not ask about virtual certainty, but that does not mean that he had it as defined by the rules- maybe he did, maybe he didn't, that is why I asked my question.  The "must have gone in the drink" tends to imply virtual certainty, but the "into the creek or thereabouts" leaves it a bit open considering that there are some trees close to where he marked the X and he had never hit it there before.  Some of it might depend on how much of the "thereabouts" area was included in the hazard and what sort of terrain, grass length, etc was outside the hazard.

post #13 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post
 

I agree that he did not ask about virtual certainty, but that does not mean that he had it as defined by the rules- maybe he did, maybe he didn't, that is why I asked my question.  The "must have gone in the drink" tends to imply virtual certainty, but the "into the creek or thereabouts" leaves it a bit open considering that there are some trees close to where he marked the X and he had never hit it there before.  Some of it might depend on how much of the "thereabouts" area was included in the hazard and what sort of terrain, grass length, etc was outside the hazard.

 

I did not see it bound into the creek and indeed hoped with all my might that it did not go in the creek.  I felt like it had potential to stay up.  The area short of the trees was regular rough - not close cut like a fairway.  The grass wasn't very thick - kinda sparse actually, but was probably about ball height or a little longer.  As you got closer to the creek, more of a dirt situation under those trees.

 

If it would have been really close to the creek, it would have been pretty easy to find.  It would have been tougher in that rough.  I looked both places and didn't find it.

 

Does that qualify?

post #14 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asheville View Post
 

Several things to think about here. I'll take one of them. Since it was match play and your opponent, evidently, did not make a "claim" prior to teeing off on the next hole, he, whether he knew it or not, (from Rule 2-5):

 

"Note 1: A player may disregard a breach of the Rules by his opponent provided there is no agreement by the sides to waive a Rule (Rule 1-3).

 

It doesn't matter whether the drop was compliant or not. The result of the match should stand.

 

Good to know - I def learned something here (maybe a couple of things) like fourputt said.  I guess the explanation I got from the clubhouse actually cut the argument short of getting to this point since they weren't going to hold me responsible for the infraction.

 

Oddly, and relative to this rule, I had to move my ball mark for another guy in the group on this green.  I put it back to putt, but that is something that probably gets forgotten pretty often.  My opponent actually approached me on the 14th green and asked me if I had remembered to replace it or not.  Trying for a gotacha moment I guess.  In retrospect, I guess he would have been out of luck anyway as we had tee'd off on 14?

post #15 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meltdwhiskey View Post
 

 

I did not see it bound into the creek and indeed hoped with all my might that it did not go in the creek.  I felt like it had potential to stay up.  The area short of the trees was regular rough - not close cut like a fairway.  The grass wasn't very thick - kinda sparse actually, but was probably about ball height or a little longer.  As you got closer to the creek, more of a dirt situation under those trees.

 

If it would have been really close to the creek, it would have been pretty easy to find.  It would have been tougher in that rough.  I looked both places and didn't find it.

 

Does that qualify?

Could your ball have hit one of the trees and bounced to somewhere you did not look?  

 

Sounds like it would have been easy to find in the "dirt situation" but was there a chance it could have been sitting in the rough?

 

Maybe one of our rules experts will give you a definitive answer, but here is what the rules say-

 

BALL IN WATER HAZARD

26-1/1

Meaning of "Known or Virtually Certain"

When a ball has been struck towards a water hazard and cannot be found, a player may not assume that his ball is in the water hazard simply because there is a possibility that the ball may be in the water hazard. In order to proceed under Rule 26-1, it must be "known or virtually certain" that the ball is in the water hazard. In the absence of "knowledge or virtual certainty" that it lies in a water hazard, a ball that cannot be found must be considered lost somewhere other than in a water hazard and the player must proceed under Rule 27-1.

When a player's ball cannot be found, "knowledge" may be gained that his ball is in a water hazard in a number of ways. The player or his caddie or other members of his match or group may actually observe the ball disappear into the water hazard. Evidence provided by other reliable witnesses may also establish that the ball is in the water hazard. Such evidence could come from a referee, an observer, spectators or other outside agencies. It is important that all readily accessible information be considered because, for example, the mere fact that a ball has splashed in a water hazard would not always provide "knowledge" that the ball is in the water hazard, as there are instances when a ball may skip out of, and come to rest outside, the hazard.

In the absence of "knowledge" that the ball is in the water hazard, Rule 26-1requires there to be "virtual certainty" that the player's ball is in the water hazard in order to proceed under this Rule. Unlike "knowledge," "virtual certainty" implies some small degree of doubt about the actual location of a ball that has not been found. However, "virtual certainty" also means that, although the ball has not been found, when all readily available information is considered, the conclusion that there is nowhere that the ball could be except in the water hazard would be justified.

In determining whether "virtual certainty" exists, some of the relevant factors in the area of the water hazard to be considered include topography, turf conditions, grass heights, visibility, weather conditions and the proximity of trees, bushes and abnormal ground conditions.

The same principles would apply for a ball that may have been moved by an outside agency (Rule 18-1) or a ball that has not been found and may be in an obstruction (Rule 24-3) or an abnormal ground condition (Rule 25-1c).  (Revised)

post #16 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick1998bunker View Post

If you hit into a lateral hazard don't you have to edit her bring it as far back on the line it went in or drop in the drop zone?

 

Wow, what an advantage! I hate to throw stones in a thread about how I broke the rules, but it seems under this approach that you could nearly always end up playing from the fairway with nothing blocking your path to the green.  Most shots that go into a lateral start out over the fairway.  

 

At this course (and I'm thinking most courses), hitting into a lateral hazard and hence playing withing two clublengths of where it went in means playing from a terrible place.  All of the ponds have pretty sharp slopes on their banks - which means hitting with the ball way below or above your feet.  And the creeks are mostly lined with trees like on this hole.  When you hit within 2 clublengths, you very likely have tree trunks in your way, overhanging limbs forcing  you to hit little knockdowns back into the fairway, hardpan, roots, leaves, straw to hit off of, etc.

post #17 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post
 

Could your ball have hit one of the trees and bounced to somewhere you did not look?  

 

Sounds like it would have been easy to find in the "dirt situation" but was there a chance it could have been sitting in the rough?

 

Maybe one of our rules experts will give you a definitive answer, but here is what the rules say-

 

BALL IN WATER HAZARD

26-1/1

Meaning of "Known or Virtually Certain"

When a ball has been struck towards a water hazard and cannot be found, a player may not assume that his ball is in the water hazard simply because there is a possibility that the ball may be in the water hazard. In order to proceed under Rule 26-1, it must be "known or virtually certain" that the ball is in the water hazard. In the absence of "knowledge or virtual certainty" that it lies in a water hazard, a ball that cannot be found must be considered lost somewhere other than in a water hazard and the player must proceed under Rule 27-1.

When a player's ball cannot be found, "knowledge" may be gained that his ball is in a water hazard in a number of ways. The player or his caddie or other members of his match or group may actually observe the ball disappear into the water hazard. Evidence provided by other reliable witnesses may also establish that the ball is in the water hazard. Such evidence could come from a referee, an observer, spectators or other outside agencies. It is important that all readily accessible information be considered because, for example, the mere fact that a ball has splashed in a water hazard would not always provide "knowledge" that the ball is in the water hazard, as there are instances when a ball may skip out of, and come to rest outside, the hazard.

In the absence of "knowledge" that the ball is in the water hazard, Rule 26-1requires there to be "virtual certainty" that the player's ball is in the water hazard in order to proceed under this Rule. Unlike "knowledge," "virtual certainty" implies some small degree of doubt about the actual location of a ball that has not been found. However, "virtual certainty" also means that, although the ball has not been found, when all readily available information is considered, the conclusion that there is nowhere that the ball could be except in the water hazard would be justified.

In determining whether "virtual certainty" exists, some of the relevant factors in the area of the water hazard to be considered include topography, turf conditions, grass heights, visibility, weather conditions and the proximity of trees, bushes and abnormal ground conditions.

The same principles would apply for a ball that may have been moved by an outside agency (Rule 18-1) or a ball that has not been found and may be in an obstruction (Rule 24-3) or an abnormal ground condition (Rule 25-1c).  (Revised)

 

That is kind of hard to interpret, maybe it didn't.  When I hit it, I'd say we all thought, "in the creek".  I felt like it was in the creek or maybe I got lucky and it stayed out.  I also thought that if it stayed out, there was a really good chance of finding it in that rough b/c it was kinda sparse - as previously stated. It was a deductive reasoning thing:

Not in the dirt

Most likely not in the rough

Must be in the creek

 

But it was certainly possible it was in that rough.  I'd say it was probably less than a virtual certainty.  Those are strong words.

post #18 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meltdwhiskey View Post
 

 

That is kind of hard to interpret, maybe it didn't.  When I hit it, I'd say we all thought, "in the creek".  I felt like it was in the creek or maybe I got lucky and it stayed out.  I also thought that if it stayed out, there was a really good chance of finding it in that rough b/c it was kinda sparse - as previously stated. It was a deductive reasoning thing:

Not in the dirt

Most likely not in the rough

Must be in the creek

 

But it was certainly possible it was in that rough.  I'd say it was probably less than a virtual certainty.  Those are strong words.

Well said...that is the issue that I have with "virtual certainty."  IMO, it is not uncommon (depending on the course layout) for players who think they are playing by the rules to assume (or deduce in a logical way like you did) that their ball is in a hazard when in reality, they have less than "virtual certainty"

 

So it sounds like, if your opponent knew the rules and had wanted to play hard ball, he could have made you play it as a lost ball and had you go back to the tee.  As Fourputt said, the beauty of match play is that what is done is done, so congrats.

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