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jamo

Golf Ball Switching in Scrambles

Is this in poor taste?  

31 members have voted

  1. 1. Is this in poor taste?

    • Yes, it's wrong
      2
    • No, go for it
      5
    • Who cares?
      24


20 posts / 1360 viewsLast Reply

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I should note off the top that I've never done this, but I'm curious what people think. 

In a scramble, would it be in poor taste to use a distance ball - a two-piece, cheap, Surlyn-covered ball - off the tee, and then your normal golf ball to hit approach shots and putts?

(I haven't seen a golf ball comparison that included distance balls in a while, but I'm assuming they still go farther than a urethane, tour-style ball.)

Scrambles are already in violation of the Rules of Golf, but I would think etiquette still dictates that the Rules should be heeded where possible. 

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7 minutes ago, jamo said:

In a scramble, would it be in poor taste to use a distance ball - a two-piece, cheap, Surlyn-covered ball - off the tee, and then your normal golf ball to hit approach shots and putts?

I believe most scrambles have to follow USGA rules outside of specific ones listed on any rules sheets. Like, one club length, can’t improve your type of lie. 

I’m not sure I would see that significant of a distance advantage. With quality of strike being king. Would you see something like 5 yards average over the course of 18 holes? 

 

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26 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

I believe most scrambles have to follow USGA rules outside of specific ones listed on any rules sheets. Like, one club length, can’t improve your type of lie. 

I've not seen too many scrambles take themselves that seriously.

Hell, everyone watches their partners putt from on or near the line of play.

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34 minutes ago, jamo said:

(I haven't seen a golf ball comparison that included distance balls in a while, but I'm assuming they still go farther than a urethane, tour-style ball.)

I think different balls have different tendencies in terms of launch angle and spin rate, but I don't think the distance difference between a two-piece and a tour ball is all that significant. Whatever additional distance you might see could probably be attributed to variance in ball-striking and not the ball itself.

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In my experience, which is limited, the rules are pretty relaxed.  I've seen players putt with a different ball and nobody bothered to call him out.   

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Every scramble I have been in has been about raising money for a possibly worthy cause and drinking beer, not necessarily in that order.

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Unless the one ball rule is in effect you can substitute to a different type of ball when taking relief under the rules.  Local rule E-3 preferred lies, allows you to place the original ball or another ball so you could switch balls in that situation, so that would also be the case in a scramble.

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So, I played a scramble yesterday.  I actually thought of doing exactly that, but I forgot or got lazy or somewhere in between.  I did buy several opponents beer for their carts because I am "such a good guy".  I can't say for sure, but I bet that the beer increased my advantage more than the ball could possibly have.

 

Also, scrambles are fun as hell as an occasional alternative.

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On 8/24/2019 at 11:25 AM, jamo said:

Scrambles are already in violation of the Rules of Golf, but I would think etiquette still dictates that the Rules should be heeded where possible. 

First, I agree that scrambles are almost "fun golf" events, rather than serious competitions, so pretty much anything goes.  But @RemyM gives a pretty reasonable case for specifically allowing substitution of different golf balls, as you are virtually always playing some kind of preferred lies in a scramble.  I know, substitution on the putting green isn't allowed, but I don't see it as a problem of any kind.

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I view scrambles like everyone else, never really thought about a ruling for switching out balls.  I do switch, mainly because in scrambles we always seem to be going for the fence, so I use a different ball on the tee, but then use the same one the rest of the way in.

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In the case where we have a "safe one" and I need to take on a shot I normally wouldn't, I'll switch out my ball to a crappy one just in case it gets lost or damaged by that shot.  Otherwise I keep my main one and go from there.  Of course, I'm never on a team that is either good enough or cheats enough (not common, but I've heard about a team or two like that in the area) to win so it doesn't really matter what I do.

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7 hours ago, RemyM said:

Unless the one ball rule is in effect you can substitute to a different type of ball when taking relief under the rules.  Local rule E-3 preferred lies, allows you to place the original ball or another ball so you could switch balls in that situation, so that would also be the case in a scramble.

Not necessarily.  There are many times when, even playing under preferred lies, that no relief is allowed.  In a scramble it’s entirely feasible that such a lie could be chosen as the next shot by a team.

Regardless, there’s no need to look for “justification” in the rules of golf for a game that by definition doesn’t follow the rules of golf.   ;-)

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On 8/24/2019 at 11:35 AM, saevel25 said:

I believe most scrambles have to follow USGA rules outside of specific ones listed on any rules sheets. Like, one club length, can’t improve your type of lie. 

I’m not sure I would see that significant of a distance advantage. With quality of strike being king. Would you see something like 5 yards average over the course of 18 holes? 

 

Switching balls is routine in scrambles, and it's not always about distance. I just played in a scramble this past Saturday at a course where I used to be in a league. It's kind of a nondescript course out in the country, but the greens! Oh my! They are devilish. We all know of courses who say they have "the best greens in the county". In this case they might have a claim! The greens are a true challenge to putt. 

When I was in the league, there was a particular guy who was a big hitter. In league, he played it straight, used one ball through the round. In a scramble it was different. He used a distance ball off the tee, and a "spinny" ball for approach shots since the greens were notoriously hard to hold. 

I once heard another league golfer complain to him after a round that they couldn't stay on the green with their approach shots. He asked them what ball they played, and the reply was Top Flite. His reply was, "You can't use rocks on rocks!" 

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Scrambles are not golf. There is absolutly no defense. People try to hit shots that they are not capable of doing. Just trying to get that one lucky shot to win some money. So changing a stupid ball during play I think there is nothing wrong with it.

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I do this regularly when I play scrambles. When I enter a scramble, my team never expects to win anything (and that isn't why we enter). My main reason is because usually I am last to hit off the tee, so I use a cheaper ball since I am normally trying to pound one, and there is a decent chance I will lose the ball. If I do find the fairway, then I will switch to one of my preferred balls for playing to the green. 

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In scrambles, doesn't matter to me, you are already placing your ball every shot anyway. I did, however, see this pretty frequently in the golf league I was in with my dad. That bothered me a bit, but then again, it wasn't exactly a "by the rules" league anyway either.

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