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Made the news this week. Patrick Reed’s blatant breach of Rule 8.1.

Rule 8 - Course Played as It Is Found

Purpose of Rule: Rule 8 covers a central principle of the game: “play the course as you find it.” When the player’s ball comes to rest, he or she normally has to accept the conditions affecting the stroke and not improve them before playing the ball. 

However, a player may take certain reasonable actions even if they improve those conditions, and there are limited circumstances where conditions may be restored without penalty after they have been improved or worsened.

Parts of the Rule:

8.1 Player’s Actions That Improve Conditions Affecting the Stroke
8.2 Player’s Deliberate Actions to Alter Other Physical Conditions to Affect the Player’s Own Ball at Rest or Stroke to Be Made
8.3 Player’s Deliberate Actions to Alter Physical Conditions to Affect Another Player’s Ball at Rest or Stroke to Be Made

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=8

Relevant Interpretations:
8.1a/1 Examples of Actions That Are Likely to Create Potential Advantage
8.1a/2 Examples of Actions Unlikely to Create Potential Advantage
8.1a/3 Player Who Improves Conditions for Intended Stroke in Breach Even if Different Stroke Is Made
8.1a/4 Example of Moving, Bending or Breaking an Immovable Obstruction
8.1a/5 Building Stance by Positioning Object Such as Towel Is Not Permitted
8.1a/6 Altering Surface of Ground to Build Stance Is Not Permitted
8.1a/7 Player May Probe Near Ball to Determine if Tree Roots, Rocks or Obstructions Are Below Surface of Ground, but Only if This Does Not Improve Conditions
8.1a/8 Altering Surface of Ground in Relief Area Is Not Allowed
8.1a/9 When Divot Is Replaced and Must Not Be Removed or Pressed Down
8.1b/1 Meaning of “Ground the Club Lightly”
8.1b/2 Player Allowed to Dig in Firmly with Feet More Than Once in Taking Stance
8.1b/3 Examples of “Fairly Taking a Stance”
8.1b/4 Examples of Not “Fairly Taking a Stance”
8.1b/5 Improving Conditions in Teeing Area Is Limited to Ground
8.1b/6 Player Smooths Bunker to “Care for the Course” After Playing Out of Bunker
8.1b/7 When Damage That Is Partially On and Partially Off Putting Green May Be Repaired
8.1d(1)/1 Examples Where Player Is Allowed to Restore Conditions Altered by the Actions of Another Person or Outside Influence
8.1d(1)/2 Player Is Entitled to Have Loose Impediments or Movable Obstructions Left Where They Were When Ball Came to Rest
8.1d(2)/1 Examples of Conditions Altered by a Natural Object or Natural Forces Where Player Is Not Allowed to Restore Worsened Conditions
8.1d(2)/2 Player Is Not Allowed to Restore Conditions Affecting the Stroke When Worsened by Caddie or Another Person at Player’s Request
8.1d(2)/3 If Player Enters a Bunker on the Line of Play He or She Must Not Restore Worsened Conditions
8.2b/1 Examples of Player’s Deliberate Actions to Improve Other Physical Conditions Affecting His or Her Own Play
8.3/1 Both Players Are Penalized if Physical Conditions Are Improved with Other Player’s Knowledge

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=interp&section=rule&rulenum=8

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The 9th, thus Rule 9. First the Clif Notes version:

Ball moved? By who or what and what we’re to do about it.

BALL MOVED BY THE PLAYER Except on the putting green or during a search, if a player either accidentally or intentionally causes their ball in play to move or picks up their ball when not allowed by the Rules, the ball must be replaced. 
The penalty is one stroke. (R9.4b)

BALL MOVED ON PUTTING GREEN If a player accidentally moves their ball or ball-marker on the putting green, the ball or ball-marker must be replaced. No penalty. (R13.1d)

BALL MOVED DURING SEARCH If the player or anyone else accidentally moves the player's ball while looking for it, the ball must be replaced. 
No penalty to anyone. (R7.4)

BALL MOVED BY OUTSIDE INFLUENCE If it is known or virtually certain that a player's ball has been moved by someone or something else, the ball must be replaced. No penalty to anyone. (R9.6)

BALL MOVED ON ITS OWN If a player's ball is moved by natural forces such as wind, water or gravity, the ball must be played from its new location. No penalty. (R9.3)

Exception: On the putting green, if the ball moves on its own after having been lifted and replaced, the player may not play the ball from the new location and the ball must be replaced. No penalty. (R13.1d2)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rule 9 - Ball Played as It Lies; Ball at Rest Lifted or Moved

Purpose of Rule: Rule 9 covers a central principle of the game: “play the ball as it lies.”

If the player’s ball comes to rest and is then moved by natural forces such as wind or water, the player normally must play it from its new spot.

If a ball at rest is lifted or moved by anyone or any outside influence before the stroke is made, the ball must be replaced on its original spot.

Players should take care when near any ball at rest, and a player who causes his or her own ball or an opponent’s ball to move will normally get a penalty (except on the putting green).

Rule 9 applies to a ball in play at rest on the course, and applies both during a round and while play is stopped under Rule 5.7a.

What’s covered in the Rule:
9.1 Ball Played as It Lies
9.2 Deciding Whether Ball Moved and What Caused It to Move
9.3 Ball Moved by Natural Forces
9.4 Ball Lifted or Moved by Player
9.5 Ball Lifted or Moved by Opponent in Match Play
9.6 Ball Lifted or Moved by Outside Influence
9.7 Ball-Marker Lifted or Moved

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=9

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=interp&section=rule&rulenum=9

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Today’s the 10th, hence Rule 10. 

A look at two aspects of Rule 10 - Advice and Caddies (Don’t skip the Caddies portion because it’s details pertain to our partners in Four-Ball.)

Rule 10 - Preparing for and Making a Stroke; Advice and Help; Caddies

Purpose of Rule: Rule 10 covers how to prepare for and make a stroke, including advice and other help the player may get from others (including partners and caddies). The underlying principle is that golf is a game of skill and personal challenge.

10.1 Making a Stroke, Purpose of Rule: Rule 10.1 covers how to make a stroke and several acts that are prohibited in doing so. A stroke is made by fairly striking at a ball with the head of a club. The fundamental challenge is to direct and control the movement of the entire club by freely swinging the club without anchoring it. (And, no. Bernhard Langer is not anchoring; the R&A and USGA have confirmed it several times.)

10.2 Advice and Other Help, Purpose of Rule: A fundamental challenge for the player is deciding the strategy and tactics for his or her play. So there are limits to the advice and other help the player may get during a round.

Definition of Advice:

Any verbal comment or action that is intended to influence a player in choosing a club, making a stroke, or deciding how to play during a hole or round.

But advice does not include public information, such as, the location of things on the course such as the hole, the putting green, the fairway, penalty areas, bunkers, or another player’s ball, the distance from one point to another, or the Rules.

Two Interpretations regarding Advice:

Advice/1 – Verbal Comments or Actions That Are Advice

Examples of when comments or actions are considered advice and are not allowed include:

A player makes a statement regarding club selection that was intended to be overheard by another player who had a similar stroke.

In individual stroke play, Player A, who has just holed out on the 7th hole, demonstrates to Player B, whose ball was just off the putting green, how to make the next stroke. Because Player B has not completed the hole, Player A gets the penalty on the 7th hole. But, if both Player A and Player B had completed the 7th hole, Player A gets the penalty on the 8th hole.

A player’s ball is lying badly and the player is deliberating what action to take. Another player comments, “You have no shot at all. If I were you, I would decide to take unplayable ball relief.” This comment is advice because it could have influenced the player in deciding how to play during a hole.

While a player is setting up to hit his or her shot over a large penalty area filled with water, another player in the group comments, “You know the wind is in your face and it’s 250 yards to carry that water?”

Advice/2 – Verbal Comments or Actions That Are Not Advice

Examples of comments or actions that are not advice include:

During play of the 6th hole, a player asks another player what club he or she used on the 4th hole that is a par-3 of similar length.

A player makes a second stroke that lands on the putting green. Another player does likewise. The first player then asks the second player what club was used for the second stroke.

After making a stroke, a player says, “I should have used a 5-iron” to another player in the group that has yet to play onto the green, but not intending to influence his or her play.

A player looks into another player’s bag to determine which club he or she used for the last stroke without touching or moving anything.

While lining up a putt, a player mistakenly seeks advice from another player’s caddie, believing that caddie to be the player’s caddie. The player immediately realizes the mistake and tells the other caddie not to answer.

10.3 Caddies, Purpose of Rule: The player may have a caddie to carry the player’s clubs and give advice and other help during the round, but there are limits to what the caddie is allowed to do. The player is responsible for the caddie’s actions during the round and will get a penalty if the caddie breaches the Rules.

NB In forms of play such as Four-Ball involving partners, a player's partner and the partner's caddie may take the same actions (with the same limitations) as the player's caddie may take under Rules 10.2.

Relevant Interpretations:

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=interp&section=rule&rulenum=10
 

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The 11th sends us to Rule 11, where the distinction between accidental and deliberate actions are crucial.

CliffsNotes version:

BALL MOVED BY ANOTHER BALL and BALL HITS ANOTHER BALL
If a player's ball is accidentally moved by another ball or if a player's ball accidentally hits another ball, the moved ball must be replaced. (R9.6) The ball which did the "hitting" is played as it lies. (R11.1a & b) No penalty to anyone.

   Exception: If a player's putt hits another ball at rest on the putting green, the player's ball must be played as it lies. (R11.1b) The moved ball must be replaced. (R9.6) The penalty to the player is two strokes. (R11.1a, Exception)

BALL HITS THE PLAYER If a player's ball accidentally hits him or herself or their equipment, the ball must be played as it lies. No penalty. (R11.1a)

DOUBLE HIT If a player accidentally hits the ball more than once with their stroke, they must play the ball as it lies. No penalty. (R10.1a)

BALL HITS SOMETHING ELSE If a player's ball accidentally hits another player, their equipment or anyone or anything else, the ball must be played as it lies. No penalty to anyone. (R11.1a)

   Exception: On the putting green, if a player's putt accidentally hits any person, animal or movable obstruction other than a ball-marker, the flagstick or person attending the flagstick, they must replay the stroke. No penalty to anyone. (R11.1b, Exception 2)

Rule 11 - Ball in Motion Accidentally Hits Person, Animal or Object; Deliberate Actions to Affect Ball in Motion

Purpose of Rule: Rule 11 covers what to do if the player’s ball in motion hits a person, animal, equipment or anything else on the course. When this happens accidentally, there is no penalty and the player normally must accept the result, whether favorable or not, and play the ball from where it comes to rest. 

Rule 11 also restricts a player from deliberately taking actions to affect where any ball in motion might come to rest.

This Rule applies any time a ball in play is in motion (whether after a stroke or otherwise), except when a ball has been dropped in a relief area and has not yet come to rest. That situation is covered by Rule 14.3.

Parts of Rule 11:

11.1 Ball in Motion ACCIDENTALLY Hits Person or Outside Influence
11.2 Ball in Motion DELIBERATELY Deflected or Stopped by Person
11.3 DELIBERATELY Moving Objects or Altering Conditions to Affect Ball in Motion

Relevant Interpretations:

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=interp&section=rule&rulenum=11
 

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There are a lot of people that just don´t care about learning the new rules. 

I was playing with an old guy the other day, he proceeded to drop from shoulder height. I told him that it was from knee heigh. He said "Ah, ok, the new rules don´t they?" I said yes.. the "new rules" from a year ago!
I´m 99% confident that he played all year long with the old rules, like many golfers out there.    

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Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Good for you (and him) that your gentle correction was well received. Lots of casual and fun golf is played almost without any Rules. Then there are those of us who enjoy the game all the more by playing by the Rules as best we can.

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2 hours ago, Asheville said:

Good for you (and him) that your gentle correction was well received. Lots of casual and fun golf is played almost without any Rules. Then there are those of us who enjoy the game all the more by playing by the Rules as best we can.

Then there are those of us who enjoy the game all the more by playing as best we can and by the Rules. 😉

Edited by Rulesman

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Today, the 12th and tomorrow the 13th, we’ll look at the specific Rules for Bunkers and Putting Greens.

Rule 12 - Bunkers

The Golden Oldie that you cannot escape a bunker for free still stands. Thank you, Lew Blakey. http://www.generalarea.org/  Later in Rules 15 and 16, we’ll see a few restrictions on taking free relief in bunkers.

Purpose of Rule: Rule 12 is a specific Rule for bunkers, which are specially prepared areas intended to test the player’s ability to play a ball from the sand. 

To make sure the player confronts this challenge, there are some restrictions on touching the sand before the stroke is made and on where relief may be taken for a ball in a bunker.

But, what exactly is a “bunker”? Let’s read the Definition:

A specially prepared area of sand, which is often a hollow from which turf or soil was removed.

These are not part of a bunker:

A lip, wall or face at the edge of a prepared area and consisting of soil, grass, stacked turf or artificial materials,

Soil or any growing or attached natural object inside the edge of a prepared area (such as grass, bushes or trees),

Sand that has spilled over or is outside the edge of a prepared area, and

All other areas of sand on the course that are not inside the edge of a prepared area (such as deserts and other natural sand areas or areas sometimes referred to as waste areas).

Bunkers are one of the five defined areas of the course.

A Committee may define a prepared area of sand as part of the general area (which means it is not a bunker) or may define a non-prepared area of sand as a bunker.

When a bunker is being repaired and the Committee defines the entire bunker as ground under repair, it is treated as part of the general area (which means it is not a bunker).

What’s in the Rule:

12.1 When Ball Is in Bunker

12.2 Playing Ball in Bunker

12.3 Specific Rules for Relief for Ball in Bunker

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=12

Rule 12 Interpretations:

12.2a/1 Improvement Resulting from Removing Loose Impediment or Movable Obstruction from a Bunker

12.2b(3)/1 Player Is Allowed to Smooth Sand in a Bunker to Care for the Course After Taking Relief Outside the Bunker

12.2b/1 Rule 12.2b Applies to a Mound of Sand from an Animal Hole in a Bunker

12.2b/2 Whether Player May Probe in Bunker

12.2b/3 Rule 12.2 Continues to Apply When Player Has Lifted His or Her Ball from Bunker to Take Relief but Has Not Yet Decided Whether to Take Relief In or Out of Bunker

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=interp&section=rule&rulenum=12
 

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The calendar says that today’s the 13th.  So, the specific Rules for Putting Greens are our focus for today.

What’s new for 2019? The two biggest changes are:

DAMAGE ON THE PUTTING GREEN A player may repair almost any damage on the putting green or to the hole. (Note: Natural surface blemishes or imperfections resulting from normal greenskeeping practices may not be repaired.) (R13.1c)

FLAGSTICK MAY BE LEFT IN If, as a result of a stroke made from anywhere on or off the putting green, a player's ball strikes an unattended flagstick, they must play the ball as it lies. No penalty. (R13.2a & b)

First, the Definition:

Putting Green - The area on the hole the player is playing that:

Is specially prepared for putting, or the Committee has defined as the putting green (such as when a temporary green is used). The putting green for a hole contains the hole into which the player tries to play a ball.

The putting green is one of the five defined areas of the course. The putting greens for all other holes (which the player is not playing at the time) are wrong greens and part of the general area.

The edge of a putting green is defined by where it can be seen that the specially prepared area starts (such as where the grass has been distinctly cut to show the edge), unless the Committee defines the edge in a different way (such as by using a line or dots).

If a double green is used for two different holes:

The entire prepared area containing both holes is treated as the putting green when playing each hole.

But the Committee may define an edge that divides the double green into two different putting greens, so that when a player is playing one of the holes, the part of the double green on the side of the edge that is used for the other hole is a wrong green.

*****************************
Rule 13 - Putting Greens

Purpose of Rule: Rule 13 is a specific Rule for putting greens. Putting greens are specially prepared for playing the ball along the ground and there is a flagstick for the hole on each putting green, so certain different Rules apply than for other areas of the course.

13.1 Actions Allowed or Required on Putting Greens
Purpose of Rule: This Rule allows the player to do things on the putting green that are normally not allowed off the putting green, such as being allowed to mark, lift, clean and replace a ball and to repair damage and remove sand and loose soil on the putting green. There is no penalty for accidentally causing a ball or ball-marker to move on the putting green.

13.2 The Flagstick
Purpose of Rule: This Rule covers the player’s choices for dealing with the flagstick. The player may leave the flagstick in the hole or have it removed (which includes having someone attend the flagstick and remove it after the ball is played), but must decide before making a stroke. There is normally no penalty if a ball in motion hits the flagstick.

What are the parts of Rule 13?

13.1 Actions Allowed or Required on Putting Greens

13.2 The Flagstick

13.3 Ball Overhanging Hole

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=13

Interpretations for Rule 13:

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=interp&section=rule&rulenum=13

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Going to bed early. Since it's already the 14th in Gander, Newfoundland (an airport I know well) I'll post Rule 14.

*******************************

A stand-alone Rule (old Rule 20) that we cannot live without!

Rule 14 - Procedures for Ball: Marking, Lifting and Cleaning; Replacing on Spot; Dropping in Relief Area; Playing from Wrong Place

What’s new for 2019:

RELIEF AREA - A semicircle or portion thereof with a radius of either one or two club-lengths where a player must drop when taking relief. (Definition)

DROPPING - A player must drop from knee height and the ball must be dropped into and come to rest in the relief area. The player may either drop the original ball or they may substitute a ball. (R14.3)

**********

Purpose of Rule: Rule 14 covers when and how the player may mark the spot of a ball at rest and lift and clean the ball and how to put a ball back into play so that the ball is played from the right place.

When a lifted or moved ball is to be replaced, the same ball must be set down on its original spot.

When taking free relief or penalty relief, a substituted ball or the original ball must be dropped in a particular relief area.

A mistake in using these procedures may be corrected without penalty before the ball is played, but the player gets a penalty if he or she plays the ball from the wrong place.

*********

The parts of the Rule:

14.1 Marking, Lifting and Cleaning Ball

14.2 Replacing Ball on Spot

14.3 Dropping Ball in Relief Area

14.4 When Player’s Ball is Back in Play after Original Ball Was Out of Play

14.5 Correcting Mistake Made in Substituting, Replacing, Dropping or Placing Ball

14.6 Making Next Stroke from Where Previous Stroke Made

14.7 Playing from Wrong Place

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=14

Relevant Interpretations for Rule 14:

Few of us know the contents of every Interpretation, however it’s helpful to review the titles from time to time. I’ll list the ones for Rule 14 here, read through them, you never know when you might need one. Admittedly, some of it is very obscure stuff.

For example, look at the very first one. One day you might mark your ball and then lift it with the back of your Ping Anser. Bozo, your opponent, will start to yell that you lose the hole because, “You can’t do that.” Guess what, you already know you can and you whip out your phone go to the Rules app and shut him up. Sweet!

14.1a/1 Ball May Be Lifted in Any Manner

14.1a/2 Marking Ball Correctly

14.1c/1 Player Must Be Careful When Lifted Ball May Not Be Cleaned

14.2b(2)/1 Player Drops Ball When Ball Is to Be Replaced

14.2c/1 Ball May Be Replaced in Almost Any Orientation

14.2c/2 Removal of Loose Impediment from Spot Where Ball to Be Replaced

14.2d(2)/1 Altered Lie Might Be “Nearest Spot with Lie Most Similar”

14.2e/1 Player Must Take Penalty Relief When Spot Where Ball Will Remain at Rest Is Nearer Hole

14.2/1 Ball Does Not Need to Be Replaced on Original Spot When Player Will Play From Another Place

14.3b(2)/1 Ball May Fall Only a Short Distance When Dropped from Knee Height

14.3c(1)/1 What to Do When Dropped Ball Moves After Coming to Rest Against a Player’s Foot or Equipment

14.3c(2)/1 Ball Dropped in Right Way Twice That Comes to Rest Outside Relief Area Might Be Placed Outside Relief Area

14.3c(2)/2 Where to Place Ball Dropped in Right Way Twice in Relief Area with a Bush in It

14.3c/1 Relief Area Includes Everything in Relief Area

14.3c/2 Ball May Be Dropped in No Play Zone

14.4/1 Placed Ball Is Not in Play Unless There Was Intent to Put It in Play

14.4/2 Test Drops Are Not Allowed

14.5b(3)/1 Player May Change Relief Areas When Dropping Again for Back-On-the-Line Relief

14.5b(3)/2 Player May Change Areas of the Course in the Relief Area When Dropping Again

14.7b/1 Player Gets Penalty for Each Stroke Made from Area Where Play Is Not Allowed

14.7b/2 Ball in Wrong Place If Club Strikes Condition Relief Was Taken From

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=interp&section=rule&rulenum

 

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4 hours ago, Asheville said:

Going to bed early. Since it's already the 14th in Gander, Newfoundland (an airport I know well) I'll post Rule 14.

*******************************

A stand-alone Rule (old Rule 20) that we cannot live without!

Rule 14 - Procedures for Ball: Marking, Lifting and Cleaning; Replacing on Spot; Dropping in Relief Area; Playing from Wrong Place

What’s new for 2019:

RELIEF AREA - A semicircle or portion thereof with a radius of either one or two club-lengths where a player must drop when taking relief. (Definition)

DROPPING - A player must drop from knee height and the ball must be dropped into and come to rest in the relief area. The player may either drop the original ball or they may substitute a ball. (R14.3)

**********

Purpose of Rule: Rule 14 covers when and how the player may mark the spot of a ball at rest and lift and clean the ball and how to put a ball back into play so that the ball is played from the right place.

When a lifted or moved ball is to be replaced, the same ball must be set down on its original spot.

When taking free relief or penalty relief, a substituted ball or the original ball must be dropped in a particular relief area.

A mistake in using these procedures may be corrected without penalty before the ball is played, but the player gets a penalty if he or she plays the ball from the wrong place.

*********

The parts of the Rule:

14.1 Marking, Lifting and Cleaning Ball

14.2 Replacing Ball on Spot

14.3 Dropping Ball in Relief Area

14.4 When Player’s Ball is Back in Play after Original Ball Was Out of Play

14.5 Correcting Mistake Made in Substituting, Replacing, Dropping or Placing Ball

14.6 Making Next Stroke from Where Previous Stroke Made

14.7 Playing from Wrong Place

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=14

Relevant Interpretations for Rule 14:

Few of us know the contents of every Interpretation, however it’s helpful to review the titles from time to time. I’ll list the ones for Rule 14 here, read through them, you never know when you might need one. Admittedly, some of it is very obscure stuff.

For example, look at the very first one. One day you might mark your ball and then lift it with the back of your Ping Anser. Bozo, your opponent, will start to yell that you lose the hole because, “You can’t do that.” Guess what, you already know you can and you whip out your phone go to the Rules app and shut him up. Sweet!

14.1a/1 Ball May Be Lifted in Any Manner

14.1a/2 Marking Ball Correctly

14.1c/1 Player Must Be Careful When Lifted Ball May Not Be Cleaned

14.2b(2)/1 Player Drops Ball When Ball Is to Be Replaced

14.2c/1 Ball May Be Replaced in Almost Any Orientation

14.2c/2 Removal of Loose Impediment from Spot Where Ball to Be Replaced

14.2d(2)/1 Altered Lie Might Be “Nearest Spot with Lie Most Similar”

14.2e/1 Player Must Take Penalty Relief When Spot Where Ball Will Remain at Rest Is Nearer Hole

14.2/1 Ball Does Not Need to Be Replaced on Original Spot When Player Will Play From Another Place

14.3b(2)/1 Ball May Fall Only a Short Distance When Dropped from Knee Height

14.3c(1)/1 What to Do When Dropped Ball Moves After Coming to Rest Against a Player’s Foot or Equipment

14.3c(2)/1 Ball Dropped in Right Way Twice That Comes to Rest Outside Relief Area Might Be Placed Outside Relief Area

14.3c(2)/2 Where to Place Ball Dropped in Right Way Twice in Relief Area with a Bush in It

14.3c/1 Relief Area Includes Everything in Relief Area

14.3c/2 Ball May Be Dropped in No Play Zone

14.4/1 Placed Ball Is Not in Play Unless There Was Intent to Put It in Play

14.4/2 Test Drops Are Not Allowed

14.5b(3)/1 Player May Change Relief Areas When Dropping Again for Back-On-the-Line Relief

14.5b(3)/2 Player May Change Areas of the Course in the Relief Area When Dropping Again

14.7b/1 Player Gets Penalty for Each Stroke Made from Area Where Play Is Not Allowed

14.7b/2 Ball in Wrong Place If Club Strikes Condition Relief Was Taken From

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=interp&section=rule&rulenum

 

This is a big change for this year. The term "relief area" is new. 

Also, it is now much easier under the rules to drop twice and then get to place the ball. 

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On 12/9/2019 at 4:29 AM, Asheville said:

The 9th, thus Rule 9. First the Clif Notes version:

Ball moved? By who or what and what we’re to do about it.

BALL MOVED BY THE PLAYER Except on the putting green or during a search, if a player either accidentally or intentionally causes their ball in play to move or picks up their ball when not allowed by the Rules, the ball must be replaced. 
The penalty is one stroke. (R9.4b)

BALL MOVED ON PUTTING GREEN If a player accidentally moves their ball or ball-marker on the putting green, the ball or ball-marker must be replaced. No penalty. (R13.1d)

BALL MOVED DURING SEARCH If the player or anyone else accidentally moves the player's ball while looking for it, the ball must be replaced. 
No penalty to anyone. (R7.4)

BALL MOVED BY OUTSIDE INFLUENCE If it is known or virtually certain that a player's ball has been moved by someone or something else, the ball must be replaced. No penalty to anyone. (R9.6)

BALL MOVED ON ITS OWN If a player's ball is moved by natural forces such as wind, water or gravity, the ball must be played from its new location. No penalty. (R9.3)

Exception: On the putting green, if the ball moves on its own after having been lifted and replaced, the player may not play the ball from the new location and the ball must be replaced. No penalty. (R13.1d2)

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Rule 9 - Ball Played as It Lies; Ball at Rest Lifted or Moved

Purpose of Rule: Rule 9 covers a central principle of the game: “play the ball as it lies.”

If the player’s ball comes to rest and is then moved by natural forces such as wind or water, the player normally must play it from its new spot.

If a ball at rest is lifted or moved by anyone or any outside influence before the stroke is made, the ball must be replaced on its original spot.

Players should take care when near any ball at rest, and a player who causes his or her own ball or an opponent’s ball to move will normally get a penalty (except on the putting green).

Rule 9 applies to a ball in play at rest on the course, and applies both during a round and while play is stopped under Rule 5.7a.

What’s covered in the Rule:
9.1 Ball Played as It Lies
9.2 Deciding Whether Ball Moved and What Caused It to Move
9.3 Ball Moved by Natural Forces
9.4 Ball Lifted or Moved by Player
9.5 Ball Lifted or Moved by Opponent in Match Play
9.6 Ball Lifted or Moved by Outside Influence
9.7 Ball-Marker Lifted or Moved

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=9

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=interp&section=rule&rulenum=9

There's special rules in 2019 for a ball in the teeing area. For example, if you swing and miss the ball is in play, but you can still'retee it. See rule 6.2. 

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6 hours ago, reidsou said:

There's special rules in 2019 for a ball in the teeing area. For example, if you swing and miss the ball is in play, but you can still'retee it. See rule 6.2. 

Heck, if you hit it, and it bounces off a tree and ends up back in the teeing area, you can still pick it up and retee it without penalty.

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Early post, I'm sleeping in tomorrow morning.

-----------------

The next group of Rules are those two granting Free Relief (Rules 15-16).

Rule 15 - Relief from Loose Impediments and Movable Obstructions (including Ball or Ball-Marker Helping or Interfering with Play)

    and 

Rule 16 - Relief from Abnormal Course Conditions (Including Immovable Obstructions), Dangerous Animal Condition, Embedded Ball

So, one at a time. Today, we’ll look at Rule 15.

THINGS WHICH MAY BE MOVED  

LOOSE IMPEDIMENTS A player may carefully move a loose or unattached natural object (e.g., a small stone or a pine cone) anywhere on or off the course.

     If when moving a loose impediment the ball is moved, the ball must be replaced. Except on the putting green, the penalty is one stroke. (R15.1a)

Definition - A LOOSE IMPEDIMENT is any unattached natural object such as:

Stones, loose grass, leaves, branches and sticks, dead animals and animal waste, worms, insects and similar animals that can be removed easily, and the mounds or webs they build (such as worm casts and ant hills), and clumps of compacted soil (including aeration plugs).

     Such natural objects are not loose if they are attached or growing, solidly embedded in the ground (that is, cannot be picked out easily), or sticking to the ball.

Special cases:

Sand and Loose Soil are not loose impediments.
Dew, Frost and Water are not loose impediments.
Snow and Natural Ice (other than frost) are either loose impediments or, when on the ground, temporary water, at the player’s option.
Spider Webs are loose impediments even though they are attached to another object.

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MOVABLE OBSTRUCTIONS A player may move an easily-moved artificial object (e.g., a bunker rake or a penalty area stake) anywhere on the course. 

     If when moving an obstruction the ball is moved, the ball must be replaced. No penalty. (R15.2a)

Definition - A MOVABLE OBSTRUCTION is an obstruction that can be moved with reasonable effort and without damaging the obstruction or the course.

     If part of an immovable obstruction or integral object (such as a gate or door or part of an attached cable) meets these two standards, that part is treated as a movable obstruction.

     But this does not apply if the movable part of an immovable obstruction or integral object is not meant to be moved (such as a loose stone that is part of a stone wall).

----------

THINGS OUT OF BOUNDS A player may move loose impediments and other things, except out of bounds stakes, located off the course. (R15)

----------

ANOTHER BALL A player can have a ball moved which reasonably interferes with their lie, stance, swing or line of play anywhere on the course. (R15.3b)

**************

Purpose of Rule: Rule 15 covers when and how the player may take free relief from loose impediments and movable obstructions.

These movable natural and artificial objects are not treated as part of the challenge of playing the course, and a player is normally allowed to remove them when they interfere with play.

But the player needs to be careful in moving loose impediments near his or her ball off the putting green, because there will be a penalty if moving them causes the ball to move.

The parts of Rule 15:

15.1 Loose Impediments

15.2 Movable Obstructions

15.3 Ball or Ball-Marker Helping or Interfering with Play

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=15

Click this link to read the titles of the Interpretations for Rule 15:

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=interp&section=rule&rulenum

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On 12/10/2019 at 10:57 PM, Asheville said:

Today’s the 10th, hence Rule 10. 

A look at two aspects of Rule 10 - Advice and Caddies (Don’t skip the Caddies portion because it’s details pertain to our partners in Four-Ball.)

Rule 10 - Preparing for and Making a Stroke; Advice and Help; Caddies

Purpose of Rule: Rule 10 covers how to prepare for and make a stroke, including advice and other help the player may get from others (including partners and caddies). The underlying principle is that golf is a game of skill and personal challenge.

10.1 Making a Stroke, Purpose of Rule: Rule 10.1 covers how to make a stroke and several acts that are prohibited in doing so. A stroke is made by fairly striking at a ball with the head of a club. The fundamental challenge is to direct and control the movement of the entire club by freely swinging the club without anchoring it. (And, no. Bernhard Langer is not anchoring; the R&A and USGA have confirmed it several times.)

10.2 Advice and Other Help, Purpose of Rule: A fundamental challenge for the player is deciding the strategy and tactics for his or her play. So there are limits to the advice and other help the player may get during a round.

Definition of Advice:

Any verbal comment or action that is intended to influence a player in choosing a club, making a stroke, or deciding how to play during a hole or round.

But advice does not include public information, such as, the location of things on the course such as the hole, the putting green, the fairway, penalty areas, bunkers, or another player’s ball, the distance from one point to another, or the Rules.

Two Interpretations regarding Advice:

Advice/1 – Verbal Comments or Actions That Are Advice

Examples of when comments or actions are considered advice and are not allowed include:

A player makes a statement regarding club selection that was intended to be overheard by another player who had a similar stroke.

In individual stroke play, Player A, who has just holed out on the 7th hole, demonstrates to Player B, whose ball was just off the putting green, how to make the next stroke. Because Player B has not completed the hole, Player A gets the penalty on the 7th hole. But, if both Player A and Player B had completed the 7th hole, Player A gets the penalty on the 8th hole.

A player’s ball is lying badly and the player is deliberating what action to take. Another player comments, “You have no shot at all. If I were you, I would decide to take unplayable ball relief.” This comment is advice because it could have influenced the player in deciding how to play during a hole.

While a player is setting up to hit his or her shot over a large penalty area filled with water, another player in the group comments, “You know the wind is in your face and it’s 250 yards to carry that water?”

Advice/2 – Verbal Comments or Actions That Are Not Advice

Examples of comments or actions that are not advice include:

During play of the 6th hole, a player asks another player what club he or she used on the 4th hole that is a par-3 of similar length.

A player makes a second stroke that lands on the putting green. Another player does likewise. The first player then asks the second player what club was used for the second stroke.

After making a stroke, a player says, “I should have used a 5-iron” to another player in the group that has yet to play onto the green, but not intending to influence his or her play.

A player looks into another player’s bag to determine which club he or she used for the last stroke without touching or moving anything.

While lining up a putt, a player mistakenly seeks advice from another player’s caddie, believing that caddie to be the player’s caddie. The player immediately realizes the mistake and tells the other caddie not to answer.

10.3 Caddies, Purpose of Rule: The player may have a caddie to carry the player’s clubs and give advice and other help during the round, but there are limits to what the caddie is allowed to do. The player is responsible for the caddie’s actions during the round and will get a penalty if the caddie breaches the Rules.

NB In forms of play such as Four-Ball involving partners, a player's partner and the partner's caddie may take the same actions (with the same limitations) as the player's caddie may take under Rules 10.2.

Relevant Interpretations:

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=interp&section=rule&rulenum=10
 

A couple of advice issues that merit underlining, IMO:

1) 1.3c(4)/3 advises clearly that asking what the wind direction is constitutes advice. I don't recall seeing such a clear statement prior to 2019.

2) Advice comes in three flavours - a key observation that is somewhat buried in Advice/2 above. The flavours relate to a) choosing a club b) how to make a stroke and c) how to play a hole. So if you say "Wow, is that wind into our face? Do I need to play a low, punch shot?", then congratulations, you have collected 4SP.

 

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Yeah, another Rule giving us Free Relief from some other stuff. 

Rule 16 - Relief from Abnormal Course Conditions (Including Immovable Obstructions), Dangerous Animal Condition, Embedded Ball

Purpose of Rule: Rule 16 covers when and how the player may take free relief by playing a ball from a different place, such as when there is interference by an abnormal course condition or a dangerous animal condition.

These conditions are not treated as part of the challenge of playing the course, and free relief is generally allowed except in a penalty area.

The player normally takes relief by dropping a ball in a relief area based on the nearest point of complete relief.

This Rule also covers free relief when a player’s ball is embedded in its own pitch mark in the general area.

Parts of the Rule:

16.1 Abnormal Course Conditions (Including Immovable Obstructions)

16.2 Dangerous Animal Condition

16.3 Embedded Ball

16.4 Lifting Ball to See If It Lies in Condition Where Relief Allowed

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=16

************************

Now, the Cliffs Notes (Bear in mind these just hit the high points, there are some once-in-a-lifetime situations not addressed.):

ABNORMAL COURSE CONDITIONS, except in a penalty area, free relief for interference for lie, stance or swing is allowed from:

    1) temporary water
    2) ground under repair
    3) a hole made by an animal
    4) an immovable obstruction. (R16.1)

     Note: Temporary water is an accumulation of water on the ground outside a penalty area such as rain water, irrigation water or overflow from a stream. To qualify for free relief, it is not enough for the ground to be merely wet, muddy or soft; water must be present around the ball or around the player's shoes after they've taken their stance.

      Note: Out-of-bounds stakes and other things which define course boundaries are not obstructions and may not be moved and do not qualify for free relief.

When taking free relief, a player must drop within one club-length of the nearest point of complete relief, but not nearer the hole. After taking relief, the lie, stance, and swing must be completely clear of the abnormal course condition.

     Ball in a bunker? To take free relief from abnormal course conditions, the player must drop in the bunker, but not nearer the hole. (R16.1c1)

     Or, a player may take relief outside the bunker by dropping back-on-the-line. One stroke penalty. (R16.1c2)

     Ball on the putting green? To take free relief from abnormal course conditions (including line of play), the player must place a ball on the spot of the nearest point of complete relief (which could be off the green), but not nearer the hole. (R16.1d)

     Relief (though not always free relief) from dangerous animals (but not plants) is available anywhere on or off the course. (R16.2)

BALL is EMBEDDED, except in a penalty area or a bunker, free relief is allowed for a ball embedded in its own pitch-mark. 

The relief area is a one club-length radius right behind the spot where the ball was embedded and not nearer the hole. (R16.3)

************

Click this link to read the titles of the relevant Interpretations:

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=interp&section=rule&rulenum=16

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The next group is comprised of the Penalty Relief Rules 17, 18 and 19.

Rule 17 - Penalty Areas
Rule 18 - Stroke-and-Distance Relief; Ball Lost or Out of Bounds; Provisional Ball
Rule 19 - Unplayable Ball

*********************

So, one bite at a time, we first look at Rule 17, Penalty Areas

Purpose of Rule: Rule 17 is a specific Rule for penalty areas, which are bodies of water or other areas defined by the Committee where a ball is often lost or unable to be played. For one penalty stroke, players may use specific relief options to play a ball from outside the penalty area.

Parts of the Rule:

17.1 Options for Ball in Penalty Area

17.2 Options After Playing Ball from Penalty Area

17.3 No Relief Under Other Rules for Ball in Penalty Area

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=17

*********************

The Cliffs Notes version says:

RELIEF AREA, a semicircle or portion thereof with a radius of either one (R15 & 16) or two club-lengths (R17 -19) where a player must drop when taking relief. (Definition)

REPLAY RELIEF, at anytime and from anywhere, a player may replay their shot by playing a ball from where the previous stroke was made.  (R18.1)

     How we put a ball in play to replay the stroke depends upon the area of the course. From the tee, the ball may be teed up. From the general area, a bunker or a penalty area the ball must be dropped in the relief area. From the putting green, the ball must be placed.

BACK-ON-THE-LINE RELIEF, the relief area is determined by going back on an extension of the line from the flagstick through either:
 
   1) the crossing point at the edge of a penalty area, or 
   2) from the ball in an unplayable lie. 

The player may go back on that line as far as they wish, mark a reference point on the line and drop within one club-length, not nearer the hole. (R17.1d2)

LATERAL RELIEF, a relief area, not nearer the hole, of two club-lengths radius from either: 

   1) the crossing point at the edge of a penalty area, or 
   2) from the ball in an unplayable lie. (R17.1d3)

---------------------

BALL in PENALTY AREA, a penalty area is any body of water or any other part of the course the Committee defines as a penalty area. Penalty areas  may be marked as either yellow or red. 

A player may always play their ball from within a penalty area.

If their ball lies in a YELLOW PENALTY AREA, a player may take relief outside the area in only two ways: 

   a) replay or, 
   b) back-on-the-line. 

One stroke penalty.

If their ball lies in a RED PENALTY AREA, a player may take relief outside the penalty area in three ways: 

   a) replay, 
   b) back-on-the-line, or 
   c) lateral. 

One stroke penalty. (R17.1)

New this year, the sharp-eyed among us will notice that the opposite edge relief for a ball in a red penalty area (formerly “opposite margin relief”) is gone. However, it is still available via Local Rule.

New this year, if your ball lies in a Penalty Area. you may carefully move Loose Impediments and take a practice swing so long as you don’t improve your lie, stance or swing.

Not new this year, If your ball lies in a Penalty Area, there’s no separate relief for an Embedded Ball or for Abnormal Course Conditions.

*****************

Click this link to read the titles of the relevant Interpretations:

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=interp&section=rule&rulenum=17
 

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