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Opponent Did Not Know Stroke and Distance Rule


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We had a somewhat similar situation happen at our invitational tournament a couple of years ago.  The format is one qualifying round to determine the top 32 guys and then 5 rounds of match play to get to a champion.  In one of the championship flight matches, a guy hit his ball into the woods and when it was suggested he re-tee a provisional, he was very confused.  He had no idea that if he lost his ball he could not just drop where it went into the woods.  He actually thought the playing competitors were trying to cheat him by not letting him drop where the ball went into the woods, and it took quite a bit of convincing to play his third with a stroke and distance penalty.

The next year, I played in the same 4-some with him at a similar format tournament at his home course, and it helped me understand his confusion .  His course has a local rule to play all wooded areas as a lateral hazard.  I got paired with him in the match play, and found out that he had only been golfing 6-8 years and had a very quick rise from beginner to low single digit handicap - and 95%+ of his career rounds were at his home course.  He just didn't ever learn the rules of golf and assumed that his course's local rules were the rules of golf. 

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