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Fixing the golf hole with your hand or finger(s)?


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Originally Posted by sacm3bill

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Originally Posted by Ignorant

I believe the point here is that one cannot be absolved just like that as Rule 1-2 is extremely clear about exerting influence on a ball. So the principal question here is whether a player is really trying to influence other players' balls in his group or is he merely trying to maintain the course.

I really don't see how you can differentiate the two. What is "maintaining the course" if not the act of making sure that players have equitable lies and course conditions?


Differentiation is very easy to make. Maintaining the course is something one does as courtesy to all players to follow. Exerting influence on a ball is something a player does in order to affect movement of a ball or balls of specific player(s). Actually you wrote precisely the right thing there: 'act of making sure that players have equitable lies and course conditions'. If the edge of a hole is ragged for you to putt, why on earth should you repair it before your entire flight has finished the hole? After all, this would lead to a situation where all players in your group would NOT have equitable course conditions, right?

The entire point of this particular Decision is that a player will not be penalized for doing something out of courtesy. That is why it has been written as it is. It is not possible to give specific answers to all possible questions arising from a zillion of different scenarios and that is why one has to understand the idea behind a Rule or a Decision. Sometimes it is not that easy.


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Originally Posted by Ignorant

Differentiation is very easy to make. Maintaining the course is something one does as courtesy to all players to follow. Exerting influence on a ball is something a player does in order to affect movement of a ball or balls of specific player(s).

If the edge of a hole is ragged for you to putt, why on earth should you repair it before your entire flight has finished the hole? After all, this would lead to a situation where all players in your group would NOT have equitable course conditions, right?

Ok, I see what the issue is here. You and I got off on a tangent because I misinterpreted your use of the word "flight". To me that means a number of groups in the same handicap flight, playing a tournament. It sounds like you're using "flight" and "group" interchangeably, to mean just the people playing the same hole as you. In that case I agree with what you've been saying - I've not been arguing that you should fix the hole before your playing partners/competitors on the same hole have finished. My only question has been about whether it's ok after they've all holed out, and my assumption has always been that the answer is yes (confirmed by Decision 1-2/3.5, as you quoted).

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Now what if I am the one that damaged the hole while I was pulling my ball out?  Say I accidentally caught the lip with my ball on the way out and raised it up a bit.  Should the other players in my group be punished for my mistake?

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Originally Posted by Kobey

Now what if I am the one that damaged the hole while I was pulling my ball out?  Say I accidentally caught the lip with my ball on the way out and raised it up a bit.  Should the other players in my group be punished for my mistake?


Primarily you should contact the Committee and they do the repairing. However, if no Committee member is readily available you may repair the damage yourself. See Dec 16-1a/6 http://www.usga.org/Rule-Books/Rules-of-Golf/Decision-16/#16-1a/6

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Originally Posted by Kobey

Now what if I am the one that damaged the hole while I was pulling my ball out?  Say I accidentally caught the lip with my ball on the way out and raised it up a bit.  Should the other players in my group be punished for my mistake?


I haven't found a Decision covering this, but I think you would have more leeway to repair damage that occurred during the play of the hole. Generally, a player is entitled to the lie and line that existed when his ball came to rest. Thus, in equity, you would be permitted (and probably required) to repair the damage. Decisions 13-2/8 and 13-2/8.5 consider similar (in principle) situations.

As Ignorant said, you're generally allowed to ask the committee to repair (or to repair yourself) a hole that is seriously damaged. The rule is quoted above in this thread, but I think it applied only if it's serious damage that leave the hole significantly outside its specified dimensions. However, I think equity would permit you to repair less significant damage in this case.

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Note: This thread is 3511 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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