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Some Rule Myths, Misconceptions, and other stuff.


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Here is a list of some of the most common myths and rule misunderstandings.  These are off the top of my head, I'm sure there are more.  This assumes there are no local rules or conditions of competition in place.  A lot of these have "yeah buts.....".    I know, that's why we have a decisions book with over 500 pages.  Take these at face value and try not to read anything extra into them.  Let me know if you have any questions, issues,  etc.

  1. You CAN fix a ball mark even if your ball is not on the green.
  2. You CAN move a flagstick lying on the green  if a ball in motion might hit it.
  3. You CAN move clubs lying on the green if a ball in motion might hit them.
  4. You CAN hold an umbrella over your head  with one hand and putt a ball with the other.
  5. Your ball DOES NOT have to be on the green in order to have a flag attended.
  6. You CAN borrow golf balls, gloves, etc. during a round.
  7. You CAN NOT borrow clubs during a round.
  8. You CAN practice putting on the green you've just finished.  (Stroke or Match Play)
  9. You CAN mark your ball on the green with your finger or putter head.
  10. You CAN straddle your line of putt to keep from stepping on someones line.
  11. Marking your ball does NOT take it out of play, you must also lift it.
  12. If you authorize  someone else to mark your ball on the green, they aren't the only one that have to replace it, you CAN also.
  13. You CAN lay clubs/rakes  in a bunker.....you can even toss them in.
  14. There is NO penalty for moving a fellow competitor's  ball. (Stroke Play)
  15. There is NO penalty for playing out of turn.  (Stroke Play)
  16. If you are going to play a provisional from the tee, you do so after everyone else has played .
  17. You do NOT get line of play, sometimes called line of sight, relief from an obstruction, unless it's on the putting  green.
  18. You CAN touch growing things with your club in a hazard,  you CAN NOT touch the ground with your club in a hazard. (Other than the actual stroke)
  19. There is NO penalty for holing a putt with another ball already in the hole.
  20. You CAN move Red and Yellow hazard stakes.
  21. The ONLY place where you can remove dew or frost is on the teeing area.
  22. The ONLY place where you can remove loose soil and sand is on the putting green and teeing area.
  23. You CAN reach across a hole to tap in a short putt.
  24. The only thing you CAN fix on greens are ball marks and old hole plugs.
  25. You CAN NOT fix heal prints,  indentations from putter heads, etc.
  26. You CAN NOT practice ON the course the day of a tournament.  (Stroke Play)
  27. You CAN NOT substitute your ball for a special "putting ball' on the green.
  28. Practice swings are not strokes, if you accidentally hit your ball, you put it back.
  29. You CAN NOT play a provisional ball for a original ball that may be lost in a water hazard but is also definitely NOT LOST OUTSIDE  the water hazard.  (I know, this one is kind of confusing.)
  30. If someone is talking about line of flight when taking relief they don't know what they are doing.
  31. There are 5 ways to lose a golf ball under the rules, "declaring" it lost is NOT one of them.
  32. There is NO drop within 2 club lengths option with a water hazard. (yellow stakes)
  33. When you drop out of a hazard we only care where the ball ends up, doesn't matter where your feet end up.  The ball gets relief, not a requirement for your stance.
  34. When you drop to take relief from a cart path, ground under repair, etc., we do care where your feet end up.  The ball AND your stance must have relief.

Specific to Match Play

  1. The "play two balls if you are unsure on how to continue" is NOT allowed.
  2. You CAN NOT play match play and stroke play at the same time.
  3. You are NOT required to turn in a score card.
  4. You CAN continue to play after your next stroke has been conceded.
  5. Unless you're searching for your opponents ball, there IS a penalty for moving their ball.
  6. There is NO penalty for playing out of turn, however your stroke may be canceled and replayed at your opponents option.
  7. If you see your opponent breach a rule, you CAN ignore it.
  8. If you have a dispute with your opponent on a possible breach that you see you MUST make a claim BEFORE anyone has teed off of the next hole, or if it's on the last hole, before all players walk off  the green.  After that it's too late, the hole stands as played.  (This one can get tricky.)
  9. You CAN practice ON the course the day of your match.
  10. You CAN lose a hole simply by giving your opponent wrong information concerning the number of strokes that you have taken.  Even if it's because of a penalty you did not know you incurred.  (This one can be complicated.  Best to be accurate when giving information to your opponent.)

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Great!  Some of these are obvious but some of these are quite interesting (to me, at least) .  A couple of questions ...

5. I did not know this until last year's Farmers Insurance Open when Phil Mickelson had his caddy tend the flag for his 100 yd (or so) approach on the last hole.  He got it pretty close too.

9. I thought that was the case and do this all the time ... but I imagine that there is a local rule on the tour preventing this.

13.  You mean when your ball is still in said trap?

20.  But not white ones?

29.  You're right, that is confusing.  I don't follow.

Match Play 7.  OK, but the implication of this to me is that you are required to call any rules infraction you see on an opponent in stroke play?

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

Great!  Some of these are obvious but some of these are quite interesting (to me, at least) .  A couple of questions ...

5. I did not know this until last year's Farmers Insurance Open when Phil Mickelson had his caddy tend the flag for his 100 yd (or so) approach on the last hole.  He got it pretty close too.

9. I thought that was the case and do this all the time ... but I imagine that there is a local rule on the tour preventing this.

13.  You mean when your ball is still in said trap?

20.  But not white ones?

29.  You're right, that is confusing.  I don't follow.

Match Play 7.  OK, but the implication of this to me is that you are required to call any rules infraction you see on an opponent in stroke play?


9.  No, I don't believe so. They could if they wanted.   They do have a local rule preventing practice putting on the green last played.  They use to have the "one ball rule", but not anymore.

13.  Yes, As long as you don't change your stance or line of play and you are not doing it to test the condition of the bunker you are fine.  BTW, we don't say trap, it's "bunker".

20.  Correct in that you can not move OB stakes to improve your stance, lie, or line of play.  What some might not know, is it's Ok to pull them for other reasons, like you're trying to walk by one to get to your ball laying 30 feet away.

29.  The deal here is playing a provisional can only be played for an original ball that might be lost outside a hazard or might be out of bounds.  You can not play a provisional ball for a ball that is in a hazard.  What you can do is play a provisional for an original ball that might be in a hazard, but there is ALSO a chance that it might be lost or OB outside the hazard.  Say if there were a lot of tall grass or bushes by the hazard, and you weren't sure if you ball went into the bushes where you may not be able to find it, or it might have landed in the hazard, then you can play a provisional.  In this case, if you couldn't find it and you were not certain if your original ball was in the hazard or not, you'd have to play your provisional.  It would become your ball in play.

This gets into the question of Known or Virtual Certainty which I'll save for another time.

7.  Correct.  If you were the player's marker (scorer) and knowingly did not mark down a penalty that you knew the player had incurred you would be disqualified.

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Quote:
1.  You CAN fix a ball mark even if your ball is not on the green.

With the stipulation that the pitch mark must be on the green.  If the pitch mark is not on the green then you are not allowed to repair it until you have played your stoke.  If you intend to putt from the fringe and there is a ball mark on your line which is also on the fringe, then you just have to deal with it - either chip or hope that it doesn't affect the putt - you can't repair it. This is assuming that it is located where it might influence your stroke or the line of play.  If you are walking down the fairway and you happen to see and repair an impact crater which is nowhere near your ball, then there is no penalty.

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Quote:
18.  You CAN touch growing things with your club in a hazard,  you CAN NOT touch the ground with your club in a hazard. (Other than the actual stroke)

there was a tournament a couple of years back in Hilton Head where a player was off the green on the beach at the 18th hole, which is a lateral hazard.  On his backswing, he hit a branch of a small bush.  He pointed this out to a rules official and lost a stroke.  How does #18 differ?

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Originally Posted by boogielicious

there was a tournament a couple of years back in Hilton Head where a player was off the green on the beach at the 18th hole, which is a lateral hazard.  On his backswing, he hit a branch of a small bush.  He pointed this out to a rules official and lost a stroke.  How does #18 differ?



Good questions.  He touched a loose impediment.  You can not touch loose impediments in a hazard, unless they may be covering your ball and you are searching.   A loose impediment is a natural object that is not fixed, GROWING, solidly embedded or adhering to the ball. He touched a reed on his backswing that was laying on the ground.  If you remember the rules official pulled on it to see if it was loose, it was.  If it was growing or solidly embedded there would not have been a penalty.  Also, if he would have missed it on the backswing, but touched it on the downswing there would not have been a penalty.

I think there are are very few players  that in the same situation would know the penalty and would have called it.  He was in a playoff to decide the tournament.  I forget his name.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

With the stipulation that the pitch mark must be on the green.



Thanks Rick.  Was thinking that but did not say it.  If you see anything else misleading or not clear let us know.

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

What is the "one ball rule" exactly?  I've heard it said several times but not explained.  Are we talking about brand/make of ball here?



The "one ball rule" (if in effect) means that you can only play one brand of ball for the stipulated round. Thus if you start with Prov1x you can only play Prov1x for that particular round.

This rule is only in effect if it is announced as such for whatever tournament or match that you are playing. By default it is not in effect.

This rule should not be confused with the rule that says you must complete a hole with the same ball that you started the hole with (unless it is lost or meets the requirements of being damaged.)

For example, when you play a hole and get to the green and mark your ball, you must use the ball that you marked for putting. You can't substitute another ball for any other stroke on that particular hole.

Once you get to the next tee, you are free to put another ball into play.

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

What is the "one ball rule" exactly?  I've heard it said several times but not explained.  Are we talking about brand/make of ball here?



Exactly.  You are required to play the same make and model though out the round.  If you were going to borrow one it would have to be the same ball.  Years ago when there was a big difference between balls, balata, hard cover, solid core, wound, etc.  players would be able to change ball types on different holes depending on wind conditions, whether they needed distance or spin.....stuff like that.  Because of this they came up with the One Ball Rule as a Condition of Competition.  Now a days all the golf balls are much more similar so the PGA Tour doesn't care.

Regards,

John

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Originally Posted by Dormie1360

Good questions.  He touched a loose impediment.  You can not touch loose impediments in a hazard, unless they may be covering your ball and you are searching.   A loose impediment is a natural object that is not fixed, GROWING, solidly embedded or adhering to the ball. He touched a reed on his backswing that was laying on the ground.  If you remember the rules official pulled on it to see if it was loose, it was.  If it was growing or solidly embedded there would not have been a penalty.  Also, if he would have missed it on the backswing, but touched it on the downswing there would not have been a penalty.

I think there are are very few players  that in the same situation would know the penalty and would have called it.  He was in a playoff to decide the tournament.  I forget his name.



Brian Davis

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Originally Posted by Dormie1360

9.  No, I don't believe so. They could if they wanted.   They do have a local rule preventing practice putting on the green last played.  They use to have the "one ball rule", but not anymore.

20.  Correct in that you can not move OB stakes to improve your stance, lie, or line of play.  What some might not know, is it's Ok to pull them for other reasons, like you're trying to walk by one to get to your ball laying 30 feet away.

9. As far As I know all pro tours have one ball rule in effect, also all top amateur tours. Has this changed, and if, on which tour?

20. OB stakes are deemed to be fixed, which means they are not to be removed by a player for whatever reason. Why on earth one would have to move an OB stake to get to his ball?

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Sorry for the stupid post, but I am new to golf, and I don't understand the initial post in this thread.

Are we saying the statements in the original post are all TRUE, or are we saying that they are all MISCONCEPTIONS?

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Originally Posted by Chipless

Sorry for the stupid post, but I am new to golf, and I don't understand the initial post in this thread.

Are we saying the statements in the original post are all TRUE, or are we saying that they are all MISCONCEPTIONS?



They should be true, now we are disussing if there are some statements that should be more accurate. Anyway, it is a very good, if not an excellent list, and with maybe some few minor adjustments you can count of them to be TRUE.

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Originally Posted by Ignorant

20. OB stakes are deemed to be fixed, which means they are not to be removed by a player for whatever reason. Why on earth one would have to move an OB stake to get to his ball?



My local muni has OB stakes within the course separating three holes (two with doglegs). (Yep, they're specifically designated as OB markers.) Pull or hook your tee shot on the first hole and you can find yourself in the left rough next to a white stake that could impede your swing (assuming you went just short of OB).

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Originally Posted by Ignorant

9. As far As I know all pro tours have one ball rule in effect, also all top amateur tours. Has this changed, and if, on which tour?

20. OB stakes are deemed to be fixed, which means they are not to be removed by a player for whatever reason. Why on earth one would have to move an OB stake to get to his ball?


Hi Ignorant,

Just went through rule school last week.  3 1/2 days.  Exam at the end. Taught by the USGA and PGA.  USGA puts these on during the winter/spring of every year at about a dozen or so different places around the country.  This one was taught by David Staebler who is the Director of Rules Education for the USGA and Jesse Barge from the PGA of America.  Mostly attended by local rules officials.  This one had the USGA Rules committee chair in attendance also. I mention all this only to make the point that I was getting accurate information.

9 and 20 were talked about in class.  Jesse said the one ball rule was not in effect for the reasons I stated.  Now, he has officiated both PGA Tour and PGA of America events.  I suppose there is a chance he could have been talking only about PGA of America events, but I'm pretty sure he was talking about the Tour also.  I thought I heard the same thing at last years class.

As far as 20, we do interactive questions during class.  They are not for the faint of heart.   One had a player doing a bunch of stuff, prior to his stroke.  One of which was moving an OB stake, that did not interfer with his swing, stance, or line of play.  I think the scenario had him walking through some trees to get to his ball.  In doing so he moved an OB stake.  We went over the question in class.  No penalty for moving the stake.  If it makes you feel any better, I got it wrong.  I didn't think he could move the stake either.

Keep the comments coming.....keeps me on my toes.

Regards,

John

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Number 28... Practice stroke moves ball.

I thought you had to move it back to its original place but there was also a penalty involved (one stroke)-- that is unless on the tee to begin the hole.  A player cannot be moving his ball and then replacing it with no penalty as he or she goes around the course.  There should be a penalty whether he or she has addressed the ball or not, and additional penalty (two strokes this time)  if the ball is not returned to its original place.  Might be wrong, but that is my take on rule 18.

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Originally Posted by RC

Number 28... Practice stroke moves ball.

I thought you had to move it back to its original place but there was also a penalty involved (one stroke)-- that is unless on the tee to begin the hole.  A player cannot be moving his ball and then replacing it with no penalty as he or she goes around the course.  There should be a penalty whether he or she has addressed the ball or not, and additional penalty (two strokes this time)  if the ball is not returned to its original place.  Might be wrong, but that is my take on rule 18.



You are right and this should also read in the list. However, the point of this myth is that practise swing is not a stroke so you have to move the ball back instead of continuing from where it ended up. AND you get the penalty, 2 if you do not move it back.

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Note: This thread is 3319 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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