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ScouseJohnny

When is a green "clear?"

44 posts in this topic

An odd thing happened to me today.

As my friend and I walked onto the 2nd tee (137 yard par 3), we saw an older gentleman - a single-player - on the green. He putted out (without removing the pin), retrieved his ball, and then walked off the right-hand side of the green. That side of the 2nd green is obscured from the tee, as a large pine tree, small hillock, and bunker are all in front of the right-hand side of that green. The path to the 3rd tee is also to the right of the 2nd green.

My playing partner and I watched the old chap putt out and walk to the right of the green, waited a minute or so, and then hit our drives - two good shots - and we started walking to the green to hit our birdie putts.

Someone wasn't rejoicing, though. The single-player, who appeared on the green shouting and waving his putter around. Turned out he was playing two balls, and had played out his first ball before walking to the right fringe of the green to chip his second ball. He must have been walking towards the middle of the green as our tee-shots landed.

I've never "hit into" someone before in over 20 years of playing golf, and was a bit upset by all of this. My playing partner apologized and we all went on our way. Thinking about it afterwards, though, my mood has hardened slightly. I'm inclined to think that you play that second ball at your own risk. If you putt out and look like you're clearing the green, so long as the match behind allows adequate time for the green to clear, there is no more "due diligence" owed on that match's part. I never want to hurt anyone on a golf course, but is it really reasonable to have to anticipate that someone might be playing two balls, and allow extra time for a green to clear, accordingly?

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Based on what you wrote I'd say you and you're buddy were in the right.  Single player shouldn't be playing two balls with golfers waiting to tee off behind him.  He should have picked up the second ball and teed off at the next hole to maintain pace of play.

Plus if he was in a hidden area of the course how would you know he was playing a 2nd.

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You didn't do anything wrong. Also, if a single has people waiting on him, he absolutely shouldn't be playing 2 balls!
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An odd thing happened to me today.

As my friend and I walked onto the 2nd tee (137 yard par 3), we saw an older gentleman - a single-player - on the green. He putted out (without removing the pin), retrieved his ball, and then walked off the right-hand side of the green. That side of the 2nd green is obscured from the tee, as a large pine tree, small hillock, and bunker are all in front of the right-hand side of that green. The path to the 3rd tee is also to the right of the 2nd green.

My playing partner and I watched the old chap putt out and walk to the right of the green, waited a minute or so, and then hit - two good shots - and we started walking to the green to hit our birdie putts.

Someone wasn't rejoicing, though. The single-player, who appeared on the green shouting and waving his putter around. Turned out he was playing two balls, and had played out his first ball before walking to the right fringe of the green to chip his second ball. He must have been walking towards the middle of the green as our tee-shots landed.

I've never "hit into" someone before in over 20 years of playing golf, and was a bit upset by all of this. My playing partner apologized and we all went on our way. Thinking about it afterwards, though, my mood has hardened slightly. I'm inclined to think that you play that second ball at your own risk. If you putt out and look like you're clearing the green, so long as the match behind allows adequate time for the green to clear, there is no more "due diligence" owed on that match's part. I never want to hurt anyone on a golf course, but is it really reasonable to have to anticipate that someone might be playing two balls, and allow extra time for a green to clear, accordingly?

First of all if he's playing 2 balls he doesn't have a leg to stand on.  Playing 2 balls is something you might do when it can't possible be a problem for anyone else on the course.  If he was holding up you and your buddy even a little bit then he was in the wrong.

If he wasn't aware of you waiting on the tee, then he needs to pay more attention.  If he was aware of you, then he should have just picked up the second ball and moved on, or waved you guys through so he could continue to dawdle his way around the course.

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I think you're in the right. I wouldn't say it's even because he's playing two balls (I'd rather be behind a guy playing two balls intelligently than a foursome, for instance), but he displayed poor judgement when it came to the flagstick. First, he should know that people behind him are looking for the flagstick to be taken out and put back in for cues on when the green is clear. Second, he should know what areas might be blind to the tee. Third, he should not walk off the green, with the flagstick in, and disappear from view of the tee without expecting that the next group will hit. Clearly the guy was not thinking alertly.
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when is the green clear, I would say when the group in front of you is either on the next tee box if it is near the green, or at least 20-30 yards away. I wouldn't say many people will be over hitting by 2 club lengths.

When in doubt, WAIT.

Don't worry on your situation, you didn't do anything wrong. The guy shouldn't be playing 2 balls if there are groups waiting on him.

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When I'm playing solo I try to leave my bag or something to indicate where I'm at in case someone catches up. Could be I'm off in the trees trying to find a meandering ball ( or watering a bush ), so I will park my bag or pushcart near my point of departure. To the OP, you're in the clear in my book, the green is clear when it becomes reasonably apparent that anyone ahead has moved on and is not in danger of being hit by a ball. And for the record, on some courses and places I've played, waving a putter in a threatening manner could quickly bring an end to the putter waver's play that day.
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I would say that you were totally in the right. As everyone has mentioned above, all the clues pointed to the fact that he was moving on to the next hole.

I understand him leaving the flag in to have a target, but at the very least he could have left his bag by the green or alerted you in some kind of way.

So I wouldn't worry about it too much.

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Hitting a drive into a 137 yd par 3. Was there a strong wind?

A "drive" refers to the first shot on any hole, irrespective of the club used.

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Playing 2 balls (and basically playing two rounds) and paying for only one round would be frowned on where I work so I doubt if the guy would have wanted to explain his story to the owner.

They look at it as trying to get something they didn't pay for.

The only times I ever played multiple balls was on a course where I was a member and could play all I wanted for the same cost (and the course was empty).

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Playing 2 balls (and basically playing two rounds) and paying for only one round would be frowned on where I work so I doubt if the guy would have wanted to explain his story to the owner.

They look at it as trying to get something they didn't pay for.

The only times I ever played multiple balls was on a course where I was a member and could play all I wanted for the same cost (and the course was empty).

Same goes for me, I only play 2 balls when the course is empty.  There is nothing that frustrates me more on the course then when someone plays 2 balls while the group behind them is waiting to hit. That's why etiquette is so important!

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Same goes for me, I only play 2 balls when the course is empty.  There is nothing that frustrates me more on the course then when someone plays 2 balls while the group behind them is waiting to hit. That's why etiquette is so important!

i never play a full round, but I might take an extra shot once in a while. I'll just play my first ball, but sometimes I just want to practice a shot again. This only happens when there i no one behind me on the course.

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i never play a full round, but I might take an extra shot once in a while. I'll just play my first ball, but sometimes I just want to practice a shot again. This only happens when there i no one behind me on the course.

Why don't you ever play a full round?

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You didn't do anything wrong.

I once shattered the windshield on a golf cart. After hitting his ball, the guy drove up the fairway 100 yards out of my reach and then drove back towards us right before I started my backswing. Ball is in the air and he's driving right towards where it's gonna land. Hit his windshield really hard, heard it crack from the tee. He was pissed but I didn't apologize or offer to pay for it. Not my fault.

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Why don't you ever play a full round?

I think he means he never plays a full round with two balls, but sometimes during a practice round, will hit a second shot from one location (e.g., second tee shot, second approach, etc), but will pick that one up and continue playing the first.

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I think he means he never plays a full round with two balls, but sometimes during a practice round, will hit a second shot from one location (e.g., second tee shot, second approach, etc), but will pick that one up and continue playing the first.

Exactly!!

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I often play solo, and sometimes play two balls though I am more inclined to use the second to set up particular shots I want to practice.  When playing solo, I think it is incumbent on the player to be aware of people behind him and move along.  The guy should have been conscious enough to notice you on the tee behind him and, after putting out one ball, he should have picked up the other and been on his merry way.  This is particularly true if the second ball was in a spot where the people on the tee can't see what's going on and they might reasonably expect that he was heading to the next tee.

My personal view is that it is rude to play a second ball when people are waiting behind you, even if you are keeping up with the group ahead of you while doing so.

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