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What would you do in this scenario?

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This is based on a true story, but I'll keep things generic to protect the identities of those involved. Situation:

Player X makes a dumb mistake, which he believes to be an infraction of the rules of golf. The possible infraction gives player X no advantage and has no meaningful impact on the outcome of the hole. All the same, Player X reports it to his playing partners. Since the possible infraction occurred on hole 9, it is agreed that Player X will bring the issue to the committee for a ruling on the turn. His intent is to 1. Confirm that a violation of the ROG occurred and 2. Assess the correct penalty, if so.

Player X sees 2 board members at the registration desk and explains the situation. The board reluctantly confirms to player X that a 2 stroke penalty occurred. Player X leaves to use the restroom and when he returns, the board members have apparently discussed the situation further. They tell Player X "no penalty" (again, the violation was very minor).

Player X takes this ruling and does not apply a penalty. As it turns out, he shoots an outstanding round of golf, and wins one of the side bets for a significant sum of money. The 2 strokes in question made the difference in his victory.

Should Player X feel justified that he did the right thing by reporting it to the committee and accepting their ruling? Or should he have applied the penalty anyway, knowing that the rules of golf dictated it? What would you have done in that situation?

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This is based on a true story, but I'll keep things generic to protect the identities of those involved. Situation:

Player X makes a dumb mistake, which he believes to be an infraction of the rules of golf. The possible infraction gives player X no advantage and has no meaningful impact on the outcome of the hole. All the same, Player X reports it to his playing partners. Since the possible infraction occurred on hole 9, it is agreed that Player X will bring the issue to the committee for a ruling on the turn. His intent is to 1. Confirm that a violation of the ROG occurred and 2. Assess the correct penalty, if so.

Player X sees 2 board members at the registration desk and explains the situation. The board reluctantly confirms to player X that a 2 stroke penalty occurred. Player X leaves to use the restroom and when he returns, the board members have apparently discussed the situation further. They tell Player X "no penalty" (again, the violation was very minor).

Player X takes this ruling and does not apply a penalty. As it turns out, he shoots an outstanding round of golf, and wins one of the side bets for a significant sum of money. The 2 strokes in question made the difference in his victory.

Should Player X feel justified that he did the right thing by reporting it to the committee and accepting their ruling? Or should he have applied the penalty anyway, knowing that the rules of golf dictated it? What would you have done in that situation?

It is impossible to judge without knowing the specifics, IMO.  It is very important to know whether the ruling was that no actual breach occurred or was the ruling that although a breach occurred it was so minor that they were waiving the penalty.  The former is allowable, but under Rule 33-7 the latter would clearly be improper, as the Committee has no authority to waive any penalty other than disqualification.

I'm also wondering if he got his ruling from the proper venue.  Usually the Board refers to the Board of Directors of the club, but many times clubs have a Rules Committee and they would be the ones making the ruling.

However, at this point the competition is closed and none of the exceptions under 34-1b seem to apply so I would say this is a done deal.  He acted in good faith so I do not see anything he has to feel bad about.  Once he referred it to the Committee it was out of his hands.  Had he added the strokes he could have been cited for sandbagging, if the round was being submitted for hcap.  I may have potential issues with the Committee's action, but his actions seem blameless to me.

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It is impossible to judge without knowing the specifics, IMO.  It is very important to know whether the ruling was that no actual breach occurred or was the ruling that although a breach occurred it was so minor that they were waiving the penalty.  The former is allowable, but under Rule 33-7 the latter would clearly be improper, as the Committee has no authority to waive any penalty other than disqualification.

I'm also wondering if he got his ruling from the proper venue.  Usually the Board refers to the Board of Directors of the club, but many times clubs have a Rules Committee and they would be the ones making the ruling.

However, at this point the competition is closed and none of the exceptions under 34-1b seem to apply so I would say this is a done deal.

That was my question "Who was the board?"

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Thanks for the replies. I realize that it's difficult to answer a question about a specific incident when it's posed as a generality.

Player X was a member of a my foursome in a recent men's club tournament. The violation had to do with a "closest to the pin" contest on the par-3 9th hole. Player X hit the green, and upon arriving at his ball, proceeded to measure the distance from the cup using the tape measure provided. He subsequently picked up the ball and wrote down the distance on the sheet. Since our group was a bit behind, he was rushing to perform this task without slowing down play. But in his haste, he neglected to mark his ball before picking it up.

The one mitigating factor was that he set down his putter adjacent to his ball before measuring, and left it there while he completed the process. As such, it's likely that he was able to replace the ball within an inch or two or it's original location, by replacing it near the putter head. But no one had any way of knowing whether he replaced it as precisely as the rules require. Worst case scenario, he may have been off by a couple of inches.

End result was that he two putted for a par (or a 5?) and asked for a ruling afterward.

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Thanks for the replies. I realize that it's difficult to answer a question about a specific incident when it's posed as a generality.

Player X was a member of a my foursome in a recent men's club tournament. The violation had to do with a "closest to the pin" contest on the par-3 9th hole. Player X hit the green, and upon arriving at his ball, proceeded to measure the distance from the cup using the tape measure provided. He subsequently picked up the ball and wrote down the distance on the sheet. Since our group was a bit behind, he was rushing to perform this task without slowing down play. But in his haste, he neglected to mark his ball before picking it up.

The one mitigating factor was that he set down his putter adjacent to his ball before measuring, and left it there while he completed the process. As such, it's likely that he was able to replace the ball within an inch or two or it's original location, by replacing it near the putter head. But no one had any way of knowing whether he replaced it as precisely as the rules require. Worst case scenario, he may have been off by a couple of inches.

End result was that he two putted for a par (or a 5?) and asked for a ruling afterward.


"The board" was wrong.

He should have been penalized one stroke for lifting his ball without marking it.  If he attempted to replace the ball as close as possible to where he thought the ball lay (and it sounds like he did), then that's the only penalty.  However, if he just put the ball down without trying to figure out where would be the place closest to the original position, then he played from a wrong-place and would be penalized two strokes.  If it was determined he gained a significant advantage by playing from the wrong place, he would be disqualified if he did not correct the error before teeing off on the next hole.

While he signed an incorrect scorecard and would therefore be disqualified, he probably was OK since he was given incorrect information by a member of the committee.  If the person telling him there was no penalty was not a member of the committee, then he signed an incorrect scorecard and should have been disqualified.

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It is within the rules of golf to use your putter to "mark" your ball.


Is there a size limit to a ball marker?

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Is there a size limit to a ball marker?


This made me laugh. I am picturing carrying a man hole cover as a ball marker. :-D

Sorry, carry on.

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This made me laugh. I am picturing carrying a man hole cover as a ball marker.

Sorry, carry on.


I was thinking the same thing. :-D

Back on topic, I probably would have just taken the two strokes. I probably would have noticed for only a 1 stroke penalty, though. It feels kind of strange not having a ball marker where the ball was situated, it would have just felt wrong.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by wadesworld

"The board" was wrong.

It is within the rules of golf to use your putter to "mark" your ball.

Yes you can. but from the description, he did not use it to mark the ball, only to approximate the position for replacing the ball after lifting it improperly.  According to the OP, the player simply laid the putter nearby on the green while measuring, which does not constitute "marking".  Since he replaced the ball, it's a one stroke penalty.  And it doesn't matter that it's a "minor" infraction... the proper procedure was not followed.

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So, to me, bottom line is this:

  • X did the right thing.
  • Committee screwed up TWICE because they didn't give him the correct penalty either time.  They started with 2 strokes, went to zero, but it should have been 1.

The remaining question I have is ... would he have still won that significant side bet with only one extra stroke?  If so, then he should rest easy, because not only did he handle it correctly, but even if the committee had also handled it correctly, nothing would have changed.

(Even if he wouldn't have, he should hold his head high, knowing that he did all he could.)

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34-3 . Committee’s Decision

In the absence of a referee , any dispute or doubtful point on the Rules must be referred to the Committee , whose decision is final.

COMMITTEE'S DECISION

34-3/1

Correction of Incorrect Ruling in Stroke Play

Q. During the first round of a 36-hole stroke-play competition, a competitor plays a wrong ball from a bunker at the 6th hole and the ball comes to rest on the green. He then realizes that he has played a wrong ball and corrects his mistake. The competitor reports the facts to the Committee before returning his card and is incorrectly advised that he has incurred no penalty since the wrong ball was played from a hazard.

During the second round the Committee realizes that it made a mistake and retrospectively adds to the competitor's first-round score two penalty strokes at the 6th hole, but does not disqualify the competitor under Rule 6-6d .

The competitor objects on the ground that the Committee reached a decision on the matter the previous day and that, as Rule 34-3 states that the Committee's decision is final, it cannot now impose a penalty.

Was the Committee's procedure correct?

A. Yes. Under Rule 34-3 , a Committee's decision is final in that the competitor has no right to appeal. However, Rule 34-3 does not prevent a Committee from correcting an incorrect ruling and imposing or rescinding a penalty provided that no penalty is imposed or rescinded after the competition is closed, except in the circumstances set forth in Rule 34-1b .

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This is why the facts are so important.  How close to the ball was the club laid down?  If you mark your ball's position "accidentally" is it still marked?

If he laid the club down to mark the position of the ball so that he could measure from the spot the club head was at to the hole, for the contest, then it would be an issue of fact, it seems to me, as to whether the ball was properly marked or not.  Using a club to mark the position of the ball does not automatically invalidate the possibility of the marking having been done correctly.  (Decision 20-1/16 explicitly allows but discourages the use of the toe of a club as a marker).  And it seems to me that if he did it inadvertently BUT CORRECTLY then it is still correct.  If he marked the position of the ball with the toe of his cub for measuring purposes and then replaced the ball at the toe of the club then that sounds like a valid marking to me, even if that is not what the pl ayer thought he was doing.  It all depends on the specific facts.

So I would say we still do not have the necessary facts to make a determination on the underlying issue.

If it can be concluded that the ball was properly, albeit unconventionally, marked then no penalty.

If the ball was not marked correctly then the Committee has no authority to waive the penalty stroke.

IAC, the competition is closed and there is no basis for re-opening it, as none of the exceptions apply.

And no one should be shocked that the Committee members did not even know the proper penalty.

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If he laid the club down to mark the position of the ball so that he could measure from the spot the club head was at to the hole, for the contest, then it would be an issue of fact, it seems to me, as to whether the ball was properly marked or not.  Using a club to mark the position of the ball does not automatically invalidate the possibility of the marking having been done correctly.  (Decision 20-1/16 explicitly allows but discourages the use of the toe of a club as a marker).  And it seems to me that if he did it inadvertently BUT CORRECTLY then it is still correct.  If he marked the position of the ball with the toe of his cub for measuring purposes and then replaced the ball at the toe of the club then that sounds like a valid marking to me, even if that is not what the pl ayer thought he was doing.  It all depends on the specific facts.

IIRC the club was just nearby. It wasn't "marking" the precise location of the ball to within a reasonable margin of error (just making this up, but let's say even within an inch, let alone the 1/8th inch or so that you'd be able to attain with a coin or whatever.

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Note: This thread is 1962 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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