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Lost Ball Rule is Stupid


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Originally Posted by wadesworld

First, why do you need the rules to address this in a practical way?  If you're playing a casual round, just drop wherever you want and assess yourself whatever penalty you want.  It's not like a rules official is going to jump out of the bushes and hit you with a cattle prod if you "just take a drop."

Simply adjust your score correctly before turning in your scorecard for handicap purposes.

As to changing the rule though, how would you change it?  "Drop where you think the ball was lost?"  By definition, since you've looked there, the ball is not where you thought it was.  What now?  Pick a random place?

If you do this and you keep a handicap "the rules" say your score is a net par for the hole because you didn't proceed as the rules require.  But if you don't keep a handicap, no big deal as long as your buddies don't object.

There is considerable dispute here over what you are claiming is "the rule".  For example: http://thesandtrap.com/t/82295/par-handicap-for-holes-not-played-under-the-principles-of-the-rog

Problem is, on the tour, there are cameras and hundreds of spectators...so "lost balls" are rare in comparison. On the course, I can hit a decent drive just barely off the fairway, and not be able to find it. Nature of the beast...I have no answers.

I doubt that is the problem, since the problem existed long before TV was invented.

I probably average a couple of provisional balls each round, and I know I've hit as many as 6 in a single round.  There is no shame in playing a provisional ball - it's not an automatic surrender, and it doesn't reflect back on one's manhood.

Provisional balls are not just for out of bounds.  Most courses I play have very little OB that's in regular play, but there is plenty of deep rough and the like to lose a ball in.  If the area where the ball disappears looks to be even a little bit evil, I'll play the provisional ball.  I probably find the original ball more than half the time, but at least I'm covered when I don't.

I find that hitting an excellent  provisional is an great predictor that I will find my ball in bounds. ;-)

But then again, what the hell do I know?

Rich - in name only

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You are so good at making leading statements like this, but never any good at offering any viable solutions.  In this case there is none.  You can't "drop where the ball is lost" because if you knew that it wouldn't be lost.  There is no margin to use as a reference point.  There is simply no reasonable alternative that doesn't bypass the basic principles of the game.   Too many players won't play a provisional ball even when it's unlikely that they will find the ball, then use the excuse of a "busy course" to just drop and play on.  The times when a ball is truly lost unexpectedly really aren't all that common, and when they do happen the handicap rules allow for the par plus or most likely score estimate to keep the game moving..  Too often players just don't play those provisional balls when they know that they really should.

I 100% agree that most players don't hit enough provisional balls. I hit several my last round and had no lost balls. I've been playing well lately and hitting fewer provisionals, but on some courses I typically average 2+ per round. I have a standby pass at several courses and often get paired with guys I don't know. Sometimes hitting a provisional can be dangerous when they start moving immediately after I hit a shot I should play a provisional for. Yesterday, one of the guys went to the green with only his putter when he was in the bunker thinking my provisional was his ball. You are right that given the current rules, more players should hit provisionals, but what I thought the OP was talking about was an unexpected lost ball. [quote name="Jeremie Boop" url="/t/83618/lost-ball-rule-is-stupid#post_1178876"]I've gotten in the habit of hitting a provisional if I think there's any chance that I won't find my ball or that it may have found it's way OB... Even so, there is still the odd occasion that a ball will disappear on me when I would have thought it was definitely safe. [/quote] On some courses, this rarely happens, but on other courses, it can happen more often. On several of the courses I play frequently, there are areas where you would almost always find your ball a few years ago, but now are lucky to find it 50% of the time right now due to rain leading to plant/grass growth. Guys who haven't played the course for a while or are unfamiliar with it don't always know they should hit a provisional even if they are in the habit of hitting provisionals. To eliminate the possibility of never having an unexpected lost ball, given my eyesight/difficulty seeing the ball land, I should probably hit a dozen or so provisionals a round (and more after a good rain as balls can be plugged and lost in the fairway). Maybe some view this as practical, but I don't. There are other situations where the ROG have players make estimations. I'm pretty sure 4 putt himself has said that he has taken a drop when he has had an unexpected lost ball. For me, it is usually more penal taking a drop near where I think the ball was lost and adding two shots rather going back to where I hit it from. I don't think golf would be destroyed (or fundamentally changed) by having this option in the rules.

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On its face, the arguments against a rule change seem to be correct and that there is no other choice. But in reality, there are many rules of golf that are based on "good faith" sportsmanship. All the rules would have to say is that if I seems like a ball has neared danger, then hit a provisional, but if someone truly in good faith thought that the ball would be found with confidence, then they estimate, in good faith, where the ball would have been and then drop for a simple one stroke penalty. If the rules of golf were objective across the board with no subjectivity involved, then there is no other option, but that's not the case. With the slow play issues on courses these days I believe it is time for a change.
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On its face, the arguments against a rule change seem to be correct and that there is no other choice.

But in reality, there are many rules of golf that are based on "good faith" sportsmanship. All the rules would have to say is that if I seems like a ball has neared danger, then hit a provisional, but if someone truly in good faith thought that the ball would be found with confidence, then they estimate, in good faith, where the ball would have been and then drop for a simple one stroke penalty.

If the rules of golf were objective across the board with no subjectivity involved, then there is no other option, but that's not the case. With the slow play issues on courses these days I believe it is time for a change.

But, there is already a rule in place that allows you an out by taking best guess at score or par+HC for the hole instead. The only time it's 100% necessary to go back and re-hit from the original spot is if you are in a competition that isn't match play. If it's match play, you can just concede the hole. All this talk of special rules for recreational rounds doesn't make a lot of sense to me, since you can play the hole however you want but you just take par+ HC for a hole not played by the rules.

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If your group is keeping up, one player going back to hit on the occasion where they didn't hit a provisional isn't going to hold up the course, if you want to follow the rules.  If you were not keeping up to begin with, then it's not going to help!

Any change to the rule that would make "sense" would have to add enough penalty strokes that going back to hit again would seem a very good idea, in my opinion!

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I've never heard of the "par + handicap" rule. Perhaps that is the rule I am looking for. Maybe some of you guys have the self confidence to walk all the way back to where you hit the shot, stand next to a group of angry golfers, hit your shot, then walk all the way back to the green and continue, but most of us would never be that inconsiderate or rude (what we would think is rude, not necessarily that you are being rude doing so.)
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Were you walking or riding? Was there anybody playing behind you? If so, how did they feel about you going back to the tee. What about the guys you were playing with? Did they commend you for following the rules?

I typically don't chime in on these threads because like @Fourputt and others have repeatedly said, there is no practical alternative to the current rule.

But to @MEfree 's question above, I had this exact scenario play out yesterday in a men's club tournament. I hit a hybrid into the green from 225 yards, caught it a hair thin and saw it bounce on the back of the green and then disappear. I assumed that it would sitting in the rough behind the green or (worst case scenario) resting against the boundary fence behind the green. When I arrive, I saw that the rough had been shaved down and the bottom of the boundary fence was resting 4 inches off the ground. Just enough room for a ball to sneak underneath and roll onto the street behind.

It was a pretty crappy scenario because I was walking the course and I had to retreat 225 yards backwards and replay my approach. Meanwhile, the group behind us was sitting in their carts 200 yards out, no doubt wondering what the hell was taking us so long. I had to swallow my pride, ask to borrow the cart that my FC's were using and begin the drive backwards to my last spot. On the way back, I stopped to offer a brief explanation to the group behind us.

I can't speak for how anyone else "felt" about the situation or the minor delay. But were I sitting in their shoes, I would have appreciated that one of my Fellow Competitors made the decision to play by the rules, at the cost of 2 strokes, as opposed to dropping near the fence or making up some other ruling on the spot.

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Were you walking or riding? Was there anybody playing behind you? If so, how did they feel about you going back to the tee. What about the guys you were playing with? Did they commend you for following the rules?

Sorry I was out. Very good questions and I should have stated a few more facts. Had a cart. After we looked, I was practicing with a new member (good golfer I think I'll enjoy playing with more), and two high school students who are trying out for the team today. I was up encouraging them at the course earlier. Anyway, hitting into the sun was hard to see so looking at where we thought it may be I scooted back to the box with my cart (don't walk so fast right now) and a walker I would have taken back in my cart, since the tee was clear at the moment. If not I would have explained what had happened, then dealt with the possibilities of yes or no. So, I re teed and played the hole out for par + penalties, then parred out. Doing anything else with the guests would send a wrong message. Just MO.

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I've never heard of the "par + handicap" rule. Perhaps that is the rule I am looking for.

You must have missed previous threads where it has been discussed.  Here's one: http://thesandtrap.com/t/82295/par-handicap-for-holes-not-played-under-the-principles-of-the-rog

Craig
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You must have missed previous threads where it has been discussed.  Here's one: [URL=http://thesandtrap.com/t/82295/par-handicap-for-holes-not-played-under-the-principles-of-the-rog]http://thesandtrap.com/t/82295/par-handicap-for-holes-not-played-under-the-principles-of-the-rog[/URL]

Well I'm very new here so that is a possibility. Edit: Seems like OP agrees with me on that thread so I'm not really sure what you are trying to say here.

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Well I'm very new here so that is a possibility.

Edit: Seems like OP agrees with me on that thread so I'm not really sure what you are trying to say here.

I'm not trying to imply anything bad about you or the topic.  You hadn't heard about the rule for  par+handicap, and that thread gives info about the rule and a bit of discussion about it.

Craig
What's in the :ogio: Silencer bag (on the :clicgear: cart)
Driver: :callaway: Razr Fit 10.5°  
5 Wood: :tmade: Burner  
Hybrid: :cobra: Baffler DWS 20°
Irons: :ping: G400 
Wedge: :ping: Glide 2.0 54° ES grind 
Putter: :heavyputter:  midweight CX2
:aimpoint:,  :bushnell: Tour V4

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I'm not trying to imply anything bad about you or the topic.  You hadn't heard about the rule for  par+handicap, and that thread gives info about the rule and a bit of discussion about it.

I'm still not sure I understand bc handicapping is all new to me. Thanks for the link. :)

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I've never heard of the "par + handicap" rule. Perhaps that is the rule I am looking for.

Maybe some of you guys have the self confidence to walk all the way back to where you hit the shot, stand next to a group of angry golfers, hit your shot, then walk all the way back to the green and continue, but most of us would never be that inconsiderate or rude (what we would think is rude, not necessarily that you are being rude doing so.)

Now for argument sake, lets say you are playing by the rule. Walk all the way back and the group on the tee does not let you tee off, which is something I have experienced.

How does the rule apply now, since you are incapable of hitting a provisional? Play from the lost ball and 2 stroke penalty and handicap?

you could allow the group behind you to play through so you could hit a provisional but that gets messy espesically when it is busy.

But what determines your inability to go back and hit a provisional? Simply the course being busy or can some lazier players add "it is too far to the tee"?

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I've never heard of the "par + handicap" rule. Perhaps that is the rule I am looking for. Maybe some of you guys have the self confidence to walk all the way back to where you hit the shot, stand next to a group of angry golfers, hit your shot, then walk all the way back to the green and continue, but most of us would never be that inconsiderate or rude (what we would think is rude, not necessarily that you are being rude doing so.)

My understanding is that par+ handicap is a guideline or handicap rule, not a rule of golf. [quote name="Big C" url="/t/83618/lost-ball-rule-is-stupid/18#post_1178968"] I typically don't chime in on these threads because like @Fourputt and others have repeatedly said, there is no practical alternative to the current rule. But to @MEfree 's question above, I had this exact scenario play out yesterday in a men's club tournament. I hit a hybrid into the green from 225 yards, caught it a hair thin and saw it bounce on the back of the green and then disappear. I assumed that it would sitting in the rough behind the green or (worst case scenario) resting against the boundary fence behind the green. When I arrive, I saw that the rough had been shaved down and the bottom of the boundary fence was resting 4 inches off the ground. Just enough room for a ball to sneak underneath and roll onto the street behind. It was a pretty crappy scenario because I was walking the course and I had to retreat 225 yards backwards and replay my approach. Meanwhile, the group behind us was sitting in their carts 200 yards out, no doubt wondering what the hell was taking us so long. I had to swallow my pride, ask to borrow the cart that my FC's were using and begin the drive backwards to my last spot. On the way back, I stopped to offer a brief explanation to the group behind us. I can't speak for how anyone else "felt" about the situation or the minor delay. But were I sitting in their shoes, I would have appreciated that one of my Fellow Competitors made the decision to play by the rules, at the cost of 2 strokes, as opposed to dropping near the fence or making up some other ruling on the spot. [/quote] You were lucky that someone in the group had a cart. Anytime I think I might be near a boundary fence, I hit a provisional unless I can clearly see my ball sitting in bounds. Do you think you would have made a better score had the rules allowed you to drop two club lengths from where you estimated it exited the course with a two stroke penalty? What is impractical about this option?

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:tmade: R11 Driver, 3 W & 5 W, :vokey: 52, 56 & 60 wedges
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Now for argument sake, lets say you are playing by the rule. Walk all the way back and the group on the tee does not let you tee off, which is something I have experienced. How does the rule apply now, since you are incapable of hitting a provisional? Play from the lost ball and 2 stroke penalty and handicap? you could allow the group behind you to play through so you could hit a provisional but that gets messy espesically when it is busy. But what determines your inability to go back and hit a provisional? Simply the course being busy or can some lazier players add "it is too far to the tee"?

Ok, you could ask to play the hole with them then get back in position, unless you need to catch up to playing mates. To me it boils down to the what if's, no provisional, attitude of the golfers, etc. Are you posting scores, playing only one ball, really abiding by ROG's. Friendlies can do what they want when we play, but if it effects HC it may show up elsewhere events, flightings-paired up, etc.

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I don't care how crowded a course is, hitting a provisional shouldn't take more than a minute max and solves all the problems the OP had unless of course the provisional is mishit and ends up lost too.  By that point you're probably at or near ESC so you just drive to the next hole.

Unless I'm playing with a forecaddie or someone can see my ball off the fairway I hit a provisional.  I've been burned too many times thinking I'd find my ball and couldn't.

Joe Paradiso

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Originally Posted by MEfree

You don't pick a random place when you hit your ball into a blind hazard- you make your best guess as to where it might have entered and drop there. Sometimes, you will be pretty close to where it actually entered, but depending on the shape of the hazard, your familiarity with the course, your eye-sight, memory, etc. you might actually be quite a ways off the spot it actually crossed, yet you take your penalty and life goes on.

You're leaving out the fact that you have to be virtually certain the ball is in the hazard. If you're virtually certain the ball is in the hazard, you know it went in, and thus, pretty closely where it went in.

For a lost ball, by definition (Webster's, not RoG, since under the latter you can find your ball but if it's been six minutes since you started looking it's still "lost.") you don't know where it is, and thus you don't know "pretty closely" where it is.

Someone still needs to buy and read the Principles booklet.

You addressed what to do in a casual round, but haven't offered a solution to how to handle this in a competitive round without holding up the golf course (especially if you are walking).

I'm too lazy to look up what kind of faux logic this is… but it's one of them.

We already have the Rules of Golf. In a competitive round, you do what must be done. Simple as that.

If you're calling a "competitive round" playing with your buddies in your Tuesday league, do what you can do. If that means you're in your pocket on that hole, so be it. If you need to take an ESC or Par + Handicap, go for it. But this "trickery" you always, always have to play at has been old for a long time.

The Rules of Golf are not governed by "holding up the golf course." They're governed by the principles in a $0-$3 booklet you won't read. If they were governed by "holding up the golf course" you would have different rules depending on how busy the course was. What sense does that make?

Again, it's very simple:

  1. In actual competitions, you follow the Rules of Golf.
  2. In anything else, you do whatever you want that makes sense to you and those with/against whom you're playing that also allows you to sleep at night.
I think this is one (of many) reasons why competitions often take longer to play than casual rounds and makes some courses reluctant to hold competitions (especially for limited fields where they might have casual players behind.

Scrambles take forever, too. Sounds like someone's just (as usual) in the mood to blame the Rules of Golf.

Also, not all competitions are necessarily club sanctioned- suppose I am having a friendly match with an acquaintance. Wouldn't it be nice to have a set of rules that allowed us to handle this situation in a practical way?

I have good news for you! You have them. They're called the Rules of Golf. You can access them online, even, or get a free app on your smart phone! Woo!

What if he lies 5+ and I lost my 2nd shot similar to the OP?

Then you follow the Rules of Golf. Your opponent could have taken twenty strokes while you lightly ground your club in a hazard before playing your second stroke. Still a loss of hole penalty in a match. Don't do it.

Or, do whatever you want.

Yesterday, one of the guys went to the green with only his putter when he was in the bunker thinking my provisional was his ball.

Oh well then clearly the Rules of Golf are at fault and need to be changed.

On some courses, this rarely happens, but on other courses, it can happen more often. On several of the courses I play frequently, there are areas where you would almost always find your ball a few years ago, but now are lucky to find it 50% of the time right now due to rain leading to plant/grass growth. Guys who haven't played the course for a while or are unfamiliar with it don't always know they should hit a provisional even if they are in the habit of hitting provisionals.

Here's the sticking point: so what? This particular Rule is traced very easily back to one of the guiding principles that lead to the Rules of Golf. This is not something you change simply because occasionally it would let people (most of whom aren't following the Rules of Golf anyway) feel a bit better about not following one more RoG.

To eliminate the possibility of never having an unexpected lost ball, given my eyesight/difficulty seeing the ball land, I should probably hit a dozen or so provisionals a round (and more after a good rain as balls can be plugged and lost in the fairway). Maybe some view this as practical, but I don't.

Enough with the straw men and crap. At this point you quitting golf is the most practical solution.

There are other situations where the ROG have players make estimations. I'm pretty sure 4 putt himself has said that he has taken a drop when he has had an unexpected lost ball.

Not in a tournament he hasn't. Covered above as "2."

I don't think golf would be destroyed (or fundamentally changed) by having this option in the rules.

You still have not read the Principles booklet. Thus, you are uninformed on how fundamentally it would change the game of golf.

You can come up with all of the silly rationalizations about pace of play in tournament rounds (and ignore the fact that golfers are slow even when playing in a charity scramble, and that if you go back to play a shot you will open up a spot in front of you, and within a hole or two likely be right back in the same position you would have been without going back to re-tee) you want, but at the end of the day, you continue to show no regard for the principles upon which the game was created.

The end of a basketball game takes too long, with all the fouling and free throws… let's just let players travel and interfere and hack at each other in the last 3:00 of the game. That won't fundamentally change the game right? It's still a bunch of tall people throwing a ball in a hoop, right?

But in reality, there are many rules of golf that are based on "good faith" sportsmanship. All the rules would have to say is that if I seems like a ball has neared danger, then hit a provisional, but if someone truly in good faith thought that the ball would be found with confidence, then they estimate, in good faith, where the ball would have been and then drop for a simple one stroke penalty.

The world does not work like that.

And seriously, what do you do in a situation where two people in a foursome think the ball hit off a tree and went 50 yards that-a-way, while the other two think the ball went 50 yards the other way? Split the difference? What if it's 3 to 1? 1 to 3? Etc.?

There's no reasonable way to do it, and you're losing sight of the fact that the reasonable way is already the way it's done: you replay the shot.

Golf is a game of getting the ball into the hole. If you lose your ball… you need to put another into play in such a way that losing your ball does not lead to an advantage.

If the rules of golf were objective across the board with no subjectivity involved, then there is no other option, but that's not the case. With the slow play issues on courses these days I believe it is time for a change.

There aren't many cases where there's subjectivity involved. Intent is a small factor - testing the condition of the green, intent to make a stroke (see also: Kevin Na, Paula Creamer a bunch of years ago), etc. It's not often that intent matters, or subjectivity comes into play.

In fact, one of the things said in the Principles booklet that @MEfree refuses to read is that the penalty should basically never be lighter than the worst consequences. If a ball is lost for all you know it's in a horrible lie from which you might have to take an unplayable and… stroke and distance. Or it's OB, and you take… stroke and distance.

Stroke and distance is the worst penalty (outside of "loss of hole" or DQ) because you still have to hit a golf shot . Hit another bad one and you've gained no advantage. You're still relying on YOUR skills to advance your ball toward and ultimately into the hole.

I can't speak for how anyone else "felt" about the situation or the minor delay. But were I sitting in their shoes, I would have appreciated that one of my Fellow Competitors made the decision to play by the rules, at the cost of 2 strokes, as opposed to dropping near the fence or making up some other ruling on the spot.

Well said.

And you probably made up the time and space you created fairly quickly.

The "pace of play" thing is a red herring or something. In 99% of the cases it's not even a factor because people by and large aren't playing serious competitions so they don't go back to the tee (or wherever). In the 1% of cases where you're playing a competition, well, it's the only way to have a Rule that abides by the Principles behind the Rules of Golf.

To some new people, @MEfree has been such an extraordinary pain on Rules issues that he was asked to read (and even offered a free copy) of the $3 Principles booklet before he could participate in further Rules of Golf discussions. It's for reasons such as the above - red herrings, straw men, misleading statements, word games, etc. It's always the same and it's been the same for years. Many of us are tired of batting away the same old stuff time and time again.

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    • Time for the 2023 NCAA football primer! NCAA College Football Coaches Poll | USA Today Sports The USA TODAY Sports football coaches poll is conducted weekly throughout the NCAA college football regular season. See the Top 25 rankings from the head coaches. Latest recruiting rankings... A few more seasons of this, and ND is back!  2023 Recruit Football Team Rankings In order to create the most comprehensive Team Recruiting Ranking without any notion of bias, 247Sports Team Recruiting Ranking is solely based on the 247Sports Composite Rating. Some updated news, UCLA and USC petitioned and were accepted into the Big10. A shrewd move my both teams. I can understand from the Big10 perspective that in the modern era of college football regionality doesn't matter as much as it use to. The Big10 and the Pac12 has always had a tie through the Rose Bowl. Also, if we are heading towards few, and larger, super conferences then the Big10 is solidifying they will be one of them.  The next domino to fall might be Notre Dame to the Big10. ND's primary TV rights is with NBC, which now has succeeded in getting rights to Big10 games. ESPN has been locked out of Big10 games under the new Big10 media rights deal. Right now, ND needs to spend about $100 million to get out of their contract with the ACC. Teams in the Big10 are reported to get like $65+ million per year in their new TV contract. So, I could see ND easily absorbing that amount.  I try not to be such a romantic about things. I do not mind eliminating regionality to college football. With the now every expanding NIL deals for college football players, restructuring makes sense to me. I think the current 120+ schools for D1 football should be split up into the top 40-50 teams who actually want to spend money on football seriously, versus those that don't. They can still have football, and still play the upper devision, but they can have their own championship.  Only 13 teams have won the BCS championship or college football playoff. If you look at the top 40 teams who are willing to spend money on college football, close to half come from two conferences, the Big10 and the SEC. 
    • I almost forgot there was a food thread. Last night's dinner: Pulled chicken Caesar salad. Lots of garlic and anchovy paste in the dressing. The chicken was barbecued so it had a subtle smokey flavor.
    • Driver, 4W (17°), 4H (20°), 5H (23°)
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