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Kalnoky

Yellow Jackets (Wasps) on the green / Rules

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Yesterday on the first green I found a swarm of yellow jackets stinging (and attempting to lift) a large millipede. The more the millipede twisted around and fought back, the more yellow jackets arrived to help.. dozens of yellow jackets came swirling in one after the other, like fighter planes in an old movie. My ball was 2 feet from the cup, and the insects were swarming just on the opposite side. In other words, they were not technically in the line of my putt, but they were still swarming around me in my stance. What do the rules say about this situation? I know that on the green you do not take a drop, but rather place the ball. Where would I place the ball in this case? Am I entitled to any relief? How is this handled?

For those of you who don't know what Yellow Jackets are, they are highly aggressive, meat-eating wasps that live in nests (i.e., they are not solitary wasps). When I was 16 I stepped into a nest and was stung dozens of times; later when I painted houses in college I was stung dozens of times more.. so please do not question my toughness - getting stung by these little bastards is NOT a pleasant experience.

FWIW I read the rule about insect nests in the bunker, I don't think that applies on the green, because the green is not a hazard.

 

Edited by Kalnoky

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From Decision 1-4/10
 

Quote

 

Q.A player's ball comes to rest in a situation dangerous to the player, e.g., near a live rattlesnake or a bees' nest. In equity (Rule 1-4), does the player have any options in addition to playing the ball as it lies or, if applicable, proceeding under Rule 26 or 28?

If the ball lay on the putting green, the player may, without penalty, place a ball at the nearest spot not nearer the hole that is not dangerous and that is not in a hazard.

 

The decision talks about a bee's nest, but in my opinion a swarm of wasps would also present a similarly dangerous situation.  Perhaps others more knowledgeable would confirm (or not).

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31 minutes ago, Kalnoky said:

... My ball was 2 feet from the cup, and the insects were swarming just on the opposite side. In other words, they were not technically in the line of my putt, but they were still swarming around me in my stance. What do the rules say about this situation?

Yes, that is a tough one as taking relief does little to help one safely hole out.  In anything but a tournament round I would rake the ball away and call it good.  If one must hole out, my suggestions would be:

1. Try to wait them out if it looked like they might finish the job in less than 2-3 minutes.

2. Hole out and leave the ball in the hole (of course replacing the flag then becomes near impossible). Move on to the next hole while calling the clubhouse/committee and advising the following group what was occurring on the green.

3.  Hole out and take a chance that if one moves slowly, the ball can be retrieved and flag replaced.

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Around here the Yellow Jackets are fairly benign.  The Bulldogs are a bigger threat...especially when they've had a few.  I advise wearing a neutral cap.

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43 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

From Decision 1-4/10
 

The decision talks about a bee's nest, but in my opinion a swarm of wasps would also present a similarly dangerous situation.  Perhaps others more knowledgeable would confirm (or not).

the rule states "in a situation dangerous to the player" and i would hope that includes the risk of being stung endlessly by yellow-jackets.

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9 minutes ago, freshmanUTA said:

the rule states "in a situation dangerous to the player" and i would hope that includes the risk of being stung endlessly by yellow-jackets.

Yes, it does, however the player in question has his ball 2 feet from the hole with yellow jacket wasps on the opposite side of the hole.  There is no reasonable place to take relief as moving away from the situation (and hole) still leaves one the responsibility to hole the ball - which once again brings the player into harm's way.

The situation is unique because holing the ball is dangerous.

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5 minutes ago, bkuehn1952 said:

Yes, it does, however the player in question has his ball 2 feet from the hole with yellow jacket wasps on the opposite side of the hole.  There is no reasonable place to take relief as moving away from the situation (and hole) still leaves one the responsibility to hole the ball - which once again brings the player into harm's way.

The situation is unique because holing the ball is dangerous.

I agree, and like others have said i'd simply move on if it was casual play.  in a significant competition, you'd have to call an official for guidance.

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In a tournament you'd have to find a way to hole the ball.

Swat the millipede away with a towel, the grip of your driver, the flagstick (something that doesn't damage the green though), or do something to otherwise move them away.

The Decision doesn't apply because there's no safer place to play from, I agree.

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a little OT, but as a boy in Ohio, we used to refer to the large, yellow striped insects as "Yellow Jackets" when as I understand now are actually "Bumble Bees", they seemed at least four times the size of "Honey Bees".  They can also sting more than once but are not as agressive. 

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I am under the impression that "Bumble Bees" are nothing like "yellow jackets".   Bumble Bees are larger and less aggressive than the yellow jacket which is actually a wasp.  

 

bumble bee.jpeg

yellow-jacket-illustration_1950x1518.jpg

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Yellow Jackets are some bad...(hush your mouth)  Well, I'm talking about Yellow Jackets...(we can dig it).

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I appreciate everyone who weighed in.

The guys in the clubhouse said much the same, i.e., "unless you guys are playing 'cutthroat', just pick up and call it good". I had no money on the game, my intention was only to take every advantage I could under the rules while scoring as honestly as possible. 

In any event, our golf courses are fraught with wildlife here and I expect this kind of thing will happen again.

4 hours ago, Piz said:

Around here the Yellow Jackets are fairly benign.  The Bulldogs are a bigger threat...especially when they've had a few.  I advise wearing a neutral cap.

I had a good friend in high school from Georgia, and he had a beautiful older sister who was an Alpha Chi Omega at the UGA. In the summertime she would come home. I remember she would cook for us while he and I watched movies on the couch. In my 17 year-old mind this was unbelievable. So if I had to choose one I'd lean Georgia Bulldogs... sorry bud :)

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Aaahhh.... You must not be very tough.....      ;)

Edited by 14ledo81

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