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Handicap Index

Found 14 results

  1. Note/Edit (a few days later): I wanted to put this at the top, because I was wrong about this rule and it's basically this: you can do virtually anything with your feet in a bunker that doesn't affect the CATS (conditions affecting the stroke - your lie, your area of stance or swing, etc.) and it's not a penalty. https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=12&subrulenum=2 Rule 12.2b(1) says that you cannot "Deliberately touch sand in the bunker with a hand, club, rake or other object to test the condition of the sand to learn information for the next stroke, or…". But, 12.2b(2) also says: I got into a discussion elsewhere about this. It began when one player said he dug his feet in six feet away from the ball. He didn't make a practice swing or anything, he just dug in, moved up to his ball, dug in again, and hit his shot. My initial reaction was that likely constituted a breach for testing the condition of the bunker: I believe you can't ever "specifically" test the condition of the bunker, unless you're doing it as a byproduct (not the main intent) of something that's allowed like taking your stance, setting clubs down that you don't want to use, or some of the other exceptions in (2). The definition of a "stance" is "The position of a player’s feet and body in preparing for and making a stroke." A stroke is not a practice stroke, as it's defined as "The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball." So, I also believe(d) that you couldn't take a stance for a practice swing well away from the ball, because you're not setting up to strike the ball. Intent matters here. Michelle Wie grounded her club in a hazard (yes, in the pre-2019 Rules) and reportedly lied and said she was doing so for balance (an allowed action), but they determined she was full of it and penalized her for grounding her club in the hazard. I believe the same kind of standard holds here: the intent matters. You can lean on a club in a bunker for balance, but if you're just sticking a club in the sand, then some judgment calls might need to be made. What constitutes "other objects" isn't made clear. Do shoes constitute "other objects"? If they don't, does a glove? In short, my contention was that you couldn't dig in to the sand six or ten feet away from your ball because the only real purpose for that would be to test the condition, and that's forbidden. I was somewhat surprised when someone called the USGA's rules line and talked with them, and they told him what I've posted below. I'm going to quote him quoting them, so even though this is in a quote box, it's third-party and isn't an exact quote. I had a hard time believing this to be true. The same person came back with what amounts to this (emphasis added by me in posting it here): So, I filmed this video: I still have a hard time believing the actions in that video are "legal." What am I doing if not testing the condition of the bunker, repeatedly, nowhere near my ball? Now, I've seen a few people say "you can't gain information digging in somewhere else that you can't gain by digging in to your ball," and to that I say "poppycock!" Of course you can. If a player could gain all of the possible information available to be gained by digging in once, why is there a penalty at all for testing the condition? Why did what Pinto's caddie did in the U.S. Am result in a loss of hole? Also, it fails basic logic: if you're testing to see how ripe a fruit or vegetable is, you often don't just push or tap in one place. You test a few places. Of course there's more information to be gained than by digging in to one specific spot. Three more points, and then a summary: I specifically remember a discussion about this rule in a recent Rules seminar I attended. The discussion semi-jokingly included saying how a player could could avoid being penalized for some of the bunker infractions if he said "I was caring for the course." Questions involving this were on the test. We talked about digging in to a spot not near your actual stance, and the conclusion (I wrote a bit of this down, and I almost never take notes) was that it would possibly or likely be a breach for testing the condition. This is one of the few Rules where "intent" matters. Again, the Michelle Wie thing springs to mind. If in the video above I'm clearly "testing the condition," then I think that renders the (2) part of the rule invalid, and I'm penalized under part (1). The 2018 Rules of Golf included a Decision, 13-4/0.5, that defined what "testing the condition of the bunker" meant. It said you could dig in to take a stance for a practice swing anywhere in the hazard or even in a similar hazard, without penalty. So, there's "kind of" a precedent for allowing you to do this with your feet… but at the same time, they changed the language of the Rule itself for 2019+ and the 2018 Rules literally don't matter at all in the context of 2019 Rules. They have no weight whatsoever. I think the language of this rule is lousy. What is "an other object"? Can you test the condition of the bunker with your elbow? It's not your hand, a rake, or a club. It's not an "other object" - it's a body part. What about a glove? What if the glove is on your hand? Or off your hand? When does a player cross the line from digging in legally to digging in excessively and nowhere near his golf ball in order to continually add to his knowledge of the bunker and conditions? Or are the USGA/R&A really just saying "do whatever you want so long as you don't say 'I am going to test the condition of this bunker," do so with your fingers like Pinto's caddie, or improve the CATS"? Again, I doubt they are saying that. What do you guys think? @Rulesman, @fredf, @Asheville? Maybe I'm still completely wrong. Maybe the USGA/R&A really don't give a crap what you do in a bunker so long as, again, you don't: say "I'm testing the condition" improve or change the CATS touch the sand with your fingers/hand in not removing a loose impediment or other allowed acts. But I think, still, that you can be penalized for "testing the condition" even if you do so by digging in with your feet away from the ball (especially if you do so repeatedly). P.S. The Michelle Wie conversation is here.
  2. The poll is the main gist of this topic, and the posts are for discussion, so if you haven't voted, please do so. I voted to banish bunker rakes. They slow play and many people suck at raking bunkers anyway. You can get splinters from the fiberglass ones, too, and the improper placement of a bunker rake has often resulted in a bounce that shouldn't have occurred. Plus, they add to the possibility that someone won't know what to do in a rules situation. I think the bunkers should be maintained by the staff only, and golfers should be asked to smooth footprints and divots and the like using their feet, clubhead, etc. Bunkers are hazard(ous) areas, and they've often gotten to be where they're too "nice" to play from. For those of you who play out of poorly maintained bunkers, think about it this way: it probably can't get much worse, so this will drop everyone else down closer to the level you've been seeing from your bunkers. The only cons are that I can see how if the staff maintains the bunkers in the morning, early players get the benefit of getting to play from "good" bunkers while afternoon players are playing from chopped up bunkers. But I imagine even that can be worked around - maintain the bunkers on a somewhat irregular schedule, or change the definition of "bunker maintenance" to create similar situations and lies.
  3. I have a member who wants our club to adopt a local rule during off season events to allow "lift, rake, and place" in bunkers. Kind of "winter rules for bunkers". I'm against this because it is not an authorized local rule (Committee Procedures section 8). Violates rules 1.1 and 8.1. I would prefer to avoid precedents of disregarding USGA rules, even in the off season. Plus, I don't see why we should make it easier to play out of bunkers - they are a hazard. I would like to give the member an authoritative convincing answer. Already tried to get some help from the USGA - asked about their past experience with considering and rejecting this local rule request and/or to explain their perspective on why improving your lie in a bunker is fundamentally different than improving your lie in the fairway (allowed under model local rule E-3). They did not answer, just said it is not allowed. Thoughts on what I can say to this member?
  4. I think Chautauqua Golf Club has two pretty decent courses. The Lake Course dates back over 100 years and was designed by Donald Ross. The Hill Course was designed in the 80s or so by someone far less famous. The sixth on the Hill is a 392/342/336/263-yard par four with a bunker in the left rough from 40 to 60 yards from the center of the green. The nearest point of the bunker is just under 25 yards from the front edge of the green. Here's a photo from Google Earth: Here's a photo from behind the bunker looking toward the green: So, let's review. The bunker is over five yards into the left rough. Balls are unlikely to roll into it with the rough holding balls short. The bunker starts 332 yards from the back tees, 200 yards from the forward tees, and 275 yards from the middle tees. Almost nobody will find this bunker with their tee shots. Ever. This bunker is not anywhere near the play of a parallel or nearby hole. At all. The bunker is surrounded by and protected by trees. Tall trees. Your ball is unlikely to get into the bunker even if you hit it toward the bunker. There's a f***ing tree between the bunker and the green. 🤦‍♂️ 🤦‍♀️ I mean… c'mon now. Why does this bunker exist?
  5. So my ball came to rest on top of a leaf inside of a bunker. I wasn’t sure if I had to hit it as it lied or not. So I marked the ball with a tee and removed the leaf, moving the ball with it. Because I marked it, I replaced the ball. I was wondering if this is the correct or if I did it incorrectly. (If this is incorrect, please explain how.) Thank You
  6. Is there a way to practice sand shots without sand? I ask this because I can practice pitch shots and chip shots in the winter on mats, but I can't think of a way to simulate sand. I searched this forum and didn't find anything definitive on this subject. My sand game has gone awry as I have worked mostly on my long game this year. My pitching and chipping has improved because I can work on that hitting in my backyard or into my net. But I have really struggled with sand for the most part. I've reviewed @mvmac's video below about 30 times this year. I just want to find a way to simulate it so I can work on it this winter.
  7. I saw a thread about the ball position or something like that in regards to bunker shots. I wanted to take a little time, if possible, to discuss the #1 all time, best tip, best advice, best lesson, you ever had regarding getting out of the bunker the first time... For me personally, I struggled with bunker shots for years and years. Last summer I remember chatting with one of the drummers/percussionists in the Shriners "Million Dollar Band" here in town (I currently play 2nd chair trumpet). He too is a golfer and is also in the Shriners "ACCA Swingers" golf club. Anyway, one thing led to another and we were talking golf, and I casually mentioned that I always had troubles getting out of the bunker. I've been so tempted to just grab the ball and toss it out or kick it out when nobody was looking! He told me (since we're both Freemasons as well as Shriners), "Getting out of a bunker is easy... We all know 'Brother' George Washington on the dollar bill, right? Well, practice this next time you're at a range with a sand trap bunker...." Imagine a dollar bill underneath the golf ball. The ball is covering George Washington's picture. Now, we don't want to hit "Brother George" do we? That would be against our Masonic obligation! What you do is hit the dollar bill out from underneath him. (in other words, hit about 2" behind the ball, while the sand wedge clubface is open, and it will slide underneath the ball). Long story short - I thought about what he said, and tried it out last year at one of the local driving ranges where they have natural grass tees and a practice bunker way off to the side. I tossed an old Pinnacle ball in the trap and shifted my heels of my golf shoes down a bit. Thought long and hard about what he said, used my 58° sand wedge while imagining a dollar bill under the ball, and WHACK! --- I hit it right out of the trap with a descending blow, just like the pros do! It works!!! What do you think of this method?
  8. This is a golf hole from the Heathland course down in Myrtle Beach. If a ball in the bunker rolls up against the pilings in the bulkhead - note red X - what is the ruling? Would a player have to take a penalty stroke and drop back, or what? I'm not sure if pilings are considered part of hazard.
  9. Steve Williams was very mad about having Adam Scott hit from a bad lie in an "unraked" fairway bunker. I would not want to be that guy. Did Steve ever find the bunker raking slouch? I agree with Adam Scott's caddie, this should not happen. They are professionals - right?
  10. So I heard this story told to me today… A college coach, I'll call him Jim, told me the story of his first conference championship win. He won it over the Close Competitor team (CC), who had won the previous several conference championships. They were playing in a threesome with a third irrelevant team. The teams in Jim's conference had played a tournament three days prior where stones in bunkers were movable obstructions and could be removed. In the second and final round, when Jim's team trailed CC by a few strokes, three players in the group hit into a bunker. Jim's player hit out. The other team's player hit out. The CC player said "I'm gonna move this stone." Jim's player and the other two looked at each other but said nothing. The player moved the stone, hit out, and went to the next tee and teed off. Jim said the player should be DQed because he teed off on the next hole and didn't correct his mistake (?). The CC coach argued that all three boys should be DQed for waiving a rule of golf (??). In the end the CC and Jim's team tied, and because they use the fifth score as a tiebreaker, and the guy who hit from a bunker was DQed (?)… so Jim's team won. ? - This isn't a DQ penalty. Why they thought it was, I don't know. ?? - The players probably didn't waive a rule, but they should have stopped the guy if they knew that stones were not movable obstructions for this tournament. It's the right thing to do. CC would have won the tournament if the fifth player's score had counted… even with penalty strokes added. There are very few things in golf that result in DQ. Playing the wrong ball and then teeing off is about the only one that really comes up in stroke play college events. Occasionally signing for the lower score one does too. Know the rules. They help you about as often as they hurt you.
  11. Can designers build a sand trap area you only fill with sand when needed? Let's say you have a hole on which a greenside or fairway bunker would be challenging for competitive golfers, but a killer for everyday golfers. Would it be possible to have a hollow or trough that had the tiling and drainage for a sand trap, but was a grassy depression most of the time (Set-up A). Then, it could be filled with sand for big tournaments (Set-up B)? Then, most of the sand could be removed afterward and the area would quickly go back to a grass bunker. Would this work from a maintenance standpoint, or would it be best just to build a new bunker for big events, and then remove it?
  12. Many years ago I played a team match format on an odd day. The bunkers were full of casual water, sometimes six inches or so deep. We were only told to re tee if we could not rake it out or certain it was in. A playing compeitior teed off and it clearly went in, he could not rake it out but was entitled relief. I hit next and since it was hazy I could not see my ball land, one competitor thought he saw it hit the bunker. It was possible my ball went into the casual water, but it may have bounced out of the bunker, or landed just beyond the bunker, and into tall grass. We could not find the ball in grass, so I believed it was also in the water. Due to the weather I did not put up much of a fight and ran back to re tee and made a nice round ruining 8. Perhaps I should've called for an official but in the cold and pouring rain I decided to just get on with it. I believe the competitor was right in any case. I think if I am certain it is in the casual water, and my competitor disagrees, it goes to any other competitor or spectator, and then the committee must rule. Now that I see Justin Rose having to re tee because he cannot climb a tree to identify his ball, I am wondering if you must also find a ball when in casual water, bunker or otherwise.
  13. In talking with @david_wedzik this morning about a chapter in Lowest Score Wins, I pointed out to him that you could not take an unplayable ball in a bunker and drop within two club lengths or on a line back from the hole to escape the bunker. He was surprised by this, and in thinking about it, it struck neither of us as "right" given the other Rules of Golf. This, I quickly decided (and I may rethink it later, but for now I'm sticking to it and arguing this point), is the one Rule of Golf I would change. Why, should a bunker penalize a player more than a water hazard? I'm aware of the fact that you can play a ball out of a bunker virtually every time, and 98% of the time out of a hazard you can't even find your ball without scuba gear and a few free hours - I'm talking about when you choose to take a penalty stroke. So imagine this. I have a bunch of little bushes. Next to them I have a small creek. Next to that, I have a bunker. Three players tee off and each hits a ball into the bushes, the creek, or the bunker. Each decides to take a penalty stroke and drop back, in the fairway, on the line from the hole through their ball. Except the guy in the bunker doesn't get to do it. If he is a poor bunker player, under the Rules of Golf, he could quite literally never get out unless he opts to re-play his tee shot (stroke and distance), effectively a two-stroke penalty while the other players only suffer a one-stroke penalty. It's still early, and I'd love to hear opposition to this, but I'm seriously considering petitioning the USGA to change this rule. I realize that bunkers are not "through the green," but all it would take is the removal of the bolded lines here: Just remove that paragraph. What's the harm? Bunkers suck. Most players will continue to play out of them most of the time, but if your ball buries under the lip and you want to take an unplayable, why should you be penalized MORE than if your ball buries in the mud of a creek in a water hazard by having to play from the hazard again?
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