No Setting Down Object to Help In Taking Stance

setting-down-object-to-take-stance

As of January 1st, you cannot set down an object to help in taking your stance. There are a good number of players who are in the habit of laying down a club at their feet to help them line up for a shot.

I actually have a friend who used to do this on every single shot. Now that the new rules are in effect, she is struggling to feel confident about her line up. As we know, at the recreational golfer level, it’s mostly in our heads so she should be fine with a few more rounds under her belt.

Did you know that you can’t set down the club or any other object to help in taking your stance?

Rule 10.2b(3) No Setting Down Object To Help in Taking Stance.

“A player must not take a stance for the stroke using any object that was set down by or for the player to help in lining up his or her feet or body, such as a club set down on the ground to show the line of play”.

“If the player takes a stance in breach of the rule, he or she cannot avoid penalty by backing away from the stance and removing the object.”

There are lots of online videos about how to line up properly, so if you’re in the habit of using a club to help you line up, you may want to check one of those out to find antoher method that suits you.

See more of the 2019 Rules of Golf at USGA.org

Accidentally Move Your Ball On the Green

What was previously just a Local Rule at some courses is now an official rule in 2019. There is no penalty if you accidentally move your ball on the green. Period. Whew!

Rule 13 covers everything that happens on the putting green. Rule 13.1d says, “There is no penalty if the player, opponent or another player in stroke play accidentally moves the player’s ball or ball-marker on the putting green.”

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When you or another player accidentally cause your ball to move you will then replace your ball or your ball-marker on its original spot (or the estimated spot if the exact spot is unknown).  

Natural Forces Moved The Ball

Sometimes the ball gets moved by Natural Forces (wind, rain, gravity) and when that happens there are two possible actions that need to be taken.

According to Rule 13.1d,“If Natural Forces cause a player’s ball on the putting green to move, where the player must play from next depends on whether the ball had already been lifted and replaced on its original spot.”

  • Ball already lifted and replaced:  The ball must be replaced on its original spot (or an estimated spot if not known), even though it was moved by Natural Forces and not by the player, the opponent or an outside influence. 
  • Ball not already lifted and replaced: The ball must be played from its new spot.

You can think of it this way: once you lift and mark your ball with a ball-marker and replace the ball back on the green, your ball “owns that spot”. It lives there. It’s at home.  So anytime it was at home, you will need to put it back there where it lives if Natural Forces move the ball. 

Hope that makes it a bit easier to remember!

And remember, you can repair any damage to the green.

For more details on the rules, head over to usga.org.

Learn more about Repairing Marks on the Green.

Or pop over to my Instagram and let me know what other video rules breakdowns you’d like to see.

Can I Share Clubs With My Partner?

sharing-clubs-with-your-partner

Can I share clubs with my partner in a best ball format?

I often have ladies ask me if they can share clubs with their partner in order to save time in a best ball or scramble.

I think 99% of the amateurs out there believe they can borrow a sand wedge in a pinch, since it’s a “partner” or “team” format.

Golf Rules 2019

The answer can be found in Rule 22.5.  Yes, you may share clubs in that scenario, however, the 14 club limit would be the total number of clubs you can both have together. In other words, not 14 for each of you, but 14 for both of you in this case.

And then you would exceed the 14 club limit, which would mean you would incur a penalty, which is a minimum of two strokes in Stroke Play, or deducting a hole in Match Play. (It gets a bit complicated because you must first determine when the player became aware of the breach. See page 39 of the UGSA Rules of Golf book)

So of course, the bottom line is you probably never want to share clubs!

Golf Etiquette

Do you think this means you shouldn’t be courteous and pick up a club you encounter on the course during your round?  Rule 4.1b(1) says it’s okay to put a lost club in your bag, or even accidentally have your partners’s club in your bag, as long as you don’t use it. 

For more details on the rules, head over to usga.org.

Equitable Stroke Control

equitable-stroke-control

What Does It Mean to X Out Of a Hole?

So many newer golfers are given false information about what it means to X out of a hole.

What Does It Mean?

You hear golfers say, “I’m going to X out of this hole” or that they’re “at their max”. This simply means that they have already hit the ball enough to be at their maximum handicap for that particular hole.

If you choose to pick up due to pace of play issues, or some other reason that you can’t continue to play that hole, you would record for posting purposes, par plus any handicap strokes that you may be entitled to or what you likely would have gotten had you continued playing the hole.

But if you’re playing in some sort of competition or there’s some gambling money on the line, then you may need to continue playing until you hole out.

Be sure to ask the officials in charge of your event (before the event begins) if you can pick up when you reach your maximum on a given hole. It all depends on the format you’re playing.

"Ultimately at the end of the day, it's me playing golf"

When You Can Pick Up

Since Match Play means you either win, lose or halve a hole, you may pick up when either your opponent concedes the hole to you (because she has already played more strokes than would have won the hole) or if you’re playing a two-person “four ball match play”, when your teammate has clearly won the hole.

In this scenario you will post what you likely would have gotten, based on what you were lying when you picked up.

In Stroke Play

If you’re playing stroke play and you have already reached your maximum portable score, then you may pick up at that number, or one stroke before that number, and indicate a 7X or 8X on your card (or whatever your max is for that hole).

You may pick up earlier in certain situations, such as:

  • You get an urgent text or phone call that you have to take for a moment
  • Your foursome is severely behind and you hit your first shot into a Penalty Area or out of bounds, so you decide to be the sacrificial lamb and pick up rather than delaying everyone even further
  • For some reason you just can’t play a particular hole

What To Post If You Pick Up Before Reaching That Max Score

So if you’re going to pick up for one of the above reasons, or some other reason, what you post for that hole at the end of the round is determined by WHEN you picked up.

Let’s use a par 4 hole that is the number one handicap hole as an example. You’re a 16 handicap so you get a stroke on this hole.

As a 16 handicap you may take up to a 7, however, you might not put that 7 down. Here’s why:

Under Equitable Stroke Control you will either post “par plus” or what you likely would have gotten. So if you pick up after just one tee shot, or two shots, you would not post a 7.

Picking up after just your tee shot you’d then count 1 or 2 strokes to get you to the green, and then perhaps a two putt. So it may be a five or a 6.

If you pick up after just your tee shot on a par 3 hole where you have a stroke, again you may not post your maximum 7 for that hole. You would count one for your tee shot, plus another shot to get you on the green, and perhaps a two putt, for a total of 4 or 5, depending on where your ball was and how many shots you would normally take to get on the green.

Sandbagging

Taking your maximum 7 or 8 too often when you should really be counting your most likely score on that hole contributes to false handicaps and what we call sandbagging. No one wants to play with a sandbagger, so you might consider a discussion with your golf pro and fellow competitors on this very important aspect of golf.

Its a delicate subject and I know most of the time we post incorrectly because we aren’t aware of the proper procedures and more importantly WHY we should be extra cautious when not completing a hole. As Oprah says, “When you know better, you do better”.

😉

See more of the 2019 Rules of Golf at USGA.org.

Accidental Double Hit

Accidental double hit
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Accidental Double Hit is No Longer a Penalty!

One of the changes that I’m really happy about is Rule 10.1 – an accidental double hit is no longer a penalty!

If you accidentally double hit your ball (which can happen sometimes when when you’re in a rough or when you’re in a bunker) there is no longer a penalty.  And it can happen anywhere on the course. Just play it as it lies and go on with your round! Pretty cool, huh?

The Nitty Gritty:

Rule 10.1a (USGA)

If the player’s club accidentally hits the ball more than once, there has been only one stroke and there is no penalty.

Check out USGA’s site for exceptions and further details, but we can breathe a sigh of relief here. 

Free Relief From a Dangerous Animal

relief-from-dangerous-animal-condition

Free Relief From a Dangerous Animal

Rule 16 provides relief from a dangerous animal. Dangerous Animal Conditions are considered Abnormal Course Conditions. Watch the bear video below for details.

If you play golf in areas with dangerous animals like bears, alligators, or snakes, you’re going to want to hear about Rule 16.2b. This rule allows you to take free relief from a dangerous animal, such as a mama bear and her cubs out on the course.

Under this rule, you may take a drop at the Nearest Point of Complete Relief from the dangerous animal condition, no closer to the hole. You must of course really be threatened by it. You can’t just assume there are snakes in the rough, but you actually have to see them and be in danger from them in order to get free relief. 

More broadly, Rule 16 covers free relief from abnormal course conditions, which include Immovable Obstructions, Ground Under Repair, and Temporary Water. 

Read more about the relief from abnormal course conditions on USGA’s website.

Repairing Spike Marks On Putting Green 2019 Golf Rules

repairing spike marks on green

Repairing Spike Marks On Putting Green in 2019

In 2019 you’ll be happy to know that you’ll be able to repair spike marks on the green before you putt.  

Rule 13 states you’ll be able to repair any damage to the green, which would include pitch marks, spike marks, damage from the flagstick being dragged on the green, and any other damage.

However, you will not be able to repair greens that have been aerated/punched, vertical mowing, or regular wear and tear. 

The Nitty Gritty:

Rule 13.C2 (USGA)

Repair of Damage. A player may repair damage on the putting green without penalty by taking reasonable actions to restore the putting green as nearly as possible to its original condition, but only:

  • By using his or her hand, foot or other part of the body or a normal ball-mark repair tool, tee, club or similar item of normal equipment, and
  • Without unreasonably delaying play (see Rule 5.6a).

But if the player improves the putting green by taking actions that exceed what is reasonable to restore the putting green to its original condition (such as by creating a pathway to the hole or by using an object that is not allowed), the player gets the general penalty for breach of Rule 8.1a.

“Damage on the putting green ” means any damage caused by a person or outside influence, such as:

  • Ball marks, shoe damage (such as spike marks) and scrapes or indentations caused by equipment or a flagstick,
  • Old hole plugs, turf plugs, seams of cut turf and scrapes or indentations from maintenance tools or vehicles,
  • Animal tracks or hoof indentations, and
  • Embedded objects (such as a stone, acorn or tee).

But “damage on the putting green” does not include any damage or conditions that result from:

  • Normal practices for maintaining the overall condition of the putting green (such as aeration holes and grooves from vertical mowing),
  • Irrigation or rain or other natural forces,
  • Natural surface imperfections (such as weeds or areas of bare, diseased or uneven growth), or
  • Natural wear of the hole.

Check out USGA’s site for exceptions and further details, but we can breathe a sigh of relief here.

Check out How to Mark Your Ball on the Green.

Using a Club to Take Your Stance

using-a-club-to-take-your-stance

Using a Club To Take Your Stance

Another big change in 2019 is that using a club to take your stance will earn you a penalty.

According to rule 10.2b you may not take your stance for a stroke using any object that was set down to help you line up or show you the line of play.

This is true anywhere on the course, including the putting green. Watch this video to learn more.

And you can’t place it there, line up and then remove it – you’ll still incur the General Penalty which is two strokes in Stroke Play and loss of hole in Match Play.

Take a look at page 86 of the new 2019 Rules of Golf Book, it’s Rule 10.2b (3)

So many of the new rules were designed to help speed up pace-of-play, which we are all really excited about. Read more about the USGA 2019 Rules and Interpretations.