How to Hit a Provisional Ball

Provisional Ball on the tee box

Okay, so you’ve just hit a tee shot and you’re worried you might not be able to find your ball. There are a few things you should know about how to hit a provisional ball.

WHERE IT MIGHT IT BE LOST

If your ball could be either out of bounds or lost OUTSIDE a penalty area you may hit a provisional ball under penalty of stroke-and-distance, which means if you cannot find your ball within three minutes of when you begin to search for it, your provisional ball becomes the ball in play, and that will cost you one penalty stroke.

Out-of-Bounds are defined by white stakes. Those stakes cannot be removed and you cannot hit a ball that is lying out of bounds.   18.2

SEARCH TIME

You have three minutes in which to find your original ball, and if you, your opponent, fellow competitor or a caddie finds your ball within that time you must continue play with the original ball.

And beginning in 2019 if you or anyone else accidentally causes your ball to move while searching for it, there is no penalty. Simply replace the ball on it’s original spot or the estimated spot.

18.3b "Before the stroke is made you must that you are going to play a provisional ball."

 

Rule 7.4

There is no penalty if the player’s ball is accidentally moved by the player, opponent or anyone else while trying to find or identify it.

Girlfriends-guide-to-golf

WHAT IF WE LIKE OUR PROVISIONAL BALL BETTER THAN OUR ORIGINAL BALL?

Sometimes we hit our provisional ball really well and we hope no one finds our original ball, or we might even ask that no one look for it. It’s courteous to oblige by that request, but an opponent or competitor may certainly look for it anyway and if found within the three minutes (by anyone) and then identified as yours, you’d have to play it.

WHAT IF MY BALL IS IN A PENALTY AREA?

Penalty Areas are defined by red or yellow stakes. If your original ball is known or virtually certain to be in a Penalty Area you cannot hit a provisional ball. So, if your ball is headed towards a Penalty Area and the only place it could be lost is within the Penalty Area, then you cannot hit a Provisional Ball and instead you proceed under the rules for Penalty Areas.

Pop over to my Instagram to see tons more videos like this one!

3 Putting Green Rules You Need To Know

Today I’m sharing 3 putting green rules you need to know – let’s see if you’ve encountered any of these before. 

Last week my friend Karen and I played a fun Four Ball Match Play round with Andy Proudman and Matt Blacket at our home course, The Santaluz Club.

Matt is a former European Tour Player and Andy Proudman is a PGA teaching pro and co-founder of Me And My Golf.  They obviously know the rules, but I am always on the lookout for issues that come up during a real round of golf. And, to be honest, I kind of like to catch people violating the rules!

In the first situation, Karen and Matt are partners and it’s a Four Ball Match Play. Matt is helping read Karen’s putt for her and is showing her where to die the ball. 

Is Matt permitted to touch the ground to indicate the line of play for his partner?

The answer lies in rule 10, Advice and Caddies. 10.2b(2) “The player or his caddie may touch the putting green with a hand, foot, or anything he or she is holding to indicate the line of play.”

…………………..And remember that a player may help their partner in any way that a caddie can.

So, yes, Matt can touch the putting green and I didn’t catch him in a violation.

Can a player set their putter down on the green to line up their putt as Andy appears to be doing in this video?

According to rule 10.2b(2), a player must not set an object down to show the line of play. In this case though, Andy has not set the object down, the putter is still in his hands, so no penalty here.

Here, my partner Andy is standing behind me and reading my putt. Would Andy incur a penalty here?

Rule 10.2b(4) says, “when a player begins taking a stance for the stroke, the player’s partner or caddie must not deliberately stand behind in a location on or close to an extension of the line behind the ball for any reason.”

The key phrase here is, when a player “begins taking a stance,” and as you can see I had not yet begun to take my stance. As long as Andy moves away before I begin to take my stance, there is no penalty.

Oh and P.S., I didn’t make the putt!

What You Need to Know About the World Handicap System

Many golfers are still getting used to all the changes to the rules of golf that took effect in January 2019, and now we hear that there’s another big change—this one to the handicap system. Before you get too stressed, let’s review what you need to know about the new World Handicap System.

Have you ever needed to pick up on a hole and not complete it? Maybe your daughter calls with an urgent issue (like which dress to wear to a birthday party) or you need to text your boss about a meeting later that day. There are lots of reasons why you might not complete a hole, and that’s just one of the scenarios included in the article I just wrote for the LPGA Women’s Network about the World Handicap System.

In the article, I cover some of the basics, which include the definition of some terms like your golf Index. Your Index is a number that indicates your demonstrated ability based on an average of the best 8 of your last 20 scores. It’s what you’re reasonably capable of scoring on your better days. Your Index is then converted to a Course Handicap, which is based on the course slope and rating of the tees you are playing from.

I also go over Net Double Bogey and the specifics of posting your final score. To read the full article head over to their website.  

What Happened to Resolutions?

Marcela High Five on the Golf Course

So often we start out the new year with resolutions —perhaps to lose weight, save money, or learn a new language. If you’re a golfer you may have had a resolution to lower your handicap.

I had a very specific goal this year to spend my summer working on achieving a more athletic swing. My husband and I spend our summers in Lake Tahoe, so I had exactly nine weeks to work with my coach up there, and I was on a mission.

I knew if I played regularly this summer I could probably get my handicap down, but was that the most important thing to me? What about improving my actual swing – the way it looks, feels and performs consistently for me at any course?

Marcela Teaching

I took action to achieve my goals...

On July 1st I told Chris Tschirhart, my PGA teaching pro at Lahontan GC, that I was very serious about making some changes to my swing. I wanted, no, I needed to have a more athletic swing that would serve me on my golfing journey. After all, I’m a golf rules blogger and there are videos of my clumsy swing all over Instagram.

SCGA FOREher Publication just published my article about my golf resolution for 2019 (and how I did it!)

Read the full article on their website here

Lahontan Golf Club

5 Golf Rules You Should Know

5-golf-rules-you-should-know

5 Golf Rules You Should Know

The rules of golf are complicated. I get that – trust me. I found the rules so overwhelming when I first began playing golf. So many little details… you can do this but you can’t do that….  It’s enough to drive any golfer a little batty. 

Many players find it helpful to watch videos about the rules of golf, especially when they’re quick and to-the-point.  So I’m sharing 5 golf rules you should know – a few little gems that should help you on your quest to digest the rules golf. 

Let's Make Sure We Know The Defined Areas Of The Course

Before we jump in to the 5 golf rules you should know, let’s just make sure we’re on the same page about some terminology.

In 2019 the USGA, along with the R & A, renamed the defined areas of the course. The general area covers the entire course except for the four specific areas, which include:

  • The teeing area
  • Penalty areas
  • Bunkers
  • Putting green

Players often refer to ares of the course using the wrong terms, it’s important to be sure we know these terms. 

And by the way…. “the junk” is not one of the defined areas of the course! 

Can You Lift And Clean Your Ball On The Green?

In this video Karen asks if she can lift and clean her ball when it is right next to the putting green. Rule 13.1b states “A ball on the putting green may be lifted and cleaned. The spot of the ball must be marked before it is lifted and the ball must be replaced on its original spot.” 

And Rule 13.1a states that a ball is on the putting green when any part of the ball:

  • Touches the putting green, or
  • Lies on or in anything (such as a loose impediment or an obstruction) and is inside the edge of the putting green. 

So clearly Karen’s ball is not on the putting green, so she may not lift and clean her ball. 

See more details about marking your ball on the green here. 

Accidentally Move Your Ball On The Green

Fortunately, there is no  penalty if you accidentally move your all on the putting green. Rule 13.1d says there’s no penalty if the player or his fellow competitor or opponent (a match play term) accidentally casuses the ball to move on the putting green. 

Can I Share Clubs With My Partner?

Scrambles, shambles and best ball formats are quite popular, and many players think if they have a partner in that type of a format they can share clubs with their partner. Watch this videos to learn the details on the number of clubs in your bag. 

Removing Loose Impediments In a Bunker

We have heard this one quite a bit as 2019 began with all the new rules in affect. You get to remove pebbles or leaves (known as loose impediments) from a bunker now. Sounds great, but there’s a catch! If doing so causes your ball to move, you’ll incur a one-stroke penalty. Check out Rule 12.2 for more details on this one. 

Ball Wedged Against The Flagstick

Now that you are able to leave the flagstick in while putting on the green (one of the many great changes that came about in 2019) some issues can arise with the ball getting wedged against the flagstick. 

When your ball is wedged against the flagstick and you’re not sure it is considered “holed” consider Rule 13.2c. 

“If the player’s ball comes to rest against the flagstick left in the hole, 

  • If any part of the ball is in the hole below the surface of the putting green, the ball is treated as holed even if the entire ball is not below the surface.

  • If no part of the ball is in the hole below the surface of the putting green:  

The ball is not holed and must be played as it lies.

  • If the flagstickis removed and the ball moves (whether it falls into the hole or moves away from the hole), there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced on the lip of the hole (see Rule 14.2).”

See, that wasn’t so bad, was it? If you’re ready, check out unplayable lie in a bunker.

Free Relief From a Dangerous Animal

Free Relief From a Dangerous Animal

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 

Bears Crossing Golf Course

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

Rule 16 states, a dangerous animal condition exists “when a dangerous animal near a ball could cause serious injury to the player if he or she played it as it lies.”

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

When You Get The Call To Play In The Women’s Open

Brigitte Dunn earns spot in US Women's Amateur
Brigitte Dunn graduated from SMU last weekend. Then last night her phone rang.

The Qualifier

Brigitte played a 36-hole qualifier at Canyon Creek Country Club in Richardson, Texas just three weeks ago. With four birdies in the last five regulation holes, she ended up in a sudden-death playoff as night began to fall. She remembers thinking to herself “I am not coming back here tomorrow morning. I need to get this done”. She made a birdie in the dark to earn the first alternate spot.

Natural Athlete

Brigitte (pronounced the French way) is a multi-sport athlete. She played tennis, soccer and golf at Oaks Christian High School, in Westlake Village, Calif, and ultimately got serious about golf and wanted to play in college. She also surfs, skateboards and snowboards. She earned a spot on the golf team at Southern Methodist University and majored in sports management with an advertising minor. She has a creative side and enjoyed exploring her love for sports coupled with business and creativity at SMU.

Who's Your Caddie?

Of course, finding a caddie at the last minute isn’t easy. Brigitte had a couple of coaches and three good friends in mind to take the bag, and each of them had a very good reason they couldn’t spend this week in Charleston. Most of them said, “If I had known earlier I would have been there for you”. But of course, there was no way to know she’d get “the call” last night. Brigitte said she wanted someone to help keep her in the right frame of mind, but of course, knowing the course is important. After arriving in Charleston today, she went out to play 9 holes at The Country Club of Charleston and met one of the teaching pros, who has worked there for 19 years, so naturally, he knows it like the back of his hand. He offered to “loop” with her and she quickly knew he was the right person to be on her bag.

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

Brigitte likes to have a relaxed relationship with her caddie. “I just need someone to hang out with for four hours. I’m not someone who needs to over-analyze shots. I just have to do what I know how to do.”
Brigitte Dunn and her SMU teammates

In speaking with Brigitte on the phone today, it was clear that she has a calm demeanor and knows how to focus on her goals. When I asked her about the predicted 95 degree temperatures this week in Charleston, she said that wouldn’t bother her, and we both agreed we’d rather play in the heat than the cold.

Learn More About Brigitte And Other Players This Week

Be sure to follow me on Instagram as I head to the 74th US Women’s Open in Charleston, where I’ll blog and vlog about what it’s like to attend a major women’s golf tournament, and bring you back-stories on the players, and the women who make the golf industry a career.

Accidental Double Hit

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bp9rKcvlLJ_/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

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.