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.

Rule-18.3-Provisional-2

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 are Golf Local Rules?

What are Golf Local Rules?

One of the nice things about the changes to the rules of golf in 2019 is that they have given more leeway to the committee at your club to make decisions, such as deciding which Local Rules they would like to adopt. 

The USGA defines local rules as: “a modification of a Rule or an additional Rule that the Committee adopts for general play or a particular competition.”

The Committee is responsible for deciding whether to adopt any Local Rules and for making sure they are consistent with the principles of the rules of golf. 

The USGA goes on to say “The Committee needs to make sure that any Local Rules are available for players to see, whether on the scorecard, a separate handout, a notice board or the course’s website.”

I’ve done a few videos about local rules in the past, and I like to encourage players when playing at a new club to always ask about any Local Rules that their committee has enacted when they check in at the pro shop, or with the starter. Knowing the Local Rules can actually help you use them to your advantage during your round.

Rule 15.1 states that you can remove loose impediments from Penalty Areas, but the local rule they enacted here at Santaluz was to not allow removal of loose impediments on this particular penalty area. The reason the committee opted to create this Local Rule is due to drainage issues in this penalty area – removing the small rocks from this creek bed could create a muddy mess when it rains.

Watch the video below for more details.

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.

Golf Warm-up Tips for Women

Golf Warm-Up Tips for Women

I recently attended a golf fitness class with with Ashley Wood, Head Golf Professional at The Mountain Course at Incline Village, in Lake Tahoe. She has been kind enough to share some of her best golf warm-up tips for women. Read on to learn Ashley’s tips for bringing an exercise regimen and mentality into your golf game.

Golf is a lot like sprinting. This may sound strange to some, but if you think about it the golf swing is a very explosive action starting at a very static position. This causes a lot of force through your body in a very short amount of time. So, if you were to go for a sprint, it would be important to warm-up the body beforehand so you don’t only pull a hamstring, but get the muscles warm to perform at our peak. This should be true for golf. Whether it be for the next Club Championship, or the casual round with friends, being ready to play will not only shave a few strokes off, but will also help make it more enjoyable. With a proper warm-up routine, we can increase performance, prevent injury and increase the longevity of playing the game.

Hitting golf balls before you play is important, but warm-up should go beyond on the range. Focusing on balance, mobility and strength before you take your first swing are keys to success. Using a dynamic workout-meaning moving the body through in lunges, shoulder mobility etc. and not a static warm up (holding stretches for a prolonged period of time) will get the blood flowing and the muscles ready. Simple little moves can also be beneficial when you don’t have a chance to hit the range.

Check out this YouTube video on a few warm-up moves and try these before you hit the first tee, (or even in your living room).

But let’s not forget about our mind. Mental strength is also important. Tension is not our friend in golf so using your breath to calm the mind and loosen your grip will help increase range of motion and in turn increase our good shots! Try this….Take a long breath in through your nose counting to 7 seconds and really expanding your belly, hold at the top for 5 seconds and let your breath out again through your nose for 7 more seconds. Repeat this 3 to 5 times and notice the change in muscle tension. Feel better? Imagine doing this on the first tee, on the golf course in between shots, or walking down the fairway. All perfect times to get your mind right and prepared for your next shot.

Cheers to a happy and healthy game!

Author Bio: Ashley Wood, a PGA of America Professional and a certified fitness professional, is one of the Head Golf Professionals at the Lake Tahoe community of Incline Village. She previously served as the Head PGA Professional and Director of Fitness at the prestigious Presidio Golf & Concordia Club in San Francisco, from 2016-2019. She attended graduate school at SDSU earning a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology with emphasis in athletic development and sports and exercise psychology. Ashley has a passion for helping others live a happy and healthy lifestyle through the game of golf. To contact Ashley directly please email at aew@ivgid.org or call (775) 832-1339.

To learn more about Ashley and The Mountain Course at Incline Village, head to the Incline Village website.

The Ultimate Girls Getaway

When's The Last Time You Went On A Girls Trip?

Since I’m a golf nut and have met so many wonderful friends who feel the same way that I do about golf, I’ve been on a lot of girls golf trips — and they’re always tons of fun. 

Of course I love sharing with you all the discounts and deals out there for golfing ladies – and here’s one you’ll want to check out. 

The LPGA Women’s Network is running the best sweepstakes I’ve ever seen.  Seriously.

If you win,  you get to customize your own Ultimate Girls Getaway for you and three friends.

You pick one of seven Dormie Network resorts and the fun begins! Meals, golf, spa… and they even give each of you an Adidas outfit! 

You get skin care products, travel accessories and your choice of a Callaway putter, golf bag or travel gear.

It’s like winning the girlfriends golf lottery! 

 

I sum it all up in this short video below…. but I think it’s kind of a no-brainer to enter, right?

There's nothing better than a girls golf getaway with your best golfing girlfriends. Read more about our Girfriends Guide to Golf Getaway!

Teeing Area Rules

 

Trust me when I tell you that knowing the teeing area rules will help prevent penalties and confusion during your golf round.

I have a number of friends who tend to tee their ball up either right at the front edge of the tee markers or in front of them. I’m not sure why, but somehow they have fallen into this bad habit. It’s a slippery slope when you’re used to placing your tee that close to the front edge, and something I would recommend you try to avoid.

Teeing your ball up in front of the tee markers will cost you a two-stroke penalty in stroke play or you may have to replay your shot in match play, but there’s more to the story here (as usual).

Here's What Happens If You Don't Tee Your Ball Inside the Teeing Area

 Teeing Area

According to the USGA Rules of Golf, the teeing area is a rectangle that is two club-lengths deep where

  • The front edge is defined by the line between the forward-most points of two tee-markers set by the committee, and
  • The side edges are defined by the lines back from the outside points of the tee-markers

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.