No Setting Down Object to Help In Taking Stance

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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

Can I Share Clubs With My Partner?

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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.

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. 

Using a Club to Take Your Stance

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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.

Ball In Motion Accidentally Hits a Person or Outside Influence

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Rule 11 Ball In Motion Accidentally Hits a Person or Outside Influence

According to rule 11, when a ball in motion accidentally hits a person or Outside Influence*, no problem no penalty. This includes any person, yourself, animal, or equipment. You would play the ball as it lies.

There is an exception on the putting green:

“If the player’s ball in motion hits another ball at rest on the putting green and both balls were on the putting green before the stroke, the player gets the General Penalty.” (Page 91 of Rules of Golf 2019)

The Nitty Gritty:

Rule 11.1a (USGA)

If a player’s ball in motion accidentally hits any person or Outside Influence*:

  • There is no penalty to any player

This is true even if the ball hits the player themselves, the opponent, any other player, a caddie or anyone’s equipment.

*Outside Influence: Any of these people or things that can affect what happens to your ball or equipment or to the course: Any person (including another player), except you or your caddie or your partner or opponent or any of their caddies, any animal, and any natural or artificial object or anything else (including another ball in motion), except for natural forces.

Advice from Caddies 2019

Getting Advice from Caddies

Rule 10.2b(4) contains new restrictions when getting assistance from caddies.

Have you ever seen an LPGA event on TV where a caddie has stood behind a player to line her up on the tee box so she knows exactly what direction she should be hitting?

Well, that is now a penalty! 

You can no longer have your caddie or partner line you up before you take your stance. This is on the putting green, on the tee, anywhere in the fairway, or anywhere on the course.

The Nitty Gritty

Rule 10.2(4) Restriction on Caddie Standing Behind Player. When a player begins taking a stance for the stroke and until the stroke is made:

  • The player’s caddie must not deliberately stand in a location on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball for any reason.
  • If the player takes a stance in breach of this Rule, he or she cannot avoid penalty by backing away.

Exception – Ball on Putting Green: When the player’s ball is on the putting green, there is no penalty under this Rule if the player backs away from the stance and does not begin to take the stance again until after the caddie has moved out of that location.

See Rules 22, 23 and 24 (in forms of play involving partners, a player’s partner and the partner’s caddie may take the same actions (with the same limitations) as the player’s caddie may take under Rules 10.2b(2) and (4)

Check out Rule 11,  Ball In Motion Accidentally Hits a Person or Outside Influence.

How To Take Free Relief From a Cart Path

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How To Take Free Relief From a Cart Path

We probably all know that we can take  free relief from a cart path (when our ball is sitting on a cart path) but in this video I explain exactly how to take free relief from the cart path.

First Step - Determine Your Nearest Point Of Relief

You will first want to determine your “nearest point of relief”, and that isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Many players think they get to pick and choose where they can take their drop, but unfortunately that’s not exactly true. You must find your “nearest point of relief” and it’s not necessarily on the side of the path that you think or where you want it to be.

In this scenario, after we went through the steps shown on the video to determine which side of the path Karen could take her free drop on, she was happy it happened to be on the fairway side of this cart path, and not the side of the tall rough, which could have resulted in a undesirable lie. (Of course an “undesirable lie” does not warrant free relief! 

Second Step - Measuring   (Little Known Fact)

In order to determine your nearest point of relief, you must use the club you intend to use for your swing. But after you’ve found that point, then you get up to one additional club length, and that can be measured with any club you want. This is a very little known fact, but can be useful!

TIP: One club length or two?  You get up to one additional club length if it is a free drop, and up to two additional club lengths if it is a drop that is costing you a penalty stroke. 

Third Step - Take Your Drop And Be Sure Your Ball Doesn't Roll Too Far

When you’re ready to take your drop, you will want to watch where it hit the ground and where it ends up because if it rolls either more than two club lengths from the point where it touched the ground, or closer to the hole, or back to where you don’t have complete relief, then you’ll need to drop again.

How many times can you drop it before placing it? It’s two attempts at a good drop, and if neither of those are “good”, then you may place the ball (as shown on the video) where it hit the ground on the second drop.

You Must Take Complete Relief

My husband actually had a penalty in a tournament because he had taken free relief from an immovable obstruction/cart path, but when he dropped his ball, his new spot to play from still required him to have a potion of his foot on the cart path. The rules say you must take “complete relief” so having a foot stand on the path was not “complete relief”. He took second instead of first in that tournament, and was quite bummed that his fellow competitor was so anxious to tell him this after he hit his ball, and not before he swung.

Local Rule -  Stones Near The Cart Path

At The Santaluz Club, where Karen and I were playing during this video, there are stones near the cart path that have been designated as part of the actual path, as a local rule. You’ll see in the video t hat I was going to put a tee in the ground on the opposite side of the cart path, but then decided against it because my ball would be sitting on rocks, which would still be considered cart path, and therefore not complete relief.

You may also always play the ball as it lies, as I chose to do in this video above since the stones directly adjacent to the cement cart path are considered cart path under a local rule.

TIP: It’s important to take a peek at the back of the scorecard or the rules for a tournament before you begin your round as there may be local rules that can help you during your round. 

As you can see from this video above, sometimes you might want to just try to hit the ball from where it lies on the cart path. Be careful, though!

The Nitty Gritty On The Actual Rule From USGA’s Website:

24-2. Immovable Obstruction

a. Interference

Interference by an immovable obstruction occurs when a ball lies in or on the obstruction, or when the obstruction interferes with the player’s stance or the area of his intended swing. If the player’s ball lies on the putting green, interference also occurs if an immovable obstruction on the putting green intervenes on his line of putt. Otherwise, intervention on the line of play is not, of itself, interference under this Rule.

b. Relief

Except when the ball is in a water hazard or a lateral water hazard, a player may take relief from interference by an immovable obstruction as follows:

(i)

Through the Green: If the ball lies through the green, the player must lift the ball and drop it, without penalty, within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief. The nearest point of relief must not be in a hazard or on a putting green. When the ball is dropped within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, the ball must first strike a part of the course at a spot that avoids interference by the immovable obstruction and is not in a hazard and not on a putting green.

Yes, there’s a ton of golf rules,  but I hope my videos and posts are helping you!  Stay tuned for updates on the new rules of golf for 2019!