What Is Meant By Testing The Conditions of a Golf Hazard?

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In this latest article Frank discusses the dos and don’t when pertaining to golf hazards.  Rule 13-4 Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Actions states: “Except as provided in the Rules, before making a stroke at a ball that is in a hazard (whether bunker or water hazard) or that, having been lifted from a hazard, the player must not: a) Test the condition of the hazard or any similar hazard.”  What is meant by “test the condition of the hazard” in Rule 13-4a?
The term encompasses all actions by which the player could gain more information about the hazard than could be gained from taking his stance for the stroke to be made, keeping in mind that a certain amount of digging in with the feet in the sand or soil is permitted when taking the stance for a stroke.
Examples of actions that would not would not be deemed testing the condition of the hazard include:
     *digging in with the feet for a stance, including for a practice swing, anywhere in the hazard or in a similar hazard;
     *placing an object, like a club or rake, in the hazard;
     *leaning on an object (other than a club) such as a rake while it is touching the ground in the hazard or water in a water hazard;
     *touching the hazard with an object (other than a club) such as a towel;
     *marking the position of the ball with a tee or otherwise when proceeding under a Rule.
Examples of actions that would be deemed testing the condition of the hazard in breach of Rule 13-4a include:
     *digging in with the feet in excess of what would be done for a stance for a stroke or practice swing;
     *intentionally sticking an object, like a rake, into sand or soil in the hazard or water in a water hazard (but see Rule 12-1);
     *filling in footprints from a previous stance (e.g. when changing stance to make a different type of stroke);
     *smoothing a bunker with a rake, club or otherwise (but see Exception 2 to Rule 13-4)
     *kicking the ground in the hazard or water in a water hazard;
     *touching the sand with a club when making a practice swing in the hazard or in a similar hazard (but see Exception 3 to Rule 13-4).
If you have questions on the Rules of Golf or comments on this article please direct them to Mike Fay Golf.  As always, here is hope that you are Playing By The Rules!
Frank Guastella, PGA Rules Official Michigan Section PGA
Staff Writer, Mike Fay Golf
If you have a question for Frank here’s where you can contact him.
Email:  fguastella@franklin-golf.net
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Losing Golf Balls In Leaves

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LeavesLosing a golf ball in the leaves can be frustrating and it is that time of the year when the leaves are falling and it can become difficult for you to find your golf ball due to the accumulation of leaves.  The Committee may make a temporary Local Rule declaring accumulations of leaves through the green at certain holes to be ground under repair and Rule 25-1 (Abnormal Ground Conditions) will apply and the player would get swing relief and one club length no nearer the hole.
The Local Rule should be restricted to the hole(s) at which the trouble with leaves occurs and it should be withdrawn as soon as conditions permit.  Particular attention should be paid to the opening paragraph of Rule 25-1c; unless, it is known or virtually certain that a ball that has not been found is in the leaves, it must be treated as lost elsewhere and Rule 27-1 (Ball Lost) applies and this becomes a stroke and distance penalty.
Frank Guastella, PGA Rules Official Michigan Section PGA
Staff Writer, Mike Fay Golf
If you have a question for Frank here’s where you can contact him.
Email:  fguastella@franklin-golf.net
To “follow” Frank on Twitter click here
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Preventing Penalty Strokes

 

Frank Guastella PGA Rules Coach

The other day I was asked by a player in a tournament I was officiating at that if I observe a player about to breach a Rule, may I warn the player and thus prevent a penalty.  The answer to this question is yes.

A referee is not obligated to warn a player who is about to breach a Rule, it is generally recommended that a referee should do so.  If a referee volunteers information about the Rules, he should do so uniformly to all of the players.  However, in match play where a referee has not been assigned to accompany players throughout the match, the referee has no authority to intervene and, therefore, must not warn the player other than in relation to Rule 1-3, 6-7, or 33-7.

A “referee” is one who is appointed by the Committee to decide questions of fact and apply the Rules.  He must  act on any breach of a Rule that he observes or is reported to him.  A referee should not attend the flagstick, stand at or mark the position of the hole, or lift the ball or mark its position.

If you have any questions regarding the Rules of Golf please send them to Mike Fay Golf via email, Facebook, Twitter and we will answer them for you.  Here is hoping you are “Playing By The Rules”.

Frank Guastella, PGA Rules Official Michigan Section PGA
Staff Writer, Mike Fay Golf
If you have a question for Frank here’s where you can contact him.
Email:  fguastella@franklin-golf.net
To “follow” Frank on Twitter click here
To “like” Frank on Facebook click here

What Is The Teeing Ground?

Frank Guastella PGA Rules Coach

Ahh, the teeing ground.  Where it all begins!

Most players just tee the ball up between the markers and hit.  There is much more to the teeing ground.  In the next video in the Playing By The Rules Video Series, Mike and Frank discuss the actual area of the teeing ground and it’s dimensions.  You’d be surprised to see how big it actually is.  Why is that a big deal?  Mike and Frank discuss it.

Please leave your comments below!  Thanks for watching!

If you have any questions regarding the Rules of Golf please submit them to @new.mikefaygolf and we will get them answered for you.  Here is hoping that you are “Playing By The Rules.”

Frank Guastella, PGA Rules Official Michigan Section PGA
Staff Writer, Mike Fay Golf
If you have a question for Frank here’s where you can contact him.
Email:  fguastella@franklin-golf.net
To “follow” Frank on Twitter click here
To “like” Frank on Facebook click here

Dangerous Situation

Playing By The Rules We have all encountered what we consider dangerous situations on the golf course.   On the April 26 edition of the Ask The Pro Show, the question asked of me was what happens if I hit my ball into a bee’s nest.  I did my best to answer the question in 140 characters or less, but I feel the question requires more explanation.  If your ball lands in a bee’s nest or near a live rattlesnake you have some options and you do not have to play the ball as it lies.

It is unreasonable to expect a player to play from such dangerous situations and unfair to require the player to incur a penalty under Rule 26 (Water Hazard) or Rule 28 (Ball Unplayable).  If the ball lay through the green, the player may, without penalty, drop a ball within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest spot not nearer the hole that is not dangerous and is not in a hazard and not on a putting green.

If the ball lay in a hazard, the player may drop a ball, without penalty, within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest spot not nearer the hole that is not dangerous.  If possible, the ball must be dropped in the same hazard and, if not possible, in a similar nearby hazard, but in either case not nearer the hole.  If it is not possible for the player to drop the ball in a hazard, he may drop it, under penalty of one stroke, outside the hazard, keeping the point where the original ball lay between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped.

If the ball lay on the putting green, the player may, without penalty, place a ball at the nearest spot not nearer the hole that is not dangerous and that is not in a hazard.

If interference by anything other than the dangerous situation makes the stroke clearly impracticable or if the situation would be dangerous only through the use of a clearly unreasonable stroke or an unnecessarily abnormal stance, swing, or direction of play, the player may not take relief as described above, but he is not precluded from proceeding under Rule 26 or 28 if applicable.

Relief from these situations is granted under Rule 1-4 Points Not Covered By Rules: If any point in dispute is not covered by the Rules, the decision should be made in accordance with equity.  A “dangerous situation” contemplates a situation which is unrelated to conditions normally encountered on the course.

Frank Guastella, PGA Rules Official Michigan Section PGA
Staff Writer, Mike Fay Golf
If you have a question for Frank here’s where you can contact him.
Email:  fguastella@franklin-golf.net
To “follow” Frank on Twitter click here
To “like” Frank on Facebook click here

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