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Hamilton Mill Men's Golf Association
JANUARY PDF Print E-mail

USGA RULE 25  ABNORMAL GROUND CONDITIONS; EMBEDDED BALL

Hamilton Mill Golf Club has made the decision, in accordance with USGA Rules 25-1 and 25-2, to declare and mark with a white line an area approximately 5-7 yards around all putting greens as abnormal ground conditions. This decision allows you as a player to make the determination as to how you will deal with abnormal ground conditions around the greens. It is highly recommended that you go to the USGA website at www.usga.org and become familiar with Rule 25-1, 25-2 and the decisions regarding this rule.  Knowing the rules can be advantageous for you.

There are definitions that you should be familiar with.

1. Abnormal Ground Conditions: Is any casual water, ground under repair, or hole, cast or runway on the course made by a burrowing animal, a reptile or a bird.

2. Casual Water: Is any temporary accumulation of water on the course that is not in a water hazard and is visible before or after the player takes his stance.

a. Soft, mushy earth is NOT casual water unless water is visible on the surface before or after the player takes his stance.

b. Casual water must be visible before or after the player takes his NORMAL stance. Water visible through undue effort/pressure with the feet is not casual water.

The following is an abbreviation / interpretation of the rule:

1. Any shot that comes to rest in the rough between the edge of the collar surrounding the putting green and the outer edge of the white line the player has the option to:

a. Play the ball as it lies

b. Lift, clean and DROP the ball outside the white line at the nearest point of relief. If you pick the ball up you MUST take complete and total relief from the area marked as ground under repair.

2. If it is known or virtually certain that a ball that has not been found is in an abnormal ground condition, the player may take relief without penalty. If he elects to do so, the spot where the ball last crossed the outermost limits of the abnormal ground condition must be determined and, for the purpose of applying this Rule, the ball is deemed to lie at this spot and the player may substitute another ball, without penalty, and take relief as prescribed 1-b above.

3. If the ball comes to rest in casual water within the area between the edge of the putting green and the outer edge of the white line the player may take relief from the casual water and lift clean and DROP his ball without penalty no nearer the hole and not on the putting green. You MUST take complete and total relief from the casual water.

4. Hamilton Mill has adopted a local rule declaring that you get relief for an embedded ball through the putting green. Therefore, any ball that is embedded between the edge of the green collar and the outer edge of the white line may be lifted, cleaned and DROPPED without penalty at a point as close as possible where the ball lay but no nearer the hole.

5. The MGA is still playing preferred lie for all balls that come to rest in the fairway that you are playing. The collars of the greens are considered fairway. You may lift clean and place the ball within one club length of where the ball came to rest that is no closer to the hole and not on the putting green.

This change as well as preferred lies will stay in effect until May 1, 2013 at which time we will return to playing the ball down.

 

 
FEBRUARY PDF Print E-mail

USGA Rule 26 - Water Hazards

26-1. Relief for Ball in Water Hazard
It is a question of fact whether a ball that has not been found after having been struck toward a water hazard is in the hazard. In the absence of knowledge or virtual certainty that a ball struck toward a water hazard, but not found, is in the hazard, the player must proceed under Rule 27-1.

If a ball is found in a water hazard or if it is known or virtually certain that a ball that has not been found is in the water hazard (whether the ball lies in water or not), the player may under penalty of one stroke:

a. Proceed under the stroke and distance provision of Rule 27-1 by playing a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5); or
b. Drop a ball behind the water hazard, keeping the point at which the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind the water hazard the ball may be dropped; or
c. As additional options available only if the ball last crossed the margin of a lateral water hazard, drop a ball outside the water hazard within two club-lengths of and not nearer the hole than (i) the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard or (ii) a point on the opposite margin of the water hazard equidistant from the hole.

When proceeding under this Rule, the player may lift and clean his ball or substitute a ball.

 

THAT IS THE RULE AND THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS.

 

There are two types – water hazards and lateral water hazards. By definition, a water hazard (e.g., yellow stakes and/or lines) is any sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface drainage ditch or other open water course (whether or not containing water) and anything of a similar nature on the course. All ground and water within the margin of a water hazard are part of the water hazard. A lateral water hazard (e.g., red stakes and/or lines) is a water hazard or that part of the water hazard so situated that it is not possible, or is deemed by the Committee to be impractical, to drop a ball behind the water hazard in accordance with Rule 26-1b.

If a player's ball comes to rest in a water hazard (YELLOW STAKES or LINES), the player has three options. The player may:

 

1. play the ball as it lies without penalty ( Rule 13-1); or under penalty of one stroke;

2. play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5); or

3. drop a ball behind the water hazard, keeping the point at which the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind the water hazard the ball may be dropped.

A question we get on a regular basis is about Hole #4, “If my ball crossed over a water hazard (yellow stakes and/or lines) onto land and then rolls back in the hazard, where can I drop?  Can I drop on the green side of the water hazard?”

First, you may drop your ball in accordance with (2) and (3) above. Second, the green side of the water hazard is not behind the water hazard. If your ball last crossed the margin of a water hazard as described  above,  the ball crossed the margin of the hazard three times (e.g., first, the initial time it crossed; second, when it crossed over the hazard onto land; and third, when the ball rolled back into the hazard). So when the Rule states that the ball must be dropped “keeping the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is to be dropped,” it is referring to the third (final) time. It is the reference point for the 26-1b option only.

Refer to Decision 26-1/1.5 for an illustration of the meaning of “behind.”

 

If a player's ball comes to rest in a water hazard (RED STAKES or LINES), the player has five options. The player may:

 

1. play the ball as it lies without penalty ( Rule 13-1); or under penalty of one stroke;

2. play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5); or

3. drop a ball behind the water hazard, keeping the point at which the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind the water hazard the ball may be dropped.

4. drop a ball outside the water hazard within two club-lengths of and not nearer the hole than the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard

5. drop a ball outside the water hazard within two club-lengths of and not nearer the hole than a point on the opposite margin of the water hazard equidistant from the hole.

 

 

 

 
March PDF Print E-mail

Rule 24-2 - Immovable Obstruction

 

The first thing we need to do is define what is an obstruction.  The USGA defines an “obstruction’’ as anything artificial, including the artificial surfaces and sides of roads and paths; drains; sprinkler heads and manufactured ice, except:

a. Objects defining out of bounds, such as walls, fences, stakes and railings;

b. Any part of an immovable artificial object that is out of bounds; and

c. Any construction declared by the Committee to be an integral part of the course.  An example would be the wall on hole #3 and on #18.

An obstruction is a movable obstruction if it can be moved without unreasonable effort, without unduly delaying play and without causing damage. Otherwise, it is an immovable obstruction.

You may take relief from an immovable obstruction if the ball lies through the green, and it is not in a water hazard or in a lateral water hazard.  In taking relief from the immovable obstruction you must first establish the Nearest Point of Relief (NPR).  The NPR is the nearest point to the ball which is not closer to the hole, in a hazard or on the putting green and provides relief from the immovable obstruction for the lie, stance and area of intended swing.  It is this point where the ball would be positioned in a simulated stance of how you would have played your next stroke had the immovable obstruction not been there.  In most cases there is only one place on the course that is the NPR.

Here are three steps to remember if you need to take relief from an immovable obstruction.

  1. Pretend the immovable obstruction, in this case a sprinkler head or drain, was not there and choose the club you would normally use to play your next shot.
  2. From where your ball came to rest find the point on the course where if you were to place your ball at that spot you would be able to play your next shot with complete relief from the sprinkler head or drain.  Complete relief includes the lie of the ball; your stance and the area of intended swing.
  3. You are allowed to then drop you ball with in one club length (this can be any club) of the NPR.  The ball must strike the ground within that club length when dropped; the ball must come to rest within that club length no closer to the hole and not in a hazard or on the putting green.

In the frame on the left, the player has lie of ball and area of intended swing interference by the sprinkler head.  In the frame on the right, the tee marks the NPR that has been located where there is no longer interference from any of the three conditions.  Note how close this is to the original position.

If your ball comes to rest on a cart path it is good practice to leave your ball as it lies until you determine your NPR and have decided to take relief.  For example, off the left side of the cart path there is fairway and off the right side there is tall, unkept rough.  Though playing on the cart path is not ideal, if the NPR is determined to be in the tall, unkept rough, you may be better off playing your ball as it lies from the cart path.  Below are some pictures that outline this principle.

In the top photo, the player finds his ball has come to rest on the right side of the cart path.  In the bottom photos, he has found full relief to both the left and the right without first lifting his ball in play.  The player finds that his NPR is located to the right  (the green line is closer to the original lie than the red line) and would require him to play his next stroke from a very difficult lie.  He would likely be better off playing his next stroke from where his original ball came to rest on the path.

The fans around the greens on holes #2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 15 & 16 are immovable obstructions.  You can get relief under Rule 24-2 for lie, stance and intended swing. There is NO relief for LINE OF PLAY.

 
APRIL PDF Print E-mail

Four main differences in the USGA Rules between Stroke Play and Match Play.

  1. If the breach of a rule in stroke play incurs a two stroke penalty then in match play it would be loss of hole.  If the breach of a rule in stroke play incurs a one stroke penalty then in match play it would be a one stroke penalty.
  2. In stroke play the player must finish every hole by holing out.  In match play a player may concede a  stroke to his opponent so that he can pick-up without holing out.  Once given, a concession cannot be declined or withdrawn under any circumstance.  There is no penalty if your opponent plays a shot after it is conceded because the ball is already considered hole-out.  A player may concede a hole or the match.
  3. In stroke play, if competitors are unsure of a rule or procedure the player can play a second ball(provisional) and get an official ruling when a rules official is available or at the end of the round.  Match play rules do not make allowance for a player to play a second ball.  Players should try and resolve the issue between themselves.  If you cannot agree, you must notify your opponent before teeing-off on the next hole that you are making a claim; agree to the facts of the situation and make it clear that you will be asking for an official ruling when a rules official is available or at the end of the round.  If the claim is upheld the your opponent loses the hole.  If the claim is denied the results of the hole stand as played.
  4. In both stroke play and match play when balls are to be played from the teeing ground, the player with the honor plays first.  Everywhere else on the course the ball farthest from the hole is to be played first.  In consideration of pace of play, there is no penalty in stroke play for playing in the wrong order.  There also is no penalty in match play.  However, in match play, if a player makes a stroke when his opponent should have played first the opponent may immediately require the player to cancel that stroke and play again in the correct order as nearly as possible from the spot which the original ball was played from.  This applies on the greens as well.
 


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