Asked & Answered: Stroke and Distance

Question: When is it allowed to re-tee other than OB off the tee? Stroke and distance. Ball in the woods or water off the tee?

Answer: Good question. A player may ALWAYS re-tee without exception, and you don’t even have to know where your ball is. No matter where the ball ends up (except in the hole of course) a player always has the option of replaying a stroke with a 1-stroke penalty (stroke and distance). The ball could be in the woods or water or even the fairway, and you can proceed under stroke and distance. A good example of this would be you tee off and hit a tree immediately and your ball goes 100 yards behind you but is still in bounds. Instead of playing the ball, for 1 stroke you may re-tee and play from the teeing area, even though your ball is in play 100 yards further from the hole! This is true of any stroke on the golf course, not just tee shots.

Submit a Rules question for Todd to answer here.

Todd Stice is our in-house Rules of Golf Expert. You can learn more about Todd here.

Asked & Answered: Ball Mark Repair

Submission: A player can repair a ball mark on the green at any time. The player’s ball does not need to be on the green to allow the repair. A player cannot repair a ball mark on the fringe if it is in the player’s line of play. Unless the mark occurred after the ball came to rest.

Question: What if any one of your playing partners repairs the mark without being requested to do so? On the other hand, are you allowed to ask a playing partner to repair the mark?

Answer: I assume you are referring to players in your group of a stroke play event who are NOT your partners (the answers will be different). 

Someone who is in your group but not your partner is an outside influence, and if they improve your line of play, that will get them a 2-stroke penalty, but nothing to you.  Additionally, you get the benefit of the repaired pitch mark.

If that person is your partner, you will both get a penalty of 2 strokes.

If you request the player to fix it for you and he does just that, both you and he will get the 2-stroke penalty.

Todd Stice is our in-house Rules of Golf Expert. You can learn more about Todd here.

Asked & Answered: Tiffany Greens Approach Shot Dilemma

Question: When playing at Tiffany Greens last weekend I hit my approach shot just off the left of the green on a par four. When looking for the ball I was unable to find it but there was a creek on the left side of the green. After a couple of minutes of looking for it, I just assumed bounced into the creek. I took a drop and finished out the hole. As I left the green and went towards the cart I found my ball. Am I able to finish the hole with my original ball at that point?

Answer: The short answer is no, once you drop a ball with the intent of putting it in play, the original ball can no longer be played, and this is true if the 3-minute search time has passed or not.  Additionally,  it sounds like the 3-minute search time was up so your original is now lost and cannot be played under any circumstance.

Long answer: Now if you dropped a ball and were not sure it was in the creek, then you find the original ball within 3 minutes of searching, it is your lucky day!  The original ball is still in play and there is no penalty to play it. 

But if you are sure (at least 95% sure) the original ball is in the creek and you drop a ball, it becomes the ball in play no matter what.  If you then happen to find your ball outside the creek, it is NOT your lucky day, that ball is no longer in play.  If you find your original ball in the creek, you still can’t play it, but it may change the reference point where you must drop the ball. Great Question!!

Todd Stice is our in-house Rules of Golf Expert. You can learn more about Todd here.

Asked & Answered: Member-Guest

Question: During our Member-Guest earlier this year. We were playing the gunch as a penalty area. The player hit his ball into the gunch or possibly OB, and proceeded to hit a provisional. While looking for his ball I asked why did he hit a provisional when we are playing this as a penalty area. He says “oh, yeah, I’ll just drop one,” I told him since he already hit a provisional he had to play that. He was not pleased. What’s the ruling?

Answer: If a ball may be possibly OB, the player may play a provisional, even if a penalty area is where the ball could be. This player had the right to play a provisional. However, once it is determined where the ball is or where it is lost, we must proceed with that Rule. So if it was determined the ball was OB, then the provisional becomes the ball in play. If it is determined the ball is in the penalty area, then the provisional must be abandoned, and then proceed under the penalty area rule. Those options are stroke and distance (and cannot use the provisional), back-on-the-line relief, or two club-lengths from where it entered the penalty area. If the player knew the ball was in the penalty area, then yes, you cannot play a provisional, it would become the ball in play.

Todd Stice is our in-house Rules of Golf Expert. You can learn more about Todd here.