Did you ever try reading the R&As version of the Rules and been very confused then read this and I will try to make them understandable in lay-mans-language.
The Rules of Golf are approved by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrew's Scotland and the United States Golf Association. They are reviewed every four years and the latest publication was on the first of January 2008. They are available free of charge from the G.U.I. (Golfing Union of Ireland) Carton Demesne, Maynooth, Co. Kildare telephone number 01-505 4000, fax 01-505 4001 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.gui.ie
Decisions on the Rules of Golf are published by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrew's, Fyffe, KY16 9JD, Tel. 00-441-334-(01-334) 472112. Fax. 477580. This is not a free publication but the decisions book is an essential reference book for all competition organisers and club committees and for everybody with a serious interest in the Rules of Golf. The first Rules of Golf were published in 1744 by the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (and were later adopted by The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrew's). Originally there were thirteen such rules but in today's game there are thirty four with numerous sub-sections together with rules on amateur status.
We will endeavor to simplify these rules which can be quite legalistic and confusing to your average golfer. Indeed I hare heard them being described as being more difficult to understand than the constitution itself.
The original thirteen rules are set out below. While the basic concepts might be recognisable by the average golfer the language is somewhat archaic.
You must tee your Ball within a Club Length of the hole.
Your tee must be upon the Ground.
You are not to Change the ball which you Strike
You are not to Remove Stones. Bones or Break Clubs for the Sake playing Your Ball Except upon the fair Green and that only within a Club Length of your Ball.
If your Ball comes among Water, or any Watery Silt You are at Liberty to take your Ball, and throwing it behind the hazard six yards at least. You may play it with any Club and allow your Adversary a Stroke, for so getting out your Ball.
If your Balls be found anywhere touching one another, You are to lift the first Ball, you play the last.
At holeing, You are to play your Ball honestly for the Hole, and not play upon your Adversary Ball, not lying in your way to the hole.
If you should lose your Ball by its being taken up, or any other way, You are to go back to the Spot where you Struck last, and drop another ball and Allow your adversary a stroke for the Misfortune.
No man at holing his Ball, is to be Allowed to Make his way to the Hole with his Club or anything else.
If a ball be Stop 'd by any person, Horse, Dog or anything else, the Ball so stopped must be played where it lies.
If you draw your Club, in Order to Strike and proceed so far in the Strike as to bring down your Club, in then: your club shall break, in any way it is to be counted Stroke.
He, Whose Ball lies furthest from the Hole is Obliged to play first.
Neither Trench, Ditch or Dke made for preservation of the LINKS or the Scholar's Hole or the Soldiers Lines shall be accounted a Hazard. Ba: the Ball is to be taken out, teed and played with any Iron Club.
These rules have now become thirty--four rules with various sub-sections to them compiling of a booklet form of one hundred and forty-four pages in total.
It is recommended that every golfer should carry a rule book in his bag. Many golfers learn the rules-the "hard way" i.e. in competition where they end up losing a stroke, sometimes two or a hole in matchplay.
Unlike many other sports such as hurling, football, rugby, tennis etc., there is no referee in golf usually and it is a self policing game.
This aspect of the game makes it a much more enjoyable and relaxing game than most and it is very reassuring to see the top professionals abide by the rules and police themselves. We shall endeavor to confront the most common and controversial rule infringements, penalties and points of etiquette and their practical application on the golf course that are highlighted and explained.
Shane and Cian are brothers, Shane has been a keen golfer since his youth - he is twenty years of age playing off a handicap of (Scratch), has played Barton Shield and Senior Cup for his club and has been involved in many boys and youth’s competitions he is very familiar with the rules. Cian is seventeen and has only taken up the game recently. Having been forced to watch the Ryder Cup on television he then developed an interest in the game. He borrowed Shane's clubs and went to the local driving range on several occasions. He then acquired his own set of clubs and started to take lessons and pay a green fee at the local clubs.
Shane was delighted that Cian had taken up golf even more so than normally when he had introduced others to what he considered the greatest game on earth. The fact that they were brothers made it all the more enjoyable as they had tended to go in separate directions – Shane spending so-much time on the golf course. Cian’s game had improved enough for Shane to introduce him to his own club where he wouldn't be viewed as a "hacker”.
The two brothers arranged to go to the club on a quiet period. Shane introduced Cian to the Pro and duly paid the green fee (which is normally reduced when playing with a member). Cian was quite excited about playing in Shane's club and he realised that if he made a good impression he may eventually achieve membership one day. Shane gave Cian his card and pointed out to him on the back that there were local rules and that he should read them carefully, Defining the `Out of Bounds' Rule 27.1, `Lateral Water Hazard' Rule 26.1c, `Water Hazard' Rule 26.1, Integral Parts of the Course, Young Trees, Penalties for Breach of Rules and any additional rules would be placed on the notice board. Indeed in the revised definitions `Ground Under Repair'. Water Hazards', `Lateral Water Hazards', G.U.R., the commitee may make a local rule prohibiting play from an environmentally sensitive area which has been defined as Ground Under Repair, a Water Hazard or a Lateral Water Hazard. Other such local rules may come into effect - a ball coming to rest within two club-lengths of a cliff edge as in Woodbrook Golf Club must be lifted and dropped within three club-lengths of the cliff edge without penalty or if you were playing golf in Uganda you might want to take advantage of a local rule which allows you to lift your ball from a hippo's footprint without penalty. Cian had decided he was going to pick up what tips he could with regard to golf swing, grip, stance etc. He was also very keen to make sure he observed the etiquette of golf. Etiquette is mainly a commonsense way of behaving oneself on the golf course and not spoiling the game for anybody else. However a lot of clubs in Ireland have a dress code which would come in under etiquette as well. The most common of these are no spikes beyond a certain point, no jeans or runners in the clubhouse or on the course. Un-collared tee-shirts, tank tops, tracksuits or shorts and trousers tucked into one's socks. With this in mind he noticed that Shane didn't take his trolley up on to the tee-box as he was about to do this himself. This makes very good sense, if everybody brought their trolley on to the tee-box the tee-box would be wrecked in no time.
As Cian rummaged in his bag for a half decent golf ball, he thought he should be better organised for this game. He noticed Shane was counting his clubs. He asked Shane why he was counting his clubs and Shane pointed out that under Rule 4.4 the "maximum amount of clubs permitted in any bag is fourteen". Cian then remembered that he had borrowed another driver from a friend of his and as he had a full set of clubs, that would come to fifteen. He immediately returned the spare driver to the boot of the car and he asked Shane what the penalty would have been had he continued to play with the fifteen clubs. "In matchplay at the conclusion of the hole at which the breach was discovered the state of the match is adjusted by deducting one hole for each hole at which the breach occurred with a maximum deduction of two holes per round" Whereas in strokeplay a deduction of two strokes per hole at which any breach occurred would apply with a maximum of four strokes per round. Cian asked Shane which game they going to play matchplay Rule 2 or strokeplay Rule 3. They decided to play match play and Shane explained to Cian the format, each player endeavors to win the hole with the least number of shots when the handicaps are adjusted and the game comes to an end when they have reached the stage where one player is ahead by more than the amount of holes left as in being four up with three to play. A match can be halved if the players are all square after eighteen, however, in a lot of Club Competitions a win is required so the players go back to the first tee where they started and play it as the nineteenth. We are now in a sudden death situation. The player who wins the first hole after going down nineteen twenty etc., is the eventual winner. As Shane pointed out match play was a very common form of amateur golf especially for a type of friendly game they were about to play. He also pointed out that there are several other forms of golf such as V-Par, Stableford, Fourball, Mixed Fourball, Foursomes, Mixed Foursomes, Scotch Foursomes, Scramble and Team Events. In stroke play the player counts all the strokes he takes in the round which is called his gross score deducts his Club or Society handicap which is called his net score and he eventually arrives at his score for the day.
V-Par is a format whereby the player or team competes against the course in the following manner. If the player is playing off a handicap of 8 he is allocated shots on Index 1 to 8 and no shots on Index 9 to 18. Thereafter should he par any of the holes from Index 1 to 18 he is deemed to have won that hole. If he pars any of the holes from 9 to 18 he is deemed to have halved that hole. Should he bogey any of the holes on Index 9 to 18 he is deemed to have lost that hole. Should be bogey any of the holes from Index 1 to 8 he is deemed to have halved that hole. Should he double bogey any of the holes from Index 1 to 8 he is deemed to have lost that hole and if he birdies any of the holes from Index 9 to 18 he is deemed to have won that hole. At the end of play his card may have on it 5 wins 11 halves and three losses. This would give him a final score of 2-up V-Par. The same format applies to a Fourball V Par.
Shane explained to Cian that Stableford,was somewhat more complicated. As he had agreed that he would play off his handicap of scratch he give Cian a twenty stroke handicap for the purpose of this game it meant that Cian would have a shot on every hole, and two shots on index one and two. However, as they were only playing nine-holes, it meant Cian would have ten shots, ne on each hole and two on index two which occurred on the card. A scratch or pro-golfer would be awarded two Stableford points for every par he got in the round. He would get three Stableford points for every birdie and he would get one Stableford point for every bogey. Therefore in Shane's case should he shoot a double bogey - or worse on any of the holes he would score nothing. In Cian's case it is somewhat different having a shot on all nine-holes and two shots on index two and so on. On each hole Cian would get two Stableford points for every bogey shot, three for every par, four for any birder he might pick up and one for any double bogeys he might shoot. In the case of index two he would receive three points for a bogey, two points for a double bogey, and one point for a treble bogey.
Cian had seen this format in the Ryder Cup and wanted to know how it worked. Shane explained in its simplest form where the best professional golfers in the world were pitched against one another they played from the Championship Stakes off scratch. A player on either team achieving the better score than the two on the other team would be awarded the hole. In the case of the Ryder Cup this nearly always took a birdie to win the hole and in some cases an eagle.
Team A comprises of two players, one playing off 8-handicap and the other off 14-handicap. Team B comprises of two players, one playing off 16 and the other playing off 20 therefore Player A on Team A will receive strokes on Index 1-8. Player B on Team A will receive strokes on Index 1 to 14 inclusive. Whereas on Team B Player A will receive strokes on Index 1 to 16 inclusive and Player B will receive strokes on Index 1 to 18 and two strokes on Index 1 and 2. All players play with their own ball and the player on each team who achieves the most Stableford points on a given hole - his score goes on the score card. Therefore if Player B on Team B were to have a par on Index 2 his team would be awarded 4 Stableford points. Whereas Player A on Team A were to par Index 9 his team would receive 2 points. On completion of the eighteen holes the combined better Stableford points score which is on the card are added thus giving the Stableford points for the respective teams.
Mixed Fourball Betterball
The format for fourball Betterball is exactly the same in a mixed except the game is played with one male and one lady player.
In fourball matchplay Team A comprises of an 8 handicapper and a 14 handicapper. Team B comprises of a 16 handicapper and a 20 handicapper. The player with the lowest handicap i.e. the 8 handicap on Team A reverts to scratch and his playing partner is allocated strokes on Index 1-6 inclusive. Whereas on Team B, Player A is awarded strokes on Index 1-8 inclusive and Player B is awarded strokes on Index 1-12 inclusive. The match then proceeds in a normal fashion.
Mixed Fourball Matchplay
Mixed Fourball Matchplay is exactly the same as fourball matchplay except in this case there is one male and one lady player on each team.
Cian referring back to the "Ryder Cup" said he saw them play a very strange game and could not make head nor tail or it. Shane immediately knew what he was talking about - that this was the foursomes pairings. He explained that this is one o the hardest games in golf to play and again given a similar scenario of our be_- professional golfers playing the back stakes off scratch. The format is a two man team event whereby Player A tees-off at every consecutive hole. So Player A drives at all the odd numbers and Player B tees-off at all the even numbers. Thereafter they play alternative shots until they finish the hole. However, if Player B sinks the last putt on the first hole he still hits the next shot on hole number two Shane explained to Cian that this is the format usually used on the Father & Sons Competitions that he had played so many of and then in the Barton Shield in which he had often participated representing his club. It is also used in many of the husband & wives competitions. He also pointed out that in the Father & Son or Husband & Wife format the handicap comes into play whereas in the Barton Shield they do not. Where the handicaps are involved the combined handicaps are added, so in Team A with handicaps of 8 and 12 respectively and Team B with handicaps of 16 and 20, Team A would play off a combined handicap of 20 and Team B would have a combined handicap of 36.
These handicaps are then halved so Team A would be playing off a handicap of 10 and Team B would be playing off a handicap of 18. Therefore Team A would receive strokes on Index 1 to 10 inclusive and Team B would have a stroke on Index 1 to 18 inclusive.
Shane explained that there were other games that were commonly played, Scotch Foursomes. Cian said "What in the name of God is Scotch Foursomes! Is that something they play in Scotland?" "No" replied Shane, "Scotch Foursomes is where both players on each team tee off from the tee and they select the best ball and then continue to play in the foursome’s format each alternative ball after that. So if Player A's ball is selected it is up to Player B to strike the ball the next time".
4-Person Team Event
A format that is becoming very popular in the country at present is the 4-Person team events sometimes played as 4-Man Team and in 3-Men or 3-Ladies Teams. This is where each player on the team play off their own handicap on each hole with a single ball and the two best scores are recorded on the card.
Therefore if there is a fourteen handicapper on the team and he gets a par on Index twelve the team is awarded three points. If there is a twenty handicapper on the team and he gets a par on Index two the team is awarded four points giving it a combined score for that hole of seven Stableford Pints. The other two players who have shot bogeys scores are not recorded. In this format it is often the case that all scores count on the last or all scores count on Par 3’s and there are many different combinations of this. This is the common format for charity fund-raisers normally called golf classics and are very enjoyable.
There are many other formats of golf but these are the most common in use today in Ireland
The two brothers stood on the first tee and Shane explained how the order of play is arrived at. Under Rule 10.1 Matchplay reads as follows: - "Teeing Ground - the side entitled to play first from the teeing ground is said to have the Honour The side which should have the honour at the first teeing ground shall be determined by the order of the draw. In the absence of a draw the honour shall be decided by luck".This means they tossed for the honour which Shane duly won. The same rule applies to strokeplay. However it is common practice in a friendly game to give the player with the lowest handicap the honour on the first tee.
As Shane went to tee his ball up, he announced that he was playing a Titleist 3. Cian said "Why does that matter? I'm playing a Titleist 3 as well, you gave it to me last week" so Shane explained that if they could not identify their balls their balls would be deemed to be lost and duly went back to his bag and took out a Titleist 1. He also marked his ball for identification, so as there could be no doubt as to which was his ball as happened with Paul McGinley where he and his playing partner were playing a Titleist 1 and he didn't check the markings on his ball. This occurred in the Sarazen World Open in Georgia.
Shane stood on the first tee and went through his normal setting up procedure, and was about to address the ball when a car which was pulling into the clubhouse at his back, passed by which didn't bother to stop. It is common courtesy if driving into the clubhouse or through the golf course and there are players on the tee-box, to either stop or wait until they wave you through. Even more disturbing and distracting was Cian, who was there in a world of his own fiddling with his driver, even tapping it with his foot at times. Shane endeavoured to ignore all these distractions. However, in the middle of his backswing he decided to stop and explain to Cian that this is just not on. This is one of the basic rules of etiquette and every player should be conscious of it. It is called consideration for your opponent - don't move, talk, kick clubs, drop clubs, stand too close to or directly behind a player making his shot.
Shane asked Cian to stand directly facing him and the ball, not behind him and not to be distracting him. He explained that this game was >tough enough without added distractions and required a lot of concentration what with the guy in the car and now his brother; he found it very difficult to make his shot. However he unleashed a 290 yard drive down the middle.
It was now Cian's turn to tee-off at the first and to his great surprise he hit the ball 210 yards straight down the middle of which he was rather pleased. As they walked down the fairway Cian enquired whose turn was it to play next? Shane explained that this was covered under Rule 10.1(b) which reads - "when the ball is in play the ball furthest from the hole shall be played first".
When Cian arrived at his ball he was horrified to find that it had landed in an old divot (this certainly comes in under the Rules of Etiquette and in most courses it clearly states on the tee-box `Please Replace Your Divots'). However, Cian was of the opinion that he shouldn't have to play his ball from such a nasty lie not of his own making and asked Shane could he drop out of this crater.
Shane explained that under Rule 13.1 which reads - "the ball should be played as it lies".He had no option but to play from where he had landed. Contrary to the rules as this is a friendly game and a learning process for Cian, Shane advised him tohit nothing more than a 7-iron and the advice he gave him was "When you are in trouble get out of it". So Cian took out an 8-iron, concentrated on striking the ball and duly hit it up the fairway just short of the green. He derived great satisfaction at extracting himself from such a difficult position. Shane had left himself with only a wedge to the green and nonchalantly hit for the fat of the green. Cian tried playing a pitch and run which didn't quite come off and just barely made the green. When they arrived at the green Cian noticed that Shane was repairing his pitch-mark with a pitch-fork, a strange-looking, inexpensive implement which Shane had bought for him in the Pro Shop before they started in so he decided to do the same even though it wasn't his pitch-mark. Repairing pitch-marks is another code of etiquette where you have consideration for your players coming behind you and care of the course.
Cian then set about lining up his putt as he was furthest from the hole and having had Rule 10.1(b) explained to him set about hitting the ball at the hole. Shane on noticing this immediately stopped him and asked him if he wanted the “pin attended”. Cian enquired "What does attended mean?. Shane duly informed him that as he was on the green he had two options (i) His playing partner could attend the pin by holding the flagstick and being ready to remove it as his ball approached the hole and (ii) the other option to remove the flagstick altogether whereby having no distractions at or about the hole. However he explained that under no circumstances, can a player strike the ball at the hole while the pin is in and unattended whilst on the green, for fear of striking the flagstick. This is covered under Rule 17.1 - the penalty being loss of the hole in matchplay and two strokes in strokeplay.
As Cian had a long putt of about 45 feet he asked Shane to attend the pin, otherwise he would have great difficulty in seeing exactly where the hole was. He played a good putt leaving it about three feet short and duly marked it. Shane concentrated over his 15 footer. However not having the pace of the green he hit it a bit too firm and it went two feet past the hole. The brothers knocked in their short putts. Cian was especially pleased to have halved the hole having had a shot on it and having been in the divot and getting down in two from such a long distance. They proceeded to the second tee.
The Second Hole is a Par 4 - of 395 yards with trees on either side, the greatest danger being up the left hand side. As they had halved the first Shane retained the honour and to Cian's surprise having teed his ball he noticed that Shane's feet were outside the medal. This is permissible and is covered under Rule 11.1 which reads - "in teeing, the ball may be placed on the ground, on an irregularity of surface created by the player on the ground or on the tee sand or other substance in order to raise it off the ground a player may stand outside the teeing ground to play a ball within it”.
The ground on the tee-box was the only area on the golf course where a player had a choice where to place his ball which is covered under Rule 11. The definition being the teeing ground is the starting place for the hole to be played. It is a rectangular area two club-lengths in depth. The front and the sides of which are defined by the outside limits of two tee markers. A ball is outside of the teeing ground when all of it lies >outside the teeing ground. Shane, who knew the course or as they say had a lot of "local knowledge", decided to stand outside the tee to play his ball down the right-hand side as all the trouble was on the left-hand side. This he duly did and placed the ball in "Position A" for his approach to the green. He had proved yet again how the rules of golf can be used to your advantage.
Cian on the other-hand being conscious of the trouble down the left-hand side (it was almost inevitable that he was going to end up there as is the case particularly with beginners once trouble is pointed out be it `out of bounds', `water hazards', `trees' or whatever tend to become like "a magnet" and often becomes part of gamesmanship in a friendly fourball).Cian duly "Duck-Hooked" his drive into the trees on the left. It was Cian's initial impulse to follow his ball as quickly as possible. However Shane called him back saying he should play a "provisional ball".
Cian enquired as to what a "provisional ball" meant? Shane explained that this was a rule to prevent time-wasting which is covered under "Provisional Ball - Rule 27.2(a) " and reads as follows - "if a ball may be lost outside a water hazard or may, be out of bounds, to save time a player may play another ball provisionally nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was played. The player shall inform his opponent in matchplay - or his marker or a fellow competitor in strokeplay that he intends to play a provisional ball and he shall play it before he or his partner goes forward to search for the original ball. If he fails to do so and plays another ball such ball is not a provisional ball and becomes the ball in play under penalty of Stroke and Distance. The original ball is deemed to be lost."
The player then has a maximum of five minutes to search for his ball and should he not find it proceeds to play the provisional ball.
When Christy O'Connor Junior was playing for Ireland against Korea in the Dunhill Cup at St Andrew's in 1992 the adherence to an interpretation of this rule became a crucial factor. As he stood on the 17th tee his playing partner Park Nam Sin of Korea feared he had lost or hit his ball out-of-bounds over the “railway sheds” at the notorious “Road-Hole”. Unfortunately he had little-or-no English, so he showed a ball to Christy and proceeded to play a second. When the players got up the fairway they discovered the Korean’s ball was just in-play and Park wanted to play it. However Christy Junior pointed out that he had said “nothing” about playing a “provisional ball. The ruling was the second ball was in play and the referee declared that the Korean was disqualified for playing the wrong ball under Rule 15.3.
Lesson well learned, Cian very definitely informed Shane he was playing a “Provisional Ball” However with all the confusion his concentration was impaired and he barely got the ball off-the-tee, it went about 120-yards up the fairway, which was far shorter than his original duck-hook which left him in trouble under the trees.
At this stage Cian was very confused as to whether he should go looking for his original and if he didn’t find it should he return to his provisional ball. Shane pointed out that he could play his provisional ball until he had reached or passed the point of which it was believed the original ball might be.
Cian concentrated and duly drilled a 4-iron up the middle of the fairway way beyond the where his “Original Ball” might lie. Shane reassured him he had a “good-line” on his original ball and they proceeded to search in the right area. This is something every golfer should try and do in assistance to his playing partners and himself to avoid time-wasting.
Nevertheless even though Shane had a “good-line” on Cian’s original ball, when they got in under the trees it was obvious that Cian was in the “cabbage” and they weren’t going to walk up and find it immediately. Shane glanced over his shoulder and noticed there was another match on the tee-box. He immediately came forward and waved his arms to call the following match “Through”. This is a basic courtesy to your fellow players, not to hold them up unnecessary.
As they sheltered under the trees, out of view of the players on the tee-box, they waited for the following match to tee-off, then proceeded to look for Cian’s original ball. As luck would have it , they found it immediately. It was Cian’s inclination to get up and hit it being so relieved to have found it, he was now playing his second shot as against his fifth with his provisional ball on the fairway. Shane immediately stopped him and explained that having called a match through you are obliged to let that match finish out or be out of reach before playing your next shot.
Cian wisely decided to play a wedge out of the heavy-rough and hacked out back on the fairway. He stood back as Shane played what he thought was a straight forward 4-iron. However he tinned it and came up well short of the green.
Both players chipped their balls onto the centre of the green, they were both on in three. Shane immediately sought out his plug-mark, as did Cian and Shane then proceeded to mark his ball with a small coin, lift it and clean it. Cian was taken aback at this as he didn't realise you can lift and clean your ball on the green. Shane explained that under Rule 16.1(b) which reads that - "ball on the putting green may be lifted and if desired cleaned. A ball so lifted shall be replaced on the spot from which it was lifted".
As the putting ground is the only place on the course where you can lift your ball while in play (however it should be noted that in winter rules it is often the case in parkland courses where you can lift, clean and drop on the fairway). Cian noticed a lot of spike-marks between his ball and the hole and enquired was it permissible to tap them down giving him a better chance of sinking his putt. Shane pointed out that this was not permissible under Rule 16.1 (a) which reads - "the line of putt must not be touched except (a) the player may move sand and loose soil on the putting green and other loose impediments may be picked, by picking them up or by brushing them aside with his hand or a club without pressing anything down".He also pointed out that Rule 16.1(d) should be noted - testing the surface "during the play of a hole a player should not test the surface of the putting green by rolling a ball or roughening or scraping the surface”.
After all the delays and trying to take on board all this information Cian stood over his putt and "charged" it 20 feet past the hole. He came up short with his next putt and ended up tree-putting the green.
However Shane managed to sink his putt and ended up with a bogey whereby the players halved the hole and proceeded to the third.
The third was an average Par 5. Index 8 which Shane considered as "Birdie Opportunity" any day of the week. However Cian found the distance intimidating and as there was an out t bounds all the way up the right-hand –side, the "Magnet" was coming back into play in Cian’s mind. Shane unleashed one of his best as he felt confident he could get up in two. Cian stood up with the driver in his hand and tried to "knock the cover off the ball", sliced it, sailing over the out of bounds fence.
This situation is clearly covered under Rule 21.1 - Ball lost or out of bounds reads "if a ball is lost outside a water hazard or is out of bounds, the player shall play a ball under penalty of one stroke as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played."In this case off the tee-box.
So Cian teed up his second ball, still very nervous of the out of bounds. However, this time he decided to go with a 3-iron off the tee. As he was addressing the ball the ball toppled off the tee, back on to the tee-box. He immediately thought this was a foul stroke. However Shane reassured him that under Rule 11.3 he may re-tee his ball without penalty. Rule 11.3 reads "ball falling off tee - if a ball when not in play falls off a tee or is knocked off the tee by a player in addressing it, it may be re-teed without penalty but if a stroke is made at the ball in these circumstances whether the ball is moved or not the stroke counts but no penalty is incurred, when a stroke is made at the ball" This is commonly known as a "fresh-air" shot. Cian proceeded to hit a reasonably good shot up the fairway. Having taken his penalty shots into account he was now lying three.
As is often said in this game "when it goes wrong it sure goes wrong" and when Cian arrived at his ball he found it was plugged on the fairway. After his experience with his divot mark on the first he was quite convinced that he was going to have to try and play the ball as it lies.
To his relief Shane pointed out that under Rule 25.2 which reads "embedded ball - a ball embedded in its own pitch mark in the ground in any closely mowed area through the green may be lifted cleared and dropped without penalty as near possible to the spot where it lay but not nearer the hole ".
After two more shots Cian was just at the side of the green while Shane had managed to get on in two. Cian's next shot was the most unenviable shot in golf - playing from a tight lie over a bunker to a pin position very close to the bunker. He took out his sand-wedge and played a very delicate chip where he ended up in the bunker. As he addressed the ball in the bunker Cian was at this stage in his short golfing career aware of Rule 13.4 which, reads "except as provided in the rules before making a stroke at a ball which in a hazard (whether a bunker or a waterhazard) or which having been lifted from the hazard may be dropped or placed hazard the player shall not (a) test the condition of the hazard or any similar hazard (b) touch the ground of the hazard or water in the water hazard with a club or otherwise or (c) touch or move a impediment lying in or touching the hazard". This in essence means that the case of a bunker a player may not touch the sand before hitting the ball or as is often the case if he fails to get the ball out of the bunker then touches the sand where he had disturbed it with his club. Beginners should always be careful of not breaking this rule. He had also learned the lesson of when being in a bunker the first principle being to get out, so he opened the blade of his sand-wedge and popped the ball out as the pin position was so difficult it ran on somewhat and it took him a further two to get down. Before going to the green however he carefully raked the bunker which is part of the etiquette of golf and having consideration for the next players who may arrive in the same area. When a bunker has not been raked by the previous players it can be very upsetting for the following players to arrive and find their ball in the footprints of some uncaring or unthinking golfer who had been there before you.
So Cian ended up with a horrendous nine though he consoled himself in the knowledge that as Shane had just birdied this hole he would have to have had a solid par to have halved it.
Had they been playing strokeplay however this would have been a "disaster".
This is a 200-yard Par. 3 with water in front of the green and a small bunker placed the right-hand side. Shane was well used to playing this hole and never found any problem with it or any difficulty with the water hazard. However as he tended to fade the ball, to the right, ending up in bunker at the greenside. Cian's confidence was somewhat shattered having taken a nine at the previous hole and found it difficult to come to terms with the fact that even if he took a bogey he would have only halved the hole. This indeed was a very difficult hole for a beginner to take on as a Par 3. It would take an exceptionally good driver 3-wood for him to reach it. His natural instinct was to "go for the green" and win the hole back. However at this point in time it is worth considering what options Cian had and which golfers are facet every day of the week. It is "Course Management". Here is a being given twenty strokes by his opponent. His opponent is in the bunker even the best of Professionals often drop a shot having visited the bunker. He has a shot on the hole. He could lay-up short of the water leaving himself, a relatively easy pitch on to the green. The likelihood is he would take two putts, the possibility is he might get down in one. Either way he should be looking at nothing more than a bogey four on a very difficult hole.
His other option would be to play well left of the water taking the water and bunker out of play for his second shot leaving himself an easier pitch again on to the green, again looking like a certain four with a possible three.
As with 95% of golfers these options "aren't even considered", particularly with beginners. So Cian took out his 3-wood, took one almighty swipe at the ball headed in the general direction of the hole but always looked like it was going to be in trouble in the water and this was confirmed with a "watery grave" ten feet short of the far side of the water hazard.
Rule 26 comes into play with regards to "water hazards" and especially in Ireland where most of the newly designed courses are incorporating a lot of water on them it is worth noting this rule and "retaining it forever". Having visited the water the player has a number of options (i) as in every case in the golf course he has the option of playing another ball from the tee incurring a stroke and distance penalty thereby he will be playing three (ii) which is generally a more favorable scenario is at this point he should read Rule 26.1 carefully - ball in water hazard “it is a question of fact whether a ball lost after having been struck towards a water hazard is lost inside or outside the hazard. In order to treat the ball as lost in the hazard, there must be reasonable evidence that the ball lodged in it and in the absence of such evidence that the ball must be treated as a lost ball and Rule 7 applies".
If the ball is in or is lost in a water hazard
"whether the ball lies in water or not the player may under penalty of one stroke (1) play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played or (2) 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 as to how far behind the water hazard the ball may be dropped or (3) as additional options available only if the ball last crossed the margin of a lateral water hazard drop the ball outside the water hazard within two club-lengths 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. The ball may be cleaned when lifted under this rule".Cian immediately took option number two and dropped his ball well back from the line his ball crossed the water hazard leaving himself with a sixty-foot chip which he played with a wedge and duly delivered it on the green for three (as pointed out earlier he could easily have placed the ball in this position without occurring a penalty).
When Shane arrived at the bunker he noticed the ball was stuck under the back lip. With his experience he decided to come out sideways. However this was even a very difficult shot as he had to chop down on the ball and just barely got out of the bunker leaving himself with a very long putt>. As he marked his ball to clean it he noticed there was a slice in the ball which is quite common with "balatas" and probably occurred with his hack-down in the bunker. He brought this to Cian's att>ention and pointed out that under Rule 5.3 he was allowed to replace his ball. Rule 5.3 reads ball unfit to play "if ball is unfit to play, if it is visibly cut, cracked or out of shape "."If a player has reason to believe his ball has become unfit to play during the play of the hole being played, he may during the play of
such hole lift his ball without penalty to determine whether it is unfit. Before lifting the ball the player must announce his intention to his opponent in matchplay or his marker or fellow competitor in strokeplay".
"If it is determined that the ball has become unfit to play during play o hole being played the player may substitute another ball placing it on the where the original ball lay".
Now playing a brand new ball Shane left himself five-foot short of the hole. Cian duly addressed his ball and "lo-and-behold" it dropped into the back of the hole giving him a four net three. As Shane had putted and was now lying three he duly conceded the hole to Cian. Match all square. As they walked from the fourth green to the fifth tee-box, Cian’s “confidence" was beginning to grow again. It should be noted that confidence in golf is a very pertinent part of the game. It is said that as one bad shot often leads to another one good shot is often followed by a good hole.
As Cian stood on the fifth tee-box having gained the honour for the first time. He noticed that Shane was practicing his putting at the edge of the tee-box. He had also taken a practice putt having conceded the hole on the previous green. Shane pointed out that this was permissible under Rule 7 which refers to practice. He also pointed out that it is permissible to practice on the course prior to a match-play competition i.e. to play a few holes. However this is not permissible in the case of strokeplay. He pointed out to Cian that under Rule 7.2 with regard to practice during rounds "a player shall not play a practice stroke either during the play of a hole or between the play of two holes except that between the play of two holes the player may practice putting or chipping on or near the putting green of the hole last played, any practice putting green or teeing ground of the next to be played in the round provided such practice stroke is not played from the hazard and does not unduly delay play”.
"Strokes played in continuing the play of a hole the result of which has been decided are not practice strokes".
Needless to say practice swings are permissible on the tee-box but players should always be careful not to knock divots when taking a practice swing out of courtesy and respect for the course.
Cian was left to wonder as it had occurred in the few games that he had played, that one finds a lost ball, is it permissible to have practice stroke with it. Shane pointed out that it was not and this would incur a two stroke penalty in strokeplay and loss of the hole in matchplay.
On the fifth tee-box Cian noticed that this had to be one of the most difficult holes he had even seen and indeed it was. It played all of 440-yards from the forward stake` and was a dog-leg left and out of bounds all the way up the right. Indeed it played as a Par 5 from the ladies' tee-box. Shane pointed out to him that it was Index 2 o the card therefore he had "two shots"" on this hole. Cian's shot was barely 150 yards off the tee down the left- hand side trickling into the rough which left him the huge "Oak Tree" between himself and the green or even to get back on to the fairway would be difficult. Shane unleashed an unmerciful drive down the right-hand side of the fairway and was in "Position A" yet again. Cian was faced with two options when he got to his ball - either to take on the large oak tree which was directly in line or hit a low iron out on to the fairway down the right-hand side leaving the approach to the green very inviting. As is the case with beginners who often see themselves as "Jack Nicklaus reincarnated" he decided to take on the "Oak Tree". He hit the ball straight into the middle of the "Oak Tree" and having ricocheted several times off the large branches it came out on the left-hand side in the heavy rough. Not quite sure where his ball had finished up he indicated to Shane that he was going to play a provisional ball. This time he did the right thing and hit a 9-iron out on to the right-hand side of the fairway. When Cian arrived in the heavy rough looking for his ball in play his instinct was to root for it with his club and his feet. Shane immediately pointed out to him to be careful, that should he move the ball under Rule 18.2 he would incur a penalty shot. He also pointed out that should he, Shane, whilst looking for his ball move it there would be no penalty incurred. A short time after Shane indicated to Cian that he had found a ball but was impossible to establish whether it was his or not as they couldn't see enough of the ball. Cian may have started out with a Titleist 3 but having been out of bounds and in the water he was now playing a Topflite 4. Shane explained that under Rule 12.2 it was permissible for Cian to lift his ball, the exact meaning of this rule being "except in a hazard a player may without penalty lift the ball he believes to be his own for the purpose of identification and clean it to the extent necessary for identification".However he pointed out as in many other instances the player must indicate to his opposition or playing partner his intention of doing so.
Having established that it was his ball Cian carefully replaced it where it lay.
Although Cian was technically where he was for "nothing" he decided to have a go at getting near the green he unleashed a 5-wood which sliced into the trees about 40-yards to the right-hand side from the green. Again he heard a dreaded clatter of a ball ricocheting off branches.
At this point it was Shane's turn to have a go at the green and even though it was Index 2 he took out his 3-wood and topped it leaving it some 30 yards short of the green. When Cian arrived at his ball although very visible it was within three inches of one of the tree stumps, he had clattered into and was indeed unplayable. However had he been left-handed he could have hacked out on to the centre of the fairway. This is called the `rub of the green'. Shane explained that this was covered under Rule 28 which reads "if the player deems his ball to be unplayable he should under penalty of one stroke (a) play the ball as near as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played or (b) drop a ball within two club-lengths of the spot where the ball lay but not nearer the hole or (c) drop the ball behind the point where the ball lay keeping that point directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped with no limit as to how far behind that point the ball may be dropped".
Cian had no difficulty in deciding which option he would take. As he had come out of heavy rough he had no intention of going back there. If he dropped within two club-lengths to the side he was still in the trees with no escape route to the green. He opted for to drop back behind the trees although in rough it was not to difficult to get a sand-wedge in under the ball which he duly did and lobbed it on to the green.
However before he took his drop Shane pointed out to him the correct method of dropping a ball which is quite simple. One stretches one's arm out straight, drops the ball - this rule reads "a ball to be dropped under the Rules shall be dropped by the player himself he should stand erect, hold the ball at shoulder height and arms length and drop it" and goes on to state " a ball shall be redropped without penalty if it (a) rolls into a hazard (b) rolls out of a hazard (c) rolls on to the putting green (d) rolls out of bounds (e) rolls to a position to where there is interference by the conditions from which relief was taken. (f) rolls and comes to rest more than 2-club-lengths from where it first struck a part of the course or (g) rolls and comes to rest nearer the hole than the original position or estimated position unless otherwise permitted by the rules”.
Shane's chip and run looked very good until he noticed while his ball was in flight that Cian `s ball was in his line. Inevitably his ball struck Cian's sending it scuttling up the green. Cian immediately thought that after all his trials and tribulations on this hole his luck had changed. However Shane pointed out that under Rule 18.5 which reads "that a ball in ply and at rest is moved by another ball in motion after a strike, the moved ball shall be replaced".So Cian had to replace his ball where it originally was. As for Shane's ball this is covered under Rule 19.5 which reads "if a player's ball in motion after a strike is deflected or stopped by a ball in play or at rest the player shall play the ball as it lies”.
Therefore neither player had incurred a penalty by this collision. Cian duly sank his putt as did Shane so Cian had six shots giving him a net four and Shane got down in regulation which meant they halved the hole.
As they stood on the sixth tee-box which is a straight-forward enough Par 4, bunker on the right-hand side of the fairway and the green guarded by two bunkers, one on the right-h>and side and one just to the left. This would normally be a straight-forward hole although a low index, the only difficulty being the length measuring 408-yards from the forward stakes. However on this occasion the wind w>as not blowing from its normal direction and they were hitting straight into it. As it was still Cian's honour he hit what he considered a pretty good 3-wood off the tee. However the wind got under it and he "Skied" the ball which meant it didn't go too far up the fairway.
Shane on the other hand with his experience knew how to keep a ball under the wind and hit a punchy driver well up the fairway.
Cian was wondering how Shane managed to keep the ball so low, so when he reached his ball he decided to enquire from Shane as to what club he should use and how to keep it under the wind.
Cian was flabbergasted when Shane informed him that he had just "lost the hole" under Rule 8.1 which reads Advice - "During a stipulated round a player shall not give advice to anyone in the competition except his partner ". A player may ask advice during a stipulated round from only his partner or either of their caddies, the rule is in matchplay - loss of hole in strokeplay - 2 strokes”.However Shane informed him he was only hopping-the-ball as this was only a friendly competition and the purpose of the exercise was to enlighten Cian with the rules. Indeed he had already given him advice prior to this on the first when he was in the divot.
Shane explained that this applies to "giving advice" as well as asking for advice. A famous example of this was in 1980 when Tom Watson was playing the last round of the Tournament of Champions. He playing partner was Lee Trevino. Watson noticed a flaw in Trevino's swing and sportingly told him about it. The TV commentator at the time noted it as a typical friendly gesture between two rivals but viewers rang the club to point out that advice was being given contrary to Rule 8.
After the round Watson was asked had he given Trevino advice and the reply was in the affirmative landing him with a two-stroke penalty. Luckily Watson had a three-stroke lead so he still won the Tournament.
However Shane pointed out to Cian as this was only a friendly game and he was a beginner he would not claim the hole. He also pointed out that it was not against the rules to ask a player what club he used after the ball has been struck.
Cian was beginning to learn to "box clever" and knowing he had a shot on this hole as indeed every other one he decided to hit a solid 4-iron up the fairway which left him a relatively handy third shot to the green.
Shane being fully aware he was giving a shot seeing Cian in perfect position decided to "go for" the green with a 3-wood. However his slice landed on the wrong green about forty yards to the right of the 6th.
As they got within sight of Cian's ball both players were baffled as to why it was not sitting up on the fairway. On closer inspection they noticed that Cian's ball was half-way down a "rabbit hole". Cian almost "freaked" as he thought the gods were conspiring against him yet again. Shane told him not to worry as this was covered under Rule 25.1 which reads - "interference by casual water, ground under repair or a hole, cast or runway made by a burrowing animal, a reptile or a bird occurs when a ball lies in or touches any of these conditions or when such a condition on the course interferes with a player's stance or the area of his intended swing". The player is entitled to a free drop within one club-length of that point not nearer the hole.
Cian dropped his ball having remembered the procedure he had gone through on the previous hole. However his ball landed and rolled another couple of feet away from the one club-length point. His immediate instinct was to pick it up and drop it again. Shane stopped him in his tracks and pointed out that it would be a two-stroke penalty if he were to pick it up and drop again as his ball was now in play because it had not rolled more that two club-lengths away from the point where it hit the ground.
The most famous example of a player trying to be scrupulously fair in a situation like this occurred in the 1973 Open at Troon. Tony Jacklin's ball had landed in a rabbit hole and he proceeded to drop without penalty two club-lengths clear of the nearest point of relief. In 1973 you were allowed a two club-length drop as against now one club-length.
When dropping his ball it rolled a few feet further from the rabbit hole and into a far better lie. Jacklin felt that this was giving him an unfair advantage and decided to re-drop. When it came to signing his card Jacklin was informed that he had incurred two penalty strokes and this incident probably cost him the Open that year. The lesson to be learned is always play by the letter of the law even if it is to your advantage.
Cian hit a solid 7-iron on to the heart of the green and as they proceeded up the fairway he began to wonder how Shane was going to play off the wrong green. Surely he would damage the green if he tried chipping. Shane explained that this was catered for under Rule 25.3 which reads - "a player must not play a ball which lies on a putting green other than that of the hole being played. The ball must be lifted and the player must proceed as follows; the point on the course nearest to where the ball lies shall be determined which (a) is not nearer the hole and (b) is not in a hazard or on a putting green. The player shall lift the ball and drop it without penalty within one club-length of the point thus determined on the part of the course which fulfils (a) and (b) above. The ball may be cleaned when so lifted".
Shane dropped in the appropriate spot and with his 65 degree loft wedge stitched the ball to within two feet of the pin. Cian, knowing he has an opportunity to win the hole takes great care with his putt but lips the hole and they both agree to half the hole and proceed to the next.
The 7th hole is a pretty difficult Par-3 measuring 169-yards from the forward stakes with bunkers to the left and right of the green and a small stream running down the left-hand side.
Shane considered this his "favorite" hole and felt he was guaranteed a par at worst. However having selected a 5-iron and being a bit over-confident he pulled the ball in the water. He couldn't remember the last time he had been in the water.
Cian also expected to see Shane's ball or the heart of the green and he immediately saw this as an opportunity of getting back into the match. He hit a perfect 5-wood to the heart of the green himself and was now feeling very comfortable about winning this hole. After all he had a stroke in-hand and Shane was in trouble.
As the brothers walked towards the green an extraordinary thing happened - a little Jack Russell scurried across the green, took Cian's ball in his mouth and headed into the distance.
Cian was horrified but Shane reassure him that there was nothing to worry about as this freak situation was covered under Rule 18.1 which reads - “ by outside agency, if a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency the player shall incur no penalty and the ball shall be replaced before the player plays another stroke”.
A very "relieved" Cian took another ball out of his bag and placed it as near as possible to the original ball on the green an: hoped that the Jack Russell might “choke” on the one that he had ran away with. He then went over to see how Shane was going to extradite himself from the position he had found himself in the water. He noticed that the water was marked by red posts, either side and enquired from Shane what this meant. He told him that it denoted a lateral water hazard as against yellow posts which denote a water hazard.
Shane studied his options carefully. As Cian was on the green he knew if he were to have any chance of halving the hole he must get up and down from where he was. However if this were stroke-play he would have no hesitation but to take a drop.
He recalled the late Payne Stewart in the "Ryder Cup" in 1989 at the Belfry where he ended up in the water at the 18th. Payne Stewart attempted to play the ball but after three attempts only managed to move it a few feet.
This option was fraught with danger as with the situation in the bunker you could not ground your club or touch the water on your back-swing. However if he grounded his club to prevent himself from falling into the water there would be no penalty stroke incurred under Rule 13.4.1 which reads – “provided nothing is done which constitutes testing the conditions of the hazard or improving the lie of the ball there is no penalty if the player (a) touches the ground in any hazard or water in a water hazard as a result of/or to prevent falling in removing an obstacle in measuring or in retrieving or ling a ball under any rule or (b) placing his club in the hazard".
He quickly decided against attempting to play the shot out of the water and was left with three options (1) he could go back to the tee and play a second ball (2) he could take a drop not nearer the hole within two club-lengths of the line of entry and (3) and this only applies to a lateral water hazard which is covered under rule 26.1.(c) and reads "as additional option available only if the ball last crossed the margin of a lateral water hazard, drop a ball outside a water hazard within two club-lengths of and not nearer the hole than (1) the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard or (2) a point on the opposite margin of the water hazard equidistant from the hole. The ball may be cleaned when lifted under this rule".Shane decided on the third option as in this case it took the bunker out of play and gave him a reasonably clear shot to the green. Shane duly chipped to within three feet of the pin.
Cian was "oozing" with confidence as he knew all that he needed to do was get down in three. Shane had played three with his penalty shot, couldn't do anything better than a four - here was Cian with three putts to win the hole. Totally relaxed, he lined his putt and left it hanging on the lip. As the ball hung on the lip Cian thought he had got his "first birdie" in golf. He stood there waiting for the ball to drop which it duly did after about 45 seconds. To his amazement Shane pointed out that this was not allowed under Rule 16.2 which reads - "when any part of the ball overhangs the lip of the hole the player is allowed enough time to reach the hole without unreasonable delay and additional ten seconds to determine whether the ball is at rest. If by then the ball has not fallen into the hole it is deemed to be at rest. If the ball subsequently falls into the hole, the player is deemed to have holed out with his last stroke and he shall add a penalty stroke to his score for that hole. Otherwise there is no penalty under this rule".
However in this case it made no difference as he was down in 3 so Cian went one up with two to play.
The 8th is a tough Par 4 slight dog-leg to the left measuring 354-yards from the forward stakes, trouble all the way down the right and trees on the left. Index 5 on the card. It was also a double tee-box being adjacent to the 17th tee.
The rain began to bucket down and Cian’s inclination was to head for shelter. However Shane pointed out that play must be "continuous" and that discontinuance of play is only permitted when under Rule 6.8 "the player shall not discontinue play unless (1) the committee has suspended play (2) he believes there is danger of lightning (3) he is seeking a decision from the committee on a doubtful or disputed point or (4) there is some other good reason such as sudden illness”.Bad weather is not in itself a good reason for discontinuing play.
As it was Cian's honour he briskly stood up on the tee-box and hit a very poor drive. As he bent down to lift his tee noticed he had teed from the wrong tee ground.
Shane had been preoccupied trying a keep the grip of his driver dry and did not notice this mistake. Cian immediately felt he had made another "huge blunder" and was about to concede the hole. To his amazement Shane pointed out that under Rule 11.4 which reads – “playing from the outside teeing ground (a) matchplay - if a player when starting a hole, plays a ball from outside the teeing ground the opponent may immediately require the player to cancel the stroke so played and play a ball from within the teeing ground without penalty (b) in strokeplay - if a competitor when starting a hole plays a ball from out-side the teeing ground he shall incur penalty of two strokes and shall then play a ball from within the teeing ground”.
As they were brothers and Shane was trying to encourage Cian to take up the game he immediately asked him to play another shot without penalty. Mind you had he made him play from where his first ball lay they may never have spoken again!!
Cian seized the opportunity and his best drive of the day 230-yards up the right-hand side of the fairway. Shane knew his "back was to the wall" and that he must produce something special. He unleashed one of his 300-yard drives right up the middle with a right to left draw. The rain continued to bucket down and on reaching Cian's ball they noticed that it was in a puddle of water. Cian enquired did he have to play from there? Again Shane reassured him that this was covered under Rule 25.1 relating to casual water whereby the player is allowed relief under no penalty stroke. Cian enquired as to what exactly "casual water" is and Shane informed him that it is a temporary accumulation of water on the course which is visible before or after a player takes his stance and is not a water hazard. In this case it was quite visible but Shane pointed out that even if the ground looked dry and on taking his stance Cian found water welling up around his shoes. This would be deemed casual water as well. Taki