Sunday, May 5, 2013

Saucer Pass is for Hockey Only...

    Reported via Golf Channel from Vancouver is that the Saucer Pass chipping method is suitable only for hockey...  I took some time to read the comment section to see what people are thinking and I think that the story deserves a little more explanation.
    Rule 14-1 states, "The ball must be fairly struck at with the head of the club and must not be pushed, scraped or spooned."  The powers that be, (USGA, R&A and in this case Golf Canada) have now decided that this method is a scrape.  I might've gone with push, but I agree whole heartedly with the ruling.
    Some of the arguments in the comment sections revolved around the fact that he does use a small backstroke and accelerates through the ball.  The key is all about momentary contact.  "If a ball is fairly struck at there is only momentary contact between the clubhead and the ball or whatever intervenes between the clubhead and the ball" (Decision 14-1/4).  In this case, the 18 inches of turf the club scrapes along could be considered "whatever intervenes between the clubhead and the ball" and therefore the clubhead has more than momentary contact.
   Decision 14-1/4 tells us that it is possible to make a legal stroke with only a 1/2-inch backswing, but it also says that in most cases the player would be pushing the ball.  I suppose because the clubhead scrapes the ground prior to the push this stroke is better considered a scrape.  
    To the revisionists in the comment sections, just like with the potential anchoring ban, the stroke was legal when he used it and he won his NCAA Championship fair and square.  He just can't use the method from here on out.  No asterisks allowed.


  1. If he addressed the ball normally, drew it back along the ground then made the saucer pass, would that change anything?

    1. Possibly. I don't think so. The issue is still the scraping along the ground before contact.