Rules Study Guides & Charts

The following guides and charts are designed to help you study the Rules and understand some of the more difficult and complicated Rules.  Frequently, it is easier to understand a Rule once it is broken out of the dense paragraph of the book.

 
 
 
 

Bracketing and Highlighting the Rule

The easiest way to break a Rule out of its shell, is to literally do so.  Using Rule 13-2 as an example below, here is a great way to separate and simplify the information that is clustered together while reading the Rules.
 
You can see I've done two things in the picture above. 1) I've bracketed the four examples and given them a name - Protected areas.  2) I've written in the Decision reference for the meaning of "improved."  It would also be helpful to highlight or underline 'must not improve or allow to be improved' to emphasize that this is the Rule you are not to breach.
 
Again, I've bracketed the examples and given them a name - Prohibited actions.  It would be helpful to highlight the actions in red (or pink as a common highlighter color) as a reminder that these are things you must not do. 
 
In this final picture you can see all of the previous techniques at work.  I've bracketed the acceptable actions and labeled them 'OK' because they are permitted.  I've added references to Decisions that further define 'grounding the club' lightly and 'fairly taking his stance'.  I would also highlight 'no penalty' and all of the listed actions in green as a reminder that these actions are permitted and no penalty occurs in these instances.  And finally, I've put a star next to the Exception.  It is important to make note of any and all Exceptions in the Rules.  Frequently, they are the difference between a correct and incorrect ruling.
 
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Making a Valid Claim

 

 
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Scenarios for Wrong Balls and Substituted Balls


Questions Only

1)     In stroke play player A looks for his tee shot for 3 minutes and finds a ball.  Without lifting it, he hits it to the green.  When he gets to the green, he realizes it isn’t his ball.  What is the ruling? 
 
2)     Player B searches 6 minutes for his tee shot and finds it.  He plays it to the green.
 
3)     Player C finds his tee shot in the rough.  His stance is on a sprinkler head.  Without lifting his original ball he takes another ball from his bag, drops it under Rule 24-2 and plays it.
 
4)     Player D looks for 6 minutes and finds a ball.  He lifts it for identification and determines it is his.  He replaces it and plays it to green.
 
5)     Player E looks for 3 minutes and finds a ball in a bush.  He decides to take an unplayable.  Since he can’t reach the ball, he drops another ball keeping the point where the ball lies directly between where he drops and the hole and plays it.  As he is walking to the green, he finds his ball in a playable lie.
 
6)     Player F looks for 2 minutes for his ball and returns to the tee to play a provisional ball.  He tees it up and hits it.  Inside of 5 minutes from when he started to search his original ball is found.  He plays the original ball and lifts the provisional ball.
 
7)     Player G looks 2 minutes for his ball and returns to the tee to play a provisional ball.  He plays it down the middle where it is visible.  Inside of 5 minutes his original ball is found by another player.  He lifts it to confirm that it is his, replaces it and plays it.  He then lifts his provisional ball which was 20 yards closer to the green.
 
8)     After hitting his tee shot into the rough, Player H properly plays a provisional down the middle.  In searching he finds a ball in a bad lie.  He deems it unplayable and drops it under Rule 28b.  He plays to the green and lifts his provisional ball that was 20 yards down the fairway.  As he walks to the green he finds his original ball in the rough.
 
9)     Player J searches for his tee shot for 2 minutes and finds a ball in a bad lie.  He lifts it and drops under Rule 28b.  He plays it.  When he reaches the green he realizes it wasn’t his ball.  He returns and finds his original ball in 2 minutes.  Without lifting it, he plays it to the green.
 
10) Player K searches for 2 minutes and finds a ball in a bad lie.  He plays it without lifting it.  He hits it into a worse lie from where he deems it unplayable and drops it under Rule 28b.  He plays it to the green.  As he walks to the green, he discovers his original ball in the rough.

Questions and Answers

1)   In stroke play player A looks for his tee shot for 3 minutes and finds a ball.  Without lifting it, he hits it to the green.  When he gets to the green, he realizes it isn’t his ball.  What is the ruling?

A has played a wrong ball.  He incurs a 2-stroke penalty under Rule 15-3 and must correct his error by finding and playing his original.  He has 2 minutes left to search.

2)   Player B searches 6 minutes for his tee shot and finds it.  He plays it to the green.

B has played a wrong ball as his original was lost when it was not found within 5 minutes (Def. Lost Ball).  He incurs a 2-stroke penalty under Rule 15-3 and must correct his mistake by returning to the tee and playing another ball under penalty of stroke and distance.

3)   Player C finds his tee shot in the rough.  His stance is on a sprinkler head.  Without lifting his original ball he takes another ball from his bag, drops it under Rule 24-2 and plays it.

C incurs a 2-stroke penalty under Rule 24-2 for substituting a ball when not permitted. He must continue with the substituted ball.

4)   Player D looks for 6 minutes and finds a ball.  He lifts it for identification and determines it is his.  He replaces it and plays it to green.

When D did not find his original ball within 5 minutes it was lost (Def. Lost Ball). When he lifted and replaced the ball he substituted a ball in a wrong place as he was required to play from the tee.  He incurs a 2-stroke penalty under Rule 27-1 for playing from a wrong place, and if the breach is serious he must correct the error prior to teeing off from the next teeing ground or he is disqualified.

5)   Player E looks for 3 minutes and finds a ball in a bush.  He decides to take an unplayable.  Since he can’t reach the ball, he drops another ball keeping the point where the ball lies directly between where he drops and the hole and plays it.  As he is walking to the green, he finds his ball in a playable lie.

E has substituted a ball in a wrong place. Rule 28b requires the original ball to be found, therefore his only option was to proceed under stroke and distance. When he played the substituted ball the original was lost. He incurs a 2-stroke penalty under 27-1 for playing from a wrong place in addition to a stroke and distance penalty and must correct his error by correctly playing a ball from where his previous stroke was made.

6)   Player F looks for 2 minutes for his ball and returns to the tee to play a provisional ball.  He tees it up and hits it.  Inside of 5 minutes from when he started to search his original ball is found.  He plays the original ball and lifts the provisional ball.

When F put another ball into play from the teeing ground it was not a provisional as he had already gone forward to search and was his ball in play (Rule 27-2).  The original ball was lost (Def. Lost Ball).  When he played the original, he played a wrong ball.  He incurs a 2-stroke penalty under Rule 15-3 and must correct the mistake by replacing and playing the “provisional.”  He also incurs a one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2a for lifting the “provisional” which was his ball in play.

7)   Player G looks 2 minutes for his ball and returns to the tee to play a provisional ball.  He plays it down the middle where it is visible.  Inside of 5 minutes his original ball is found by another player.  He lifts it to confirm that it is his, replaces it and plays it.  He then lifts his provisional ball which was 20 yards closer to the green.

G’s original ball was lost when he returned to the tee and put another ball into play, however, when he lifted the original and replaced it, he substituted a ball for his ball in play in a wrong place.  He incurs a 2-stroke penalty under 13-1 and must continue with the substituted ball as the breach was not a serious one. He is not penalized an additional 2-strokes for substituting when not permitted (Note 3 to 20-7c).

8)   After hitting his tee shot into the rough, Player H properly plays a provisional down the middle.  In searching he finds a ball in a bad lie.  He deems it unplayable and drops it under Rule 28b.  He plays to the green and lifts his provisional ball that was 20 yards down the fairway.  As he walks to the green he finds his original ball in the rough.

When H dropped the stray ball the original ball was lost and the provisional ball was his ball in play.  Therefore, he substituted a ball in and played from a wrong place.  He incurs a 2-stroke penalty under Rule 13-1 in addition to the stroke and distance penalty and he must continue with the substituted ball as the breach was not a serious one. He is not penalized an additional 2-strokes for substituting when not permitted (Note 3 to 20-7c).

9)   Player J searches for his tee shot for 2 minutes and finds a ball in a bad lie.  He lifts it and drops under Rule 28b.  He plays it.  When he reaches the green he realizes it wasn’t his ball.  He returns and finds his original ball in 2 minutes.  Without lifting it, he plays it to the green.

When J dropped the stray ball, he substituted a ball in a wrong place as he was not permitted to proceed under 28b without finding the original (See Decision 28/15).  It was however, the ball in play and he was required to correct his mistake by playing from the tee under penalty of stroke and distance.  When he played his original ball, he played a wrong ball.  J incurs a 2-stroke penalty under 27-1 for playing from a wrong place, another 2-stroke penalty for playing a wrong ball under Rule 15-3, and must proceed under stroke and distance by playing a ball from the tee before playing from the next teeing ground.

10) Player K searches for 2 minutes and finds a ball in a bad lie.  He plays it without lifting it.  He hits it into a worse lie from where he deems it unplayable and drops it under Rule 28b.  He plays it to the green.  As he walks to the green, he discovers his original ball in the rough.

K played a wrong ball.  He incurs a 2-stroke penalty under Rule 15-3 and had to correct the error by playing the original ball.  The fact that he later incurred a penalty and dropped the wrong ball is irrelevant as he had already played a wrong ball and was required to correct that mistake. 


5 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. In Question 5, would it make any difference if the player retrieved the ball in the bush (without realizing it wasn't his) and played it under the unplayable rule (all other aspects of the question unchanged?

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    1. No actually it would not. It would still be a substituted ball played from a wrong place.

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  3. Ryan
    Thank you for these excellent wrong ball/substituted ball scenarios, they are valuable learning aids for a golf rule student in this most complex of areas.
    I wish to pose a question/comment in respect of your answer to Question 5. Although not stated explicitly in the question, the answer implies that the breach (playing the substituted ball from the wrong place) is a serious one, hence the "and must correct his error by correctly playing a ball from where his previous stroke was made" wording at the end of the answer.

    However, it is not difficult to envisage circumstances where the wrong place may not involve a serious breach. In such a case, it would appear more appropriate to conclude the answer with comparable wording to the end of the answer to question 4, namely "and if the breach is serious he must correct the error prior to teeing off at the next teeing ground or he is disqualified".
    Do you agree with this observation?

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    1. If you change the facts to such that the location of his previous stroke is not a significant advantage from where he played the substituted ball, it would not be a serious breach. It is possible, but for the purposes of the scenario question, dropping where he did as opposed to stroke and distance is more than likely a serious breach.

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