Rules Issues that came up during Tuesday's Ladies Game

Here are some issues/questions that came up yesterday during our Tuesday Ladies game that were brought to the attention of the Golf Rules Maven.

Grounding your club. You may ground your club everywhere on the course except in a bunker. If you do ground your club in a bunker, assess yourself a 2 stroke penalty. Remember, during social distancing, because there aren't rakes in the bunker, if you find your ball in a footprint (human or deer or dog) in the bunker you may place your ball just outside the footprint no nearer to the hole. This also applies if your ball lands in a divot someone previously hit from in the bunker.

Practice shots during play. After all the players in the group had hit their tee shot, one player said they wanted to do another tee shot as practice, but she said she would play her original tee shot not the practice tee shot for the game. Practice shots are not allowed during a round under the rules of golf. This a big "No No" during tournament or league play and results in disqualification if not corrected. Also if it occurs during a casual round, you may not be able post your score into the handicap system. Here is how that person needed to do to prevent disqualification:

  • Once she hit the "practice" shot, that ball was in play for the hole and she is then laying 3 and must abandon the original tee shot and hole out with the "practice shot".

  • When she abandoned her "practice" shot to play her first ball, she was playing with the wrong ball. No strokes or score counts when you play the wrong ball. It is as if you did not play the hole at all. If you start to play the next hole without completing the last hole, you are disqualified

  • To correct her rules breach, before starting the next hole, she needs to go back and finish playing the hole using the "practice ball" tee shot and add 2 strokes to her score. All strokes played using the first tee shot do not count.

  • Because she did not correct her breach, she is disqualified and she cannot post her score for handicap purposes. If she has, she should call Ron and have him delete it.

What should you do if you want to play a practice shot like this during a casual round, but still post a score for handicap purposes?

  • On the holes that you play an extra shot as "practice" you must record as your score only par plus your handicap strokes (0-3) for the hole. Do not inflate your score by using your actual score, nor your maximum score allowed for handicap purposes (par plus 2, plus your handicap strokes.

  • If you have practice shots on more than 4 holes for 18 hole rounds or more than 2 holes for a 9 holes round, you have not played the minimum number of holes for a round of golf which is 14 for an 18 hole round of 7 for a 9 hole round. Do not post your round in the handicap system.

  • So based on the above, you may practice on up to 4 holes during an 18 holes round or 2 holes in a 9 hole round and still post into the handicap system as long as you used only Par plus your Handicap strokes for the score on those practice holes.

Lift, Clean and Place. A player's ball was on the fringe, but in a hole. The player moved her ball out of the hole, but then decided because of the dead grass in the way she wanted to move her ball again since she did not take the full club length for the first move. The format is not lift, clean, place and place. Once you place your ball and take your hand off your ball, your ball is in play and must be played as it lies. If you then decide to even just tweak it, assess yourself a one stroke penalty and if you do not "untweak" it, and hit the ball, assess yourself a 2 stroke penalty. This may not sound right because tweaking seems so minor. Think about it this way...if the format wasn't lift clean and place, you would not even think about bending down and tweaking your ball on the fairway or fringe. You would just play if as it lies.

The 2020 WWGA Golf Rules Maven

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@2019 The Woods Women's Golf Association

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