How do you tell good friends they’re taking way too much time? They’re fabulous people, but it’s becoming very difficult to continue playing with them. We’ve tried pointing out that we’re two holes behind the group in front of us and that we’re holding up the group behind us. Nothing helps.
Those “fabulous people” are golf’s equivalent of folks who drive 80 kilometres per hour in the right lane of the freeway. Though many don’t realise they’re disrupting traffic, there are some who slow down even more if you call attention to their slowness by flashing your headlights. It’s a ticklish case, one usually addressed with gentle criticism and “while we’re young” gibes. Here’s another solution: grab your phone, make a video of the whole insufferable process, and show it to them over drinks when you’re finished. Point out when they’re approaching – and exceeding – the 40 to 50 seconds allowed for PGA Tour players before officials begin to take note. Maybe compare it with a video of another player in your group who gets the swing underway a lot faster. Then leave it at that for a while. Chances are, they’ll pick up the pace on their own. If they don’t? Maybe they’re not so fabulous after all.
I hit my ball in the bush. When I took a hack at it, two balls came flying out. It was a friendly game, so we had a good laugh about it. But afterwards I thought back on the situation and wondered: should I have been penalised for playing someone else’s ball inadvertently?
Nope. Because you made a stroke at your ball, there’s no penalty for dislodging a concealed ball. Just play your next shot as it lies.
One of the R&A and USGA’s new rules involving putting allows touching your line of play. Is it now OK to brush the green in the line of play to assess the grain?
Not if you do it intentionally. Rule 13.1e says that when playing a hole, you can’t deliberately test the green by rubbing the surface or rolling a ball on it. You’ll lose the hole in matchplay, and you’ll be charged two strokes in strokeplay. Note, however, that you can rub a muddy ball on the green to clean it. Look carefully as you do it, and you might learn something about the grain.
A cartpath made of wood chips is considered an artificial surface, so we get a free drop from it. Why don’t we get a free drop when these chips are put around trees?
We hear you. Wood chips are nice enough to look at, but it’s no fun trying to hit a delicate shot off them. (Wood chunk is more like it.) Under the Rules of Golf, wood chips are considered loose impediments, which means you can move individual wood chips (see Rule 15.1). However, you don’t get a free drop unless the competition committee or the course decides to treat the wood-chipped area as an immovable obstruction (see Rule 16.1).
What happens if my ball in motion hits another ball at rest on the putting green and both balls were on the green before my stroke? The rules woman at my club says there is no penalty.
It depends on what kind of competition you’re playing. In strokeplay, under Rule 11.1a, you would suffer a two-stroke penalty because both balls were on the putting green before the stroke. In matchplay, there is no penalty. Either way, the ball in motion is played as it lies and the ball at rest has to be put back where it was before your stroke.