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Over the last 2 years, I have had the pleasure of presenting the Rules to over 4000 golfers and at nearly every presentation, many of the same questions continue to come up. The intent of these questions and explanations is to enlighten golfers and banish many of the myths that continue to circulate about the Rules of Golf. In doing so, I hope that all golfers will be able to better understand the Rules and attain more enjoyment from the game. In addition to the answer for Riddler #11 below, you can view Riddler #11 by clicking here. Riddler #12 comes from an actual event that took place at a recent collegiate event and was sent into the OGA for review
OGA Rules Riddler #11 addressed the following situations:
1. What do the Rules permit when you have (or do not have) interference from a movable object attached to something immovable or fixed?
2. One of the many times when you are responsible for the actions of your partner.
Riddler #11 – The Question
Jim and Jerry are partners in a four-ball stroke play competition.
On the first hole, both slice their tee shots toward a maintenance building near the course boundary. When they arrive, both balls are found through the green near the entrance gate to the building, which has been left partially open.
Jim’s ball has come to rest in a good lie but he has interference to his swing from the door of the building. He decides to open the door further to remove the interference but, in doing so, Jerry’s ball would be moved. Not sure if this is OK, Jim decides that rather than moving the door to a new position he will instead take relief from the door by treating it as an immovable obstruction.
He lifts, cleans and drops his ball within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, no nearer the hole at a point that avoids interference from the door. The ball comes to rest where it first struck the course. He plays his next stroke and again slices the ball to the right. Frustrated, he kicks the door which comes very close to but does not move Jerry’s ball.
Prior to Jim kicking the door, Jerry did not have interference to his swing, however, now he does. Believing he may get a little bit better lie, Jerry also decides to take relief from the door, treating it as an immovable obstruction. He drops following the procedure under Rule 24-2b and plays onto the green.
Jim finds his ball, chips-out to the fairway and then plays his next stroke to the green. Both Jerry and Jim two putt to finish the hole.
What did Jim and Jerry score on the hole?
Riddler #11 - Resolved
This question starts out simple enough with both players hitting out to the right of the hole. They find both balls near each other and also near an open door attached to a building. Though this is clearly a rare occurance that both balls would come to rest in a situation like this, it is not uncommon to come upon a situation where you have interference from something that is designed to be movable that is attached to something that is immovable (i.e. garden hose, towel attached to a ball washer or a chain attached to immovable posts). When a part of an immovable object is designed to be movable Decision 24-2b/15.5 provided guidance that a player may treat the movable section (the door) as an immovable obstruction only if the player has interference from the door when his ball came to rest. If interference is only obtained by moving the door to a position a player may not take relief from the door as an immovable obstruction.
Thus, Jim is entitled to take relief from the door under Rule 24-2b (or he could have moved the door out of the way ... more on this below). He properly takes his free relief and after playing a very poor shot his frustration gets the best of him and he kicks the door moving it to a position where it now interferes with Jerry's next shot.
Jerry is in the opposite situation. Initially, he did not have interference from the door and in treating the door as an immovable obstruction Jerry is in breach of the most basic principle in golf, playing the ball as it lies. In lifted his ball and eventually playing it from a new position he incurred a 2 stroke penalty under Rule 18-2a.
Outside of this situation, there is little going on in this Riddler except counting each players strokes. Jim took a total of six (6) strokes to finish the hole and Jerry took just four (4) talent strokes and had to add two (2) more for his breach of Rule 18-2a, for a total of six.
Congratulations to all of you who contributed to the correct answer ... both players scored 6 on the hole.
There is one more point I would like to touch on regarding the question. What would happen if Jim moved the door out of his way and in doing so moved Jerry's ball. This is covered by Rule 24-1a. The door is a movable obstruction and the movement of your ball is directly attributable to the movement of a movable obstruction, Rule 24-1a states that the ball must be replaced, without penalty.
Please direct comments and questions to the OGA Rules Department by phone (503) 981-4653 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.