Rule of the Month: How Can It Be Wrong (When It Feels So Right)?
By Sr. Rules Officials: Pete Scholz and Terry McEvilly
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Playing from Wrong Place
Many Rules require a player to determine a location on the golf course where he or she must drop, place or replace a ball before continuing playing the hole. These determinations need to be made promptly and with care, but often times cannot be precise.
Rule 1.3b(2) states, “So long as the player does what can be reasonably expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination, the player’s reasonable judgement will be accepted even if, after the stroke is made, the determination is shown to be wrong by video evidence or other information”. In other words, the player is not considered to have played from a wrong place if the location selected is inaccurate provided that reasonable judgement was used.
With that said, there are other times when a player will proceed under an inapplicable Rule or drop a ball in an incorrect location due to improperly determining the reference point or relief area. In these situations, if the player makes a stroke at the ball, he or she will have played from a wrong place. It is also possible to play from a wrong place by playing the ball as it lies.
For instance, in situations when a Rule requires a player to take relief and play the ball from a different spot on the course, the ball must not be played as it lies. Doing so is a breach of playing from a wrong place.
Test your knowledge of playing from a wrong place, the penalty for doing so and when and how to correct the error with the following questions.
Questions: True / False
- While searching for the ball, which was sitting down in long grass, the ball is accidentally moved. The exact location of the ball is unknown so the player estimates the location but replaces the ball by placing it on top of the grass and plays it. The player has proceeded properly and there is no penalty.
- In stroke play, a player in breach of playing from a wrong place must always correct the mistake by playing out the hole with a ball played from the correct location.
- When taking free relief from a cart path, the player drops the ball almost two club-lengths from the reference point and plays the ball. This was due to the player being unaware that the ball must be dropped within one club-length of the reference point. Because the player had doubt as to where to drop and play, there is no penalty.
- In stroke play, as a courtesy for another player about to putt, a player moves his or her ball-marker one club-head length to one side. Forgetting to move the ball-marker back to its original spot, the player replaces the ball in front of the ball-marker and makes a putt. Since this was done out of courtesy for another player there is no penalty and the player should replace the ball in its original spot and putt out.
- On a short par 3, with a 75-yard forced carry over a yellow penalty area, the player’s tee shot hits the putting green but spins off the front of the putting green and back into the penalty area. In taking relief, the player drops and plays a ball from within two club-lengths of where it last entered the edge of the yellow penalty area, but not closer to the hole. After completing the hole, but before teeing off on the next hole, the player thinks the procedure used was incorrect and he or she may have played from a wrong place. The error must be corrected by playing a ball from the tee side of the penalty area.
- After taking free relief from interference by a cart path, the player makes his or her next stroke while partially standing on the path. The player has played from a wrong place and gets the general penalty.
- The player lifts his or her ball from the putting green, cleans it and replaces it. After it has been replaced and at rest, wind moves the ball farther from the hole. The player plays the ball from its new location. Because the ball was moved by natural forces, the player must play it from where it came to rest after being moved by the wind.
- The ball lies in the general area, but very near the edge of a penalty area that is also a no play zone. The player takes a stance with one foot inside the no play zone and makes a stroke. There is no penalty because the ball was outside the no play zone.
- In a stroke play competition, with no Local Rules in place, a player’s tee shot travels 200 yards forward before coming to rest out of bounds. The player drops a ball within two club-lengths of where the original ball went out of bounds and plays the ball. This is a serious breach of playing from a wrong place and must be corrected by putting another ball into play from the teeing area under penalty of stroke and distance. While the stroke from the wrong place does not count in the player’s score, the player gets two penalty strokes for the breach and his or her next stroke from the teeing area will be their fifth stroke.
In stroke play, a player’s tee shot comes to rest on a wrong green. The player makes two putts on the wrong green before realizing that play is not permitted on a wrong green. The player correctly determines the nearest point of complete relief based on where the ball came to rest after the second putt and properly drops a ball within the relief area. The player takes three more strokes to complete the hole. The player’s score for the hole is an eight.
- False. Rule 14.2c. When replacing a lifted or moved ball on its original spot, or an estimated spot, the spot includes its vertical location relative to the ground. Therefore, in the situation presented, the player failed to properly replace the ball and. as a result, has played from a wrong place. The player gets the general penalty of loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play.
- False. Rule 14.7b. Only when the breach of playing from a wrong place is considered a serious breach is the player required to correct the error by completing the hole with a ball played from the correct location. If the breach is not serious, the player must complete the hole with the ball played from the wrong place and add two penalty strokes.
- False. Rule 14.3. The ball has been dropped and played from outside the correct relief area and the player incurs the general penalty. It is unlikely that this would be considered a serious breach unless the area where the ball was ultimately played from is much nicer than the ground inside the actual relief area.
- False. Rules 13.1b &14.1. It is very unlikely that this breach of playing from a wrong place would be considered serious. Therefore, the player should continue with the ball played from the wrong place without correcting the error and add two penalty strokes to his or her score for that hole. While it is unfortunate that this breach was a result of courtesy shown to another player, in this situation the player is required to replace his or her ball from where it was lifted.
- True. Rules 14.7 & 17.1. The lateral relief this player proceeded under may only be used for red penalty areas. Because this was a yellow penalty area, the player had only two options: 1. Playing from where the previous stroke was made (teeing area) or 2. Back on a line relief which would require the player to play from the tee side of the yellow penalty area. Considering the distance gained by playing on the green side of the penalty area and the fact that the penalty area was taken out of play by doing so, the player has played from a wrong place and is a serious breach, which must be corrected.
- True. Rule 16.1 & Interpretation 14.7b/2. Free relief from an abnormal course condition requires the player to take complete relief from all interference from the condition. Therefore, the player isn’t allowed to have interference to his or her stance once relief is taken. This breach of playing from a wrong place is unlikely to be considered a serious breach so correction of the error is not warranted.
- False. Rule 13.1d(2). When a ball on a putting green has been lifted and replaced, if it moves for any reason, including when it’s moved by natural forces, the ball must be replaced on its original spot. In this situation, the player incurs the general penalty and in stroke play must complete the hole with the ball played from the wrong place.
- False. Rules 2.4 & 17.1e(2). The player is not allowed to have any interference from a no play zone to his or her lie of the ball, stance or swing. By making the stroke with one foot inside the no play zone, the player played from a wrong place and loses the hole in match play or gets two penalty strokes in stroke play. In this situation, the player could have taken free relief from the no play zone under Rule 17.1e.
- True. Rules 14.7 & 18.2b. Due to the distance gained by playing from a wrong place, this breach would be considered a serious breach and must be corrected. Unless Local Rule E-5 (Alternative to Stroke and Distance for Lost Ball or Ball Out of Bounds) is in effect, the player was required to proceed under penalty of stroke and distance by playing from where the previous stroke was made. In this case, the stroke made from the wrong place doesn’t count and when the player corrects the error and plays again from the teeing area, he or she will be making their fifth stroke. One stroke was the original stroke from the teeing area, plus two penalty strokes for playing from a wrong place and an additional penalty stroke for the stroke and distance procedure required for a ball that is out of bounds.
- False. The player’s score for the hole is 10, broken out as follows – the initial stroke from the teeing area, the two putts on the wrong green and subsequent two-stroke penalties FOR EACH stroke made from a wrong place located on a wrong green, and the three strokes made to finish the hole after properly taking relief from the wrong green.