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Rules Clarification

Understanding of the Rules clarified by HKGA Candi in Rules Seminar held in July 30, 2009

Rule 10. Order of Play
10-2. Stroke Play
c. Playing Out of Turn

If a competitor plays out of turn, no penalty is incurred and the ball shall be played as it lies. If, however, the Committee determines that competitors have agreed to play in an order other than that set forth in Clauses 2a, 2b and 3 of this Rule to give one of them an advantage, they shall be disqualified.

Q: If the player nearer the hole plays first, is it necessary to ask him to replay? If he refuses to play again, is it a breach of the rule and what is the penalty? If he gets consent from one player to play first, can the other player insists him to play again?

Answer: For match play, you may ask the player who plays out of turn to play again with no penalty to the player under Rule 10-1. For stroke competition, under 10-2, playing out of turn will have no penalty and no need to play again. However, there is still a Committee decision after all.

Rule 14. Striking the Ball
14-5. Playing Moving Ball

A player shall not play while his ball is moving.

Ball falling off tee – Rule 11-3.
Striking the ball more than once – Rule 14-4.
Ball moving in water – Rule 14-6.
When the ball begins to move only after the player has begun the stroke or the backward movement of his club for the stroke, he shall incur no penalty under this Rule for playing a moving ball, but he is not exempt from any penalty incurred under the following Rules:
Ball at rest moved by player – Rule 18-2a.
Ball at rest moving after address – Rule 18-2b.
Ball at rest moving after loose impediment touched –Rule 18-2c.
(Ball purposely deflected or stopped by player, partner or caddie – see Rule 1-2.)

Rule 18. Ball at Rest Moved
b. Ball Moving After Address
If a player’s ball in play moves after he has addressed it (other than as a result of a stroke), the player shall be deemed to have moved the ball and shall incur a penalty stroke. The player shall replace the ball unless the movement of the ball occurs after he has begun his swing and he does not
Discontinue his swing.

Q: When the ball is on the green:
a. after I address and ground my putter, and start my back swing. The wind moves my ball. I continue my stroke and hit the moving ball. Is there any penalty?

Answer. When he has addressed the ball and the ball is moved by the wind. Under 18.2 (b) One stroke penalty and the ball has to be replaced. If he continues to hit the moving ball with his stroke, he incurs no penalty for this stroke under Rule 14 but he is still subject to Rule 18-2b for one stroke penalty for ball moved after address. In summary, the total penalty is still 1 stroke regardless of the stroke is completed or not, only the ball position will be different if he has addressed the ball.

b. When the wind move my ball, I stop my stroke after my back swing, what should I do. Is there any penalty?

Answer: When he has addressed the ball and the ball moved by the wind. One stroke penalty and the ball is to be replaced. With the backswing commenced but discontinued by the player, the ball shall be replaced. If the player continue his stroke and hit the ball, the ball shall be played in the new position under 18.2 (b). In both cases the player is still subject to one stroke penalty.

c. When the ball is on the green, I take away my marker, I do not ground my putter and the wind move my ball. What should I do. Is there any penalty. If the wind move my ball and fall into water or missed. Is there any penalty. What should I do.

Answer: When he has replaced his ball but not yet addressed the ball, with marker or not , and the ball is moved by the wind , there is no penalty and the ball’s final position after the movement shall be treated as the result of the precedent stroke [that is no additional stroke counted]. If the ball gets into the hole, he has deemed to hole out with the last stroke made. If the ball gets into hazard such as water, he has to play accordingly by the rule.

Rule 24. Obstructions
The nearest point of relief is the reference point for taking relief without penalty from interference by an
Immovable obstruction (Rule 24-2), an abnormal ground condition (Rule 25-1) or a wrong putting green (Rule 25-3).
It is the point on the course, nearest to where the ball lies, which is not nearer the hole and at which, if the ball were so positioned, no interference (as defined) would exist.
Q: If the ball lies on the cart path and near the left side of the path edge , the nearest point of relief [NPR] shall be on the left side of the cart path. However, if the left side of the cart path is a steep slope or a bush that practically make the ball unplayable if it is dropped there, would it be permissible to drop it on the right side of the cart path or the player has to play the ball as it lies?

Answer: The NPR is determined with the stance of the player and the ball position to avoid the obstruction. If the NPR is on the left side which is a steep slope or thick bush that he cannot drop there and play easily, he is hard luck. He has to play as it lies, or declare unplayable to drop the ball within 2 club lengths or otherwise thus so permitted by the rule. Take example of Hole No.4 of the Els Course in Mission Hills, if his ball is on the right hand side of the road, he cannot drop the ball to the left side of the road since the steep slope on the right hand side of the road is an integral part of the course.

Rule 25. Abnormal Ground Conditions,
Embedded Ball and Wrong Putting Green
25-2. Embedded Ball

A ball embedded in its own pitch-mark in the ground in any closely-mown area through the green may be lifted, cleaned and dropped, without penalty, as near as possible to the spot where it lay but not nearer the hole. The ball when dropped must first strike a part of the course through the green.
“Closely-mown area” means any area of the course, including paths through the rough, cut to fairway height or less.

Q: It is wondered whether the area permitted for free drop is remained with FAIRWAY as to our understanding only fairway will be cut to fairway height. Even the first cut or second cut are mown with heights taller than the fairway?

Q: In fine weather. The ball was hit and landed on the fairway. I found that the ball was buried one-third to half in the ground of fairway. What should I do. If I move the ball. Is there any penalty? If the ball is totally buried into the gound of fairway. What should I do then? Is there definition for embedded ball?

Answer: Closely mown area through the green, cut to fairway height or less is the consideration. For the first cut or second cut, or rough that has the grass taller than the fairway, there is no free relief. For the fringe around the green that is cut lower than the fairway height, free relief is permissible. Put it simple, only in fairway can the embedded ball be lifted and replaced without penalty. There is no requirement of one third or half of the ball embedded to be considered as embedded. As long as the ball is embedded by its own pitch mark, there is a free relief. Weather is not a determining factor.

Rule 28. Ball Unplayable
The player may declare his ball unplayable at any place on the course except when the ball is in a water hazard. The player is the sole judge as to whether his ball is unplayable. If the player deems his ball to be unplayable, he shall, under penalty of one stroke:
b. Drop a ball within two club-lengths of the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole;

Q: If the ball lies in an area of unplayable that he can only drop his ball within 4 club-lengths instead of 2 club-lengths, is he or she will be subject to 2 strokes penalty?

Answer: Yes, but he can also select to play from the original position or in the line extended from the flag to the ball and not near to the hole.
Rule 23. Loose Impediments
23-1. Relief
Except when both the loose impediment and the ball lie in or touch the same hazard, any loose impediment may be removed without penalty. If the ball moves, see Rule 18-2c.
When a ball is in motion, a loose impediment which might influence the movement of the ball shall not be removed.
Q: Can we pick up anything behind the ball and throw it away when the ball was seated inside the sand bunker?
Yesterday, I saw in the LPGA Evian Master Ai Miyazato did the above and won her game during play-off without any penalty. Why can she?

Answer: Yes, it is not allowed to pick up the loose impediment inside the bunker. However, for PGA tours, they have another set of rules which allows the player to pick up the loose impediment in the bunker. For MEGS game, we do not have that set of rules, thus players are not allowed to pick up loose impediment inside hazard in our normal games.

Q: When a ball dropped into the hazard outside “Red stakes” but there is a fencing stated GUR. Can this be a free drop ?

Answer: No free drop in this case. There is no GUR inside hazards. If the ball is inside hazard and the player wants to play the ball there, there is no free drop even there is artificial obstruction.

Q: When a ball dropped into the rough adjacent to the concrete road for cart. Obviously it cannot be played as dipped well into the thick rough but the ball can be seen. If the player’s standing position is at the road if he to going to play that stroke ( even practically totally not possible ). Can free relief be granted for 2 clubs length as he is standing at the road.

Answer: Same as answered under Rule 24.
Q: When a ball dropped into the hazard with “ Red Pole” but there is a wall/fencing preventing the player making the stroke. Can free release for 2 club length be granted ?

Answer: No free drop in this case. There is no GUR inside hazards. If the ball is inside hazard and the player wants to play the ball there, there is no free drop even there is artificial obstruction. For movable obstruction, the player can remove the movable obstruction. If it is unmovable obstruction, he has to play as it lies if he wishes to play inside the hazard.

Q: Followinf the above question, if after 2 clubs length be granted ( with penalty or not refer to your answer in Q. 3) . The ball is still in the rough, but the player now claimed he is standing in the cart road in making the stroke, can free relief 2 club lengths be granted. Again, please clarify the correct way of relief.

Answer: For dropping a ball, it is always the Point of Nearest Relief for free drop and 2 clubs length for penalty drop. For penalty drop such as declaring unplayable, the player can have other options too. However, if after the drop, he is standing on the cart path, he can be allowed for a free drop to avoid the cart path, provided that his first drop was not to avoid the cart path.

Q: When there is a tree in the line between the green and the fairway. The ball dropped into the trees and lost. Can the player continue to play 2 club length release from the tree at 1 penalty -stroke or has to play the original position instead,

Answer: If the ball is lost in the bush, and it is not a flower bed allowed by local rule as GUR, the ball is considered lost and he has to play his ball again in the original position with one stroke penalty. If it is a GUR, and it is Known Virtually Certain, that the ball is inside the GUR, the player can have free drop with the Nearest Point of Relief. If the ball position is uncertain but it is certain that the ball is inside. The NPR will be measured from the point of entry.

Other clarifications.

The dropped ball should not be outside 2 clubs length of the point dropped and shall not nearer to the hole. If it is so , the player has to re-drop.

If the player addressed the ball, and then he moved away from the address position, he is still regarded as having addressed the ball. If the ball moves after he addressed, there will be one stroke penalty and the ball has to be replaced.

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