Does Anybody Really Know What Time it is?

OGA Senior Rules Officials: Pete Scholz and Terry McEvilly

Does anybody really care?  Yes, it is easy to lose track of time when playing golf.  However, there are times when a golfer must know and care what time it is and how much time has elapsed.  The following multiple choice questions deal with some aspect of time on the golf course. 

  1. A player arrives at the first tee four minutes late due to traffic congestion on his way to the course.  What is the ruling?
  1. The player is disqualified.
  2. The player is not penalized in this exceptional situation.
  3. The player incurs a two stroke penalty in stroke play or a loss of the first hole in match play.
  1. In stroke play, a player arrives at the first tee fifteen minutes late due to a traffic accident he witnessed and administered first aid.  What is the ruling?
  1. The player is disqualified.
  2. The player is not penalized in this exceptional situation.
  3. The player incurs a two stroke penalty but may remain in the competition.
  1.  When a ball overhangs the lip of the hole, the player is given enough time to reach the hole without undue delay and an additional amount of time to determine if the ball is at rest.  If the ball falls into the hole after the elapse of time the ball is deemed holed and the player incurs a one stroke penalty.  How long may the player take to determine if the ball is at rest?
  1. Five seconds.
  2. Ten seconds.
  3. Five minutes.
  4. There is no time limit in the rules.
  1. A ball is “lost” if it is not found within;
  1. Five minutes of making the stroke.
  2. Five minutes of anyone beginning to search for the ball.
  3. Five minutes of the player, partner or either of their caddies beginning to search for the ball.
  1. The Committee may put a time limit on a player completing a;
  1. Stroke.
  2. Hole.
  3. Stipulated round.
  4. All of the above.
  1. When the Committee suspends play due to darkness and a player has already begun the play of a hole he may discontinue play;
  1. Immediately.
  2. Any time before completing the hole.
  3. After completing the hole.
  4. All of the above.
  1. A provisional ball must be played;
  1.  Before the player or partner goes forward to search for the original ball.
  2. Within the five minutes allowed for searching for the original ball.
  3. Before anyone begins to search for the original ball.

Answers:

  1. c.   If a player arrives at the first tee ready to play within five minutes of his tee time he is not disqualified but rather incurs the general penalty of loss of hole in match player or two strokes in stroke play.  This situation would not fall under an exceptional circumstance as the player must make allowances for any possible delays.  See the penalty statement under Rule 6-3.   Also see Question #2.
  2. b.   If the Committee determines that exceptional circumstances exist that have prevented the player from starting on time they may waive the penalty of disqualification (Rule 6-3 Note).  A traffic accident is not, of itself, a good reason to waive the penalty. However, giving a statement to police and helping injured people would fall under the description of exceptional circumstances (Decision 6-3a/1.5).
  3. b.   Under Rule 16-2 when a ball overhangs the hole after a stroke, the player is given enough time to reach the hole without undue delay and an additional ten seconds to determine if the ball is at rest.  Once the ten seconds have passed, the ball is deemed to be at rest and the player may make a stroke at the ball without fear of penalty for playing a moving ball.  If the ball falls into the hole prior to the elapse of ten seconds the player is considered to have holed out with his last stroke.  Otherwise, the player is considered to have holed out with his last stroke and must add a penalty stroke. 
  4. c.   Once the player, his partner or either of their caddies begins to search for the ball the five minute time limit begins.  Once the five minutes have expired the player has a lost ball and must proceed under the stroke and distance requirements of Rule 27, unless another Rule is applicable (e.g., ball lost in water hazard, abnormal ground condition or an obstruction).
  5. d.   Pace of play has become a major problem at many courses and competitions.  Under Rule 6-7 Note 2, the Committee has the authority to establish a pace of play and also put any player “on the clock”.  The penalty for breaching the pace of play may range from a single penalty stroke to disqualification.  Remember to complete your round “while we’re young”.
  6. d.   Only when a Committee has established a local rule for immediate discontinuation for a dangerous situation (e.g., lightning) must a player discontinue play immediately when signaled (which is generally one long blast of an air horn). In all other situations when a Committee suspends play (including for darkness), a player must not start a hole but may complete a hole if started prior to the signal for suspension.  Additionally, the player may discontinue play immediately or any time prior to completing the hole.  It is important to note that once the hole is completed, play must be discontinued. 
  7. a.     A provisional ball may only be played for a ball that is believed to be out of bounds or lost outside of a water hazard and must be played before the player or his partner goes forward to search for the original ball.  Therefore, spectators, forecaddies and even the caddie of the player may search for the original ball without precluding the player from playing a provisional ball. 

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