When DQ Does Not Mean a Frosty Treat
Senior Rules officials Pete Scholz and Terry McEvilly
Every golfer, at some point in time, will come face to face with the possibility of incurring a disqualification penalty. After all, it is part of the game of which every golfer must accept. It is not a reflection of character but rather only a means for the Committee to keep the playing field as level as possible. Most disqualifications occur as a result of an inadvertent mistake by the player and thus, should not be taken personally.
Each of the following situations occur during a stroke-play competition with no Local Rules in place and involve a possible disqualification of the player. Your task this month is to determine if the player has incurred a disqualification or two-stroke penalty.
QUESTIONS: Disqualification / Two-Stroke Penalty
- During play of the first hole, a player prepares to play a pitch shot but notices that the shaft of his wedge is bent.He has not made a stroke with the club and immediately declares it out of play.
- In a shotgun start format, a player, who is starting his round on a par 3 uses a distance measuring device prior to making his first stroke. His shot is off-line and prior to making his second shot he again uses the device.
- During play of the first hole two competitors agree that any putt that is “inside the leather” is good and may be picked up.Both competitors know that the ball must be holed out but neither player has the opportunity to lift their ball without holing out on the first hole.They decide to cancel the agreement before teeing off on the second hole.
- A player, unable to find a tee, makes a stroke at his ball raised off the ground with a bottle cap.
- After searching for seven minutes, a player finds her ball and continues play of the hole. Her actions are questioned when she returns her score card to the Committee.
- During play of the first hole a player uses a distance measuring device.He is advised of the breach and accepts a two-stroke penalty.On the third hole, the player uses a fiberglass rod to check his alignment.
- A player finds a ball he believes is his in a water hazard and plays it onto the green.When he arrives on the green he discovers that it is not his ball.He returns to the hazard and finds his original ball.He continues play with his original ball.
- After playing two balls when the player was uncertain of how to proceed, he scores a four with both balls.He returns his score card with a four on the hole but neglects to inform the Committee that he played two balls.
- A player’s first stroke from within the teeing ground hits a cart path and the ball breaks into pieces.The player properly cancels the stroke and returns to the teeing ground to play another ball.He tees it up outside of the teeing ground and makes a stroke.He completes the hole and tees off on the next hole.
- On the final hole of the round a player’s tee shot is struck 200 yards towards an area of extreme rough and a lateral water hazard.He is uncertain of the location of the ball but assumes the ball entered the lateral water hazard.He drops a ball within two club-lengths of where he judges it last crossed the margin of the hazard and completes play of the hole.As he walks to the club house his actions are questioned.
- Two-Stroke Penalty. Rule 4-1 prohibits a player from carrying or using a non-conforming club and because he has not used the club he incurs only a two-stroke penalty at the first hole. Using the club or failing to declare the club out of play immediately would result in a disqualification penalty.
- Two-Stroke Penalty. Rule 14-3 prohibits using a device to measure distance during the player’s stipulated round. The first use of the device was not a breach of the Rules as he has not started his round. The second use of the device is a breach and he incurs a two-stroke penalty. Any subsequent breach during the round would result in a disqualification.
- Disqualification. Even though neither player has acted on the agreement, they were in breach of Rule 1-3 as soon as the agreement was reached during the round. As both players knew that their agreement was contrary to the Rules they are both disqualified (See Decision 1-3/0.5).
- Disqualification. Rule 11-1 requires a player to put a ball into play from the surface of the teeing ground or from a conforming tee within the teeing ground. A bottle cap is not a conforming tee as it is not a device designed to raise the ball off the ground. See Appendix IV for a complete description of allowable tees.
- Disqualification. When the five minutes for search had expired, her ball was out of play and by making a stroke at the ball she played a wrong ball. She needed to correct the error prior to teeing off on the next hole by proceeding under Rule 27-1 for a lost ball.
- Disqualification. The player’s initial breach of Rule 14-3 resulted in a two-stroke penalty and the subsequent breach of the same Rule results in disqualification. It is irrelevant that the Rule was breached in a different manner.
- Two-Stroke Penalty.Prior to 2008, there was no penalty for playing a wrong ball from a hazard. However, Rule 12-1 was changed allowing a player to following a specific procedure to identify a ball anywhere on the course, including hazards. In the situation presented the player corrected his error of playing a wrong ball by continuing with his original ball. He is not disqualified but rather incurs a two-stroke penalty for the play of a wrong ball. Failure to correct the error would result in a disqualification penalty.
- Disqualification.When a player is uncertain of how to proceed, Rule 3-3 allows him to play two balls and the Rule will determine the score for the player. Even though both balls were holed in the same number of strokes, the player was required to inform the Committee that he played two balls under Rule 3-3.
- Two-Stroke Penalty. Once a player has put a ball into play from within the teeing ground he has started play of the hole. Rule 5-3 required the player to cancel the stroke and replay. By teeing up and playing from outside the teeing ground he played from a wrong place and incurs a penalty of two strokes.
- Disqualification. The player may not proceed under the Lateral Water Hazard Rule without knowledge or virtual certainty that his ball is in the hazard. The player has played from a wrong place by dropping and playing a ball under Rule 26-1 when not permitted. Due to the distance gained by the breach he was guilty of a serious breach of Rule 27-1 which requires the player to play under stroke and distance for a lost ball. As this was the last hole of the round he needed to declare his intentions to correct the error prior to leaving the putting green. See Decisions 26-1/ 3.7 and 4.