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Really high wind golf

Pa Jayhawk

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Nov 15, 2005
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Rules are always subject to strange tests.

Here's something I read last night in the decisions. Let's see if any of you can answer this question: Is it ever OK to hit a moving ball (not just a wiggling ball but one moving from one place to another), and if so, when can you do this?
I don't really want to try and guess what decision you were reading last night. Yes I could see a number of methods where that could apply, but it really seems ridiculous to try and guess what pretense it would apply in your situation for which you have in your head and have not divulged. I usually only try an address how rules relate to a given circumstance, and not whether or not I can come up with circumstances that may apply.

So yeah, just off the top of my head, a few years back a guy tee'ed off in the British Open. His ball was moving, hit another persons putter on the green and went in the hole for a hole-in-one. Probably not the circumstance that was on your mind, and the reason it seems so pointless and it really gives me no gratification to say I answered your question.

The fact that there are always strange tests that test rules but it does not excuse the fact that people in your tournament where wrong in their decision, or further excuse the fact that the USGA even has on their site that it is legal to hold the flagstick while you tap in a putt.

The problem I see here is that you are telling people information about rules that are incorrect, which is likely the same way these people who penalized you came about with their decision. On false or incorrect information. Had it not been mentioned, I could see some guy playing in a tournament and saying a guy should be subject to a penalty for holding a flag while he tapped in. To me that is just bad for the game. Just because they are always subject to strange tests does not mean they can be interpreted however the official seems fit. There are set standards for which the USGA is always happy to respond. If you believe what this guy said is true great, but you would be doing a much greater service to him and you by confirming it with the USGA prior to posting here that it is a legitimate rule.
 

Wi-Golfer

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Here's something I read last night in the decisions. Let's see if any of you can answer this question: Is it ever OK to hit a moving ball (not just a wiggling ball but one moving from one place to another), and if so, when can you do this?


Yes you can, I haven't cheated & looked at the rules book. I believe it's something long the lines of when using a wedge & when you hit down on the ball but sometimes you will hit it again on your follow thru as the ball is going up.
 

Pa Jayhawk

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Yes you can, I haven't cheated & looked at the rules book. I believe it's something long the lines of when using a wedge & when you hit down on the ball but sometimes you will hit it again on your follow thru as the ball is going up.
Pretty sure that would be a one stroke penalty plus the stroke you made, and one that I have called on myself a number of times. :laugh:

I think the answer he is likely looking for is if the ball begins to move after he begins his swing, like in a water hazard with moving water, or if the ball falls off the tee during a swing, and only if your grounding of the club did not cause the movement. One reason many golfers like Nicklaus never grounded their club, therefore never addressed the ball.
 
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RCI

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Jul 26, 2008
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No answers yet on the moving ball question? Come on, give it a shot.
 
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RCI

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Well I hope wrong answers don't count as right answers -- I certainly don't have the intention of giving wrong information. Until I read the recent change about hitting a wrong ball in a hazard, I would probably have given the wrong answer for that case as well. Usually I read the rules and changes each year, but still make mistakes... as have rules officials at PGA events in the past.

The ruling I read about a moving ball was essentially this: If the ball is at rest and you begin your backswing, and through no actions by the player the ball starts moving, you can go ahead and make a stroke (presumably sometimes a good stroke) and there is no penalty. If there is any reason to assume the player caused the ball to move, there would be a penalty. Here are two examples where no penalty would be given: (1) A ball is in shallow water in a flowing stream, at rest. As the player begins the backswing the water flow moves the ball, but the player still is able to swing down and knock the ball out of the water... no penalty. (2) During a putt in which there is no wind being deflected because of the putter or the putter has not pressed down causing the ball to move, if the ball moves on the backswing, and player still strikes it -- there is no penalty. If the putter causes deflections of the wind on windy days, and is soled, I think there would be a penalty because an action of the player changed the effect of the wind on the ball. Recently in a PGA event (the Masters I think), an amatuer had addressed his ball and it moved -- he called a penalty on himself under the presumption that some action on his part may have caused the ball to move.

As to giving incorrect information, I surely apologize. The rules that have been changed that I did not know are examples in which at one time I am quite confident we used those rules in official play. It is surely possible that the rules official at these events gave incorrect rulings, but nevertheless the examples I gave were cases in which I was present and the intrepretations were as I've stated. In my version of the Decisions on the Rules of Golf, there are over 1,000 examples of how the smaller book, the official rules of the USGA, have been applied in decisions in specific examples. Many of these seem to be cases where rules seem to conflict or situations have occurred where the USGA rule book in effect at the time required further intrepretation, and a ruling.

I make no claim to being a rules expert -- none at all. But I witnessed the decisions and use of rules I've mentioned (except for the moving ball thing... I have never seen a case where the player did not go ahead and call the penalty, or some other player called a penalty when the ball moves during a stroke -- even though the Decisions book does list a way where no penalty is warranted.)

N.B: when I said there were no answers yet, I surely did not see the posts with your information -- I assume the information was crossing the internet ether at about the same time. PaJayhawk was certainly correct about the ball moving in water during the backswing.
 

Pa Jayhawk

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Sorry if I came off as a Hardass RCI.

Probably because I have run across some Rule Nazi's, so to speak, in competitions. Where half the time they seem oblivious to the rules. Had a similar circumstance in our Club Championship just recently, where because the toughness of our course many people in general treat the woods as laterals and have drop areas on our course as well. In the club saying it need to be treated as stroke and distance and to ignore drop areas as well for the championship, many of the guys in turn thought it was unfair to treat marked hazards as hazards and not stroke and distance and got PO'ed when we refused to retee, or in turn would drop in accordance to the USGA guidlines.

Not all were really in tune that by ignoring local rules did not mean to disregard the USGA rules as well. Sometimes hard to know all the circumstances and as you mentioned, possible changes over time.

Cheers!
 

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