Out of Play

How do you and your buddies handle it when a ball goes out of play?

I usually find that most amateurs don’t know the “real” rules on an “unplayable lie” situation.

Check out this golf video and I’ll explain… it just might save you a few strokes in your next round.

Posted in Golf Tips
95 comments on “Out of Play
  1. Troy Vayanos says:

    Sometimes going back as far as you want and keeping in line with the flag is the best option as you can quite often give yourself a nice clean shot with no obstructions.

    • Mike Casey says:

      C.J.:

      I know this is an old post but I thought the option to go back as far as you needed to get relief applied to a tee shot not on a second or third shot.

      Mike, Orlando Fl

      • CJ Goecks says:

        Mike Casey,
        Thanks Mike for the question. Nope, the option to go back is from anywhere on the course. Remember with Tiger his was because he hit it in the hazard. The option to go back also exists on an unplayable lie.

        Keep em Long and Straight,
        CJ

  2. Dave S says:

    C. J. I have been playing golf for 50 years and have read the Rules many times. For tournaments and Pros, they are OK; for the rest of us try these:
    1. No stroke and distance for lost ball. Do you want to really slow up everyone’s Saturday morning? Drop/place near by and keep playing.
    2. Two club lengths (even better 10 yards) for all other drops. And don’t drop – place the ball.
    3. Repair all damage to the green before and after you putt. Heaven knows no one else repairs the greens.
    4. Lift and clean whenever necessary. We hit plenty of bad shots using clean golf balls, more less dirty ones.
    5. Replace the ball when you feel like it. We all putt with a new ball and play with a different one.
    6. If you can move it – move it. Obstructions and Loose Impediments anywhere they occur.
    7. Play when ready – no waiting for the farthest from the green/hole to play.
    8. Advice – take it anywhere and from anyone you can get it!
    9. Anything else that makes sense.

    • dmac says:

      What you are describing is pretty well already covered by the rules. To answer your questions:
      1. I’m sure you have a good idea when your ball could be lost or in a hazard- so hit a provisional, just like the rules provide. Plus you get some practice at fixing the bad shot.
      2. Rule of thumb- it’s 2 club lengths when you have to take a penalty, 1 when you don’t (e.g. casual water). If you place the ball, of course you’ll sit it up high- and gain an advantage over someone who is not dropping the ball. To me- THAT is not real fair…
      3. That’s called “etiquette” and is already in the rules.
      4. A course can have a lift and clean as a local rule. Also, the rules allow you to lift and clean an embedded ball. Why would you want to lift and place at, say, Merion or St Andrews?
      5. You use a bad ball to get to the green? Wow, you’re costing yourself shots hitting a bad ball. If you don’t have enough confidence to use a ball you can putt with, maybe you’d better get CJ’s DVDs.
      6. You already can move lose impediments and movable obstructions except in certain situations (like some things in a hazard.)
      7. In stroke play under the rules, there is no penalty for playing out of order. So if you’re ready, go for it.
      8. A lot of the things you think are advice- aren’t. Distance isn’t. Pin position isn’t. Saying what club you just hit isn’t- provided everyone has hit. What’s wrong with your swing is. And if you want advice on your swing during a round- sure, I’ll play you. Just bring your wallet. I do not want swing advice during a round, mainly because I don’t trust what you say and your motives for saying it.
      9. As a rules official, the rules already make sense 99.9% of the time. It’s only the .1% that you hear about- because it’s so unusual. And sometimes things that are unfair come up, and are changed.

      And lastly, I don’t care what rules you use playing with your friends on Saturday morning. But you’re not playing golf unless you follow the 34 rules set down by the R&A and USGA.

  3. joe gary says:

    cj, you said you have three options on a unplayable lie, whatever of the three you use i guess it`s a one stroke penalty…is that correct? Thanks jgary!

  4. CJ
    Nice head cover. Go Badgers
    Chuck Hinners
    Waunakee, Wisconsin

  5. BrianLL says:

    You stated “obviously any time you pick up your ball you can clean it.” While true when taking a unplayable, there are several instances when you cannot clean a ball when lifted in accordance with the rules. See Rule 21-3.

  6. David Stockwell says:

    OK, so I hit a drive to the tree and declare an unplayable lie.
    * If I take a drop within two club lengths, I get a penalty, for two, and my next shot I am hitting three…
    * If go back 100 yds from the point where the ball landed, right along the line between where the ball dropped and the flag/hole, am I still hitting three from my next shot? (the unplayable lie counts as the second stroke)
    * If I go back to the tee, am I hitting three (back to the tee is stroke and distance)?

    This is the way I have been playing it, but I think this rule was written with a strong Scottish accent, under the influence of about 18 (or so) shots of single-malt Scotch Whisky (according to the legend).

    Can you clarify, please??

    • CJ Goecks says:

      David Stockwell,
      Thanks David for the question and you are correct. Remember that it is two clubs from the ball not from the trouble. Imagine your in a huge bush. Sometimes two clubs will not get you out of trouble and therefore you would want to go back in line or back to the tee. that is why these options are sometimes good. Does this clarify the rule?
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

  7. Clyde Dowell says:

    On the 2 club lingth rule, can you move the ball toward either side, or back, or only in one direction. You looked like you were moving it to the right, while looking in the direction of the green.

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Clyde Dowell,
      Thanks Clyde for the question. In this situation you are taking relief for an unplayable lie. You are able to go in any direction (not closer to the hole), but obviously you want to try to escape the trouble. If two clubs does not get you out of trouble you may take another unplayable lie or in the first situation go back as far as you want keeping that point between you and the hole or go back to the original place you hit. Hope this makes sense.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

  8. allan cook says:

    Thank you for that nugget of rules info. I’ve been playing golf for years with people who never seem to know, or to be learning, the rules of golf but I was unaware one is allowed to have the ball roll two club lengths beyond the two club lengths of relief taken. I am therefore somewhat humbled but now fully armed to take advantage. Many thanks and don’t you think there’s a video in this – reading the rules of golf is not everyone’s cup of tee; much better to have a metal picture of the situations.
    Regards

    Allan Cook

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Allan Cook,
      thanks Allan for the blog post and your welcome for the video. Best wishes and let me know if you have any questions.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

  9. Hi C. J.
    Your explanation was not very clear about penalty. You called a penalty if we move our ball 2 clubs from the tree. What about if we go back a 100 feet or if we go back on the tee off?

    Thanks,

    Target 85

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Jacques Despres,
      Thanks Jacques for the blog post. You are correct and if you do these things, going back 100 feet or back to tee box it is still a one shot penalty.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

  10. Allan Coates says:

    Nice video on the unplayable lie but when you take the two club relief should you not have the club head cover removed to make it legal?

    By the way, your videos are absolutely fantastic, the tips you give are really first class and I have used them all to the point at which I am sometimes a real bandit off 12, often playing to 5 or 6 and just waiting for my new competence and the right competition to coincide!

    Very very well done CJ and please keep it up!!

    All the very best wishes,

    Allan Coates Worfield GC UK

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Allan Coates,
      Thanks Allan for the question. In any situation where your measuring using the club you ARE ALLOWED to keep the headcover on. I know its weird, but I asked a PGA Tour rules official also and he said it was ok. Hope this helps.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

  11. Allan Coates says:

    CJ,

    I have a real problem getting out of bunkers where the sand is rock hard and may be only a quarter inch of sand is there, what do I do it’s ruining my cards. I’ve tried opening the stance at 45 deg and opening the club head with left arm straight taking an inch of sand, I’ve also tried picking them off but neither of these techniques seems to work adequately………..I would love a solution big guy?

    All the very best

    Allan Coates Worfield GC UK

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Allan Coates,
      let me know if your still having this problem after this week of bunker technique.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

    • R. Wolf says:

      Allan, The sand on our course this tim eof year is also hard. I have found that if you slightly close the face of your sand wedge it hepls reduce the bounce. The bounce of the sand wedge coupled with the hard sand makes the shot difficult. I also will use my lob wedge in the same manner. Once again I slightly close the face and stike the hard sand approx 2 inches behind the ball. Please keep in mind that the ball will run out more so guage your distance carefully.

      Additionally C.J had a series on bumker play a few weeks back. If possible you might want to review thoes three great videos tips.

    • Duffy Divot says:

      For all those who play with greens where sand is compacted, non-existent or where the clay-base is showing through… Look to see if you can chip out of bunkers, PW, 9 iron or bigger can usually clear a moderate bunker. Treat the ground as a tight lie and strike ball first to pop it up… takes a degree of confidence but can work well…

      I’ve seen some sand-free bunkers on many UK courses, and they are tricky for all levels to escape from, but it is possible if you commit to whatever shot works for you.

      • CJ Goecks says:

        Duffy Divot,
        thanks Duffy for the blog post. I am not sure I am looking forward to playing a course with sand free bunkers, but I know this technique will help. You can try your idea even from sand for longer shots. A miss hit will come out shorter, but if you play for the blade in essence it could work with water behind the hole. In other words if there is trouble behind the hole like water, then you play for a chip/thin shot and if you pull it off it is close to the hole, but if you fat it a bit then you will have a thirty footer or so and will make your bogey. The other alternative is playing a normal bunker shot and playing for a good shot, but if you miss it thin then your in the water making double bogey or worse. Hope this makes sense.
        Keep em Long and Straight,
        CJ

  12. Robert Clemons says:

    CJ, I had no idea that we could move the ball “backwards”. Thanks for the tip. Also, I am also from Wisconsin…Racine, specifically. Not to freak you out, but sometimes when I see you on my screen I have to double-take because I look so much like YOU that I think it might be ME! Now if I could just get my golf game to look just like YOURS!

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Robert Clemons,
      You must be one great looking guy Robert. LoL Keep practicing and you will get there one day or I will continue to get old and my game will slip and we will meet somewhere in the middle. Best wishes.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

  13. Gary March says:

    C.J. do you have anybody teaching your method in the Scottsdale, Phoenix area Reagrds Gary

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Gary March,
      Thanks Gary for the question and unfortunately I do not have anyone teaching the PCGS swing in that area, however I may visit there. One of my best friends is the Director of Instruction at Desert Mountain. I know this course is a private facility, but I am not sure if you can get lessons if your not a member. If you can I recommend Dale Abraham as a guy to get some lessons from. He is very good and he knows what he is doing.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

  14. David Radley says:

    Interesting – so Dave S, you just make up your own rules then?
    You are playing a game on a golf course but you are not playing golf I am afraid. ( Mind you a lot of the rules, for amateurs on not perfectly manicured professional courses are a bit daft, I have to admit! Try petitioning USGA and The R & A with suggestions, I have.)
    David R

  15. Sid says:

    How do you determine “unplayable” – and who determines it?

  16. I listened to this video twice and am not sure if you ever said it was a one stropke penalty. Is is a one stroke penalty isn’t it?

  17. Nice video. I am a Golden Gopher myself, but the parties were much better in Madison than they were in the Twin Cities.

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Michael Doherty,
      Thanks Michael for writing in. I moved from Wisconsin when I was sixteen so I didn’t experience the party seen in Wisconsin so I will have to take your word for it. I did go back to a Packer vs Cowboys game and was shocked at the tail gate experience before a game. It literally was like a huge college game. I had a great time and wish I could go to more Packer games…Hint HInt for any of my students that have Packer Tickets.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

  18. Mjritter says:

    One thing left out was that you may take an unplayable anytime you deem it, even from the middle of the fairway or even the putting green. The player as aboaolute authority in this. An example of where this might come into play on the green is say you have a 3′ putt and it hits the lip, comes out and rolls down the false front of the green and stops 30 yards downhill. (I have seen this). Instead of hitting a 30 yard wedge shot and hoping to get close, take an unplayable and put the ball back on the green for a 3′ putt. If you don’t think your wedge shot can get closer, this is a great option. The ONLY time one can’t declare an unplayable is in a WATER HAZARD.

  19. Mjritter says:

    To clarify one thing CJ stated, the ball can roll 2 club lengths from where it hit the ground, so if it hit in the middle of the 2 club lengths ( ie.. 1 club length) it can roll 2 more club lengths (no nearer the hole) which actually would be only 1 club length outside the mark. If you drop close to your mark, then it could be close to 2 club lengths. However if it rolls more than 2 club lengths, on the second drop it must be placed where it hit first.

  20. Len Furukawa says:

    Dave,

    When you choose to move back for where the ball lies, is it the direction between the tee box and where the ball lies or between the flag and where the ball lies? This would make a tremendous difference if this were a dogleg and by moving back on the line between the tee box and where the ball is currently lying, you would have an unobstructed shot at the green. In you example, if one were to move back along a line made from the tee to the ball, you would still have to hit beneath or over the tree.

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Len Furukawa,
      Thanks Len for the question. All drops when taking this option will always be between where the ball lies and the flag. It will never be between the ball and the direction of the tee box. It won’t matter between a lateral water hazard, water hazard, or unplayable lie. Hope this helps.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

  21. john says:

    CJ
    Recently, I hit a shot from a bunker over the green into the woods. Any drop would have been closer to the hole or still in the woods with no shot. Should I have gone back into the bunker and dropped or placed?
    Is that a one shot penalty?
    Thanks, love your tips.
    John

    • CJ Goecks says:

      John,
      Thanks for the blog post. You could have declared the ball unplayable and then gone into the bunker and dropped the ball under penalty of one stroke. Hope this helps.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

  22. allan cook says:

    Hi CJ,

    I was a bit surprised to see you keep the head cover on your driver when taking two club lengths relief in your video covering options at an unplayable lie. Is this because there is a longer club available to golfers i.e. the broom handle putter?
    Regards

    Allan Cook
    Cambridgeshire, UK

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Allan Cook,
      Thanks Allan for the question. I have had many people write in about not being able to leave your headcover on, but I specifically asked my friend who is a PGA Tour rules official and they say that is allowed. I am not sure if they started allowing this because of the putters or extra long drivers or what, but I guess it may give you an extra inch or so, but it doesn’t really effect the ruling. Hope this helps and thanks for taking the time to write in the blog.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

  23. gerry says:

    Hey CJ..
    Thanks for all the advice and great tips..Unfortunatly i need some more..After coming on leaps and bounds in the last few months i had a round from hell today..I played in wet conditions and my round had it all,hooks, slices shanks and tops (i’m a lefty)..Please please please can you give me some advice on how to play in wet conditions as i was so disgruntled afterwards i considering packing the game in..
    Not sure if you have any but it would be even better if you had some videos on said subject..
    Looking forward as always to your great advice..
    Gerry..

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Gerry,
      Thanks for the blog post. Sometimes after a bad round you need to forget it. It sounds like you kind of freaked yourself out mentally during this round and hit a bad shot then tried to over correct and that caused a bad shot and so on. The key to playing in the wet conditions is to stay dry. Make sure you use several gloves and have several dry towels. You will hit bad shots during these rounds and that is the reason why your short game is important. You must understand going into these wet conditions that you will hit bad shots and accept them with a positive mental note saying …”I now have the opportunity to see if my short game can save me”…or something like that. This would be similar to playing in extremely windy conditions as well. You have the mental choice to accept these bad shots and move on and you also have the choice to not and to get upset. I hope this helps. Please understand there are not any swing changes we make for these conditions, but you must be mentally prepared for it.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

      • gerry says:

        Thanks CJ for your reply..What you are saying makes sense as i was not mentally prepared for the conditions so the worse i got the more i changed things..In hindsight i should have stuck to the swing i knew worked for me..
        Almost can’t wait to play in the rain again so i can take the conditions on..
        Thanks again..Your advice and time is much appreciated..
        Gerry..

        • CJ Goecks says:

          Happy to help!

        • CJ Goecks says:

          Gerry,
          Thanks for getting back to me Gerry. Let me know how it works. Your mindset now is the key. You need to look forward to playing in the rain and the challenge it will present. Also remember that half the field will be miserable and will have your old mindset so have confidence knowing half the field will beat themselves.
          Keep em Long and Straight,
          CJ

  24. James T. Krenz says:

    You said in this video that you take one stroke penalty if you take two clubs length away from the unplayable lie. If you take the ball backwards from the spot with the hole in line with it, you don’t take a penalty? And if you walk back to the previous spot from where the ball was hit from, you don’t take a penalty?
    Now, if you where to hit a provisional ball from the tee box, are you hitting two with that ball if you pick up the unplayable ball?

    • Mike Ritter says:

      First, anytime you take relief from an unplayable, there is a 1 stroke penalty regardless of which option you choose (other than playing it as it lies). Regarding a provisional, unless the ball is out of bounds or lost, the provisional may not be played. So if you hit a ball, and then hit a provisional, thus hitting your 3rd shot (1st hit, then penalty, then provisional), if your shot is inbounds, and found, the provisional May not be played, and does not count. A provisional May not be played if it is known that the ball landed in a water hazard.

  25. Andrew says:

    C.J. Great instructions!! When you say you can declare a lie unplayable and announce this to your playing partners, can they actually say it’s playable and you must hit it from where it lies even if its in a bad spot?

    Thanks,

    • Mike Ritter says:

      You may take an unstable anywhere on the course except in a water hazard. That includes the putting green, and YOU are the sole person to make that decision. Your playing partners have no say. In 1 situation, where the pin was close to a ridge, that if the ball caught it, the ball would roll 30 yards downhill. A player missed a 3 ft putt, caught the ridge, went downhill into the fairway. He declared an unplayable and brought the ball back to 3′ of the hole and made the putt. All legal..

    • dmac says:

      No- the player is the sole judge whether a ball is playable or not. After all, they are the one who has to play it.

  26. Stuart says:

    Hi Cj

    What’s the ruling on if you hit a drive and it looks like it has landed on in the rough, but when you get to it . Your ball has actually rolled out of bounds . Also what about if your ball is out of bounds and unplayable .
    Thanks stu from u.k

    • Nev says:

      If the ball is out of bounds thats a 1 shot penalty added to the shot that ended up out of bounds and you have to play from where you hit it.Cheers

  27. Virginia says:

    You mention that you can take an unplayable lie anywhere on the course except in a water hazard ~ does that apply to a sand trap also? In your video you moved the ball to the side of the tree, I was always told you had to go back the way the ball came in. I like your way much better.

    • Kim says:

      Major misconception. There’s no rule that specifically allows for relief along the line of flight (LOF); the USGA has several commentaries on this. The LOF is used only to mark where the ball crossed into a hazard. Then, the appropiate relief is taken from that point or return to where the ball was previously played (one stroke penalty applies to any relief in these cases). You can’t take an unplayable lie in any hazard. There are special situations when relief may be taken in a sand trap,

      • CJ Goecks says:

        Kim,
        thanks for the blog post, but I think i was referring to the spot that the ball last crossed the hazard. If I confused you then please except my apology.
        Keep em Long and Straight,
        CJ

  28. Tom M says:

    So why was Tiger Penalized at the Masters if you can move back as far as you want ?

    • Andy Morris says:

      Tiger opted to replay the shot, therefore he must drop as close to the original place as possible. If he had elected to go as far back as possible he would have to keep the line between where the ball passed the hazard and the hole, which would have been a long way to the left of the fairway.

  29. Elden Fryers says:

    In wet conditions I hit the ball down the middle of the fairway and the ball got lost in casual water. My playing partners agreed it entered into the casual water. As we couldnt find the ball I was told i could take a drop outside of the casual water area without penalty as there was no reasonable doubt that the ball did enter the casual water area. Is this correct

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Elden Fryers,
      Thanks Elden for the question. If your group agreed that the ball entered the casual water then thats the ruling. the rules require you to do what’s fair and that is what you did. Take your drop and play on sir.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

  30. bob says:

    i hit the back of the green, it rolled down the hill inbetween the V of two trees. no way to hit. i didn’t have any releaf within two club lengths. could i have taken that back over the green to any point from where i shot?

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Bob,
      Thanks Bob for the question. Yes in your situation you could have declared the ball unplayable and played it from as near as possible as the last shot. Don’t pull a Tiger and go back two yards lol, but remember as close as possible.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

  31. Mikey Ritter says:

    C J, you made one minor mistake!! You said anytime you pick the ball up it could be cleaned. There are situations where that is not true. One is when you pick the ball up to identify it, and another would be when it interferes with another player and you mark it (except on the green).. Great tips and glad you are covering some of the rules. As someone who has been a rules official, I’m amazed at the people who think they know the rules well.

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Mikey Ritter,
      Thanks Mikey for the post and you are 100% correct. Thanks for catching my error and i hope people will read this and thank you for writing in. Thanks again.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

  32. Gonzo says:

    CJ, what are my options (if any)if, after I drop within two club lengths of my unplayable lie, my ball rolls into a bunker or a water hazard (assuming the hazard is inside the 2 club lengths of roll I am allowed)?
    e.g. I take a penalty drop from a water hazard and my ball rolls one and a half club lengths back into the hazard.

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Gonzo,
      Thanks for the question, but you asked two different questions. Let me address them both. First you asked about taking an unplayable lie. If you take an unplayable lie and drop the ball and it rolls into a hazard within two club lengths, you must then take relief from the hazard with a penalty stroke. If you are dropping from a water hazard and the ball rolls back into the water hazard you must drop again and if it rolls into the hazard you must place the ball exactly where the ball landed on the ground when you dropped it. Hope this answers your question.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

      • Tim Dean says:

        CJ When dropping under a rule, in this case #28, if the ball rolls into a hazard it must be re-dropped, without penalty. See R#20-2c(i). Your explanation appears incorrect. Go Badgers!!

        • CJ Goecks says:

          Tim Dean,
          Thanks Tim for the blog post. My explanation was correct I just didn’t have a hazard around me to show the situation you described. Does that make sense?
          Keep em Long and Straight,
          CJ

      • Mike Ritter says:

        CJ, correction.. If you drop a ball and it rolls into a hazard, there is no penalty and must be re-dropped. 20-2 ci Conversely if you drop a ball in a hazard and it rolls out of the hazard, it must be re-dropped.

  33. Randy Miller says:

    What is you are buried in the lip of the bunker? Can you take 2 club length from your buried lie in the bunker as long as you stay in the bunker?

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Randy Miller,
      yes Randy you may take an unplayable lie in a bunker, but you must drop the ball within the bunker.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

      • Ed O'Neill says:

        Cj. Writing to you from Ireland. Luv your tips. A lot of controversy here over the 2 clubhead relief. You say you can leave the head cover on your driver when measuring? Is this correct? If so what golf rule covers it?

        • CJ Goecks says:

          Ed O’Neill,
          Thanks Ed for the blog question and yes you can leave the head cover on the driver. It would be in the USGA Decisions book. I again asked a PGA Tour Rules official just to make sure and he confirmed that you can leave the head cover on the driver.
          Keep em Long and Straight,
          Cj

  34. Gwen says:

    Hi CJ
    You say 3 options. One is to go back as far as you want.
    I take it you mean on the same line, and also in the rough and not on the fairway?
    Thanks

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Gwen,
      Thanks Gwen for the blog post. I think I said that earlier in the video, but if I confused you I am sorry. Thanks for taking the time to write in.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

    • Reg Burbidge says:

      Hi CJ,

      The ball in this example is not out of play

      • CJ Goecks says:

        Reg Burbridge,
        Thanks Reg for the post and taking time to write in and complain lol. Please understand that I have a copy writer that writes those intro’s and he does not really understand all the lingo. As you watched in the video I said the ball was an unplayable lie and not out of play. Thanks to you and the R&A for keeping us on our toes. Have a great holiday season and please keep in touch.
        Keep em Long and Straight,
        CJ

    • Mike Ritter says:

      Gwen, it could be the fairway of the hole of it was inline with the pin. It could be another fairway. The ball does not have to be dropped in the rough. The rules of golf don’t make the distinction between rough & fairway

  35. Leon Reihana says:

    To clarify, when you mention of going back as far as we need but inline with the hole, do you mean flag/hole or the green as on this hole.

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Leon Reihana,
      Thanks Leon for writing in and I am sorry I confused you. When you go as far back as you want you keep the point where the ball lie (where it is unplayable), and the flag and go back as far along that line as you want. Hope this answers your question.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

    • Mike Ritter says:

      Using the flag as your reference point

  36. Marty Grover says:

    Hi, while taking a practice putting stroke on the green the ball was hit. Is that a penalty or just place the ball back to where it was…. Thank You

    • Frank Granger says:

      CJ,
      On my course we have a few small streams crossing fairways, some are 15-20 feet wide, each one has defining water hazard lines and stakes.
      If I hit my shot and the ball lands in play but springs back into the hazard where do I drop my ball for my next shot?
      Do I play from the side I played from, of the side it landed on?

      Frank.

      • CJ Goecks says:

        Frank Granger,
        Thanks Frank for the question and when your describing a water hazard then you are saying yellow stakes? I am just clarifying just in case. If the stakes are yellow and it crosses the hazard and comes back in you are not allowed to drop on the side it landed on. you must drop on the side you played from or a drop zone. Hope this answers your question.
        Keep em Long and Straight,
        CJ

    • CJ Goecks says:

      marty Grover,
      Thanks Marty for the question. If you are taking a practice swing on the putting green or anywhere on the course and you accidentally hit the ball, You MUST replace the ball (doesn’t matter if you hit it decent either) and add one stroke penalty.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

    • It’s both – a one stroke penalty for moving your ball in play under Rule 18 and you replace the ball in its original location. If you do not replace the ball the penalty becomes two strokes for playing from a wrong place under Rule 20.

  37. bob sarangay says:

    Played a par 3 and hit it to within 3 feet of the cup. Set my marker to let others from farther, putt first. When it wss my turn to putt, I set my ball, then removed my marker. Then stood over the ball grounding my club. Wind was blowing fierce…and I could see my ball quiver. So I stepped away. Was waiting for the ball to stop quivering, when about 5 to 10 seconds later, the ball starts to roll away from the hole, stopping about 20 feet from the cup. Where do I putt from? Do I incure a stroke penalty? What happens if it had rolled into the hole? what’s the rule on that? Wind aided, delayed, hole in one?

    • CJ Goecks says:

      Bob Sarangay,
      Thanks Bob for the question and this rule changed a year ago or so so it is a bit different. You addressed your ball, but it doesn’t matter. It is deemed that the wind caused your ball to move so there is no penalty, but you must play the ball from where it finished (20 feet from the hole). If it rolled into the cup then it would be deemed holed from your previous spot (fairway for example). Let me know if this makes sense.
      Keep em Long and Straight,
      CJ

    • CJ,
      Three things. First it’s not an unplayable lie it’s an unplayable ball, covered by Rule 28. Second you can leave the head cover on when measuring as long as you get to the same point with the cover on as you would have with the cover off. You don’t get the additional benefit of extra distance because of the head cover. Third you cannot clean the ball anytime you pick it up. You can clean it in all cases but three – lifting for identification, lifting to see if it’s unfit for play, and lifting because it assists or interferes with the play of another ball.

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