All Kinds of Things Happening

At the recent U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship conducted at John’s Island Club in Vero Beach, I was stationed nearby the par-3 215 yard eighth hole of the North course for the second round of stroke play qualifying for match play. The right hand side of the hole is bordered by a road of which the inside edge (golf course side) defines out of bounds. I took a position well beyond the green on that same road.

I watched as a player struck his tee shot way right. I saw the players pointing right as my eyes turned toward the road only to notice a car traveling down the road in the direction of tee to green similar to the ball flight. The ball struck the vehicle and careened left toward the golf course. I watched as the ball rolled from out of bounds back into bounds as it came to rest in some cord grass. It was a rub of the green in a positive note. The ball in motion had struck a moving outside agency and was to be played as it lies (Rule 19-1).

I checked to see that the driver was uninjured and helped calm her down. Her windshield had taken the brunt of the impact resulting in a spider’s web type crack in the upper left corner. After notifying the course personal to assist the driver, I returned to the player and the ball.

I showed the player where the ball had comes to rest and he asked me what his options were. I told him that he could play the ball as it lies (Rule 13-1) or he could choose an option for an unplayable ball (Rule 28). He asked, and I gave him, his three options of the Rule and he elected the third option; Rule 28c of dropping a ball within two club-lengths of where the original ball lay but no nearer the hole.

Next, I let him know that if when dropped, the ball were to roll back into the road (out of bounds) he would need to re-drop the ball (Rule 20-c(iv)) and if it happened a second time, he would place the ball where it struck the course on the second drop.

He dropped twice and each time it rolled out of bounds. He then attempted to place the ball and asked if the he could move some mulch that had been placed on the ground before placing the ball. I told him yes he could (mulch is listed on the USGA Hard Card as a loose impediment).

He placed the ball and it lay precariously perched on the slope. He let go of it and I asked him if it was at rest. He replied yes, and I then notified that his ball was in play (Rule 20-4). I worried in my mind that if that ball started to move, it would roll back into the road and out of bounds (Note 1 to Rule 20-2c). He then would be required to return to the tee (Ball Out of Bounds; Rule 27-1b) hitting four from the tee which would include the penalty stroke for the unplayable ball, the penalty stroke for the out of bounds, plus the stroke from the tee.

He stood out of bounds to play the stroke (Definition of Out of Bounds) and struck the ball with his wedge hoisting the ball high up over a tree and knocked in the putt for a smooth four. I thought to myself that it could have been a lot worse had that car not driven by at that exact moment in time!

Remember, use the definitions, index or the table of contents to find the correct Rule that applies to the situation and follow the Rules of Golf to help yourself to enjoy the game of golf.

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