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Rules of Golf - Recent Rulings

August 15, 2023

Written by:  Darin Green, Senior Director of Rules & Competitions

The FSGA staff and volunteers have been very busy lately running competitions. In the past 10 days we conducted the 74th Four-Ball Championship at Seminole Legacy GC, the 31st Amateur Match Play Championship at Deerwood CC, the Junior Team Championship at Sandridge GC, the Junior Florida Cup at PGA National, the Summer Mixed Team Championship at Saddlebrook Resort, the Florida Junior Tour Sam Parks at Belleair CC, another Florida Junior Tour at Winter Haven CC, and several One-Day tournaments. As you can imagine, a lot of rulings that have taken place recently. Below are a few recent rulings.

Playing from the Wrong Place

At a junior tournament on a recently redesigned course, the club had some blue painted lines in certain areas of the course. The Notice to Players (Local Rules sheet) said the painted blue lines had no status and were to be ignored. A player’s ball came to rest inside an area marked with blue paint. The player assumed he got free relief from the area and dropped a ball within two club-lengths of his ball, no nearer the hole. He played the dropped ball and later asked an Official if what he did was correct. The Official confirmed with the Committee and informed the player he must add a two-stroke penalty for playing from a wrong place. Rule 14.7

Some may ask since the player dropped a ball within two club-lengths of the ball, why the Committee did not give him a one-stroke penalty under the Unplayable Ball Rule. Well, to take unplayable ball relief, the player is the sole judge on determining if a ball is unplayable, the Committee may not assign it. The player was clearly not operating under the Unplayable Ball Rule, so the two-stroke penalty for playing from a wrong place was applied.

Wrong Green

The sixth hole at Seminole Legacy GC is a long par five with out of bounds down the left side and the seventh hole on the right side. The seventh green is 290 yards from the sixth tee and about 30 yards right of the fairway. While trying to avoid the out of bounds down the left side, several players missed their tee shots well right and their balls came to rest on the seventh green. Players properly took mandatory free relief by finding their nearest point of complete relief off the putting green (including stance and area of intended swing) and dropped a ball. Rule 13.1f

Wrong Ball

In the Match Play Championship, two players were playing a match against each other and on a hole they hit their tee shots and proceeded down the hole. For their second shots, they mistakenly hit each other’s golf ball instead of their own. They asked the Committee what the ruling was and an Official asked them which player played the wrong ball first. The players responded and the Official informed them that the player who played the wrong ball first, lost the hole. The hole is over immediately when the first wrong ball is played. Rule 6.3c