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 Rules of Golf and Tips for Play

Ground Conditions - Mushy
Q.  Is soft mushy earth considered casual water?
No. Soft, mushy earth is not casual water unless water is visible on the surface before or after the player takes his stance - see Definition of "Casual Water." (Decision 25/1)

Procedure for Moving Ball-Marker to the Side
Q.  When moving a ball-marker to the side, must the position of the ball be marked first and then the ball-marker moved, or can I simply measure to the side of the ball?
A.  The player may either mark the position of the ball, measure to one side of the mark, and move the ball-marker to that spot, or he may place the putter head directly to the side of the ball and place the ball-marker, thereby eliminating one step. See Decision 20-1/16.

Lifting Ball for Identification
Q.  Am I permitted to lift a ball that I believe is mine to identify it?
A.  Yes, under Rule 12-2, a ball may be lifted for identification. The player must announce his intention to lift the ball to an opponent, fellow-competitor or marker, and mark the position of the ball. He may then lift the ball and identify it, provided that he gives his opponent, marker or fellow-competitor an opportunity to observe the lifting and replacement.
This may be done anywhere on the course, including when the ball lies in a hazard (Rule 12-2).

1-2. Amateur Status
Amateur Status is a universal condition of eligibility for playing in golf competitions as an amateur golfer. A person who acts contrary to the Rules may forfeit his status as an amateur golfer and as a result will be ineligible to play in amateur competitions

3-1. Playing for Prize Money
An amateur golfer must not play golf for prize money or its equivalent in a match, competition or exhibition.
Note: An amateur golfer may participate in an event where prize money or its equivalent is offered, provided that prior to participation he waives his right to accept prize money in that event.
(Conduct contrary to the purpose and spirit of the Rules see Rule 7-2.) (Policy on Gambling see Appendix

3-2. Prize Money General - An amateur golfer must not accept a prize (other than a symbolic prize) or prize voucher of retail value in excess of $750 or the equivalent, or such a lesser figure as may be decided by the USGA. This limit applies to the total prizes or prize vouchers received by an amateur golfer in any one competition or series of competitions.

Exception: A prize, including a cash prize, for a hole-in-one made while playing golf may exceed the above prize limit

Q. Should rakes be placed in or outside bunkers?

A. There is not a perfect answer for the position of rakes, but on balance it is felt there is less likelihood of an advantage or disadvantage to the player if rakes are placed outside of bunkers.

It may be argued that there is more likelihood of a ball being deflected into or kept out of a bunker if the rake is placed outside the bunker. It could also be argued that if the rake is in the bunker it is most unlikely that the ball will be deflected out of the bunker.

However, in practice, players who leave rakes in bunkers frequently leave them at the side which tends to stop a ball rolling into the flat part of the bunker, resulting in a much more difficult shot than would otherwise have been the case. This is most prevalent at a course where the bunkers are small. When the ball comes to rest on or against a rake in the bunker and the player must proceed under Rule 24-1, it may not be possible to replace the ball on the same spot or find a spot in the bunker which is not nearer the hole see Decision 20-3d/2.

If rakes are left in the middle of the bunker, the only way to position them is to throw them into the bunker and this causes damage to the surface. Also, if a rake is in the middle of a large bunker, it is either not used or the player is obliged to rake a large area of the bunker, resulting in unnecessary delay.

Therefore, after considering all these aspects, it is recommended that rakes should be left outside bunkers in areas where they are least likely to affect the movement of the ball.

Ultimately, it is a matter for the Committee to decide where it wishes rakes to be placed.

The Crossings would like to have the rakes left in the bunkers and on the side away from the putting surface.  It is best to enter and leave the bunkers from the lowest point of the bunker.

How to fix a pitch mark...

Rule 17.1 Flagstick Attended, Removed or Held Up
17-1. Flagstick Attended, Removed or Held Up
Before making a
stroke from anywhere on the course, the player may have the flagstick attended, removed or held up to indicate the position of the hole.
If the flagstick is not attended, removed or held up before the player makes a stroke, it must not be attended, removed or held up during the stroke or while the player's ball is in motion if doing so might influence the movement of the ball.
Note 1: If the flagstick is in the hole and anyone stands near it while a stroke is being made, he is deemed to be attending the flagstick.
Note 2: If, prior to the stroke, the flagstick is attended, removed or held up by anyone with the player's knowledge and he makes no objection, the player is deemed to have authorized it.
Note 3: If anyone attends or holds up the flagstick while a stroke is being made, he is deemed to be attending the flagstick until the ball comes to rest.
(Moving attended, removed or held up flagstick while ball in motion - see Rule 24-1.)

Rule 15. Substituted Ball; Wrong Ball
15-3. Wrong Ball  -  b. Stroke Play
If a competitor makes a stroke or strokes at a wrong ball, he incurs a penalty of two strokes.
competitor must correct his mistake by playing the correct ball or by proceeding under the Rules. If he fails to correct his mistake before making a stroke on the next teeing ground or, in the case of the last hole of the round, fails to declare his intention to correct his mistake before leaving the putting green, he is disqualified.
Strokes made by a competitor with a wrong ball do not count in his score. If the wrong ball belongs to another competitor, its owner must place a ball on the spot from which the wrong ball was first played.
Exception: There is no penalty if a competitor makes a stroke at a wrong ball that is moving in water in a water hazard. Any strokes made at a wrong ball moving in water in a water hazard do not count in the competitor's score.
(Lie of ball to be placed or replaced altered - see Rule 20-3b.)
(Spot not determinable - see Rule 20-3c.)

Ball Played as it Lies
Definitions - All defined terms are in italics and are listed alphabetically in the Definitions section.
13-1. General
The ball must be played as it lies, except as otherwise provided in the
(Ball at rest moved - see Rule 18.)
13-2. Improving Lie, Area of Intended Stance or Swing, or
   Line of Play

A player must not improve or allow to be improved:
  the position or lie of his ball,
  the area of his intended
stance or swing,
line of play or a reasonable extension of that line beyond
hole, or
  the area in which he is to drop or place a ball, by any of the
        following actions:
  pressing a club on the ground,
  moving, bending or breaking anything growing or fixed (including
obstructions and objects defining out of bounds),
  creating or eliminating irregularities of surface,
  removing or pressing down sand, loose soil, replaced divots
        or other cut turf placed in position, or
  removing dew, frost or water.
However, the player incurs no penalty if the action occurs:
  in grounding the club lightly when
addressing the ball,
  in fairly taking his
  in making a
stroke or the backward movement of his club for a
stroke and the stroke is made,
  in creating or eliminating irregularities of surface within the
teeing ground (Rule 11-1) or in removing dew, frost or water
         from the
teeing ground, or
  on the
putting green in removing sand and loose soil or in
          repairing damage (Rule 16-1).
Exception: Ball in hazard - see Rule 13-4

Nearest Point of Relief

The "nearest point of relief" is the reference point for taking relief without penalty from interference by an immovable obstruction (Rule 24-2), an abnormal ground condition
(Rule 25-1) or a wrong putting green (Rule 25-3).

It is the point on the course nearest to where the ball lies:
(i)   that is not nearer the hole, and
(ii)  where if the ball were so positioned, no interference by the condition from which relief is sought would exist for the stroke the player would have made from the original position if the condition were not there.

NOTE:  In order to determine the nearest point of relief accurately, the player should use the club with which he would have made his next stroke if the condition were not there to simulate the address position, direction of play and swing for such a stroke.

Rule of the Day - Ball Lands on the Wrong Green
If you hit your ball onto the wrong putting green, you may not hit off the green.  There is no penalty for picking up your ball and dropping it off the green at the nearest point of relief (Rule 25-3).  Drop the ball within one club-length of the nearest point of relief but no closer to your intended pin.  The nearest point of relief would not include dropping it in a hazard or on the green.  You may clean the ball when you lift it from the green.

Rule of the Day - Animal Steals Your Ball
If a groundhog, fox or squirrel steals your ball as it sits on the fairway, you may replace the ball at the original spot without any penalty (Rule 18-1).  However, a ball moved by wind or water must be played where it ends up.  a snake that moves your ball is considered an outside agency, like a groundhog or squirrel, but a dead snake is a loose impediment and may be moved if it is blocking your path.  Make sure the snake is actually dead.  If you  are not sure, you can take a free drop.
When a ball has been moved by an animal and it is not clear where its original position was, the player may replace his ball without penalty in an area that provides neither and advantage nor a disadvantage by agreement with playing partners.  (Decision 18-1/5)

Water Hazard Trivia

How to avoid getting hit by a golf ball

Loose Impediment

Definition of a water hazard on the golf course.

Nearest Point of Relief - Cart Path

Nearest Point of Relief - Ground Under Repair


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