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WRX Rules Refresher: It’s OK to measure with your putter when taking relief (plus 4 other Rules tricks)

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The new Rules of Golf are in effect. And we love them. Or at least some people love them. And a lot of people (still) hate them.

Sometimes, you will be told that you are in breach of the Rules, when you are not. Below I will tell you about a few of these situations so that you can avoid accepting other people saying that you are in breach. And you might even want to do some of the things it purposely to try to shake an opponent in match play.

1. Use your putter to measure with

When taking relief, it is perfectly OK to use your putter to measure with. I repeat: It is perfectly OK to use your putter to measure with.

“That is incorrect,” you might want to respond. But it is not. One club-length in the Rules is defined as the length of the longest club you have brought, other that your putter. So the length is defined…. but not what you must use to measure with. Thus you can measure with whatever club you want. or even … It is perfectly OK to measure a relief area with your putter… as long as you drop within the correct relief area (the size of which depends on the length of your longest club, not being a putter).

Therefore next time you are taking relief, use your putter. Well, no, sorry, a correction: Before you do it, state very loud to your fellow player that you intend to measure with your PUTTER, and maybe even show to him (and tell him!), how long it is. Then measure with the putter, and drop your ball (remember to drop it inside the correct relief area).

I will assure you that you will get some kind of reaction from him/her. But you have done nothing wrong under the Rules of Golf.

2. Drop farther away than two-club-lengths

You could also do the opposite (than taking a long putter). Next time you are measuring (e.g. two club-lengths) when taking relief, use a short club, e.g. a wedge. When you are done measuring, state loudly to your playing partner: “I don’t think two club-lengths is enough, so I will drop a ball a bit farther away than that!” Then drop a ball clearly farther away than the two wedge-lengths.

That is perfectly OK…of course presupposing that you drop within two club-lengths, i.e. typically within two driver-lengths.

Again: I am sure you will get some kind of reaction from your fellow player.

3. Play a provisional without saying “provisional”

Did you know that you can actually play a provisional ball without saying the word “provisional.” The rule states, that you must either a) say the word or b) in another way make it clear, that you are playing a provisional.

Another way could be this:

– “I’m playing a ball under Rule 18.3.”
– “I’m going to play another just in case.”

Thus, next time you are playing a provisional ball, tell your fellow player that you play a ball under Rule 18.3. He will probably think you are nuts. But you are not (at least not because of this). You did fine played perfectly in accordance with the Rules.

4. Drop right next to the “line”

When you take “back on the line relief,” there is a new procedure in 2019, e.g. when you played from the fairway or rough. You don’t have to drop exactly on the “line” anymore (the line = the extension away from the hole of the line between the hole and the point e.g. where the unplayable ball lies).

Example: You play from the semi-rough, and your ball ends out of bounds. Your club does not have the new Local Rule in operation (allowing players to drop ahead with two penalty strokes), and thus you play a ball with a one-stroke penalty. You then must drop a ball in a relief area that is one club-length from a point on the “line,” that you chose (not closer to the hole). If you are so lucky that this one club-length area is partly on the fairway, it is perfectly Ok for you to drop on the fairway!

That is important to know. One “club-length” is typically a bit more than 1 yard, and therefore the area is typically more than two yards from one end to the other. And you are free to choose the best spot available within that area — also if you thereby come from the semi-rough to the fairway (as in the example).

5. Mis-hit in the teeing area: Just put it back up on the tee again!

Have you ever mis-hit the ball from the teeing area? You know, one of these strokes, where the ball merely falls down from the tee? Of course you haven’t! But I have. Well, guess what: I have some good news for you. you just put the ball back up on the tee again without penalty (remember that the stroke counts, so it will be your second stroke).

But this is only possible if, after the mis-hit, the ball was still lying inside the teeing area (two club-lengths). Therefore when you play bad, I will encourage you to play really bad! Thus, if the ball in a mis-hit rolls three yards forward, you don’t have the option to put the ball back up on the tee again without penalty (you must then a) play it as it lies or b) with a one-stroke penalty play again from the teeing ground i.e. stroke number three).

 

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I am founder of "The Oswald Academy", which has only one purpose: To teach in the Rules of Golf. My hope is to make the Rules of Golf interesting and easy to understand. I am publishing Rules Books, conducting seminars, letterboxes, writing blogs, publishing "The Oswald Rules School" (videos) and much more. I live in New York, but I was born in Denmark. I am a former lawyer, and have two kids - and one wife.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Fio

    Mar 15, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    What is the aim of the piece, to start arguments with your playing partners ? The changes will be difficult enough to get used to without suggesting to golfers how clever they can be in the interpretation of the Rules. Surely the writer can think of more useful information regarding the Rules that will actually benefit golfers?

  2. Deepy

    Mar 14, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    @1&2 but why?

    @3 „I’m going to play another just in case„ <- doubt that, see 18.3b, clearly announcing sounds different to me, the example states it is not enough to announce it as „play another ball“, „just in case“ doesn’t make any difference

    @4 Back on the line relief after hitting it O.B.?

    @5 planning to never make use of this rule

    • D

      Mar 15, 2019 at 2:27 am

      Douche doesn’t understand the rules. OB is OB, and it’s still stroke and distance, therefore you are still hitting the drop plus another, so it’s actually the same penalty as before from the nearest point where you just hit the OB shot.
      Therefore, as an example: if you are in the semi-rough next to the fairway with your tee shot like he says, and you hit that 2nd shot OB. You drop as near as possible to the place where you just hit the poor shot, without moving forward, and so you are now hitting your 4th. If the rule to move forward is not in effect, you play exactly how you used to play before, like that.
      But, the only new thing is, if you move forward instead with the new rules, and you drop next to the place the ball crossed, you add 2 and are now hitting your 5th from the line it crossed.
      Duh

      • Hitemtrue

        Mar 18, 2019 at 12:35 pm

        Under the new rules there is a relief area when taking stroke and distance. Within one club length of previous location, no closer to the hole.

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