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Pushing down rough to test depth


46 replies to this topic

#1 jsabatke

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 06:02 PM



I honestly don't know the rule on this. I don't want to phone it in, and the player is going to miss the cut anyway.

I'm watching the US Open round 2. On Jon Rahm's 14th hole he had a hostile bunker lie which he hit just over the green into a couple inch high nasty rough. After a couple practice swings he addressed the ball and the pushed the head down three times quickly, pushing the grass all the way to the ground. The grass as a bit above the top of the ball and he completely exposed It with each push.

Does this violate any rules about improving a lie, or trying to improve it? I did not see the ball move, which surprised me as the club was very close. Is this okay to do?

Edited by jsabatke, 16 June 2017 - 06:13 PM.

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#2 sui generis

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 06:29 PM

R13 is the first place to look. Briefly, here's what a player must not and may do:

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, his line of play or a reasonable extension of that line beyond the 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,

However, the player incurs no penalty if the action occurs:

in grounding the club lightly when addressing the ball,

Knowledge of the Rules is part of the applied skill set which a player must use to play a round of competitive golf.

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#3 jsabatke

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 06:35 PM

View Postsui generis, on 16 June 2017 - 06:29 PM, said:

R13 is the first place to look. Briefly, here's what a player must not and may do:

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, his line of play or a reasonable extension of that line beyond the 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,

However, the player incurs no penalty if the action occurs:

in grounding the club lightly when addressing the ball,


That's really the heart of my question. I'm not sure he improved his lie, by three pretty firm pushes looked like he was trying to. It's not in a hazard, and there's no way to know his intent. I'm guessing no harm no foul, but I did a double take on that.
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#4 LeoLeo99

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 07:19 PM

I've seen it discussed on here before.  Some folks think it's cheating by the letter of the rule but since I've never seen it penalized, I assume the "official" interpretation of the rule is more lax than what you or I might think.

I have a friend that does this and how his ball doesn't move amazes me.  The ball wiggles and just oscillates.

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#5 jsabatke

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 07:29 PM

View PostLeoLeo99, on 16 June 2017 - 07:19 PM, said:

I've seen it discussed on here before.  Some folks think it's cheating by the letter of the rule but since I've never seen it penalized, I assume the "official" interpretation of the rule is more lax than what you or I might think.

I have a friend that does this and how his ball doesn't move amazes me.  The ball wiggles and just oscillates.

I'm mostly glad the rules are being changes to be easier, common sense and more playable. Many I've played with have had such laughably bizarre interpretations that it's obvious that something really needed to be done. I think most questions like mine here will be rendered obsolete.

I was totally amazed that this ball didn't roll a bit.

Edited by jsabatke, 16 June 2017 - 07:30 PM.

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#6 jlbos83

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 07:30 PM

Usually in these cases it seems that camera angles are misleading, or there are other circumstances.  I think I saw this same event, and I didn't like it.  In my opinion he went well past " lightly grounding when addressing". I would interpret while addressing to mean when you are actually getting ready to strike the ball.  Not before the start of taking a stance, etc.  I think this is done regularly by players of all levels.  It is actually one of the few rules that I think needs to be addressed and clarified.
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#7 Cancun

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 07:54 PM

Read carefully sui’s post # 2 and you’ll notice that the player is allowed to lightly ground the club. Notice that a player may touch the grass when his ball is in a hazard, but he may not ground the club, so the Rules make a clear distinction between grounding the club and touching the grass.

You tell us that Jon Rahm’s ball was not in a hazard, so he was allowed not only to touch the grass, but to ground his club. That’s impossible to accomplish if your club doesn’t touch the grass. Being in tall grass, you may not ground the club if you don’t somehow push the grass down.

Sui edited this part, but Rule 13-2 also states that a player can’t move, bend or break anything growing or fixed, yet he/she can lightly ground the club… The pressure to ground a club on the rough must be a little stronger than just the weight of the club (as it is when on the fairway), because you can’t actually ground the club without pressing the tall grass. At the end, it’s a judgement call in order to determine if the pressure was light or not. I believe that, most likely, the lack of evidence would give the player the benefit of the doubt.

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#8 Colin L

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 12:29 AM

Cancun, I'm unusually in disagreement with what you say.  The player is permitted to ground his club, but grounding is described in Decision 13-4/8 as being when the grass is compressed to the point where it will support the weight of the club.
http://www.usga.org/...sion-13,d13-4-8

What I don't agree with is when you saythe pressure to ground a club on the rough must be a little stronger than just the weight of the club.   That to my mind would permit the player to go beyond legitimate grounding of his club as describe in the Decision.  He is not allowed to put any additional downward pressure on his club.  The player has no entitlement  to have his club touching the ground in the sense of the actual soil.  He may only ground his club in the sense of the Definition and in thick grass that may well leave his club head above his ball and above what in common terms we would understand to  be the ground.

I can't comment on what Rahm was doing, not having seen his actions, but in general I'd say that anyone  pushing his  club down and compressing the grass beyond what his club alone will do is committing a breach.  And any player who was  doing this three times in addressing his ball would attract my attention and earn a cautionary word.

Edited by Colin L, 17 June 2017 - 12:31 AM.


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#9 Stuart G.

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 04:12 AM

I remember the event in question.   I was worried the ball might move but I didn't notice anything that was a clear indication that anything more then the weight of the club was being used against the grass.  

I also remember they only had a very short time where they had a clear view of the ball, club and grass interaction.  They seemed to zoom out very quickly.    May not be true but I couldn't help thinking they did that because they didn't want to give the viewers a chance to see any infraction.

Edited by Stuart G., 17 June 2017 - 04:12 AM.


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#10 larrybud

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 06:01 AM

View PostCancun, on 16 June 2017 - 07:54 PM, said:


Sui edited this part, but Rule 13-2 also states that a player can’t move, bend or break anything growing or fixed, yet he/she can lightly ground the club… The pressure to ground a club on the rough must be a little stronger than just the weight of the club (as it is when on the fairway), because you can’t actually ground the club without pressing the tall grass. At the end, it’s a judgement call in order to determine if the pressure was light or not. I believe that, most likely, the lack of evidence would give the player the benefit of the doubt.

The other thing is a player always bends grass when grounding a club anywhere!


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#11 Colin L

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 06:54 AM

View Postlarrybud, on 17 June 2017 - 06:01 AM, said:

View PostCancun, on 16 June 2017 - 07:54 PM, said:

Sui edited this part, but Rule 13-2 also states that a player can’t move, bend or break anything growing or fixed, yet he/she can lightly ground the club… The pressure to ground a club on the rough must be a little stronger than just the weight of the club (as it is when on the fairway), because you can’t actually ground the club without pressing the tall grass. At the end, it’s a judgement call in order to determine if the pressure was light or not. I believe that, most likely, the lack of evidence would give the player the benefit of the doubt.

The other thing is a player always bends grass when grounding a club anywhere!

Yes, but note my post above.  The grass is only allowed to bend under the weight of the club, not because of downward pressure by the player.

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#12 Sawgrass

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 07:06 AM

View PostColin L, on 17 June 2017 - 06:54 AM, said:

View Postlarrybud, on 17 June 2017 - 06:01 AM, said:

View PostCancun, on 16 June 2017 - 07:54 PM, said:

Sui edited this part, but Rule 13-2 also states that a player can’t move, bend or break anything growing or fixed, yet he/she can lightly ground the club… The pressure to ground a club on the rough must be a little stronger than just the weight of the club (as it is when on the fairway), because you can’t actually ground the club without pressing the tall grass. At the end, it’s a judgement call in order to determine if the pressure was light or not. I believe that, most likely, the lack of evidence would give the player the benefit of the doubt.

The other thing is a player always bends grass when grounding a club anywhere!

Yes, but note my post above.  The grass is only allowed to bend under the weight of the club, not because of downward pressure by the player.

Load up my Heavy Putter with its maximum weights and large flat sole.  Address the ball in the rough 250 out a few times, being sure to only apply the (extraordinary) weight of the putter, then decide to switch to a more conventional three wood.

(I'm not saying I really would do that.  I'm not saying that I could legally do that.  I'm simply observing that heavier, larger club heads oddly get more leeway.  The 2019 proposals correct inequity for club length drops with differing club lengths. How might one might balance this?)

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#13 Colin L

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 07:42 AM

View PostSawgrass, on 17 June 2017 - 07:06 AM, said:

Load up my Heavy Putter with its maximum weights and large flat sole.  Address the ball in the rough 250 out a few times, being sure to only apply the (extraordinary) weight of the putter, then decide to switch to a more conventional three wood.

(I'm not saying I really would do that.  I'm not saying that I could legally do that. .......

Glad you said that.  :)

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#14 jsabatke

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 02:00 AM

View PostColin L, on 17 June 2017 - 06:54 AM, said:

View Postlarrybud, on 17 June 2017 - 06:01 AM, said:

View PostCancun, on 16 June 2017 - 07:54 PM, said:

Sui edited this part, but Rule 13-2 also states that a player canít move, bend or break anything growing or fixed, yet he/she can lightly ground the clubÖ The pressure to ground a club on the rough must be a little stronger than just the weight of the club (as it is when on the fairway), because you canít actually ground the club without pressing the tall grass. At the end, itís a judgement call in order to determine if the pressure was light or not. I believe that, most likely, the lack of evidence would give the player the benefit of the doubt.

The other thing is a player always bends grass when grounding a club anywhere!

Yes, but note my post above.  The grass is only allowed to bend under the weight of the club, not because of downward pressure by the player.

I replayed this several times on my DVR, mostly at slow speed. I don't believe his wedge could push that much grass down that far without a fair amount of pressure, and pressing the grass down three times in seriously rapid succession looked like he was trying to bend the grass. I don't usually read rules gripes or controversies, so I hadn't read any prior discussions on this subject. I also know it's pretty hard to judge intent, though I think this one may have crossed that line.  At least there was no controversy over this, and it didn't impact the tournament or the cut.

I suppose it could have been a bit of a rechecking address move like Sergio still does a bit of, and used to drive people nuts when he would reground his club so many times. I do follow Rahm, and I've never seen that kind of play, but maybe it was an unusual lie. Maybe he was trying to find out how deep the cushion of gras was, though again, three strong pumps down in about a second seems fishy.

Edited by jsabatke, 18 June 2017 - 02:04 AM.

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#15 DaveLeeNC

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 09:15 AM

View PostColin L, on 17 June 2017 - 06:54 AM, said:

View Postlarrybud, on 17 June 2017 - 06:01 AM, said:

View PostCancun, on 16 June 2017 - 07:54 PM, said:

Sui edited this part, but Rule 13-2 also states that a player can’t move, bend or break anything growing or fixed, yet he/she can lightly ground the club… The pressure to ground a club on the rough must be a little stronger than just the weight of the club (as it is when on the fairway), because you can’t actually ground the club without pressing the tall grass. At the end, it’s a judgement call in order to determine if the pressure was light or not. I believe that, most likely, the lack of evidence would give the player the benefit of the doubt.

The other thing is a player always bends grass when grounding a club anywhere!

Yes, but note my post above.  The grass is only allowed to bend under the weight of the club, not because of downward pressure by the player.

It was my impression that (outside of a hazard) you had the right to sole your club behind the ball. And if that required a bit of pressure on the club to achieve that then this was all right. Of course there is a matter of degree here so some judgment is still required.

Years ago I asked the USGA a question where a player 'soled his clubhead as allowed by the RoG' and then stepped away to re-evaluate, possibly to change clubs. The process of soling the club improved his lie. Is this a violation of the RoG. and the answer was 'no' (because the player had a right to sole the club behind the ball even if this resulted in an improved lie).

dave


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#16 LeoLeo99

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 09:19 AM

View PostDaveLeeNC, on 18 June 2017 - 09:15 AM, said:

View PostColin L, on 17 June 2017 - 06:54 AM, said:

View Postlarrybud, on 17 June 2017 - 06:01 AM, said:

View PostCancun, on 16 June 2017 - 07:54 PM, said:

Sui edited this part, but Rule 13-2 also states that a player can’t move, bend or break anything growing or fixed, yet he/she can lightly ground the club… The pressure to ground a club on the rough must be a little stronger than just the weight of the club (as it is when on the fairway), because you can’t actually ground the club without pressing the tall grass. At the end, it’s a judgement call in order to determine if the pressure was light or not. I believe that, most likely, the lack of evidence would give the player the benefit of the doubt.

The other thing is a player always bends grass when grounding a club anywhere!

Yes, but note my post above.  The grass is only allowed to bend under the weight of the club, not because of downward pressure by the player.

It was my impression that (outside of a hazard) you had the right to sole your club behind the ball. And if that required a bit of pressure on the club to achieve that then this was all right. Of course there is a matter of degree here so some judgment is still required.

Years ago I asked the USGA a question where a player 'soled his clubhead as allowed by the RoG' and then stepped away to re-evaluate, possibly to change clubs. The process of soling the club improved his lie. Is this a violation of the RoG. and the answer was 'no' (because the player had a right to sole the club behind the ball even if this resulted in an improved lie).

dave

Whoa, this is news to me.

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#17 Colin L

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 09:52 AM

View PostDaveLeeNC, on 18 June 2017 - 09:15 AM, said:

View PostColin L, on 17 June 2017 - 06:54 AM, said:

View Postlarrybud, on 17 June 2017 - 06:01 AM, said:

View PostCancun, on 16 June 2017 - 07:54 PM, said:

Sui edited this part, but Rule 13-2 also states that a player can’t move, bend or break anything growing or fixed, yet he/she can lightly ground the club… The pressure to ground a club on the rough must be a little stronger than just the weight of the club (as it is when on the fairway), because you can’t actually ground the club without pressing the tall grass. At the end, it’s a judgement call in order to determine if the pressure was light or not. I believe that, most likely, the lack of evidence would give the player the benefit of the doubt.

The other thing is a player always bends grass when grounding a club anywhere!

Yes, but note my post above.  The grass is only allowed to bend under the weight of the club, not because of downward pressure by the player.

It was my impression that (outside of a hazard) you had the right to sole your club behind the ball. And if that required a bit of pressure on the club to achieve that then this was all right. Of course there is a matter of degree here so some judgment is still required.

Years ago I asked the USGA a question where a player 'soled his clubhead as allowed by the RoG' and then stepped away to re-evaluate, possibly to change clubs. The process of soling the club improved his lie. Is this a violation of the RoG. and the answer was 'no' (because the player had a right to sole the club behind the ball even if this resulted in an improved lie).

dave

What do you understand "soling your club" to mean?  And where is this entitlement expressed in the rules?

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#18 DaveLeeNC

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 12:52 PM

View PostColin L, on 18 June 2017 - 09:52 AM, said:

View PostDaveLeeNC, on 18 June 2017 - 09:15 AM, said:

View PostColin L, on 17 June 2017 - 06:54 AM, said:

View Postlarrybud, on 17 June 2017 - 06:01 AM, said:

View PostCancun, on 16 June 2017 - 07:54 PM, said:

Sui edited this part, but Rule 13-2 also states that a player can’t move, bend or break anything growing or fixed, yet he/she can lightly ground the club… The pressure to ground a club on the rough must be a little stronger than just the weight of the club (as it is when on the fairway), because you can’t actually ground the club without pressing the tall grass. At the end, it’s a judgement call in order to determine if the pressure was light or not. I believe that, most likely, the lack of evidence would give the player the benefit of the doubt.

The other thing is a player always bends grass when grounding a club anywhere!

Yes, but note my post above.  The grass is only allowed to bend under the weight of the club, not because of downward pressure by the player.

It was my impression that (outside of a hazard) you had the right to sole your club behind the ball. And if that required a bit of pressure on the club to achieve that then this was all right. Of course there is a matter of degree here so some judgment is still required.

Years ago I asked the USGA a question where a player 'soled his clubhead as allowed by the RoG' and then stepped away to re-evaluate, possibly to change clubs. The process of soling the club improved his lie. Is this a violation of the RoG. and the answer was 'no' (because the player had a right to sole the club behind the ball even if this resulted in an improved lie).

dave

What do you understand "soling your club" to mean?  And where is this entitlement expressed in the rules?

The rules use the term grounding the club (which I am confident that I can spell - not so sure about soling vs. soleing). And it is expressed in the exception to Rule 13-2 (where the argument then becomes what 'lightly' means).

dave

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#19 Colin L

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 01:26 PM

View PostDaveLeeNC, on 18 June 2017 - 12:52 PM, said:


The rules use the term grounding the club (which I am confident that I can spell - not so sure about soling vs. soleing). And it is expressed in the exception to Rule 13-2 (where the argument then becomes what 'lightly' means).

dave

And is that argument not settled by Decision 13-4/8?

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#20 DaveLeeNC

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 01:44 PM

View PostColin L, on 18 June 2017 - 01:26 PM, said:

View PostDaveLeeNC, on 18 June 2017 - 12:52 PM, said:

The rules use the term grounding the club (which I am confident that I can spell - not so sure about soling vs. soleing). And it is expressed in the exception to Rule 13-2 (where the argument then becomes what 'lightly' means).

dave

And is that argument not settled by Decision 13-4/8?

Since that is specifically about actions inside a water hazard,  I would judge 13-4/8 to have no relevance here (but I cannot count how often I am wrong about stuff like this).

dave


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#21 jsabatke

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 03:33 PM

View PostColin L, on 18 June 2017 - 01:26 PM, said:

View PostDaveLeeNC, on 18 June 2017 - 12:52 PM, said:


The rules use the term grounding the club (which I am confident that I can spell - not so sure about soling vs. soleing). And it is expressed in the exception to Rule 13-2 (where the argument then becomes what 'lightly' means).

dave

And is that argument not settled by Decision 13-4/8?

I think "lightly" is about the only consideration here.
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#22 Newby

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 05:01 PM

13-2 itself makes a clear distinction between
  • pressing a club on the ground,
and
  • grounding the club - 13-48 in effect defines grounding. Nothing further is necessary.


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#23 DaveLeeNC

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 08:13 PM

View PostNewby, on 18 June 2017 - 05:01 PM, said:

13-2 itself makes a clear distinction between
  • pressing a club on the ground,
and
  • grounding the club - 13-48 in effect defines grounding. Nothing further is necessary.

Newby - in the context of this discussion what is "grounding the club lightly"? Per Decision 13-4/8 ground the club is touching the ground with the club (although it is far from clear in that decision that it is a complete definition - it just says that touching the ground is grounding). What are they allowing and what are they disallowing here? Is it additional pressure on the clubshaft once you have "reached the ground"? I don't see anything that disallows pressing the club to "get to the ground" (at least in the case of typical rough grasses).

Thanks.

dave

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#24 Colin L

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 01:08 AM

Decision 13-4/8 does not say touching the ground is grounding. It makes no mention of the ground.    It says that a club is grounded when its weight is supported by the grass.   Grounded is being used with a specific meaning in the context of the rules of golf and does not mean touching the ground in the sense of touching the earth.  It just means the point at which your club is being supported by  i.e. you are no longer having to hold it up.    

I'm not sure that saying  lightly groundedis particularly helpful.  There are three possibilities: you are supporting the weight of your club; the grass is supporting the club  without your pressing down; or the grass is being compressed further than it should be because you are pressing down.  

I would  take lightly as a reminder that you are not allowed to press down.

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#25 SadTrombone

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 01:52 AM

Gary Player approves of this thread.


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#26 Colin L

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 04:11 AM

View PostSadTrombone, on 19 June 2017 - 01:52 AM, said:

Gary Player approves of this thread.

:)

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#27 DaveLeeNC

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 06:48 AM

View PostColin L, on 19 June 2017 - 01:08 AM, said:

Decision 13-4/8 does not say touching the ground is grounding. It makes no mention of the ground. It says that a club is grounded when its weight is supported by the grass.   Grounded is being used with a specific meaning in the context of the rules of golf and does not mean touching the ground in the sense of touching the earth.  It just means the point at which your club is being supported by  i.e. you are no longer having to hold it up.

I'm not sure that saying  lightly groundedis particularly helpful.  There are three possibilities: you are supporting the weight of your club; the grass is supporting the club  without your pressing down; or the grass is being compressed further than it should be because you are pressing down.  

I would  take lightly as a reminder that you are not allowed to press down.

I am not sure that it matters, but when you are defining what "touching the ground in a hazard" means, and then you say When the grass is compressed to the point where it will support the weight of the club (i.e., when the club is grounded) you have said that touching the ground is grounding the club. What you have not done is to define grounding the club - you have only given a concrete example.

dave

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#28 DaveLeeNC

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 09:49 AM

View PostSadTrombone, on 19 June 2017 - 01:52 AM, said:

Gary Player approves of this thread.

And so does Kenny Perry. And it was this particular 'event' that got me to send my question to the USGA.

https://www.youtube....h?v=NKsioAyR9Fs

There was no penalty and from what I recall the Tour players had no issue with what Kenny did. I don't think that it ever got an official review (armchair RO's let us down on that one :stop: )

dave

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#29 Cancun

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 10:49 AM

View PostColin L, on 17 June 2017 - 12:29 AM, said:

Cancun, I'm unusually in disagreement with what you say.  The player is permitted to ground his club, but grounding is described in Decision 13-4/8 as being when the grass is compressed to the point where it will support the weight of the club.
http://www.usga.org/...sion-13,d13-4-8

What I don't agree with is when you saythe pressure to ground a club on the rough must be a little stronger than just the weight of the club.   That to my mind would permit the player to go beyond legitimate grounding of his club as describe in the Decision.  He is not allowed to put any additional downward pressure on his club.  The player has no entitlement  to have his club touching the ground in the sense of the actual soil.  He may only ground his club in the sense of the Definition and in thick grass that may well leave his club head above his ball and above what in common terms we would understand to  be the ground.

I can't comment on what Rahm was doing, not having seen his actions, but in general I'd say that anyone  pushing his  club down and compressing the grass beyond what his club alone will do is committing a breach.  And any player who was  doing this three times in addressing his ball would attract my attention and earn a cautionary word.

Colin: I agree with what you say both in this post and this thread, so I stand corrected. I couldn’t help but laughing after reading your post (laughing at me, I mean). But I basically want to say that I didn’t mean to say what I said. Ready: fixed! LOL

As you say, the player is not necessarily entitled to ground his club and he may not make additional pressure while grounding a club. I’ll try to express my point of view a little better this time.

It may seem like a player is “pushing down” and perhaps he is -and should be penalized- or maybe he’s just legally grounding the club three times (he legally compressed the grass with the weight of the club, while holding it, three times). If he did, by the third time the club might go a little bit deeper in that tall grass (a little closer to the ground) because the grass has been compressed by the weight of the club being legally grounded several times.

How do we know if the player is actually pushing down? That’s what I had in meant when I said that at the end it’s a judgement call in order to determine if the pressure was light or not and that I believe that, most likely, the lack of evidence would give the player the benefit of the doubt. Let me edit that and say that it’s a judgement call in order to determine if the pressure was just the weight of the club, since –as I said from the top- you are right and I thank you for pointing that out. At the end, we know that the player is not allowed to improve his lie or area of intended swing and some referees may think that grounding the club three times was unnecessary... I'd say he's playing with fire.

Note: I never saw the video of what Rahm actually did.

Have a good day gentlemen!

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#30 DaveLeeNC

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 11:25 AM

In my (often wrong) opinion, if a golfer was in heavy US Open type rough and carefully placed his club behind the ball and the clubhead did not sink to the level of the ball, and then he further pressed down until the clubhead reached the ball, this would not be judged to be a violation.

dave


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