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Ask Linda #1641-Impossible hole locations
Posted: 08 Nov 2017 12:00 AM PST
This question is different. Can course designers/superintendents go too far and break some kind of rule?
I play a course that has a few hilly greens – VERY hilly greens. If the ball is anywhere above the hole, there is no way physics will allow the ball to stop unless the center of the hole gets in the way. You could strike it with a feather and it wouldn’t stop. Then, it rolls and rolls off the green and down a hill and the next shot (after a five-foot putt) is a 100-yard uphill wedge.
Even worse, you can have an uphill putt – the ball will stop, and then start to roll backwards, and backwards and off the green until you have that 100-yard uphill wedge.
When does an impossible green go beyond fair play and the rules of course construction and pin placement?? Are there such rules??
Lou from Orrville, Ohio
There is no rule in the Rules of Golf that governs hole location, but there is a recommendation in The USGA Handicap System manual that should be adhered to by course superintendents. Section 15-3 (iii) states as follows:
An area two to three feet in radius around the hole should be as nearly level as possible and of uniform grade. In no case should holes be located in tricky places or on sharp slopes where a ball can gather speed. A player above the hole should be able to stop the ball at the hole.
The use of the word “should” indicates a strong recommendation, not a requirement. However, holes that are poorly located reward luck rather than skill, and take the fun out of the game, which can be a disincentive for repeat business. If your efforts to convince the superintendent to follow the recommendations of the USGA fail, a casual mention to the owner that you and your friends did not enjoy the course and will not return because of the impossible hole locations might be an effective wake-up call.
Here is a link to an FAQ from the USGA regarding hole location that I believe you will find helpful: https://www.usga.org...idx=143&Rule=16
And here is a link to a lengthy, detailed article about how to choose hole locations, written by a golf course designer:
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