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Fairway divot rule


262 replies to this topic

#1 theelogan

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 04:16 PM

Anyone wonder why after all the rule changes and things they went through. Why did they skip addressing the silliness of this rule. I get golf is like luck of the draw but it's a difficulty not in the golf course design. Just always wondered why that couldn't be free drop. I hate when you see a tournament determined by one player piping down the middle And losing because they land in a divot.


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#2 sui generis

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 04:41 PM

 theelogan, on 04 October 2018 - 04:16 PM, said:

Anyone wonder why after all the rule changes and things they went through. Why did they skip addressing the silliness of this rule. I get golf is like luck of the draw but it's a difficulty not in the golf course design. Just always wondered why that couldn't be free drop. I hate when you see a tournament determined by one player piping down the middle And losing because they land in a divot.

Oh, dear . . . here we go again. Your first post could have complained of slow play or why can't the pros wear shorts . . . but this? Where have you been? :swoon:
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 Newby

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 04:41 PM

I wonder why this question has not been raised before. Oddly, the USGA have explained this in their notes accompanying the issue of the 2019 rules.

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#4 augustgolf

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 04:46 PM

 theelogan, on 04 October 2018 - 04:16 PM, said:

Anyone wonder why after all the rule changes and things they went through. Why did they skip addressing the silliness of this rule. I get golf is like luck of the draw but it's a difficulty not in the golf course design. Just always wondered why that couldn't be free drop. I hate when you see a tournament determined by one player piping down the middle And losing because they land in a divot.


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#5 Shilgy

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 05:05 PM

This really seems familiar. Have we discussed this ever before?
  OP 2 1/2 years of lurking and this is your first post? I'm guessing you haven't lurked much in this forum?

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#6 BrianMcG

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 05:08 PM

Posted Image

First post from OP.

Edited by BrianMcG, 04 October 2018 - 05:09 PM.

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#7 davep043

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 05:11 PM

 theelogan, on 04 October 2018 - 04:16 PM, said:

Anyone wonder why after all the rule changes and things they went through. Why did they skip addressing the silliness of this rule. I get golf is like luck of the draw but it's a difficulty not in the golf course design. Just always wondered why that couldn't be free drop. I hate when you see a tournament determined by one player piping down the middle And losing because they land in a divot.
Rather than hammer the OP for his rather redundant first post (I'm moderately new here myself), I will ask him a question.  Please define, if you will, what a divot hole is, whether you get relief if its filled with sand or divot mic, and at what time it has grown back enough that it ceases to be grounds for relief.  And if you discover that its impossible to write a clear enforceable rule, please let us know that as well.
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#8 jlbos83

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 05:12 PM

It's really quite simple.  When is does the divot (hole) become not a divot (hole).  Every patch of grass that wasn't perfect would become a divot hole.  We might as well play LCP.
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#9 finleysg

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 05:25 PM

At some point in the far future, the ROG may define a fairway as a specially prepared area like the green. If and when that happens (we will all be long dead), marking and repairing your lie in the fairway will be common place.

For the foreseeable future, the fairway is simply a closely-mowed area with no guarantee of perfection. Learn to hit the shot.
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#10 SNIPERBBB

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 05:31 PM

Hit the ball farther, or shorter if you want to avoid divots. Or play LCP in the fairways.

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#11 sui generis

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 07:23 PM

Second place is reserved for those lacking the skills to hit a wedge close from out of a divot hole. ;)
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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#12 rogolf

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 07:45 PM

View Posttheelogan, on 04 October 2018 - 04:16 PM, said:

Anyone wonder why after all the rule changes and things they went through. Why did they skip addressing the silliness of this rule. I get golf is like luck of the draw but it's a difficulty not in the golf course design. Just always wondered why that couldn't be free drop. I hate when you see a tournament determined by one player piping down the middle And losing because they land in a divot.
Can you cite a credible example of when and where that happened?  Many players, particularly those in a tournament's lead, have the requisite skill to play a successful shot from that lie.  They don't need help from the Rules.

Edited by rogolf, 04 October 2018 - 07:46 PM.


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#13 BrianMcG

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 07:49 PM

View Postrogolf, on 04 October 2018 - 07:45 PM, said:

View Posttheelogan, on 04 October 2018 - 04:16 PM, said:

Anyone wonder why after all the rule changes and things they went through. Why did they skip addressing the silliness of this rule. I get golf is like luck of the draw but it's a difficulty not in the golf course design. Just always wondered why that couldn't be free drop. I hate when you see a tournament determined by one player piping down the middle And losing because they land in a divot.
Can you cite a credible example of when and where that happened?  Many players, particularly those in a tournament's lead, have the requisite skill to play a successful shot from that lie.  They don't need help from the Rules.

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#14 rogolf

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 08:00 PM

View PostBrianMcG, on 04 October 2018 - 07:49 PM, said:

View Postrogolf, on 04 October 2018 - 07:45 PM, said:

View Posttheelogan, on 04 October 2018 - 04:16 PM, said:

Anyone wonder why after all the rule changes and things they went through. Why did they skip addressing the silliness of this rule. I get golf is like luck of the draw but it's a difficulty not in the golf course design. Just always wondered why that couldn't be free drop. I hate when you see a tournament determined by one player piping down the middle And losing because they land in a divot.
Can you cite a credible example of when and where that happened?  Many players, particularly those in a tournament's lead, have the requisite skill to play a successful shot from that lie.  They don't need help from the Rules.

Payne Stewart, 1998 US Open.

https://www.youtube....h?v=FDCi0eRcLUM

And you think that one shot on the 12th hole determined the result of the tournament?  It's 72 holes of play.
(BTW, I'm a great Payne Stewart supporter.)

Edited by rogolf, 04 October 2018 - 08:08 PM.


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#15 sdandrea

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 08:02 PM

This topic is right up there with politics, religion and FORGED VS CAST..................

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#16 bladehunter

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 09:09 PM

View Postjlbos83, on 04 October 2018 - 05:12 PM, said:

It's really quite simple.  When is does the divot (hole) become not a divot (hole).  Every patch of grass that wasn't perfect would become a divot hole.  We might as well play LCP.

thats the end goal of alot of people... Im absolutely against getting hands on ball unless its truly muddy
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#17 Shilgy

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 09:33 PM

View PostBrianMcG, on 04 October 2018 - 07:49 PM, said:

View Postrogolf, on 04 October 2018 - 07:45 PM, said:

View Posttheelogan, on 04 October 2018 - 04:16 PM, said:

Anyone wonder why after all the rule changes and things they went through. Why did they skip addressing the silliness of this rule. I get golf is like luck of the draw but it's a difficulty not in the golf course design. Just always wondered why that couldn't be free drop. I hate when you see a tournament determined by one player piping down the middle And losing because they land in a divot.
Can you cite a credible example of when and where that happened?  Many players, particularly those in a tournament's lead, have the requisite skill to play a successful shot from that lie.  They don't need help from the Rules.

Payne Stewart, 1998 US Open.

https://www.youtube....h?v=FDCi0eRcLUM
He hit the shot cleanly, but poorly.
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#18 Augster

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Posted 05 October 2018 - 11:42 AM

A better first post, that wasnít completely trolling, would have been, ďWhen are the ruling bodies going to go to LCP in all closely mown areas?Ē

I play local tournaments every year that this is in place in all of them. Without correct agronomy, which is quite expensive, the fairways get worse and worse. At my course, at least 1/2 of each fairway is now chickweed. Add in old divots, and a well struck ball down the middle is a complete crapshoot as to the lie you will get. Itís nearly better to aim for the rough, when itís cut shorter, because there is less chickweed and almost no divots.

Playing LCP in a fairway is much more equitable to all than simply ďdivot reliefĒ.

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#19 Newby

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Posted 05 October 2018 - 12:39 PM

View PostAugster, on 05 October 2018 - 11:42 AM, said:

Playing LCP in a fairway is much more equitable to all than simply "divot relief".
Why not play on astroturf?

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#20 Shilgy

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Posted 05 October 2018 - 03:45 PM

View PostNewby, on 05 October 2018 - 12:39 PM, said:

View PostAugster, on 05 October 2018 - 11:42 AM, said:

Playing LCP in a fairway is much more equitable to all than simply "divot relief".
Why not play on astroturf?
Why play outdoors at all really? Wind, rain, sunshine... All can bother what should have been a perfect shot.
  Sounds like topshot or Xbox would be a better game for some.

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#21 caniac6

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Posted 05 October 2018 - 03:45 PM

I want free relief from bunkers. I sure didn't mean to hit it there!

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#22 Shilgy

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Posted 05 October 2018 - 03:47 PM

 caniac6, on 05 October 2018 - 03:45 PM, said:

I want free relief from bunkers. I sure didn't mean to hit it there!
That and you don't want to get your shoes dirty. :(
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#23 DavePelz4

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Posted 05 October 2018 - 03:52 PM

 caniac6, on 05 October 2018 - 03:45 PM, said:

I want free relief from bunkers. I sure didn't mean to hit it there!

So I'm going to play contrarian and offer some support for the OP and use bunkers to support his position.  If a player is respectful of the course and other players, he or she will restore the bunker to the condition it was in before a shot was played in it and he or she will rake the bunker. If bunkers are meant to be potentially penal, why have rakes in them at all?

Again, playing contrarian...and it's 4 o'clock and I need a glass of wine.

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#24 Hawkeye77

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Posted 05 October 2018 - 04:36 PM

 theelogan, on 04 October 2018 - 04:16 PM, said:

Anyone wonder why after all the rule changes and things they went through. Why did they skip addressing the silliness of this rule. I get golf is like luck of the draw but it's a difficulty not in the golf course design. Just always wondered why that couldn't be free drop. I hate when you see a tournament determined by one player piping down the middle And losing because they land in a divot.

You are doing a bad job of representing plus handicaps and Canadians!  Suck it up! OMG, I'd be a +3 if it weren't for the two times I've hit out of a divot in the past 5 years, lol!

And welcome (that's my contrarian part)!

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Edited by Hawkeye77, 05 October 2018 - 04:43 PM.


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#25 Augster

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Posted 05 October 2018 - 05:26 PM

I play muni courses primarily. In Minnesota. So all spring we play LCP in the fairway. Because itís so wet. Mud balls and having to take casual water relief from the fairway to the rough gets old real fast. All fall we play LCP in the fairway also. Due to it being wet.  

In local tournies at 4 different courses I play each year, they always play LCP in the fairways. They donít want a guy to lose because he stripes it down the middle and ends up in a divot so deep, or chickweed so gnarly, that it possibly costs him the tourney. 2 of those courses have the LCP local rule year round. They just arenít going to spend the money to re-sod places that need it. Or dig up chickweed patches, re-sod and re-seed. They have enough work keeping the greens perfect and moving cups and mowing nearly every day.

I really donít see a downside to LCP in your own fairway as a Rule full time. Everyone scores better. Divots are more easily replaced which will keep the course looking nicer. Itís completely equitable to everyone. It makes it easier to score for players that have bad swings and donít hit down on the ball. Itís also the goal of the game. Hit the fairway, hit the green, putt it in, repeat. There should be a reward for hitting the fairway besides ďyou might have a better lie and better angle than someone in the rough. Might.Ē You should be guaranteed a better lie because you aced the exam that is the tee shot.

Just do away with ďdivot-talkĒ. Playing LCP gets rid of all the whining we read in here nearly daily.

Iím sure, once LCP is enacted golf-wide, players will want to start wanting relief from divots in the rough. Iíll still be against that. You want a good lie? Hit it in the fairway. Itís like people that complain about bad lies in bunkers. One course I play has a local rule of lift, rake, and place in the bunkers. I hate that. Donít like potential lie, donít hit it in the bunker. The rules donít require you to play your ball into a bunker. Hit the fairway, hit the green, putt it in.


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#26 caniac6

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Posted 05 October 2018 - 06:07 PM

 DavePelz4, on 05 October 2018 - 03:52 PM, said:

 caniac6, on 05 October 2018 - 03:45 PM, said:

I want free relief from bunkers. I sure didn't mean to hit it there!

So I'm going to play contrarian and offer some support for the OP and use bunkers to support his position.  If a player is respectful of the course and other players, he or she will restore the bunker to the condition it was in before a shot was played in it and he or she will rake the bunker. If bunkers are meant to be potentially penal, why have rakes in them at all?

Again, playing contrarian...and it's 4 o'clock and I need a glass of wine.
Don't have many rakes at my course, but most are in "like new" condition.

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#27 Newby

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Posted 06 October 2018 - 01:19 AM

 DavePelz4, on 05 October 2018 - 03:52 PM, said:

 caniac6, on 05 October 2018 - 03:45 PM, said:

I want free relief from bunkers. I sure didn't mean to hit it there!

So I'm going to play contrarian and offer some support for the OP and use bunkers to support his position.  If a player is respectful of the course and other players, he or she will restore the bunker to the condition it was in before a shot was played in it and he or she will rake the bunker. If bunkers are meant to be potentially penal, why have rakes in them at all?

Again, playing contrarian...and it's 4 o'clock and I need a glass of wine.

If a player is respectful of the course and other players, he or she will restore the fairway to the condition it was in before a shot was played from it and he or she will replace the divot properly or repair the divot hole.

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#28 deadsolid...shank

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Posted 06 October 2018 - 08:55 AM

 Augster, on 05 October 2018 - 05:26 PM, said:

I play muni courses primarily. In Minnesota. So all spring we play LCP in the fairway. Because it’s so wet. Mud balls and having to take casual water relief from the fairway to the rough gets old real fast. All fall we play LCP in the fairway also. Due to it being wet.  

In local tournies at 4 different courses I play each year, they always play LCP in the fairways. They don’t want a guy to lose because he stripes it down the middle and ends up in a divot so deep, or chickweed so gnarly, that it possibly costs him the tourney. 2 of those courses have the LCP local rule year round. They just aren’t going to spend the money to re-sod places that need it. Or dig up chickweed patches, re-sod and re-seed. They have enough work keeping the greens perfect and moving cups and mowing nearly every day.

I really don’t see a downside to LCP in your own fairway as a Rule full time. Everyone scores better. Divots are more easily replaced which will keep the course looking nicer. It’s completely equitable to everyone. It makes it easier to score for players that have bad swings and don’t hit down on the ball. It’s also the goal of the game. Hit the fairway, hit the green, putt it in, repeat. There should be a reward for hitting the fairway besides “you might have a better lie and better angle than someone in the rough. Might.” You should be guaranteed a better lie because you aced the exam that is the tee shot.

Just do away with “divot-talk”. Playing LCP gets rid of all the whining we read in here nearly daily.

I’m sure, once LCP is enacted golf-wide, players will want to start wanting relief from divots in the rough. I’ll still be against that. You want a good lie? Hit it in the fairway. It’s like people that complain about bad lies in bunkers. One course I play has a local rule of lift, rake, and place in the bunkers. I hate that. Don’t like potential lie, don’t hit it in the bunker. The rules don’t require you to play your ball into a bunker. Hit the fairway, hit the green, putt it in.

While I think your point is well made, I think you also made the point of why it’s not a good idea. Because of “what’s next”.  The rough, bad lie in the bunker,etc.

I think LCP all the time starts us down the slope to people wanting their hands on the ball for every single shot.  The “rollers” will be estatic though, as that’s how they play all the time anyway.
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#29 Newby

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Posted 06 October 2018 - 02:17 PM

 Newby, on 04 October 2018 - 04:41 PM, said:

The USGA have explained this in their notes accompanying the issue of the 2019 rules.

This is what the R&A and USGA had to say:

Play the ball as it lies

In its simplest form, golf is about playing the ball from tee to green by hitting it with a golf club, and not otherwise touching the ball. A fundamental challenge of the sport is to deal with whatever position your ball comes to rest in – whether good or bad. While there are some necessary exceptions (such as obstructions and other abnormal course conditions), the essential nature of golf means these must remain exceptions rather than the norm.

Therefore, the new Rules do not provide relief without penalty from situations that some golfers complain about, such as when their ball comes to rest in a divot hole on a fairway or in footprints in a poorly raked bunker. In addition to being contrary to the fundamental principle of playing the ball as it lies, providing free relief in such circumstances would make the Rules harder to apply (for example, what is the difference between an irregularity of surface and an old divot hole?) and could slow down play when there are difficult questions about what is or isn’t a divot hole.

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#30 ArtMBgolf

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Posted 06 October 2018 - 09:49 PM

On tour, they never have a footprint lie in a bunker.  

On tour, they play the best maintained courses, with caddies to replace divots and maint staff to sand divots after each round.  
Most tour pros take shallow divots.  Thus we seldom see a tour player play from a deep wide open divot, like we see on our public courses.  
And far less than that, has it appeared to cost someone a tournament, so the USGA hasn't been forced/inclined to do something.

I agree that it would be hard to write a rule for when a divot is no longer a divot.
Amateur public golfers should not be embarrassed to play LCP on dumpy courses, if the committee allows it.


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