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E-Revision Rules Questions from 2015

January 1, 2015


How can a player win a hole in match play when his opponent has not made a stroke and has not incurred any penalty?


The correct answer is when a player in match play is first to play on a hole and makes a hole-in-one on a hole where he/she receives a stroke and the opponent does not!  


Brad Chirgwin from Williston was the first person to reply with the correct answer and won an embroidered VGA tee shirt.

January 15, 2015


Rule 1-2 deals with Exerting Influence on the Movement of the Ball or Altering Physical Conditions.


Which of the following is NOT a breach of Rule 1-2:


        A).  A player's caddie lays the player's golf bag down to shield his line of putt from the wind.

        B).  A player's chip up a hill to the green fails to reach the top of the hill and his ball begins to

              roll back at him.  While it is rolling he moves the divot he took out of the way of the ball.

        C).  A player putts with one hand and catches the ball with the other as it falls below the level

              of the hole.

        D).  A player intentionally adjusted the flagstick to a more favorable position than centered

              before playing a chip shot.


All four of the situations involve penalties – however, only 3 of them are a breach of Rule 1-2 – situations A, C & D.  Situation B is a breach of Rule 23-1 – Loose Impediments


Question A – by laying the back down to shield the line of putt from the wind, the caddie has taken action to influence the movement of the ball.


Question C – a ball is not considered “holed” until it is at rest within the circumference of the hole. The player in this case purposely stopped his moving ball.


Question D – this one was tricky and needed to be read carefully!  A player is entitled to play the course as he finds it.  Therefore, if the flagstick is in the hole and crooked (this could be to the player’s advantage or disadvantage, the player may leave it as it is or center it.  However, if the flagstick is already centered in the hole, (Definition of Flagstick), the player may not adjust it to a more favorable position than centered!  This would be an action to influence the movement of the ball.


Question B – you may remember the Camilo Villegas incident – Rule 23-1  specifically covers this – “When a ball is in motion, a loose impediment that might influence the movement of the ball must not be removed”.   In this situation, the ball never made it to the top of the hill and while it was rolling back, the player moved the divot out of the way of the ball.  In this situation there was no doubt about the ball returning to the area near where the chip shot was played.


Bruce Pacht from Lakeside Golf Club was the first person to email in the correct answer and won a VGA cap with his name embroidered on the back!

February 1, 2015

(Straight from the player’s mouth!)


On the par 3 11th hole, I was sure my ball landed in the lateral water hazard near the green, so I played another ball.  I was pretty sure that the second ball was also in the hazard.  I found a ball inside the red line in a playable location, thought it could be my second ball and you can't identify a ball in a hazard, right? So I hit that ball and finished the hole.  I figured out on the green that the ball I played out of the hazard was my original ball so I teed off on #12 and figured I would ask an official about what I did.


What is the ruling?


When the player was “pretty sure that his first ball was in the hazard”, the second ball he played became the ball in play under Rule 27-1 (Stroke & Distance).  A player is not allowed to play a provisional ball for a ball that might be in a water hazard, so even if he had declared the second ball a “provisional” ball, that second ball becomes the ball in play.  A player is allowed to identify his ball in a hazard – this Rule was changed a few years back.  When the player discovered, after holing out, that he had hit his original ball out of the hazard, he had played a wrong ball.  At this point, he had an opportunity to correct the error, under penalty of two strokes, by either finding the 2nd ball, or if there was virtual certain that the ball was in the hazard, proceeding under any of the relief options for a ball in a water hazard (one of which is going back to the tee).  Unfortunately he teed off the next hole without correcting his error and therefore was disqualified.

This particular scenario was stroke play.  Had this been a match play event, the player would have simply lost that hole.


Doug Teetor from Country Club of Vermont was the first person to email in the correct answer and the reason why and won a VGA cap with his name embroidered on the back!

March 1, 2015


On a calm day, a player addressed his ball in play. After he started the downswing for the stroke,
the ball moved. He struck the ball while it was moving. What is the ruling?


(A) He incurs no penalty and must play the ball as it lies.

(B) He incurs a one-stroke penalty and must play the ball as it lies.

(C) He incurs a one-stroke penalty and must replace the ball.

(D) He incurs the general penalty and in stroke play must play the ball as it lies.


The correct answer to the question was B – the player incurs a one-stroke penalty and must play the ball as it lies – Rules 18-2b and 14-5.


Rule 14-5 (Playing Moving Ball) states that a player must not make a stroke at a moving ball.  However, the Rule goes on to state that … when the ball begins to move only after the player has begun the stroke or the backward movement of his club for the stroke, he incurs no penalty for playing a moving ball under this Rule, but he is not exempt from any penalty under the following Rules – 18-2a Ball at rest moved by player or 18-2b Ball at rest moving after address.


So the player is off the hook for playing a stroke at a moving ball.  But when we re-read the question, we are told it was a calm day and that the player had addressed the ball.   He’s off the hook for Rule 18-2a – he did nothing to cause the ball to move.  So let’s look at 18-2b – Ball at rest moving after address.  We were told he addressed the ball.  Subsequently the ball started to move.  It was calm day so we know that wind did not cause the ball to move.    The Rule itself explains to us how to handle the Ruling:


If a player’s ball in play moves after he has addressed it … the player is deemed to have caused the ball to move and incurs a penalty of one stroke.  Normally, the ball must be replaced, unless the movement of the ball occurs after the player has begun the stroke or the backward movement of the club for the stroke and the stroke is made.  Therefore, since this is exactly what happened in our situation, the ball is played as it lies.


Sim Rollinson from Dorset was the first person to correctly answer the question and the Rule(s) that applied and won a VGA Cap personalized with his name/initials on the back!


March 15, 2015



In stroke play, a player played from outside the teeing ground, and his ball came to rest out of bounds. Which one of the following is the correct ruling?


(A) The player must put another ball into play under penalty of stroke and distance. He must drop a ball and make his third stroke from where he last played from outside the teeing ground.


(B) The player must put another ball into play under penalty of stroke and distance. He will also incur a penalty of two strokes for playing a ball from outside the teeing ground. He will be making his fifth stroke from within the teeing ground.


(C) Because his ball came to rest out of bounds, he is not penalized for playing from outside the teeing ground and the stroke does not count. He must put another ball into play under penalty of distance only from within the teeing ground. He will be making his second stroke from within the teeing ground.


(D) The player incurred a penalty of two strokes for playing from outside the teeing ground. The fact that his ball came to rest out of bounds was irrelevant, and the stroke itself did not count. He must make his third stroke from within the teeing ground.


The correct answer is D - Rule 11-4b.


Everyone who participated got the answer correct (2 people neglected to mention which Rule applied) and
Robert duMaire from St. Johnsbury was the lucky name picked from all the correct answers! He won a VGA Cap personalized with his name on the back!

April 1, 2015


In stroke play, a player's tee shot carried 170 yards over a narrow lateral water hazard into some trees. The ball was not found within five minutes and it could not be determined whether the ball bounced back into the hazard or came to rest in the trees and rough through the green. The player dropped a ball under Rule 26 -1c, dropping the ball within two club-lengths of where it last crossed the margin of the hazard and completed play of the hole. What is the ruling?

(A) The player proceeded correctly, no penalty.


(B) The player is penalized on stroke under Rule 26-1.


(C) The player incurred three penalty strokes with the ball played under Rule 26-1c and the score with that ball is the player's score for the hole.


(D) The player incurred three penalty strokes and must correct the error or be disqualified.


The correct answer was D and the Rules that apply are 27-1, 26-1, 20-7c.


Facts of the situation:  


In this situation, the player could only proceed under Rule 26-1c if it was known or virtually certain that this ball was lost in the lateral water hazard.  That means that either someone actually witnessed the ball going into the hazard (known) or there was nowhere else the ball could possibly be (virtually certain).  Since there was an area of trees & rough that the ball carried into, it cannot be assumed, just because the ball can’t be found, that it bounced back into the water hazard.  It could be stuck in a tree, it could have ricocheted off a tree somewhere further away, it could have plugged or it could be buried in the rough.


Therefore the only Rule that the player could operate under was Rule 27-1 (ball lost or out of bounds) and he was required to put another ball into play under Stroke and Distance - relief option 26-1a.  When the player dropped the ball within 2 club lengths of where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard, the ball was in play and his original ball was lost.  In playing the ball dropped under 26-1c, he played from a wrong place.   Therefore, the player incurred the stroke and distance penalty prescribed by Rule 27-1 (one stroke) and an additional penalty of 2 strokes for a breach of that Rule (Rule 20-7c) for playing from a wrong place.  Since the player dropped and played his ball some 150 + yards or more ahead of where he should have played from (i.e. the tee), it is fair to say that a serious breach has occurred.  In this case, the player is allowed to correct this error as provided in 20-7c before he tees off the next tee.  If he fails to do so he is disqualified.


John Gratiot from Woodstock CC was the lucky name pulled from all of those who answered the question correctly - he won a VGA Cap personalized with his name on the back!

April 15, 2015


In a Match Play Championship, after their tee shots on the 17th hole, Player A's ball ended up in the middle of the fairway approximately 5 yards ahead of and on slightly higher ground than Player B's ball.  Player B hit his 2nd shot and in doing so, his ball immediately struck Player A's ball sending A's ball into an area of large palmettos.  Player B's ball ended up approximately 180 yards ahead in the left rough.


Question 1:  What is the proper procedure for Player B?


Everyone got this correct and the correct Rule that applied:  Player B plays his ball (the ball that was in motion) from where it came to rest – Rule 19-5a.


Question 2:  What is the proper procedure for Player A?


Everyone got this correct and the correct Rule that applied:  Player A is required to replace his ball (the one at rest) – Rule 18-5.  Since the approximate spot where the ball originally lay was known, but not exactly known, Player A is required to drop a ball as near as possible to the original ball’s estimated location.  Rule 20-3c(i).


Question 3:  How does Player A proceed if he doesn't find his ball in the palmettos?


We had one blip in the nearly perfect answers this week.  One person said that if Player A couldn’t find the ball in the palmettos he could replace his ball under Rule 27-1.  However, Rule 27-1 deals with a ball lost or out of bounds and stroke and distance.  It is Note 1 in Rule 18 that tells us that if Player A’s ball is not immediately recoverable, he may substitute another ball and proceed as above in Answer #2.


Ah!  I guess we have to dig a little deeper next e-Revision and come up with a harder question!  Congratulations to everyone for getting the answers correct!  Just a couple of minor clarifications.  And we should have asked whether A, in replacing the ball, had to place it or drop it.

So everyone’s name got thrown in a hat and Jim Rublee from Vermont National Country Club was the lucky one chosen this time around!

May 15, 2015


In stroke play, a competitor hits his tee shot into the rough on the 18th hole.  He searches for 3 minutes and finds a ball in a bald lie.  He deems it unplayable and drops it under Rule 28b.  He then hits it onto the putting green.  When he gets there, he realizes it isn't his ball.  He returns to the area and finds his ball in one minute in a playable lie.  Without lifting it, he plays it to the green and holes out in two putts.  He then goes into the scoring tent and tells the scorer what he just did.  His score for the hole is?

A.  6

B.  7

C.  8

D.  The player is disqualified



The correct answer to the Rules question is that the player is disqualified!  So let’s dissect this and see why!


The first thing we are told is that it is stroke play.  The player searches for 3 minutes for his ball and finds “a” ball in a bad lie.  He deems this ball unplayable and drops it under Rule 28b (keeping the spot where the ball lies directly between the hole and himself and dropping on that line).  Once he does this and plays this ball, his original ball now becomes lost (see item “e” under Definition of Lost Ball)  and the ball that he dropped becomes his ball in play (See Definition of Ball in Play  …  it remains in play until “… or another ball has been substituted, whether or not the substitution is permitted; a ball so substituted becomes the ball in play”).  He plays the ball to the green and then realizes it isn’t his original ball.    Had he played the ball from the bad lie without touching it, he would have played a wrong ball.  But because he lifted the ball under the Unplayable Lie Rule and then dropped this ball which was not his original ball, he has now substituted a ball for his original ball.  


Rule 28, Ball Unplayable, has 3 options.  The first is to drop “a” (any) ball under stroke and distance.  The player does not need to even find his ball or identify it for this option, because under the Rules, a player can always opt to replay a shot under Stroke and Distance.  The 2nd and 3rd options under the Unplayable Ball Rule can only be used when the location of the original ball is known. A player cannot correctly use either option 28b or 28c if he doesn’t know the location of his original ball.  So, when the player lifted the stray ball and declared it unplayable, his only option under Rule 28 was Stroke and Distance and return to the tee.  So by dropping under Rule 28b, the player has dropped under an Inapplicable Rule and therefore, in a wrong place.


Now, the player further compounds the issue and goes back to search for his original ball.  The status of his original ball became “lost” once he made a stroke at the (incorrectly) substituted ball.  So now, when he abandoned the incorrectly substituted ball and played the original ball to the green and holed out with it, he played a wrong ball (see Definition of Lost Ball and Wrong Ball) and needed to correct this error before leaving the putting green since it was his final hole.  Since he did not correct the error of playing a wrong ball before leaving the putting green , the player is disqualified.


So was there any hope at all for this poor player!!??   When the player realized he was not playing his original ball once he got to the green, he had to continue play with that substituted ball, regardless of whether the substitution was proper or not.  In order to avoid possible disqualification for a serious breach of playing from a wrong place, the proper thing for the player to have done at that point would have been to put a 2nd ball into play under Rule 20-7C (Playing from a Wrong Place).  This means he would need to put a 2nd ball in play under Stroke and Distance and play out the hole with that ball and the ball on the green.  He would then need to report the facts to the Committee and they would determine whether a serious breach had been incurred when he dropped the substituted ball under Rule 28b and which ball the player was to score with.


Whew!!  That was a tricky one!  And you might be shaking your head, but you can also see how easily this could happen in a real tournament.  And how important it is to get the Ruling correct and the procedure correct in order to protect the field!


This particular situation is covered by Decision 15/14.


And just in case you didn’t know, you can get the Rules of Golf and the Decisions for your smart phone so that you have a quick reference.  The Rules of Golf app is free, the Decisions is an add-on for $1.99.



There was no Rules Question on May 1st