THE 10 MOST BRO­KEN RULES

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Gallery - Terry Knight, Gaut­eng

In many years of play­ing golf, I’ve ob­served closely how the av­er­age club golfer treats the Rules of Golf. In my ex­pe­ri­ence, th­ese are the 10 most bro­ken rules in the game. They are ei­ther done in­no­cently, or un­for­tu­nately some­times know­ingly. 1 Tamp­ing down spike or other marks on the green. You can re­pair pitch marks, but Rule 16 says “any other dam­age to the putting green must not be re­paired if it might as­sist the player in his sub­se­quent play of the hole.” 2 Un­playable lie. Un­der penalty of one stroke you are al­lowed to drop the ball within two club-lengths of the spot where the ball play not nearer the hole. How of­ten do you see golfers drop the ball within two club-lengths of the bush from where the ball was re­cov­ered? 3 Lat­eral haz­ard. Play­ers wrongly take re­lief op­po­site where the ball ended up. Re­mem­ber that the mar­gins of wa­ter haz­ards ex­tend ver­ti­cally up­wards. If the ball crossed the mar­gin in front of the tee, then that is the place to drop. 4 Ball moved af­ter ad­dress by player. Golfers don’t re­alise that the ball must be re­placed, oth­er­wise there is an ad­di­tional one-stroke penalty. 5 Re­pair­ing pitch marks off the green. Th­ese can­not be re­paired if they are on the line of a player putting from off the green. Rule 13 says noth­ing may be done to im­prove the line of play by elim­i­nat­ing ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties of sur­face (two-stroke penalty). Also, sand and loose soil are not loose im­ped­i­ments off the green, and may not be touched. 6 Im­prov­ing area of in­tended stance or swing. A player may not bend branches be­hind his back, and week­end golfers break Rule 13 by knock­ing leaves off trees or break­ing branches try­ing out their prac­tice swing. How­ever, in fairly tak­ing a stance, you are al­lowed to move, break or bend any­thing grow­ing. 7 Pro­vi­sional ball. You can­not play a pro­vi­sional ball if you find your orig­i­nal ball, and dis­cover that it is un­playable and the only op­tion is re­turn­ing to the tee. 8 Lifting, drop­ping and plac­ing. On the putting green play­ers fail to mark their ball when mov­ing it away from an­other player’s putting line. They move the ball one put­ter­head to the side and only then do they mark it. A ball to be lifted, or even touched, must first be marked. 9 Pre­ferred lies. Be­fore lifting a ball on the fair­way, the player must mark its po­si­tion. The player can only place his ball once. Yet play­ers of­ten place the ball, fetch a club, and then place it again. Be care­ful when plac­ing to en­sure that the ball is not so pre­car­i­ously placed on a tuft of grass that it falls over at ad­dress. That is a penalty stroke, and the ball must be re­placed. 10 Near­est point of re­lief. This is of­ten wrongly in­ter­preted as the NICEST point of re­lief. You must drop the ball at the point near­est to where the ball lies that is not nearer the hole and gives the player the de­sired re­lief. This can mean drop­ping where you don’t nec­es­sar­ily have a clear sight of your tar­get or an unim­peded swing.

MUD­BATH Mow­bray golfer Gary Coombe ex­plodes spec­tac­u­larly out of a

wa­ter haz­ard.

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