How to re­solve any rules dis­pute am­i­ca­bly

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents -

Re­solve any dis­pute am­i­ca­bly.

Golf is a game rooted in po­lite be­hav­iour, but there are times when a dis­agree­ment over the rules cre­ates an un­com­fort­able sit­u­a­tion with an op­po­nent or fel­low-com­peti­tor. Un­like tour pros, you don’t have the lux­ury of be­ing fol­lowed around the course by a rules o cial who can quickly re­solve a dis­pute. So in those times when a vi­o­la­tion might have oc­curred but no o cial is handy to ren­der a judg­ment, fol­low this stepby-step pro­ce­dure to keep things civil –


1 DE­CIDE IF IT'S WORTH IT Although op­po­nents can’t agree to waive a rule, you can dis­re­gard a po­ten­tial rules breach by an op­po­nent. An ex­am­ple:You can’t de­cide to ig­nore stroke-and-dis­tance penal­ties for shots hit out-of-bounds. If you do, you’re both dis­quali ed. But if you see your op­po­nent take an im­proper drop af­ter hit­ting a shot OB, it’s your choice if you want to ig­nore the vi­o­la­tion.

2 MAKE A CLAIM If you’re trou­bled by some­thing, let your op­po­nent know you think a rules vi­o­la­tion might have oc­curred as soon as you’re aware of it. That might be awk­ward, but it’s im­por­tant.You must do it be­fore any­one in the match tees o on the next hole, or be­fore all play­ers leave the putting green of the last hole. The only time you can make a claim af­ter that is if the facts of the sit­u­a­tion weren’t known at the time the hole was com­pleted, and you had been given wrong in­for­ma­tion by your op­po­nent.

3 CON­TINUE THE MATCH What­ever the claim is about, once you’ve said your piece, you have to move on and com­plete the match.You can re­solve the mat­ter and ad­just the re­sults of the match af­ter the round by check­ing the Rules of Golf or talk­ing to the Com­mit­tee.


1 It’s good sports­man­ship to let a fel­low-com­peti­tor know a vi­o­la­tion might have oc­curred be­fore he or she makes another stroke. If there is dis­agree­ment or un­cer­tainty about how to pro­ceed, that golfer can nish the hole with two balls us­ing two pro­ce­dures. How­ever, once that golfer has taken fur­ther ac­tion with the orig­i­nal ball, such as mak­ing another stroke, play­ing a sec­ond ball is no longer an op­tion. 2 Af­ter in­form­ing a fel­low-com­peti­tor that you think a vi­o­la­tion has oc­curred, that per­son has to de­cide how to pro­ceed. As­sum­ing no fur­ther ac­tion was taken with the orig­i­nal ball, he or she can an­nounce the in­ten­tion to nish the hole with two balls and choose which one should count if the rules per­mit. Or the golfer can con­tinue to play the orig­i­nal ball in the man­ner he or she thinks is best. 3 The golfer who po­ten­tially com­mit­ted the rules vi­o­la­tion needs to alert the Com­mit­tee of the dis­pute be­fore turn­ing in the score­card or face dis­quali cation. Re­gard­less of whether two balls were played, a rul­ing needs to be made on what hap­pened on that hole and which penal­ties might ap­ply to that golfer’s score.


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