ASK GOLF DIGEST
QI hit a shot into a bunker, and it rolled into a groundhog hole inside the bunker. What’s the ruling?
AAre you sure it was a groundhog hole and not, say, a tunnel into the Upside Down? If you’re certain it was a burrowing animal, take a swig from your flask, genuflect, then reach in there for your ball and hope no one’s home.The ruling is simple, whether you retrieve your ball or have to replace it.You’ll need to drop within one club-length of the nearest point of relief from Chateau Groundhog, no nearer to the hole. Do that in the bunker, and there’s no penalty.You can drop outside the bunker, but that comes with a one-stroke penalty (and quizzical looks from everyone who thinks you just wasted a stroke, including the groundhog). I see pros repair pitch marks with a tee. A tee can’t do a better job than a real divot repair tool, can it? Ever prop your sunglasses on the back of your cap? Scoop a ball off the turf and flip it into your hand with a wedge? Hit a shot and bend down to pick up the tee without looking where the ball went, because you know you pured it? Well, just like using a tee to repair a pitch mark, these are some of the skills pros learn during PGA Tour rookie mini-camp, which takes place every winter in an undisclosed location in the Mojave Desert. The hazing by the older players has really got out of hand, incidentally. It took six hours to get Emiliano Grillo unstuffed from a locker last January.
We kid.The point we’re making is that pros often do things because they look cool. Function often follows form in their world.Though there’s nothing like a tee to clean your fingernails after a round, we asked Paul Latshaw, the respected director of grounds operations at MuirfieldVillage, whether using a tee to repair a pitch mark is a good idea.“Using a tee is fine by me, because the tendency with a multiple-prong divot tool is to twist, and that sheers the roots,” Latshaw says. He’d rather that golfers use a single-prong divot tool. It’s basically the same shape as a tee, but it has a little plough that helps push the turf forward. What is the term used for a golf course whose ninth hole does not return to the clubhouse? The unofficial term is Cruel & Unusual.We really like a bathroom break and a toasted bacon and egg at the turn. Our architecture editor, Ron Whitten, says it’s also known as a single-loop design.A double-loop has Nos 9 and 18 finishing by the clubhouse.This is often done to accommodate nine-hole rounds, avoid the cost of halfway houses and allow you to buy new pants after hitting from the mud bog on No 7. Interestingly, architect Tom Doak just named his new Michigan course The Loop. It’s reversible, meaning holes can be played in either direction because there are greens on both ends. Loopy, right? Can you wrap a towel (or handkerchief) around your grips when playing in the rain? Yep. It’s allowed under Rule 14-3.You can also play with the laces of both shoes tied together, but we’re not sure why you would. Golfers stopped wrapping ’kerchiefs around their grips about the time rain gloves were invented. Rain gloves are great. They help you grip your clubs in the soggiest of weather – and they have the benefit of not looking ridiculous. I swing at 160 kilometres per hour and usually hit the sweet spot. What would be the difference if I swung 170 kph and hit slightly off centre? Cue Billy Joel:“Don’t go changing . . . ” Most golfers can’t generate an extra 10 kph of swing speed, but let’s say you can. Because each extra kilometre per hour equals about one metre of distance, you’re looking at 10-12 more metres. Problem is, you lose about 3 percent of your distance when you miss the sweet spot by just 20mm.That’s seven metres off a drive of 220 metres.And don’t forget, your off-centre hits more often land in the rough, which means little or no roll. Bottom line: It’s just not worth it.