Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents -

Why do we call them “scratch” golfers?

QIf I make a hole-in-one but a frog in the cup knocks the ball out of the hole, does my ace count, or do I have to putt it where it lies?

AWe’re not sure if a hole-in-one on top of a frog is good luck or bad. Rules-wise, it’s tricky. For the ace to count, you must be sure the ball was at rest in the hole, and the frog was the rea­son the ball came back out of the hole (Rule 18-1). If the ball im­me­di­ately pops out, and you’re still on the tee, you likely wouldn’t be able to con rm that the am­phib­ian was the cul­prit and must play the ball from where it lies. Note: If the frog de ected the ball in mo­tion af­ter a stroke on the green, the stroke is can­celled, and you’d have to re­play the ball from where you were. ▶▶▶ With my ball on the green and my op­po­nent still chip­ping onto the green, he asked that I not mark my ball, that I sim­ply leave it. Do I have to leave it? That’s some chutz­pah, ask­ing you to back­stop his shot! No, you don’t have to leave it. In fact, if you do so in stroke play, there would be neg­a­tive con­se­quences. Un­der Rule 22-1, agree­ing to leave a ball that might as­sist any player would re­sult in DQs for the both of you. In match play, you aren’t re­quired to leave it, but if you do leave it, and your op­po­nent bene ts from it, the shot stands (De­ci­sion 22/5). ▶▶▶ Why do we call them “scratch” golfers? Be­cause they usu­ally win all the scratch. No, not re­ally. This 19th-cen­tury term orig­i­nated with other sports, ac­cord­ing to the USGA. Box­ing, cricket and rac­ing or­gan­is­ers would scratch a line in the dirt to tell com­peti­tors where to start their match or race. Over time it be­came a gu­ra­tive base­line in sports, where op­po­nents had the same start­ing point with no ad­van­tage. Taken onto the golf course, the term refers to zero-hand­i­caps who are ex­pected to shoot par with­out any “head start” from hand­i­cap strokes. ▶▶▶ What e ect does be­ing at 15 000 me­tres in an air­plane’s un­pres­surised, heated (10 to 25 de­grees Cel­sius) bag­gage com­part­ment for three hours have on a ball? You’re ying at 15 000 me­tres, ver­sus the usual 10 500 for most com­mer­cial

ights? Im­pres­sive tra­jec­tory! The al­ti­tude shouldn’t have any e ect on your golf balls. Ac­cord­ing to sci­en­tists at Bridge­stone, tem­per­a­tures on the low end of what you de­scribed (10 de­grees) would neg­a­tively im­pact ball ve­loc­ity by about 1.2 per­cent – or about three me­tres for a player knock­ing it 250 o the tee. How­ever, af­ter two hours, the balls should come back to room tem­per­a­ture, with nor­mal per­for­mance re­stored. In case you won­dered: Bridge­stone notes the op­ti­mal tem­per­a­ture for a golf ball is around 23 de­grees.

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