Strange Thing I seen...Rule Violation or Not?

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By Darryl M

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  • 11 Replies
  1. Darryl M

    Darryl M
    Wichita, KS

    I was playing in a local Stroke Play event & we were paired (drawn) as foursomes. 1 gentleman had been struggling off the tee so after the 4th hole he started laying his driver down even with the ball shaft (grip) pointing away from the ball looking at it then pick it up & address the ball. I didn't see much improvement in his tee shots (accuracy that is) but once we got to the 13th hole of the round one of our foursome called a tournament official stating he was using a training aid while playing to line up his ball, body & shots?

    I was curious why he did it, some said he was losing to this guy & that is why (according to some people who knew him) he did it. Anyway the tournament official gave the gentleman a 2 stroke penalty on the 13th hole but did not assess any penalty on the previous holes because no one had called it to their attention.

    He never stood over his driver addressing the ball, then picked up his driver, he always laid it down stood at the butt end of the driver (grip end) looking toward the ball then picked it up & stepped up to address the ball. He never did it on any other shot just off the tee. we didn't have anything in the special rules about training aides just about the new fairway sod they were placing around the course and was marked G.U.R.

    I personally didn't give it much thought if it was or wasn't a violation nor did the other gentleman in our group. The guy that called still lost by 2 strokes to him.

    None of us played well enough to get some change back.

  2. I am no guru of the rules, but I did once see Tiger use his golf club to line up his shot once and it was ok as it was a golf club, not a training aid or other device. I don't know whether I am reading your statement exactly right, but if it was just a golf club used to align his shot, he may have been within the rules.
  3. John B

    John B
    Kenmore, NY

    My guess is it fell under 14-3:

    The player must not use any equipment in an abnormal matter that might assist him in making a stroke or in his play (2 stroke penalty or loss of hole in match play).
  4. Don O

    Don O
    Madison, WI

    If he wasn't setting up to the shaft (planting his forward foot forward of the shaft), even it was a technical aid, it didn't offer much benefit, if any. Setting up with the shaft in place either parallel or perpendicular to the ball would be. This would be gray enough for me to not call it out. But I'm not a scratch golfer and my chances of winning are way more dependent on my own shots.
  5. I didn't even think that was a penalty. He picked up the club on the ground before swinging? correct?

    Curious... did the rule official cite a rule applying to that situation?

    From USGA site....

    (excerpted from the Rules & Decisions portion of the USGA Web site):

    8-2a/1 - Club Placed on Ground to Align Feet
    Q. A player places a club on the ground parallel to the line of play to assist him in aligning his feet properly. Is this permissible?
    A. Yes, provided the player removes the club before playing his stroke. Otherwise, a breach of Rule 8-2a would occur.
  6. Tom B

    Tom B
    Northborough, MA

    I believe he got a bad ruling. The rules allow you to put down a club on the ground and line up your feet if you want pointing toward the hole, as long as you pick it up before you take a swing. But it shows there is a God when the guy that started it by summoning the official who made the ruling, lost anyway.
  7. JEFF R

    JEFF R
    Canton, GA

    Why the penalty? What training aid did he use? That doesn't make sense to me.
  8. Doug E

    Doug E
    Urbana, MD

    No penalty in my book. A waste of time maybe, but no penalty. How is it different from plumb-bobbing with your putter to help read the break? In fact, what about using an alignment line on your golf ball to line up a putt. With that, you actually are using an aid WHILE you make the stroke. Sorry, I think the player was within the rules. I am interested to hear the argument for why he was assessed a penalty.
  9. john h

    john h
    Schenectady, NY

    Welcome to incompetency! This is a bad ruling by someone who clearly is not qualified to be a tournament official, nor cared about making the correct call. I've seen similar bad rulings before. I once had a player in my group get a free drop out of a bunker (onto fairway) because there were bees in the sand! Basically the situation you describe is no different than having your caddie line you up. As long as they move before you swing, it's OK.
  10. Brad B

    Brad B
    Moore, OK

    What Tom B and John H said above. As long as you pick it up before you swing. It happened in a girls big high school golf tournament here a couple of years ago.
    Several of us coaches spent some time going through the rule book (just double and triple checking). We all determined and agreed that as long as it is a actual golf club and it was picked up before the swing, then it was legal, no penalty.
  11. Darryl M

    Darryl M
    Wichita, KS

    I agree. I didn't think he should have got a penalty for it. I felt he was just trying to find a good ball location in his stance as he pushed & pulled his way thru the round. He always picked the club up & never stood over it..... The rule official & he spoke away from the group with the other person who called it in.

    Upon their return to the group, the gentleman who got the penalty said he didn't understand how it was assisting his shot no more than the black line drawn on his ball for when he putts but agreed to not do it for the rest of the round. They only thing the official said was he was getting the penalty only for the 13th hole for using an aide to make a swing?????? I just shook my head......Sad day on the course. I honestly think the official was someone they chose to be in charge of the rules. I'm not well verse in the USGA rules but know the basics really well.
  12. Ralph C

    Ralph C
    Portland, ME

    The Rules exist to ensure fair play, not something to be used to defend a bruised ego. I don't believe there was anything wrong here. Personally, I'd ask the USGA, as, if this ruling is indeed unfair, it may cause that gentleman to alter his pre shot routine, which can be detrimental.

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