Golf Course Management

FEB 2016

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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96 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 02.16 In 1754, the "Articles & Laws in Playing the Golf " read, "If your ball come among water, or any watery flth, you are at liberty to take out your ball, and throwing it behind the hazard 6 yards at least." Do you have watery flth on your golf course? Personally, I think streams, ponds and lakes are attractive and interesting water features when I avoid them, but they become "watery flth" when my ball ends up in one. Anymore, the only time throwing the ball and water hazards are mentioned in the same sen - tence is when Johnny Miller and Roger Maltbie do a play-by-play of a PGA Tour pro tossing a ball into a water hazard after a bad hole. Methods for dropping the ball in the Rules of Golf have changed a number of times over the years. Between 1908 and 1984, "taking a drop" involved standing and facing the hole, and then dropping the ball over one's shoul - der. Since 1985, Rule 20-2 has read that the golfer "must stand erect, hold the ball at shoul - der height and arm's length and drop it." If you have friends like mine, the procedure is to reach into the golf bag and fip a new ball out into the general area where they think it should lie. Not in the Rules. In my experience with tournament golf, there is more confusion about w ere to drop rather than ow. Here's a short quiz that ad - dresses ball drops on the golf course. For each situation, the answer is either "Yes, that sounds right to me!" (Yes!) or "Roger, what's going on down there?" (Roger?). Questions 1. A ball is hit over a water hazard (marked in yellow) on an approach shot, lands on the bank in front of the putting green, and rolls back into the water. The golfer drops the ball on the putting-green side of the water and plays onto the green. 2. A golfer identifes the point where the ball last crossed the margin of a lateral water hazard (marked in red) and measures two club lengths in a direction generally away from the direction of play. After the ball is dropped, it rolls forward 6 inches, but is not nearer to the hole than where it crossed the margin of the hazard. He plays the shot from there. 3. In taking relief from a cart path, a golfer measures one club length from the nearest point of relief (NPR), no nearer to the hole. The ball is dropped almost exactly one club length from the NPR, and then rolls two club lengths, so that it is now three club lengths from the NPR. The golfer plays her next shot from there. 4. A golfer's ball comes to rest on a small pile of clippings in the rough behind the putting green. She plays the shot from the clippings to the green, thinking she does not get relief. 5. A golfer hits an approach shot to the green. It strikes and bounces off the fagstick and into the water. He drops a ball 2 to 3 yards behind the location where he hit the original shot and plays the ball to the green. Answers 1. Roger? Dropping on the putting green- side of the water hazard is a no-no. Instead, the golfer should have followed one of the op - tions outlined in Rule 26 (Water Hazards). In this case, she played from a wrong place (Rule 20-7). 2. Yes! The ball is in play as long as it doesn't roll more than two club lengths from where it strikes the course and is no nearer than the point where the ball last crossed the hazard margin (Rule 20-2). 3. Yes! After any drop, the ball may roll up to two club lengths from where it strikes the golf course (Rule 20-2). 4. Yes! The clippings are not considered "ground under repair" unless they are in - tended for removal (defnition of "Ground Under Repair"). 5. Roger? This might sound familiar, as it was Tiger Woods' predicament while play - ing the 15th hole at Augusta in 2013. Tiger should have attempted to drop the ball as close to the point where he played the previ - ous shot as possible, as he had chosen to play under the "stroke and distance" option (Rule 27-1), which is referenced in Rule 26 (Water Hazards). By backing up, he played from the wrong place (Rule 20-7). Jack Fry, Ph.D., is a professor of turfgrass science and the director of the Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Center at Kansas State University in Manhattan. He is a 19-year educator member of GCSAA. Jack Fry, Ph.D. A New Year's (golf) ball drop In my experience with tournament golf, there is more confusion about where to drop rather than how. (through the green)

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