So You Think You Know the Rules 2020

2020 Edition…

Question #9: When do I declare a lost ball? And what do I do then?
Your ball is lost if not found within 3 minutes after you begin to search for it.
If your ball has not been found and it is known or virtually certain that it came to rest in a penalty area:
You may take penalty relief under this rule.  But, If it is not known or virtually certain that your ball came to rest in a penalty area and the ball is lost:
You must take stroke and distance relief.

When the relief area is closer to the hole and you are unable to take a drop, you must consider the other relief options:
Taking back on a line relief,
Take stroke and distance relief
Question #8:  When do I get relief from an embedded ball?

Relief is allowed only when your ball is embedded in the general area.  But, if your ball is embedded on the putting green, you may mark the spot of your ball, lift and clean it, repair the damage, and replace your ball on its original spot.
A ball is considered embedded when part of the ball is below the level of the ground.
Even though a ball may be sitting down in the grass, relief is not available because no part of the ball is below the level of the ground.
But, there are exceptions: When Relief is not allowed for a Ball Embedded in a general area.
1. When your ball is embedded in sand in a part of the general area that is not cut to fairway height or less, or
2. When interference by anything other than your ball being embedded makes your stroke clearly unreasonable (for example, when you are unable to make a stroke because of where your ball lies in a bush).
Your ball is embedded only if it is in its own pitch-mark made as a result of your previous stroke and part of your ball is below the level of the ground.

When your ball is embedded in the general area, you may take free relief by dropping the original ball or another ball right behind where the original ball is embedded.  This is your reference point.
Then you get one club length from the reference pointno closer to the hole, and must be in the general area.

If you reasonably believe your ball lies in a condition where free relief is allowed under the Rules, but you cannot decide that without lifting your ball, you may mark the spot and lift the ball to see if relief is allowed.  The lifted ball must not be cleaned (except when it is on the putting green). 
REMEMBER:  The penalty for playing the ball from the wrong place is a general penalty (2 strokes)
Question #7: Is there any time that I can improve my lie or stance?

Rule 8.1…This rule restricts what you may do to improve any of the conditions affecting your stroke.
+Move, bend or break any growing or attached natural object , or immovable obstruction, integral object or boundry object, or tee-marker for the teeing area (when playing a ball from that teeing area).
+Move a loose impediment or moveable obstruction into position (as to improve a stance).
+Alter the surface of the ground.
+Remove or press down sand or loose soil.
+Remove dew, frost, or water.
PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 8.1a:  General Penalty (2 strokes)

  •  Fairly searching for your ball by taking reasonable actions to find and identify it.
  • Taking reasonable actions to remove loose impediments and moveable obstructions.
  • Taking reasonable actions to mark the spot of your ball and to lift and replace your ball.
  • Ground your club lightly right in front of or right behind your ball (but you cannot do this in a bunker).
  • Firmly place your feet in taking a stance, including a reasonable amount of digging in with your feet in sand or loose soil.
  • Take reasonable actions to get to your ball and take a stance.  But you are not entitled to a normal stance or swing and you must use the least intrusive course of action to deal with the situation.
  • On the putting green you may remove sand and loose soil and repair damage.
  • Move a natural object to see if it’s loose. If the object is attached, it must stay attached and returned as nearly as possible to its original position.
    KEEP IN MIND:  While doing any of these actions, you should take care near any ball at rest, and if you cause your own ball or your opponent’s ball to move, you will normally get a penalty (except on the putting green).
    If your ball moves and you replace it, (one stroke penalty)–if you do not replace it and you play the ball, (2 stroke penalty)
Question #6: When do I play a provisional ball?
If you think your ball may be lost outside a penalty area or out of bounds, to save time, you may play another ball.  Before the stroke is made, you must announce that you are going to play a Provisional Ball.  You must use the word PROVISIONAL.  If you do not announce thisand play a ball from where the previous stroke was made, that ball is your ball in play under penalty of stroke and distance

a.  Your ball is lost anywhere on the course, except in a penalty area, or, is out of bounds 
b.  Your provisional ball is played nearer the hole than where your original ball is estimated to be
*  If you are aware the only possible place your original ball could be lost is in a penalty area, a Provisional Ball is NOT allowed.  Proceed in accordance with the penalty area rule.
After announcing you are playing a PROVISIONAL BALL, you may play the ball until the approximate position where you believe the original ball to be.  You are permitted to play several strokes with the provisional ball.  Your Provisional Ball is allowed to go past the original ball,  HOWEVER, it is not allowed to play the provisional ball if it is CLOSER the HOLE than the original ball. 
*If you play a shot closer to the hole than your original ball, the provisional ball automatically becomes the ball in play (penalty 1 stroke).
If your original ball is found on the course and it is not out of bounds, you will have to continue play with the original ball.  You have to pick up your provisional ball with no penalties.
If you find your original ball and it is UNPLAYABLE, and not out of bounds, you must play your original ball,  and proceed with the unplayable ball rule.
If you announce a PROVISIONAL BALL and you hit a great shot, it may be to your advantage not to find the original ball.  In this case, you can simply not search for your original ball,  BUT — You cannot pronounce your first ball “lost” or refuse to identify it.  If you (or your playing partners) do find the first ball, you must continue play with it.
If you think you hit your ball out of bounds, you must determine the point where your ball crossed the margin of the penalty area.  From that point, you may drop your ball in a straight line from that point into the fairway. (two club lengths from the edge).  Two stroke penalty.
If you hit into a bush,  you may drop in a straight line from where the ball entered the bush into the fairway (two club lengths). Two stroke penalty.
REMEMBER– if you hit a provisional ball,  you may NOT make use of this alternative rule and you must play your provisional ball OR your original ball, if found.   *YOU HAVE 3 MINUTES TO FIND YOUR BALL  

Question #5: 
What do I do if my ball is unplayable in a bunker? 

You might want to take a look in the rules book for a better understanding of this rule.  (The pictures are helpful).
The Player is the one who decides if her ball is unplayable in the bunker.  There are 4 options:
(1)  For one penalty stroke, the player may take stroke and distance relief.  (Go back and play the shot over).
(2)  For one penalty stroke, the player may take back-on-the line relief Inside the bunker.
(3)  For one penalty stroke, the player may take lateral relief in the bunker.  (Two club lengths from reference point or the spot of the original ball.
(4)  For a total of Two (2) penalty strokes, the player may take back-on-the-line relief (Outside the Bunker) based on a reference line going straight back from the Hole through the spot of the original ball.
You may decide to take unplayable ball relief anywhere on the course EXCEPT in a penalty area.

Question #4: What are my options in playing Meadow #5 and Ranch #7?
There have been several questions concerning the rule that applies on Meadow #5.  

There are two fairways you can choose to play to the green:
1) The fairway to the RIGHT allows a player to hit to the right to avoid the penalty area in front of the left fairway. A player can choose to play down that fairway to the pin.  (Please note there is another penalty area to go over to reach the green on opposite side.)
2) The fairway to the LEFT has a penalty area directly in front of the tee box.  If you hit into the penalty area, you may choose to re-tee the ball, OR you can choose to go to the drop area.  Penalty shots do apply!
  •  If you think you are unable to safely fly the left fairway penalty area, you may want to consider playing your first shot to the right fairway, and then playing your next shot over the penalty area into the left fairway (a shorter shot over that part of the creek).
    RANCH #7  Be aware of the penalty stakes and markers on this hole!
    If you hit into the penalty area (defined by the red stakes) directly in front of the tee box, you may choose to:
    a. re-tee your next shot OR
    b. go to the drop area OR
    c. play from the penalty area
    e. go as far back on a straight line between the hole and where your ball crossed the margin of the penalty area.     (Only as far as your tee box)
If you hit your tee shot into the creek  YOU MUST BRING YOUR BALL ALL THE WAY BACK.  You may re-tee your ball and hit your next shot, go to the drop area, or play it as a lateral penalty area (penalties apply).
Question #3: What to do when your ball is lost? 
Situation:  You are in the fairway and hit your ball.  The ball hits a tree and goes into a big bush beside the fairway.  Everyone saw the ball land into the bush, but you are unable to find the ball.   What do you do?
This is considered a LOST BALL:

You Must take stroke and distance relief by adding one penalty stroke and playing a ball from where the previous stroke was made (which if not known must be estimated).   If the ball was lost within the general area of the golf course (fairway), the reference point is the point from where the original shot was made.  The ball is dropped within one club length of that reference point, no nearer the hole.

Question #2:  You hit your ball into a RED PENALTY AREA.  What options do you have for taking Relief?           The player has 3 options, each for ONE penalty stroke:
1. The player may take stroke and distance relief .  Go back and replay the shot.  ( If the exact spot is not known, it must be estimated.)
2.  The player may take back on the line relief.  Locate the point the ball entered the penalty area.                        (Where the ball crossed the red line).  That is your reference point.  You should indicate the point by                       using an object.  (Such as a tee).   This should be a straight line going from the hole through the reference               point and back.  There is no limit to how far back you may go.
3.  The player may take lateral relief.  Two club lengths from the reference point, no nearer the hole, and                may be in any area of the course except the same penalty area.

Question #1: Is there a penalty when your ball or ball marker moves on the green?
There is NO PENALTY if you, your opponent or another player in stroke play accidentally move your ball or ball marker on the putting green.
You must replace your ball on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated) or place a ball marker to mark that original spot.
EXCEPTION: Your ball Must be played as it Lies when it begins to move During your backswing or stroke and the Stroke is Made.
        *  If natural forces cause your ball to move on the putting green, where you must play from next depends on:  whether your ball had already been lifted and replaced on its original spot.
             a.  Ball already lifted and replaced:  Your ball must be replaced on its original spot ( if not known must be estimated).
             b.  Ball NOT already lifted and replaced:  The ball must be played from its new spot, or where it lies.
In our windy and ever-changing Mountain conditions, try to be cognizant of the things that may affect you.