Golf: Keeping track of basics

HARARE - There are several incidents which baffles many players now and again.

I shall go through some of them.

Ball unplayable in a tree. What are the options?

First it needs to be established whether the ball in the tree is actually yours.

There can be overwhelming evidence that the ball you hit did not drop from the tree.

On search you can see a ball stuck high up on the branches. But the question is whose ball is it? Is it yours for certain?

Unless you can identify it as yours it will be deemed as a lost ball. One way of proving can be by using binoculars if they will be at hand.

Your marker, fellow competitor should confirm the identification. You or your caddie can also climb up the tree if it is safe to do so.

Let us assume that the ball is identified as yours.

You will then have to follow the options available under the unplayable ball Rule which are: proceed under the stroke and distance and play the ball or a ball from as near as possible at the spot from which the unplayable ball was last played from; drop the ball behind the point where the ball lies keeping that point directly between the hole and the spot at which the ball is dropped.

The last option is to drop the ball within two club lengths of the spot where the ball lies but not nearer the hole.

But how do you determine the two club lengths for a ball which was in the tree. There is need to find a point on the ground which is directly below where the ball is in the tree. For reference purposes, you take that as where the ball lies.

If you hit your ball towards a tree and you see a ball you think is yours in there, do not shake the tree to make the ball drop before you have identified it.

 If you do Rule 18-2 will come into play and you will be penalised for moving the ball at rest.

But once the ball is identified as yours you can now shake the tree or use any means available without incurring any penalty.

You have hit your ball into the rough and on searching for it you find a ball completely embedded in human faeces such that you are unable to identify it in that position.  Are there any options available to you?
First you should find a way of identifying it using any means you can come up with.

If you take that option and you prove that the ball is yours your next step is to find the nearest point of relief and drop the ball within a club length of that point not nearer the hole.

 In equity you can substitute another ball without incurring any penalty. If you do not want to be bothered by any of that you can just decide to go and play another ball from where you played your last stroke.

And what would you do if you find a ball next to a snake? Again you need to find a way of identifying the ball.

Is it possible if the ball is close to the snake?

If it is not possible there will be no evidence to the fact that it could be the player’s ball and it will be deemed as a lost ball.

Is it true that you should position the ball in the middle of your stance when playing your shots?

In some aspect it is true but overall it is not true. I shall briefly explain.

The golf clubs can be classified into three categories; short iron, middle irons, and long irons. Where you place the ball at address varies according to the club and shot you want to make. For short irons the ball should be at the centre of your stance.

For middle and long irons the ball is placed closer to the target with the long irons being placed closest.

A dog, monkey or bird removes player’s ball from where it was.

This happens very often and has been a subject of disputes among players.
Others claim that if a bird flies away with a ball and drops it at a new position that it should be played from the new position. In other instances the ball will not be found. How is this handled?

The first thing to agree on is to be certain that the ball which may have been taken by a bird or monkey and was never found was the player’s ball.

The rule demands that it must be known or virtually certain that the ball was removed by a bird or monkey.

The fact that a dog is seen running away from the area where a ball may have been struck towards does not of itself mean that if the ball is eventually not found that the dog would have taken it.

However, if a player’s ball is hit on to the middle of the fairway and there are people who saw it land there, then the presence of monkeys there could be taken as evidence that it was taken by them.

I had a face to face experience of such a scenario last year. I could not believe it and we looked at the monkeys which were now in the trees.

Fortunately we saw one of the monkeys holding on to a ball. Players threw some stones at it and the frightened monkey dropped the ball.

The ball was identified as the one the player had played.

In these types of situations the ball should be taken to the approximate area where people who saw it pitch agree to be where the ball would have been picked from.

•For any feedback/ comments and any assistance you may need please contact the writer, Tavenganiswa Mabikacheche at The Centre for Training and Research Services on email:  or mobile no. +263712200922 /+263772319612

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