Pilings on Hole #12 (Frances)

There has been some discussion about how to play a ball that comes to rest against the pilings on the cart path on Hole #12. After much discussion with the Pro Shop, our Rules Chairperson and even some of the male club members, there is agreement that the way that the Discovery Bay Country Club has set up the markings for hazards and boundaries they have designated the wood pilings that line the cart path and lateral water hazard on hole #12 to be a part of the course. Although these pilings are on the lateral hazard margin, and line this hazard, the Club allows relief to be taken. A player may find their “nearest point of relief,” no closer to the hole, on the grass alongside the cart path and drop a ball.

However, this does not apply if the ball is on the “bridge” portion of the cart path. If the ball comes to rest on the bridge, it is considered in the hazard. (It may be played from the bridge, without penalty, if the player so desires).

If you have any questions regarding this situation, please feel free to ask Hilary or me for clarification.

Happy Golfing… Frances


May Rules Quiz (Hilary)

Hi Ladies:

Are you ready? The sun is out and it’s quiz time.

Here we go…………………

1. Which of the following are loose impediments?
a) Your crazy fellow competitor
b) A wooden bench
c) A paper cup with your coffee and kahlua in
d) Pebbles, leaves, a banana peel

Answer: d) Definition of Loose Impediments

2. In stroke play, both your ball and a large pine cone lie in the same bunker. The pine cone is directly in front of the ball. Which one of the following is correct?

a) You may remove the pine cone without penalty before making your stroke in the bunker
b) Under penalty of one stroke you may place the ball anywhere in the bunker
c) You may play the ball as it lies or proceed under Rule 28 Unplayable Lie
d) Without penalty you may drop the ball within one club length of the nearest point of relief.

Answer: c) Rule 13-4. You are not allowed to touch or move a loose impediment lying in a bunker. (Using Rule 28 Unplayable lie in a bunker you have three options which all cost you one stroke and under options b and c you must DROP the ball in the bunker)

3) In match play you’re on the green and you mark and lift your ball and then you accidentally drop it, striking and moving your opponent’s ball. What is the ruling?
a) Blame your shaky hand on the kahlua in your cart and offer your opponent a drink
b) You are not penalized and both balls must be replaced
c) You lose the hole
d) You incur one penalty stroke and the balls must be replaced.

Answer: d) Rule 18-3b, 18/7.5, and Definition of “Equipment”. A ball that has been lifted is no longer in play and is “equipment” so sadly you get a one stroke penalty.

4) In stroke play you hit your ball into some thick rough and search for it for 5 minutes and can’t find it. You look for another minute, find your ball and play it. What is the ruling?

a) There is no penalty
b) There is a two stroke penalty for delay of play
c) There is a two stroke penalty for playing a wrong ball

Answer: c) Your ball was lost and therefore “out of play” when the five minutes expired. It’s a two stroke penalty, or loss of hole in match play. You must return to where you last played and play from there under Rule 27-1, stroke and distance. You will be disqualified if you continue and play from the next tee.

5) Remember that cup of kahlua you have in your cart that you thought earlier in question #1 could be a loose impediment, and later gave you shaky hands, well the empty cup flies onto the green and your ball comes to rest inside it.
Wow we really can imagine that happening eh? But things might be getting better as the wind blows it closer to the hole. What is the ruling?

a) Ban all kahlua/coffee drinkers and paper cups from the course
b) You must play the ball from its new position as the wind is not an outside agency
c) You must lift the ball and place it as near as possible at the spot directly under the place where it was inside the cup before the wind blew it.
d) Drink your kahlua directly out of the bottle next time.

Answer: c) Rule 18-1/7. The whole point of this very complicated story is to remind you that: If your ball is moved by an outside agency, such as your cup, you must replace it to where it was before. If it is moved by the wind, which is not an outside agency, you play it where it now lies.
As your ball was in the cup, and the cup, an outside agency,was moved by the wind, the cup is responsible.

After these questions we all need a drink!

I hope you enjoyed this crazy quiz and it helps you.


April’s Rules Quiz (Hilary)

Hi Ladies:

Here’s a quiz about the Definition “Nearest Point of Relief” and how to use it in the Rules.

A) The “Nearest Point of Relief” is:

  1. The point at which the ball last crossed the margin of a water hazard before coming to rest in the hazard.
  2. The nearest playable lie, not nearer the hole than where the original ball came to rest in an Unplayable lie.
  3. The reference point for taking relief from interference by an Immovable Obstruction.
  4. The point two club lengths from where a dropped ball first strikes a point on the course
  5. All of the above.

The answer is ONLY #3.

B) The “Nearest Point of Relief” is used in the following Rules.

  1. Water Hazards
  2. Immovable Obstructions
  3. Lost Ball
  4. Abnormal Ground Conditions
  5. Wrong Putting Green

The answer is #2, #4 and #5.

We can ONLY use the term “Nearest Point of Relief” when using two Rules.

Rule 25-1 and -3 Abnormal Ground Conditions (25-1) which are Ground Under Repair, Casual Water, or a hole or cast made by a burrowing animal or bird, and Wrong Putting Green (25-3).

Rule 24-2 Immovable Obstructions.

Often when a player drops a ball under the Water Hazard or Unplayable Lies Rule they say incorrectly that they are measuring for their “Nearest Point of Relief” to find where to drop their ball.

Let’s go around our course and find some places where you can correctly use these two Rules for your free, no penalty involved, “Nearest Point of Relief”


As you get close to the green there is an area on the right where a tree was cut down and the area around here is roped off with a “Ground Under Repair” sign.

Your wonderful shot to the green lands right there in the dirt but luckily this is a place where, under Rule 25-1, you can get free relief but how do you do this correctly?

1. Mark the position of your ball with a tee or a marker.

2. Take the club that you are going to hit your next shot with and find the place nearest to where your ball lies where, the club head is no longer in the ground under repair , not closer to the hole, and your stance is not within it.

3. Place a second tee or marker where your club head is resting on the ground.

4. Pick up you ball, and stand at your second marker and drop a ball within one club length of this point. It is allowed to roll two club lengths, no closer to the hole. The two club lengths the ball can roll can be measured with any club in your bag. You don’t have to use the club you are going to make your next shot with.

5. As long as the ball rolls no more than two clubs lengths, no closer to the hole, where the ball comes to rest is where you make your next stroke. Pick up your markers and hit away.

You have just found a much better place to hit from using your “Nearest Point of Relief” and Rule 25-1 and it was free!

Hole #9

Your shot from the fairway veers to the left and ends up on the cart path, what can you do? Here’s another place for finding your “Nearest Point of Relief” and getting a free drop under Rule 24-2 Immovable Obstructions.

Measuring here can be a little tricky as, remember your ball cannot be closer to the hole, and your dropping point has to be at the closest place on the course to where your ball lies. To take relief locate the nearest point where you can take your stance and swing without interference from the path.

The Nearest Point of Relief is easy if your ball is close either side of the path but the tricky part can come if you ball is nearer to the middle. What you must do then is find your nearest point of relief on both sides of the path and measure from where your ball lies to see which point of relief is nearer.

Make sure you always mark where your ball lies so you have a reference point if needed. Sometimes you can be surprised that your “Nearest point of relief” is not on the side you thought it would be.

Hole #6

It’s hard to find a place on our course to give you an example of “Nearest Point of Relief” for Rule 25-3 Wrong Putting Green but let’s stretch our imaginations!

You’re on the fairway of Hole #6 and sadly you hit your second shot way, way, way left. I said we are using our imaginations ok? Your ball lands on the putting green of Hole #7 but the Rules do not allow you to hit it from the green, you have to take relief. How do we do this one?

I’m sure you know by now.

Mark your ball on the green.

Find your Nearest Point of Relief for your ball off the putting green using the club you are going to use for your next shot, no nearer to Hole #6 that you’re going to, and mark this place. This is usually on the fringe. Your feet can still be on the green but your ball must not be.

Drop the ball within one club length of this marker and it may roll two club lengths but no closer to hole #6.

Hit your ball from this place.

I hope this helps you find your deserved relief.


Smart Phones

Smart Phones as Distance Measuring Devices:

Although WGANC Local Rules prohibit the use of cellular phones except in emergencies, many smart phone devices now include distance measuring applications for golf. The use of a smart phone with this application is allowed with all of the same provisions of our Local Rule for distance measuring devices; that is, the phone must not contain any other applications that might affect her play. Examples of prohibited applications include those that provide a compass, altimeter (elevation), or temperature.

The IPhone model 3GS comes with a built-in compass application that cannot be de-installed; therefore, use of the 3GS as a distance measuring device is prohibited.

The IPhone model 3G does not come with any prohibited applications; therefore, as long as the player has not added prohibited applications, it may be used under our local rule. It is the player’s responsibility to ensure her device conforms to our local rule.

The cell phone feature of these smart phones must not be used except in emergencies. It goes without saying that if using a smart phone as a distance measuring device, the ring tone should be set to Silent.

First 2010 Rules Quiz (Hilary)

Hi Ladies:

It seems like the sun is finally coming out to stay so I’d better dust off my Rules quiz book. Here’s the first one for this year. Enjoy.

A. Here you are on the green of hole number one and while taking your practice strokes preparing to putt you strike your ball.

What penalty, if any have you incurred?

ANSWER. Although you certainly did not intend to strike the ball, and have not therefore made a stroke, you do incur a one stroke penalty under Rule 18-2a for causing the ball to move except as permitted by a Rule. You must replace the ball to where it was when you hit it accidentally.

B. After you are forced to take a drop as your ball goes into the lateral hazard on hole number 9, you find the nearest point of relief, no closer to the hole of course, and drop your ball according to the Rules. On the drop, the ball rolls approximately 25 feet from the place where it first struck the course when dropped. The ball didn’t roll closer to the hole.

Is a re-drop necessary?

ANSWER. Rule 20-2 requires a ball to be re-dropped if it rolls more than two club-lengths from the spot where your dropped ball first touched the golf course.

You must re-drop the ball.

C. During a round in a team play event you witness a Rules breach by your opponent in match play.

After completion of the round, you go to the Rules committee to inform them of the violation and seek a ruling.

Did you proceed correctly to receive a ruling on the violation?

ANSWER. Sadly no, you missed several steps.

According to Rule 2-5, the Rules committee can only consider a claim if the reporting player has informed his opponent that he/she is making the claim, the facts of the claim, and his desire for a ruling.

The claim must be made before any player in the match plays from the next teeing ground or, if the last hole, before all players have left the final green.

D. Anna and Maria are playing against one another in a match-play competition.

While both are on the putting green preparing to putt, Anna marks Maria’s ball and tosses it to her as a courtesy.

Is either person subject to a penalty?

ANSWER. Rule 20-1 states that a player’s ball may be lifted by an opponent with the player’s permission. Since Anna did not ask for permission to mark and lift the ball, she has innocently run afoul of the Rules and incurs a one-stroke penalty according to Rule 18-3(b)].

E. During a round played in a severe Discovery Bay wind, Sally’s ball comes to rest on the green. As the players approach the green, the ball begins to move, blown by the wind, away from the hole.

Sally says the ball was moved by an outside agency and she replaces her ball near the spot where it rested before it began to move.

Did Sally act correctly?

ANSWER. No, she did not.

Under the Rules of Golf wind is not considered an outside agency.

The ball must be played from wherever the wind blew it to, whether that was nearer to, or farther from the hole.

I hope this helps you, and the sun stays out!


iPhones and Smart Phones (Hilary)


I will be posting on our notice board in the locker room the WGANC ruling regarding the use of iPhones and Smart phone as distance measuring devices. (Click here to view.) This ruling is in acordance with the new 2010 decision for the use of iPhones and Smart phones during your rounds of golf. I will also give a copy to our tournament committee for their use during play days and tournaments.

The iPhone 3GS comes with a compass app that cannot be removed, so it is not allowed. The iPhone model 3G does not, so that model can be used.

It’s the compass they are worried about as you could work out which way the course/greens slope.

Any questions?…. don’t hesitate to e mail me.


New 2010 Decisions/Rules (Hilary)

Hi Ladies:

Having recently attended the Decisions meeting at Lake Merced Country Club I wanted to update you on changes that will affect our play in 2010.

RULE CHANGES. There was only one.

Rule 4-1/1.

This change will definitely NOT impact our play as it is only in use in “Competitions involving the highest level of expert play.”

Prior to 2010 the majority of golfers were using square or U grooves. This was beneficial for high caliber players as it allowed them to put an abundance of spin on their golf ball, especially out of the rough because of the sharp, deep grooves. The square grooves on wedges particularly were making it so that hitting a ball out of the rough was not a penal as it was intended to be. Hence the change. There is no need to change the irons you have in your bag unless you are heading to the LPGA tour.

DECISIONS. There are 28 new Decisions and over 50 Revised Decisions. The 4 below are important for us to know.

16-1a/ 9 Brushing loose impediments off the line of putt with palm of hand.

As long as you DO NOT press anything down, or test the surface of the green, you may “Use the whole palm of your hand, and use about a dozen strokes, to remove loose impediments which are difficult to remove from your line of putt.

27-2a/1.3 Announcement of Provisional ball.

If you want to put a Provisional ball in to play but your fellow competitors are far from you and unable to hear your “announcement” of a provisional ball you may now put a ball into play. However you must inform them of your action as soon as possible. This way play is not unnecessarily delayed.

14-3/16 Artificial Devices.

This is for all you “high tech” golfers who may use their iPhones on the course.

The application that has the distance measuring system MUST have the COMPASS part of its program removed. The iPhone, or any similar device must not be used to:

1. Access weather conditions that effect play, such as wind direction/speed/ or gradient of the course.

2. To call to ask for golf advice in breach of rule 8-1.

If you’ve managed to read through this far here’s a funny Revised Decision to end on.

23/ 6.5. Status of snake.

A live snake has always been an “Outside Agency” but now it defines that a DEAD snake is both an “Outside Agency and a Loose Impediment” This has been expanded to clarify that an item can fall under more than one Definition.

I’d prefer the Loose Impediment snake any day!

I hope this helps you.