Question: After completing my round the other day, I was asked by another player, John, to explain a potential rules infraction that had occurred in his foursome. John said that Jack’s ball had come to rest on the fringe of the green but up against the rough collar. Jack then took out his driver and used it to move his ball one club length from its original spot. John did not think this was legal under the rules of golf. Was it legal?
Answer: I asked John if Jack’s ball, after being moved, remained on the fringe and no nearer the hole. He said that it did, but we should not be able to move a ball that far (one club length).
I explained that we were all playing preferred lies (winter rules), and as long as the ball was in the closely mowed grass and not moved nearer the hole, it was legal. I further explained that this meant the fringe or fairway but not the putting green.
It is my opinion that a great many golfers are not aware that you can use any club in your bag to measure with. They believe that you can only move the ball a few inches.
Watch the PGA players on TV the next time they play preferred lies due to course conditions. They will mark their ball — usually with a tee — and use their driver to measure the maximum relief allowed. Then they mark that spot with a tee and place their ball somewhere between the two tees but no closer to the hole.
Tip of the day: If you want to become a better golfer, play the ball as it lies. You may not score better, but you will learn how to hit better shots from not-so-perfect lies. It really makes you feel good when you hit a great shot from a lie that was not as good as you would have preferred.
As always, have fun playing and practicing the game of golf. Email me at email@example.com with questions, and come join us Wednesday evenings from 4-6 p.m. for our continuous learning sessions.