Rule 19.2 – Relief Options for Unplayable Ball in General Area or on Putting Green

I have said over and over again that understanding the rules of golf is important to shooting low golf scores or saving your round. There is no doubt that Rule 19.2 can make or break your round; I know this because it has done both to my game in the past. However, today’s article is a result of my friend Mac asking me about an unplayable lie he had recently experienced. I thought it would be a good time to talk about this important rule.

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Unplayable Lie in Golf!

Of the many questions I answer relating to the rules of golf, the unplayable lie is one of the most popular. Rule 28 of the RGCA outlines all the details about what constitute an unplayable lie and your options regarding your decision. Additionally, the video below from Golf Canada also explains your options.

Before viewing the video, and I recommend that you do, there is one aspect of Rule 28 – Ball Unplayable that most amateurs do not fully understand. A ball unplayable can only be called by the player who hit the ball. Their playing partners cannot make the call for them. Additionally, an unplayable ball can be called everywhere except in a water hazard. Yup, that means that if you are in the middle of the fairway and for some strange reason you want to call your ball unplayable, you can.

This rule is very important. In my experience, it is a stroke saver and is one of the basic rules all amateurs should know! Now, enjoy the video!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

Using Your Imagination in Golf

Yesterday I played golf with my old friend Blair. We have known each for over 30 years and for the always enjoy hitting the links together. Meeting in the middle, we made our way around Keystone Golf and Country Club, Peterborough, ON, we laughed, joked, and caught up on the goings on in each other’s life.

For the most part, we played very well. The course had its challenges and on the 16th hole, Blair found himself in the woods after his approach shot sailed over the green. The ball was in the woods about 12 feet nestled among roots, dead sticks and leaves. After removing all the loose pediments, Blair was now faced with an almost impossible shot.

Blair Woods2

Standing with his back to the green!

His options were to play it where it laid or declare an unplayable and to go back to his original spot. He decided to play the ball where it lay. Unfortunately, there was a root about 2 inches behind his ball. There was no way he could make a swing at the ball and make contact….or so I thought!

Blair surveyed the ball position and decided the best play was to stand in front of the ball, chop directly down on the ball (like chopping wood), hit the ball and pop it out through his legs!

I know what you are thinking and I was thinking the same thing. Chances of making solid contact were very low. Chances of hitting himself with the ball, very high! This seemed like a very low percentage shot, but he was convinced this was the right shot to take.

Blair Woods1

Ball in the foreground of the picture.

Well as it turned out, Blair’s chopping motion was perfect. He made solid contact on the ball and it popped out as if he hit it normally. If I did not see it myself, I would have called, well you know what I would have said. But, I did see it and was amazed at the results!

Using your imagination in golf is very important. It takes an open mind and willingness to take changes to pull off shots like Blair’s. Players like Seve Ballesteros and Phil Mickelson have that special talent and I guess so does Blair.

Next time you are in a strange predicament, do not be afraid to try the “impossible shot”! Use your imagination and you might be surprised at the results.

Have you ever made a shot like this?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!


Following The Rules of Golf

Do you follow the rules of golf?  In past blogs, I have talked about specific rules on gopher holes, replacing your golf ball, some of my unwritten rules, new rules for 2014, and many more.  However, it never really occurred to me if everyone actually follows the rules.

Rules of golf

There are many places on the web to find the latest rules and my favorite is the Golf Canada.  I always read the rules several times before hitting the links to refresh my memory on the nuances of play in competition.

However, do you really follow all the rules of golf? I believe that most players follow most of the rules most of the time when just playing for fun.  I believe that most of the players follow all the rules most of the time in competition.  However, here is the hook, I also believe that most players follow all the rules they know all the time all the time in competition.

Well, unfortunately, my last statement is more the norm than most think.  If you do not believe me, ask your playing partners about the Rule 17-1 Tending the Flagstick or Rule 23 – Loose Impediments or Rule 28 – Unplayable Ball.  Chances are they do not know the rule or only part of it.  This lack of knowledge can cost strokes in a tournament or match play event.

Most players honestly want to follow the rules.  Unfortunately, many have not actually read them.  They listen to their playing partners – who likely have not read all the rules either – and blindly play.  This approach is okay except if you have any aspirations of playing in competition.  At that point, you are playing with competitors who likely know the rules and will enforce them without hesitation.

If answered yes to the first question – I will follow that up with, Do you know all the rules? Golf season is quickly approaching and as part of my pre-season routine, reading the golf rules is important to my preparation for an outstanding golf season!  On a side note, even though I read the rules several times, I always care an up to date version of the golf rules just in case I need it during a match.

I am a grateful golfer!  See you on the links!