Actions of a Spectator?

Swango1980

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Had our club champs this weekend. One member could not play both days, so did not enter. However, he decided to walk the course for a bit to see what was going on. He mainly followed the lead group for the middle of the round (i.e. the lowest handicappers), primarily because his mate was in that group, so any other shots he saw from the rest of the field were just on his way to and from the car park to the lead group.

He acted as a ball spotter on the 12th for them, with a blind tee shot. On 12th, 13th and 15th he went into the bushes to help them look for their drives, which were found. He gave his opinion to them on wind conditions at certain points, and on 15th he also acted as a ball spotter with another blind tee shot (which one of the players said gave him the confidence to go over the trees on the right, knowing someone was watching).

No one else really were aware this was happening, being in groups further back. However, I was in the following group, and the guys in my group were a bit concerned that the first group were getting an advantage that no other group could benefit from (our group could have benefited, as he also acted as a spotter on 12th for us, before returning to the lead group, although we all hit our drives in play anyway).

Personally, if I was to ever spectate a club event (which I wouldn't), I certainly would keep my distance and would not try and be any influence on the players whatsoever.
 

Grant85

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Tend to agree. Especially if it is strokeplay.

Anecdotally this is the kind of thing that happens at pro events so I don't think any rules are being broken. A 7am group is going to have almost no spectators, or even cameras, as they play round. A 10am group might have a crowd round the green and / or trampling down rough for any wayward shots.
 

Orikoru

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Spotting the ball I don't think is a problem. If a passer-by told you they saw your ball, you've technically got an advantage no one else did but there's not a penalty for that is there?

Giving advice is a bit iffy though, I don't know about that.
 

jim8flog

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For reference

10.2a/2 – Player Must Try to Stop Ongoing Advice That Is Given Voluntarily

If a player gets advice from someone other than his or her caddie (such as a spectator) without asking for it, he or she gets no penalty. However, if the player continues to get advice from that same person, the player must try to stop that person from giving advice. If the player does not do so, he or she is treated as asking for that advice and gets the penalty under Rule 10.2a.
 

Swango1980

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Tend to agree. Especially if it is strokeplay.

Anecdotally this is the kind of thing that happens at pro events so I don't think any rules are being broken. A 7am group is going to have almost no spectators, or even cameras, as they play round. A 10am group might have a crowd round the green and / or trampling down rough for any wayward shots.
I agree. Rather than breaking any rules, thinking more about it from an etiquette point of view.

Although spectators can find the ball for the pro's, it is very very rare. The courses are that wide open, marshals everywhere (and cameras), that a player's ball is almost always going to be found without a fans help. At our course though, miss the fairway by a foot and you could be in a thick hedge, let alone going beyond that where the thick undergrowth is. Losing balls is very very easy, so to have an extra pair of eyes can be a huge advantage. Especially if they are already down there, possible hear and see it land, and even if it is not immediately visible, can start searching well before your 3 minutes starts.

No issue with a spotter, but would only seem fair if the spotter stays put, and offers that service for everyone in the field.
 

sunshine

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Could the lead group legitimately claim that the ball spotting friend was acting as a fore-caddie / caddie?

Although unusual in a club event, a player is perfectly entitled to have a caddie. It's not a level playing field as some have an electric trolley, while others carry, some have better equipment, range finders, GPS, etc.
 

Swango1980

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Could the lead group legitimately claim that the ball spotting friend was acting as a fore-caddie / caddie?

Although unusual in a club event, a player is perfectly entitled to have a caddie. It's not a level playing field as some have an electric trolley, while others carry, some have better equipment, range finders, GPS, etc.
All these things are fair points. Caddies are allowed (but I believe local rules can ban them, or make them compulsory). One chap used to play in competitions, and have his wide follow him round and take videos of his swing.

I just felt it would probably have been better to not get directly involved with play. Before the game, there was talk he might come out to watch them on the Saturday. My friend (also playing in that group) joked that he would have his wife and kids come out, and help him find his ball on every hole. I know it is an extreme example that would never actually happen in reality. But, I suppose if a player really was desperate enough, they could have an entire search party at hand to follow them round the course.
 

patricks148

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no different from a dog walker spotting your ball and telling you where it is or a fellow com in a group in front seeing where your ball went.

we do get spectators follwing the Club champs quite often and lots of ball spotting goes on, even done it myself when my mate was in the final, on that occthere must have been at least 50 or more following the game and that involved getting a head to see where tee shots landed

its never been an issue
 

jim8flog

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One chap used to play in competitions, and have his wide follow him round and take videos of his swing.

.

I hope she was not showing him the videos before the end of the round. That would a rules infringement even if she was acting as a caddie

• Not Allowed.
Viewing video showing play of the player or other players during the competition that helps the player in choosing a club, making a stroke, or deciding how to play during the round.
 

Swango1980

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I hope she was not showing him the videos before the end of the round. That would a rules infringement even if she was acting as a caddie

• Not Allowed.
Viewing video showing play of the player or other players during the competition that helps the player in choosing a club, making a stroke, or deciding how to play during the round.
Not sure about that, however the end of his round was often as early as the 2nd hole. He was the angriest golfer I have ever come across, I'm pretty sure he walked off the course before the 18th more often than he played the 18th. He was playing in the last group once with one other guy in a competition. Doubled the 1st hole. Missed the par 3 green 2nd hole with his tee shot, and failed to get out of the trees properly for his 2nd shot, and so stormed off the course. The chap he was playing with had to rush half way down the 3rd fairway to ask the group in front if he could play with them to get his card marked, then run back with one to finish the 2nd hole and start the 3rd.
 
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