Lifting of ball in play

rulefan

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But don't take my word for it, this is published USGA material:

"Your ball is embedded in its own pitch-mark in the fringe just off the putting green. After lifting the ball and before taking relief, you tap down the pitch-mark to care for the course and then realize the repair of the pitch-mark could help you if the ball comes to rest in a position where you might have to play through it. The dropped ball hits and comes to rest in the relief area and you play a low running chip directly over the pitch-mark. You get the general penalty under Rule 8.1a for improving your conditions affecting the stroke. True or false?

Answer is false. Explanation: When and why you repaired the pitch-mark are both critical factors. First, the pitch-mark was not part of the CATS when you repaired it so Rule 8.1 does not apply - it was not part of the relief area (see Rule 16.3a for how embedded ball relief works) and you did not yet have a line of play.
Additionally, Rule 8.2 would apply only to actions you took to deliberately affect where your ball might roll or to affect a future stroke, which wasn't why you fixed it. No penalty and play on."
Presumably this was published on their Facebook page.
 

Steven Rules

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a. is the correct answer. And on the facts of the question, it does not even rely on the 8.2 Exception.
Hmmm. Thanks. We live amd learn.

it could interfere with your intended putt but also to care for the course. You drop the ball and proceed to putt. What is the ruling? No penalty, the "care for the course exception" in Rule 8.2 applies.
Interesting (and complicated) that there can be multiple motives but as long as one of them is to care for the course then the player is ok.
 

Dutch Boy

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Thanks everyone for your comments.
To me it was unclear that "at rest in its own pitch mark" meant that the ball was actually "embedded"
I need to read questions more closely.
Happy new year to everyone :)
 

salfordlad

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I’m currently revising the rules as I have a Level 2 rules seminar in February and these sorts of ‘rules nuances’ make taking this next step even more daunting.
I don't think you should be daunted by this as it is beyond the scope of every RB (Ruling Body) exam I have seen. And when they ever approach this level of difficulty it is only an isolated question, perhaps to separate the 98 and the 99 percenter - just stick to your core study objectives and you'll be fine.

If you've never met a regular golfer who understands that nuance, do you not think that it's a stupid nuance?


I really don't think you can join these dots, although I understand the sentiment. It's rules-based regulation designed to deal with virtually every permutation of situation on the course across the planet. Every principle-based system has these corners where things have to fit on one side of defined lines or the other. Having worked closely in regulatory systems during my working life, and having spent some quality time discussing golf rules with a number of the drafters and interpreters of our current rules, I don't see anything that can justify the S word. And any changes come with consequences across the system.
Presumably this was published on their Facebook page.
2020 Short Course on the Rules, Round 1, Question 16, available under Rules Education on the USGA website. 153 questions produced over 2020 (6 by 18) and 2021 (5 by 9) where they spotlight (intentionally) some challenging areas of the Rules. IMO, there is great learning available for the dedicated rules student but I think it fair to say most of us are unlikely to ever see many of these complicated situations on the course. Most rules learners would be making better use of their study time by sticking with the regular USGA and R&A rules quizzes that target the more everyday situations.
 

salfordlad

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Hmmm. Thanks. We live amd learn.


Interesting (and complicated) that there can be multiple motives but as long as one of them is to care for the course then the player is ok.
Yes. I'm aware that the key drafting work currently underway for the 2027 edition is a significant revamping of Rule 8. It will be interesting to see if they get into the "care for the course" space - an area where currently we have hybrid goals that join up good etiquette and rules objectives.
 

Dutch Boy

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Where did you find the question?
Found it by chance. I love doing quizzes to improve my rules knowledge.

 

salfordlad

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Found it by chance. I love doing quizzes to improve my rules knowledge.

These folk, clearly, draw extensively on the USGA material, which strikes me as a very smart thing for a State golf association to do.
 

LizAig

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It is not c. The ball is embedded in its own pitch mark. Free relief is available via 16.3.

There is no requirement to mark the ball before lifting it in these circumstances. See last sentence of 14.1a. The ball may be cleaned - and even substituted - when it is lifted in this scenario.

In answer a, they quote the Exception to 8.2b. I am unconvinced by this. In my view 8.1a(3) applies. General penalty.

I would have answered b.
It doesn’t say the ball is embedded though - it just says at rest in its pitch mark. The pitch mark could only be tiny.
 

rulefan

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Found it by chance. I love doing quizzes to improve my rules knowledge.
This may well be of interest then.

Although they have very rarely got the odd one wrong they would have made any corrections to the final publication and the older quizzes will relate to the rules at that time.
 

salfordlad

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It doesn’t say the ball is embedded though - it just says at rest in its pitch mark. The pitch mark could only be tiny.
See 16.3a(2): "A player's ball is embedded only if: it is in its own pitch-mark..... ". That says to me a ball in its pitch-mark is embedded. The USGA also seems to think so (see their language above).
 

Crow

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I don't think you should be daunted by this as it is beyond the scope of every RB (Ruling Body) exam I have seen. And when they ever approach this level of difficulty it is only an isolated question, perhaps to separate the 98 and the 99 percenter - just stick to your core study objectives and you'll be fine.




I really don't think you can join these dots, although I understand the sentiment. It's rules-based regulation designed to deal with virtually every permutation of situation on the course across the planet. Every principle-based system has these corners where things have to fit on one side of defined lines or the other. Having worked closely in regulatory systems during my working life, and having spent some quality time discussing golf rules with a number of the drafters and interpreters of our current rules, I don't see anything that can justify the S word. And any changes come with consequences across the system.

But there comes a point where regulations are made to satisfy the needs of the rule-makers rather than the rule-users, ie golfers.

To my mind this clarification fits that description. You admit yourself that you've never met a player who understood it and you practically say that the only reason it's there is to differentiate between elite level exam candidates!

So why not just do away with it, either you can repair your pitch mark everywhere or only on the green.

I apologise if I offended your sensibilities previously by use of the S word .
 

jim8flog

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See 16.3a(2): "A player's ball is embedded only if: it is in its own pitch-mark..... ". That says to me a ball in its pitch-mark is embedded. The USGA also seems to think so (see their language above).

It has been along time since I actually read the definition of embedded and now see it has changed.

Embedded
When a player’s ball is in its own pitch-mark made as a result of the player’s previous
stroke and where part of the ball is below the level of the ground.
A ball does not necessarily have to touch soil to be embedded (for example, grass
and loose impediments may be between the ball and the soil).

I have a memory of the definition stating that the 'surface' must be 'broken' for the ball to be considered to be embedded, could be a false memory.
 

rulie

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I’m currently revising the rules as I have a Level 2 rules seminar in February and these sorts of ‘rules nuances’ make taking this next step even more daunting.
Most of what you review will be written and any nuance will be clear. For example, if it says “to care for the course”, take it as that. No nuance remains with that wording.
 

Steven Rules

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I have a memory of the definition stating that the 'surface' must be 'broken' for the ball to be considered to be embedded, could be a false memory.
I suspect a false memory, or an old wives' tale that has perpetuated, or a very old (1970s or earlier) definition. In fairness, though, I recall a Patrick Reed situation a few years ago when the question he was asking the rules official was whether the ground was broken in order to establish (in the former's mind) that the ball was embedded.


"Embedded" wasn't a defined term until the 2019 edition of the Rules. My 1984 Rule book (I didn't keep any before or after that until 2012) refers to an embedded ball as "a ball embedded in its own pitch-mark". No mention of any "broken surface". This wording appears to have remained substantively unchanged through to, and including, the 2012 edition.

Things expanded slightly in 2016: "A ball is "embedded" when it is in its own pitch-mark and part of the ball is below the level of the ground. A ball does not necessarily have to touch the soil to be embedded." But still no mention of "broken surface".

This 2016 version drew in the principles of a Decision from the previous edition and is substantively the same as today's definition.
 

Dutch Boy

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This may well be of interest then.

Although they have very rarely got the odd one wrong they would have made any corrections to the final publication and the older quizzes will relate to the rules at that time.
Thanks I have attempted these and found them very challenging.
 

salfordlad

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I have a memory of the definition stating that the 'surface' must be 'broken' for the ball to be considered to be embedded, could be a false memory.
As Steven notes, not part of the definition. But it is quite common for it to be described that way - and that is understandable when you consider Diagram 16.3a - the ball must break through the ground level to qualify as embedded.
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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So if I attempt to summarise my understanding.

In the scenario described I am able to pick up my ball to clean it and take relief because it was embedded in its own pitch mark and where it was embedded (in the General Area).

In the process of doing this I can repair the pitch mark because I am in the process of taking relief rather than replacing my ball, and as I am taking relief I will be dropping my ball (normally I cant repair a pitch mark on my line of play). Hence before dropping my ball there is no defined line of shot as that is only defined after I have dropped in the relief area provided under the rules.

I think 🤔
 

salfordlad

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So if I attempt to summarise my understanding.

In the scenario described I am able to pick up my ball to clean it and take relief because it was embedded in its own pitch mark and where it was embedded (in the General Area).

In the process of doing this I can repair the pitch mark because I am in the process of taking relief rather than replacing my ball, and as I am taking relief I will be dropping my ball (normally I cant repair a pitch mark on my line of play). Hence before dropping my ball there is no defined line of shot as that is only defined after I have dropped in the relief area provided under the rules.

I think 🤔
Yes, with one qualification - that you are dropping into the relief area without any intent to achieve a result that will take you directly over that plug mark. ALTERNATIVELY, there is no penalty if you intend to care for the course when repairing that mark even if you intend to drop so you will directly play through/over that mark.
Note: caring for the course can void what would otherwise be rule 8.2 or 8.3 penalties, but it does not void an 8.1 penalty (which is not this scenario).
 
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