Rule 8.1 query

IanMcC

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I am a reasonably newly qualified referee and I had a ruling at the weekend which left me worrying if I did the right thing.
A young player found his ball in deep grass in the rough. He threw his glove down to identify the spot, but as he did so, he purposely flattened down the grass behind the ball with his foot.
As he went for his club, I recreated the lie by putting the grass back up. I then warned him that his action was not allowed, and in future to play the ball as it lies in such positions.
I didn't penalise him under 8.1, as the lie had been recreated. I discussed this with two more experienced referees at the event. One said I acted correctly, the other said I should have applied a General Penalty.
What do the experienced refs think of this on the forum? Should I have immediately applied the GP? Should I not have intervened, but applied the GP after he made a stroke? Should he have received the GP even if the lie was recreated? In not giving him a GP, but recreating the lie and giving the lad a small lecture, were my actions OK?
 

chrisd

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I'm not by any means a referee, but do take a keen interest in the rules of golf.

I'm absolutely sure that your only course of action should have been to draw the players attention to the rule he had broken, and advised him of the penalty. I don't see in a referee the fairness to all of the other players, whereby you let him off the penalty, and I also don't see how you exactly recreate the lie. But, good for you in becoming a referee!
 

Steven Rules

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At last! A rules question after so much recent discussion on this forum about handicaps.

8.1c(1) expressly allows the player to avoid a penalty by restoring the original object as nearly as possible to its original position so that the improvement created by the breach is eliminated, such as by ......returning a tree branch or grass, or an immovable obstruction to its original position after it had been moved.

The key question, then, is should a referee do this on behalf of the player?

Committee Procedures 6C(3) is clear that in stroke play a referee should warn a player if they are about to breach a rule whenever it is possible to do so.

As for a referee actually restoring the conditions on behalf of the player - I personally wouldn't do it. My guiding philosophy has always been to avoid impacting the ground e.g. by getting too close to things in a bunker, or trampling down long grass. My philosophy is that the referee should observe and supervise while the player restores conditions to their original state.
 

IanMcC

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At last! A rules question after so much recent discussion on this forum about handicaps.

8.1c(1) expressly allows the player to avoid a penalty by restoring the original object as nearly as possible to its original position so that the improvement created by the breach is eliminated, such as by ......returning a tree branch or grass, or an immovable obstruction to its original position after it had been moved.

The key question, then, is should a referee do this on behalf of the player?

Committee Procedures 6C(3) is clear that in stroke play a referee should warn a player if they are about to breach a rule whenever it is possible to do so.

As for a referee actually restoring the conditions on behalf of the player - I personally wouldn't do it. My guiding philosophy has always been to avoid impacting the ground e.g. by getting too close to things in a bunker, or trampling down long grass. My philosophy is that the referee should observe and supervise while the player restores conditions to their original state.
That all makes perfect sense, backed up by a Committe Procedure. Thanks for the help.
 

Steven Rules

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For those playing along at home, the ability to avoid a penalty by restoring conditions is not universal.

If the player improves the conditions affecting the stroke by taking any of the following actions they cannot avoid penalty by restoring the original conditions:

* Replacing divots in a divot hole (before making a stroke, as opposed to caring for the course after the stroke is made)

* Removing or pressing down divots that have already been replaced or other cut turf that is already in place

* Creating or eliminating holes, indentations or uneven surfaces

* Removing or pressing down sand or loose soil

* RemovIng dew, frost or water

Also, the player cannot avoid penalty if the improvement is not eliminated such as when a boundary object or branch has been bent or broken in a significant way so that it cannot be returned to the original position.

(Rule 8.1c)
 

salfordlad

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Well done for asking the questions that you have asked, it is key (in addition to getting out there and doing it) to building your knowledge and skills.

I have attended a number of USGA Workshops that encompassed rules, tournament administration and refereeing. A key piece of guidance for referees was stay out of any direct involvement with the player's ball and their play - every action and decision they take is on them, not anyone else. Your role is to observe carefully and apply the rules, but particularly through assisting the player to get the rules issues right and help avoid any rules transgressions wherever possible. Be in good position to observe wherever possible then, as necessary, get in, do what is needed, and get out.

I actually don't think you were well advised by either of the people that you consulted.

You made good observations in respect of the player's actions and the result of those actions, so the practical issue was what was your optimal response to what you witnessed? For me, the best approach would have been to quickly and politely intervene, pointing out to the player that the action of flattening the grass behind the ball has improved the conditions affecting the stroke and playing the ball without eliminating the improvement first would get the general penalty - but the good news is the player is permitted to restore the grass to the original position and by eliminating the improvement the potential penalty goes away. I would add the player needs to be careful in doing so, because moving the ball in the process would get a one stroke penalty. Your job then is to be satisfied that the improvement created by the breach is eliminated and then step away.
 

apj0524

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Well done for asking the questions that you have asked, it is key (in addition to getting out there and doing it) to building your knowledge and skills.

I have attended a number of USGA Workshops that encompassed rules, tournament administration and refereeing. A key piece of guidance for referees was stay out of any direct involvement with the player's ball and their play - every action and decision they take is on them, not anyone else. Your role is to observe carefully and apply the rules, but particularly through assisting the player to get the rules issues right and help avoid any rules transgressions wherever possible. Be in good position to observe wherever possible then, as necessary, get in, do what is needed, and get out.

I actually don't think you were well advised by either of the people that you consulted.

You made good observations in respect of the player's actions and the result of those actions, so the practical issue was what was your optimal response to what you witnessed? For me, the best approach would have been to quickly and politely intervene, pointing out to the player that the action of flattening the grass behind the ball has improved the conditions affecting the stroke and playing the ball without eliminating the improvement first would get the general penalty - but the good news is the player is permitted to restore the grass to the original position and by eliminating the improvement the potential penalty goes away. I would add the player needs to be careful in doing so, because moving the ball in the process would get a one stroke penalty. Your job then is to be satisfied that the improvement created by the breach is eliminated and then step away.
Sorry to go off track a bit, but can I ask a question regarding Ball movement, is there defined limit to the movement, for instance if in the rough and clearing loose impediments the ball moves but comes back to its original position, is that still class as the ball moving?
 

clubchamp98

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I must admit I find the fact he can just recreate the lie with no penalty a bit lenient.

He could be doing this every time he’s in the rough.

I would wager you can never really accurately recreate a lie as the grass stems would have been weakened when bent .

School day you live and learn.
 

jim8flog

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Sorry to go off track a bit, but can I ask a question regarding Ball movement, is there defined limit to the movement, for instance if in the rough and clearing loose impediments the ball moves but comes back to its original position, is that still class as the ball moving?

A ball is moved if it leaves it's original spot and comes to rest on another spot (which can also be up or down).
There is no definition to the amount of change of position

So no.





 

Crow

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Is this "recreate your lie and you'll receive no penalty" a new thing or has it been there for many years?
I always thought that as soon as you'd transgressed in this scenario then you were penalised.
 

Steven Rules

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Is not whether the movement can be seen by the naked eye the criterion of whether the ball has 'moved' ? Certainly that appears to be what the definition of'moved' says.
No. Another element of the definition of 'moved', which wasn't quoted in #9 above is:

If the ball only wobbles (sometimes referred to as oscillating) and stays on or returns to its original spot, the ball has not moved.

Addendum. Having said that, Clarification Moved/2 certainly reinforces that the movement must be reasonably discernible to the naked eye at the time.
 
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rulie

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No. Another element of the definition of 'moved', which wasn't quoted in #9 above is:

If the ball only wobbles (sometimes referred to as oscillating) and stays on or returns to its original spot, the ball has not moved.

Addendum. Having said that, Clarification Moved/2 certainly reinforces that the movement must be reasonably discernible to the naked eye at the time.
"Naked eye" does not mean that the player must have seen it move, just that the movement could be seen by the "naked eye", ie, no zooming in by TV camera.
 

salfordlad

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I would wager you can never really accurately recreate a lie as the grass stems would have been weakened when bent .
I think there would be a very high risk that any significant flattening could not be restored in a way that eliminates the improvement, hence penalty. And the player that makes a habit of deliberately improving conditions is in flagrant breach of the 8.1a wording "must not...." - which is outside the conduct expected of all players- rule 1.2a. Such a player is going to be scrutinised very closely and the conversation is not likely to be a happy one.
Is this "recreate your lie and you'll receive no penalty" a new thing or has it been there for many years?
I always thought that as soon as you'd transgressed in this scenario then you were penalised.
It commenced 2019, part of the many player-friendly changes then. It is intended as partial protection for unintended improvements that are remediable.
 

Crow

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It commenced 2019, part of the many player-friendly changes then. It is intended as partial protection for unintended improvements that are remediable.

The player "purposely flattened down the grass behind the ball with his foot", that's not unintended.

But hey, 2019 was when the rules lost much credibility to me and I know rules guys don't like the phrase but "player-friendly changes" were dumbing down in many of the revisions.

It's only a matter of time before we're getting relief from divots and being allowed a mulligan.

We were told some changes were to help speed up play, how has that worked out?

Sorry, I'm getting bitter, but 2019 was when I stopped keeping up to date with the rules and it annoys me that I became so disinterested in what I previously enjoyed.
 

Colin L

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The player "purposely flattened down the grass behind the ball with his foot", that's not unintended.

But hey, 2019 was when the rules lost much credibility to me and I know rules guys don't like the phrase but "player-friendly changes" were dumbing down in many of the revisions.

It's only a matter of time before we're getting relief from divots and being allowed a mulligan.

We were told some changes were to help speed up play, how has that worked out?

Sorry, I'm getting bitter, but 2019 was when I stopped keeping up to date with the rules and it annoys me that I became so disinterested in what I previously enjoyed.
If you don't keep up with the Rules, how can you make comment on them? Just wondering :unsure:

Anyway,, read what Steven has said about a player making a habit of deliberately trampling behind his ball and then "restoring" his lie. I'd suggest that since the rule is to allow us to remedy something we have done in ignorance or absent-mindedness, I would allow a player to be ignorant or absentminded only once in the round. It could be a simple conversation:
Player". I didn't know you're not allowed to do that.
Referee: Well, provided you can put things back the way they were, there's no penalty. But you know now, ok?
 

IanMcC

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If it helps the doubters on here, before I recreated the lie he could definitely have reached the green 110 yards away. After the lie was recreated, he could only chop it out 10 yards or so. Once again, many thanks to the experienced refs on here who have helped me act correctly in the future.
 

Crow

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If you don't keep up with the Rules, how can you make comment on them? Just wondering :unsure:

Anyway,, read what Steven has said about a player making a habit of deliberately trampling behind his ball and then "restoring" his lie. I'd suggest that since the rule is to allow us to remedy something we have done in ignorance or absent-mindedness, I would allow a player to be ignorant or absentminded only once in the round. It could be a simple conversation:
Player". I didn't know you're not allowed to do that.
Referee: Well, provided you can put things back the way they were, there's no penalty. But you know now, ok?

My initial comment was a query.

And of course I have to keep abreast of the rules to a certain degree in order to play the game fairly, but my rules knowledge is very far from what it was.
 
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