Q & A Rules
From time to time, questions on the Rules of Golf will be answered in this page.
More information on the Rules of Golf can be found here.
If you have a specific question, you can email to the club’s email address at email@example.com and we will post the answer on this page.
Posted April 10, 2019
RULE 12 – BUNKERS
Purpose of Rule: Rule 12 is a specific Rule for bunkers, which are specially prepared areas intended to test your ability to play a ball from the sand. To make sure you confront this challenge, there are some specific restrictions on touching the sand before your stroke is made and on where relief may be taken for your ball in a bunker.
12.1 When Your Ball Is in Bunker
Your ball is in a bunker when any part of it touches sand on the ground inside the edge of the bunker.
Your ball is also in a bunker if it is inside the edge of the bunker and rests:
- On ground where sand would normally be, or
- In or on a loose impediment, movable obstruction, abnormal course condition or integral object in the bunker.
If your ball lies on soil or grass or other growing or attached natural objects inside the edge of the bunker without touching sand, your ball is not in the bunker.
12.2 Playing Your Ball in Bunker
12.2a Removing Loose Impediments and Movable Obstructions
Before playing your ball in a bunker, you may remove loose impediments and movable obstructions.
12.2b Restrictions on Touching Sand in Bunker
Before making a stroke at your ball in a bunker, you must not:
- Deliberately touch sand in the bunker with your hand, a club or rake or any other object to test the condition of the sand and learn information for your next stroke, or
- Touch sand in the bunker with your club:
- In the area right in front of or right behind your ball (except as allowed in fairly searching for your ball or in removing a loose impediment or movable obstruction),
- In making a practice swing, or
- In making your backswing for a stroke.
Except as covered in the two bullets above, the following actions are allowed:
- Digging in with your feel to take a stance for a practice swing or the stroke,
- Placing your clubs, equipment or other objects in the bunker (whether by throwing or setting them down),
- Measuring, marking, lifting, replacing or taking other actions under a Rule,
- Leaning on a club to rest, stay balanced or prevent a fall, or
- Striking the sand in frustration or anger.
But you get the general penalty (2 penalty strokes) if your actions in touching the sand improve the conditions affecting your stroke.
IN OTHER WORDS: ONCE YOU TAKE YOUR STANCE AND ARE READY TO TAKE YOUR NEXT STROKE OUT OF THE BUNKER YOU CANNOT GROUND YOUR CLUB RIGHT IN FRONT OF OR RIGHT BEHIND THE BALL BEFORE MAKING YOUR BACKSWING FOR A STROKE. IN DOING SO, YOU WOULD INCURE A GENERAL PENALTY (2 PENALTY STROKES).
Posted Feb. 14, 2019
COURSE INFORMATION RELATED TO THE DEER VALLEY GOLF COURSE
There have been several questions about specific course conditions at Deer Valley.
- The large fairway bunkers on the right side of holes #9 (the first area furthest from the green) and #12 will be played as WASTE BUNKERS or TRANSITION AREAS. No rakes are provided in these areas and you can ground your club.
- The white stakes topped in paint and stakes with rope located around the course are MOVABLE OBSTRUCTIONS, proceed under Rule 15.2a: Relief from Movable Obstruction below.
- Wash out ruts in sandy (desert) areas of the course are deemed to be ABNORMAL COURSE CONDITIONS (formerly GROUND UNDER REPAIR) with free relief under Rule 16.1b: Relief for Ball in General Area below.
- The large placed rocks in the rear of the sand bunker behind the green on hole #15 are an IMMOVABLE OBSTRUCTION and because they are within the boundary of the bunker, proceed under Rule 16.1c: Relief From Abnormal Course Condition in Bunker below.
RULE 15: Relief from Loose Impediments and Movable Obstructions (including Ball or Ball-Marker Helping or Interfering with Play)
Rule 15.2a: Relief from Movable Obstruction
Removal of Movable Obstruction. You may remove a movable obstruction without penalty anywhere on or off the course and may do so in any way.
If your ball moves while you are removing a movable obstruction, there is no penalty and your ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated).
But there are two exceptions when moveable obstructions cannot be removed:
Exception 1 – Tee Markers Must Not be Moved When Ball Will Be Played from Teeing Area.
Exception 2 – Restrictions on Deliberately Removing Movable Obstructions to Affect a Ball in Motion.
RULE 16: Relief from Abnormal Course Conditions (Including Immovable Obstructions), Dangerous Animal Condition, Embedded Ball
Rule 16.1b: Relief for Ball in General Area
If your ball is in the general area and there is interference by an abnormal course condition on the course, you may take free relief by dropping the original ball or another ball as shown in Diagram 16.1b (see page 95 of the 2019 Player’s Edition Rule Book).
Rule 16.1c: Relief for Your Ball in Bunker
If your ball is in a bunker and there is interference by an abnormal course condition on the course, you may take either:
- Free Relief: Under Rule 16.1(b), except that:
- The nearest point of complete relief and the relief area must be in the bunker.
If there is no such nearest point of complete relief in the bunker, you may still take this relief, by using the point of maximum available relief in the bunker as the reference point.
- Penalty Relief by Playing from Outside Bunker (Back-On-the-Line Relief): For one penalty stroke, you may drop a ball as shown in Diagram 16.1c (see page 97 of the 2019 Player’s Edition Rule Book).
Posted Feb. 4, 2019
Flagstick In or Out?
Watch this video from Expert Golf here to see the advantages of leaving the flagstick in the whole when putting. Leaving the flagstick in should also speed up play.
Posted Jan. 3, 2019
The first question is about Provisional balls.
RULE 18.3 PROVISIONAL BALL
18.3a When Provisional Ball Is Allowed
If your ball might be lost outside a penalty area or be out of bounds, to save time you may play another ball provisionally under penalty of stroke and distance. But if you are aware that the only possible place your original ball could be lost is in a penalty area, a provisional ball is not allowed and a ball played from where the previous stroke was made becomes your ball in play under penalty of stroke and distance.
18.3b Announcing Play of Provisional Ball
Before the stroke is made, you MUST announce that you are going to play a provisional ball. It is not enough for you only to say that you are playing another ball or are playing again. You must use the word “provisional” or otherwise clearly indicate that you are playing the ball provisionally under Rule 18.3.
If you did not announce this (even if you intended to play a provisional ball) and played a ball from where the previous stroke was made, that ball is your ball in play under penalty of stroke and distance.
18.3c Playing Provisional Ball Until It Becomes the Ball in Play or Is Abandoned
Playing Provisional Ball More Than Once. You may continue to play the provisional ball without it losing its status as a provisional ball so long as it is played from a spot that is the same distance or farther from the hole than where your original ball is estimated to be.
When Provisional Ball Becomes Ball in Play. Your provisional ball becomes your ball in play under penalty of stroke and distance in either of these two cases:
When your original ball is lost anywhere on the course except in a penalty area or is out of bounds.
When your provisional ball is played from a spot nearer to the hole than where your original ball is estimated to be.
When Provisional Ball Must Be Abandoned. When your provisional ball has not yet become your ball in play, it must be abandoned in either of these two cases:
When your original ball is found on the course outside a penalty area before the end of the three minute search time.
When your original ball is found in a penalty area or is known or virtually certain to be in a penalty area. You must either play your original ball as it lies or take penalty relief.