Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rules of the Game

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rules of the Game

Article excerpt

One in a series of articles on the "Rules of the Game" written by Kevin Purcell, general manager of golf courses for the Bergen County Department of Parks.

Rule 13:

Play the ball as it lies

The ball must be played as it lies, except as otherwise provided in the rules.

Rule 13 is a simple premise and a fundamental rule of golf. Don't touch the ball unless a rule specifically allows you to do so.

Put it on the tee, then eventually take it out of the hole; in between, hit it with your sticks, don't touch it with your hand.

A bad lie is not a good enough reason to touch the ball. When the game was invented, we did not have the pristine fairways of modern golf. The first golf courses were seaside links blown hard by the ocean breeze and clipped only by roaming sheep. If our ancestors could play it down, so can we.

There are, however, exceptions. We can mark and lift the ball on the putting green, if it is interfering with or assisting play of another ball, or in order to identify the ball.

We can drop it away from an immovable obstruction, an abnormal ground condition, embedded ball or a wrong putting green. Under the penalty of a stroke, we can drop it away from a water hazard or an unplayable lie in order to get our ball back in the game.

There are also local rules that allow us to move the ball. These rules are specific to a condition on the golf course or the event being played. In times when adverse weather, such as prolonged rain or extreme heat, create unsatisfactory playing conditions throughout the course, the declaration of "Winter Rules" or "Preferred Lies" may be appropriate. The player has the option of improving his lie in the fairway of the hole being played under this local rule.

The PGA Tour has a Local Rule granting relief from temporary immovable obstructions (TIO) such as tents, scoreboards, television towers and grandstands. …

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