October - 2009
In writing about the Rules of Golf and trying to make it interesting for our members, one of my goals is to show how the decisions affecting the Rules can be fair and yet at times so odd. I often just glance through the Decisions book and shake my head at all the things that have happened, and how interwoven the rules are to try to cover everything that potentially can happen.
14-1/4 Striking Ball with Half an Inch Backswing Q. A player's ball lies close to an out of bounds fence, but there is room behind the ball to insert an iron club or a putter and leave a space of half an inch between the ball and the face of the club. If the player plays a stroke with such a limited backswing, is he in breach of Rule 14-1?
A. It is possible to strike a ball fairly with a half inch backswing. However, in most such cases the player would be pushing the ball, contrary to Rule 14-1. In the absence of strong evidence to the contrary, it should be ruled that the player has pushed the ball. In order to strike the ball fairly, it must be swung at with the clubhead. If the ball is moved by any other method, it has been pushed, scraped or spooned. If a ball is fairly struck at, there is only momentary contact between the clubhead and the ball or whatever intervenes between the clubhead and the ball.
14-1/6 Player Holds Club with Left Hand and Moves Ball by Striking Shaft with Other Hand
A. No. The player pushed the ball, contrary to Rule 14-1.
14-1/7 Using More Than One Club to Make Stroke
A. No. Rule 14-1 requires that the ball be struck at with the "head of the club;" the word "club" is in the singular. The player was in breach of this Rule when he swung at the ball with three clubs