August 21 - 2009

I have been asked a few times lately (and questioned) why I was touching inside the hole to repair the cup during play. I thought it would provide useful information to the Men's Club members to clarify that the Rules of Golf (and the Decisions that are based on the rules) are not just there to penalize the player but are in fact based on equity. Sometimes during the course of play, a hole can be damaged- maybe someone missed the cup when they put the flagstick back, or some players that are unable to bend over use their putter to retrieve the ball and occasionally that act can change the diameter of the hole, or maybe you just hit a great shot and tore out part of the hole! All of these reasons and more are why the Rules of Golf have a Decisions book to cover the many things that occur during a round of golf. The USGA has a website- that can be helpful when questions arise. I've included the Decision that covers the procedure for a player when damage to the hole occurs:

16-1a/6 Damaged Hole; Procedure for Player

Q. Prior to putting, a player discovers that the hole has been damaged. What is the proper procedure?

A. A. If the damage is not clearly identifiable as a ball mark, then:

(a) If the damage is such that the proper dimensions of the hole have not been changed materially, the player should continue play without repairing the hole. If he touches the hole in such circumstances, a breach of Rule 16-1aoccurs.

(b) If the proper dimensions of the hole have been changed materially, the player should request the Committee to have the hole repaired. If a Committee member is not readily available, the player may repair the damage, without penalty.

If a player repairs a materially damaged hole when a Committee member is readily available, he incurs a penalty for a breach of Rule 16-1a.