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Out of bounds or not?

Use this section to get an answer to your rules questions.

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Out of bounds or not?

Postby Mr. Bean » Wed May 27, 2015 10:12 am

Hi all!

There is, once again, a big debate going on on a local golf forum about a ball being OB or not. As I do not have the means to draw a picture here I try to make it clear by words.

Take two consecutive out of bounds stakes and tighten a string between them on the ground level touching the inner (= course) side of both stakes, just in the manner a referee would do in order to see if a ball is OB or not. Now, place a ball on the other side (i.e. OB side) of that string so that the ball (or to be precise, its projection as the ball is round and does not actually touch the string) touches the string but does not make it bend towards the course. Now the stakes and the ball are all 'touching' the string and the string is straight.

Is that ball in bounds or out of bounds? In other words, is it sufficient that a ball touches but does not break the vertical margin of the course to be in bounds?
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby RJM » Wed May 27, 2015 1:05 pm

Is the vertical plane (string) in bounds or out of bounds? A ball is out of bounds when all of it lies out of bounds.
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby Mr. Bean » Wed May 27, 2015 2:18 pm

RJM wrote:Is the vertical plane (string) in bounds or out of bounds? A ball is out of bounds when all of it lies out of bounds.


That string is certainly in bounds. Are stakes determining OB in bounds or out of bounds? If they are OB completely then the ball in question has to be OB as well.

What say you?
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby RJM » Wed May 27, 2015 3:19 pm

If the string is in bounds and the ball touches the string, then part of the ball is touching the course.
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby Mr. Bean » Wed May 27, 2015 11:04 pm

RJM wrote:If the string is in bounds and the ball touches the string, then part of the ball is touching the course.


I am afraid I don't understand. The string is there just for demonstrating purposes, the ball does not touch anything on the course.

Where in the Rules it is said that a ball is in bounds if it touches the course or something on the course? I must have missed it.
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby RJM » Wed May 27, 2015 11:15 pm

A ball is out of bounds when all of it is out of bounds, ie, no part of the ball is touching the course. If it is touching the string, which is in bounds, then all of the ball is not out of bounds.
It's like a water hazard margin - if the ball is touching the margin, it's in the water hazard. If a ball is touching the course, it's in bounds.
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby Mr. Bean » Thu May 28, 2015 5:05 pm

RJM wrote:A ball is out of bounds when all of it is out of bounds, ie, no part of the ball is touching the course. If it is touching the string, which is in bounds, then all of the ball is not out of bounds.
It's like a water hazard margin - if the ball is touching the margin, it's in the water hazard. If a ball is touching the course, it's in bounds.


I'm afraid I am still confused. Where in the Rules or Decisions this touching the course is mentioned? In the Definition of WH it is there but where is it regarding out of bounds?
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby RJM » Thu May 28, 2015 5:12 pm

In the definition of out of bounds, it says "A ball is out of bounds when all of it lies out of bounds." If the string is in bounds, and the ball is touching the string, then all of the ball does not lie out of bounds. Just like water hazard margins, the out of bounds line extends vertically upwards and downwards.
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby Doug » Thu May 28, 2015 5:47 pm

The definitions of WHs, GUR & CW specifically and deliberately include the word 'touches' to mean 'in'. It is obviously significant.

The definition of OOB does not. I cannot just be an oversight. In this case 'touches' is not 'in' the condition it touches (ie the course).
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby RJM » Thu May 28, 2015 6:05 pm

Have you confirmed your opinion with your contacts in St Andrews? They would be able to resolve this difference immediately.
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby Mr. Bean » Thu May 28, 2015 8:10 pm

This forum is filled with individuals possessing a vast knowledge of Rules of Golf. How on earth can it be possible that a fundamental question whether a ball is in bounds or out of bounds is unclear within that population??
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby Adrian Mackenzie » Thu May 28, 2015 9:03 pm

Mr. Bean wrote:This forum is filled with individuals possessing a vast knowledge of Rules of Golf. How on earth can it be possible that a fundamental question whether a ball is in bounds or out of bounds is unclear within that population??


As the definition when stakes are used defines the out of bound line as being the nearest inside point, a piece of string placed on the inside faces of the stakes would be completely in bounds, and if the outer edge of the ball was exactly flush with the inner edge of the stakes, the ball would be OB, even if it just touched the taut string. For the ball to be in bounds it would have to be a fraction beyond the face of the stake. I would be very surprised if such a situation ever arose as I have never seen the like of it before. If it did arise, I find to judge by using string may not be very accurate, especially with wind. I personally find it much more accurate simply by looking at the position of the ball and the stakes.
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby RJM » Thu May 28, 2015 9:06 pm

Mr. Bean wrote:This forum is filled with individuals possessing a vast knowledge of Rules of Golf. How on earth can it be possible that a fundamental question whether a ball is in bounds or out of bounds is unclear within that population??


It's certainly not unclear to me; I would rule that a ball touching the string is in bounds because part of it is touching the course - not all of it is out of bounds.
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby Doug » Thu May 28, 2015 9:23 pm

RJM wrote:I would rule that a ball touching the string is in bounds because part of it is touching the course - not all of it is out of bounds.


That is not what the definition says.

But what part of the ball is overlapping the margin?
If I touch a window with my finger, what part of it is in the glass?

No interaction with the R&A as I am now away for two weeks.
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby RJM » Thu May 28, 2015 11:12 pm

But, imo, the glass is on the course.
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby Doug » Fri May 29, 2015 3:11 am

Agreed. But what about your finger?
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby RJM » Fri May 29, 2015 4:30 am

As indicated earlier, if it touches the glass, which is on the course, it's not completely out of bounds. Since it's not totally out, it's in.
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby Mr. Bean » Fri May 29, 2015 9:46 am

RJM wrote:As indicated earlier, if it touches the glass, which is on the course, it's not completely out of bounds. Since it's not totally out, it's in.


This is an argument my brain cannot handle.

A ball only touching glass is completely, wholly and entirely outside of that glass. That is an indisputable fact. Equally, a ball touching but not breaking the vertical margin of the course must be entirely on the other side of that margin. Thus all of that ball is out of bounds. And as the Definition of Out of Bounds, unlike that of WH, GUR and Putting Green, does not say anything about touching then a ball touching but not breaking the vertical margin must be out of bounds.

It is my belief that if the RB’s had wanted a ball to be in bounds if it touches the course they would have written it so, just like they have done with WH, GUR and PG. If they actually mean something else then the Definition needs to be re-written.
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby RJM » Fri May 29, 2015 10:13 am

This is an argument my brain cannot handle.

Then stop arguing? After all, you raised the issue. :D
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby Mr. Bean » Sun May 31, 2015 2:50 pm

RJM, I wonder if you could explain something to me.

In the Definition of the Water Hazard it is said that a ball is in the WH if that ball touches the WH. In the Definition of Out of Bounds it is said that a ball is OB if all of it is outside but touching the course is not mentioned, not anywhere in the Rules.

Now, you say that mere touching the course is sufficient for a ball to be in bounds. If the Definitions of WH and OB are to be identical in this sense why is it that the Definition of OB does not mention touching whilst that of WH does? After all, a ball may touch a wall yet all of it being on the other side, i.e. outside of that wall.
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby RJM » Sun May 31, 2015 4:20 pm

I guess that you'll rule your way and I'll rule my way - if the situation ever happens.
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby Adrian Mackenzie » Sun May 31, 2015 11:41 pm

Mr. Bean wrote:RJM, I wonder if you could explain something to me.

In the Definition of the Water Hazard it is said that a ball is in the WH if that ball touches the WH. In the Definition of Out of Bounds it is said that a ball is OB if all of it is outside but touching the course is not mentioned, not anywhere in the Rules.

Now, you say that mere touching the course is sufficient for a ball to be in bounds. If the Definitions of WH and OB are to be identical in this sense why is it that the Definition of OB does not mention touching whilst that of WH does? After all, a ball may touch a wall yet all of it being on the other side, i.e. outside of that wall.


It might me simpler for you to understand if you consider that a ball is out of bounds if it has fully invaded the out of bounds air space and a ball is in bounds if it has partially invaded the air space in bounds, even although almost all of it is in the OB air space. As far as a WH is concerned all it needs for the ball to be considered to be in the WH, is if it touches the outer edge(fairway side) of the stake, i.e. the ball does not have to invade the air space of the WH. If you wish to know why there is a difference I suggest you write to the R&A.
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby Mr. Bean » Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:37 pm

Adrian Mackenzie wrote:
Mr. Bean wrote:RJM, I wonder if you could explain something to me.

In the Definition of the Water Hazard it is said that a ball is in the WH if that ball touches the WH. In the Definition of Out of Bounds it is said that a ball is OB if all of it is outside but touching the course is not mentioned, not anywhere in the Rules.

Now, you say that mere touching the course is sufficient for a ball to be in bounds. If the Definitions of WH and OB are to be identical in this sense why is it that the Definition of OB does not mention touching whilst that of WH does? After all, a ball may touch a wall yet all of it being on the other side, i.e. outside of that wall.


It might me simpler for you to understand if you consider that a ball is out of bounds if it has fully invaded the out of bounds air space and a ball is in bounds if it has partially invaded the air space in bounds, even although almost all of it is in the OB air space. As far as a WH is concerned all it needs for the ball to be considered to be in the WH, is if it touches the outer edge(fairway side) of the stake, i.e. the ball does not have to invade the air space of the WH. If you wish to know why there is a difference I suggest you write to the R&A.


If we all wrote to R&A instead of posting here this forum would be obsolete, don't you think..?

I have consulted three persons having participated the R&A Referee School (today called TARS) and all of them say that a ball is out of bounds if it does not break the plane. Unfortunately I nor them have been able to find anything in writing about that but this is what they were taught.

But the real question still remains: Why the Definitions are different is there should be no difference? Any suggestions, Adrian?
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby Adrian Mackenzie » Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:30 pm

If we all wrote to R&A instead of posting here this forum would be obsolete, don't you think..? I only suggested it because you did not seem to be satisfied with any of the replies you received from other members and you were the only one making such an issue about it. The R&A would not waste their time in replying so I do not for one moment believe it would make any difference to the number of posts on this forum.

and all of them say that a ball is out of bounds if it does not break the plane. The definition of OB in part states OB is beyond the boundaries of the course. That for me is a different way of stating does not break the plane.

I used to be puzzled why a ball to be OB , all of it had to be OB but for a ball to be in a WH only part of it had to be in the WH.
I have often wondered if their reasoning is that for a ball to be considered on the course, only part of it had to be on the course and for a ball to be considered to be in a WH only part of it had to be in the WH. Looking at it from this point of view, it makes sense.
D 26/1 advises that a ball which partially breaks the plane is in the WH. The definition of a WH advises that when the margin is defined by stakes, the stakes are in the WH. If a ball touches the outer face (fairway side) of the stake, it is considered to be in the WH. I personally would have thought that the ball should not be considered to be in the WH, in line with D 26/1.
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby Mr. Bean » Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:03 pm

Adrian Mackenzie wrote:If we all wrote to R&A instead of posting here this forum would be obsolete, don't you think..? I only suggested it because you did not seem to be satisfied with any of the replies you received from other members


What I am not satisfied with is the (missing) reasoning behind the replies. Besides I am in line with the reply of Doug, who also is a member ;-)
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby RJM » Thu Jun 04, 2015 4:13 pm

We'll have to agree to disagree. There are people who have been to Referee's school (and/or TARS) on both sides, so who's been and who hasn't isn't a deciding factor.
I've given my reasons for my position.

If you want the truth, you'll need to go to the top of the mountain. :idea:
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby Mr. Bean » Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:02 pm

RJM wrote:We'll have to agree to disagree.


I guess so. All I wanted to get from you was reasoning but you did not want to give it. So be it.

So much for a discussion forum, I guess.
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Re: Out of bounds or not?

Postby RJM » Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:24 pm

Read the posts above, I explained my reasoning at least twice! Apparently it doesn't agree with yours, and that's fine. More discussion isn't going to change my mind or (likely) yours. As I said, if you want the "truth", it appears that discussion won't reveal it.
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