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When is a dropped ball in play?

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When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby 999Q » Mon Jun 27, 2016 4:06 pm

A player's ball comes to rest in casual water in a bunker. They lift the ball and drop it according to the Rules, but it rolls out of the hazard. We know that the ball at rest must be lifted and re-dropped under Rule 20-2c(ii), but is it in play at this point?
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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby Chippings » Mon Jun 27, 2016 5:10 pm

Yes - rule 20-4

Now -- what is the follow up question?
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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby 999Q » Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:11 pm

I didn't have one, but now I have thought of one! If an opponent picks up the ball and tells the player that they have to drop it, do they incur a penalty of one stroke?
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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby RJM » Tue Jun 28, 2016 1:12 am

Yes. Only a very stupid opponent would ever touch his opponent's ball intentionally. It's not really complicated.
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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby MikeH » Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:23 am

Not sure if I'm missing something here....if I'm called over by a player who needs relief [without penalty] from casual water within a bunker and when dropped the ball rolls out of and comes to rest outside the bunker. I for one would not be announcing to him 'the ball is now in play" as he needs to re-drop. See Dec 20-2c/1 Provided the ball has been correctly dropped and does not roll into any of the positions listed in R20-2c, it is in play [ therefore if a re-drop is required the ball is not in play]

Apologies if I've misunderstood something here.
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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby MikeH » Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:51 am

Following on to Barry's second question ...If an opponent picks up the ball and tells the player that they have to drop it, do they incur a penalty of one stroke? [I assume this should read re-drop]

IMO no penalty see Dec 18-3b/5 and Def. Ball in Play. A ball that has been lifted and not yet back in play [as it requires a re-drop] has the same status as a ball that lies OB and the opponent lifts the ball [ nothing more than courtesy]
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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby Doug » Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:25 am

999Q wrote:I didn't have one, but now I have thought of one! If an opponent picks up the ball and tells the player that they have to drop it, do they incur a penalty of one stroke?


20-1. Lifting and Marking
A ball to be lifted under the Rules may be lifted by the player, his partner or another person authorized by the player.
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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby RJM » Tue Jun 28, 2016 12:26 pm

MikeH wrote:Following on to Barry's second question ...If an opponent picks up the ball and tells the player that they have to drop it, do they incur a penalty of one stroke? [I assume this should read re-drop]

IMO no penalty see Dec 18-3b/5 and Def. Ball in Play. A ball that has been lifted and not yet back in play [as it requires a re-drop] has the same status as a ball that lies OB and the opponent lifts the ball [ nothing more than courtesy]


It seems that you're suggesting that the dropped ball is not in play if it rolls into one of the situations in 20-2c? If so, that is incorrect - that ball is in play the moment it left the player's hand and remains in play until lifted. If your suggestion were true and the player played the dropped ball (instead of lifting and re-dropping), he would be playing a wrong ball, but, in fact, if he played the dropped ball, he would be playing from a wrong place.

Further, D18-3b/5 clearly says that if the ball is in bounds (ie, in play), the opponent incurs a one stroke penalty, as would the opponent in Barry's question, unless the player authorized the opponent to pick up the ball.
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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby 999Q » Tue Jun 28, 2016 1:06 pm

Let me try and clarify the two questions that I have asked. In my most recent book I have this Q&A;
Q3: If a ball that has been dropped from casual water in a bunker rolls out of the hazard, but no farther than two club-lengths and not nearer the hole it is in play. True or False?
A3: False. Rule 20-2c(ii).
I have received a communication saying that this answer is wrong because the ball dropped in the question is in play; 'it's come to rest in a wrong place if played, but it is in play (R15-1)'. When I queried this I received a follow-up saying thet the USGA has officially ruled that if a player drops a ball two club lengths from the NPR taking relief from a cart path and accidentally moves it and then realizes that he should have dropped within one club length and operates under R20-6 and drops the ball correctly, he still incurs the penalty under R18-2 for moving his ball in play.

It seems that Chippings and RJM are of the same opinion and apparently that others here have not considered that the ball may be in play before it is picked-up, so as to re-drop it, as required.

The follow-up question, because this was new to me, was whether an opponent (who has not been authorised) picked up the player's ball that rolled outside of the hazard, incurs a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-3. This is the logical ruling if the ball is in play, as now seems to me to be the case, though I would certainly ignore this breach if I was the match player.

An interesting point here, that follows on from MikeH's comment, is that whether or not the official declares that the dropped ball is in play it is inconsequential to the ruling. In this instance, it appears that the ball is in play without the official saying anything.

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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby anyclues » Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:23 pm

I thought the advice was: Don’t say, “That ball is not in play,” for an incorrect drop since the ball is in play, although it might have been dropped on the wrong spot for example. If it is properly dropped, rolls and come to rest in a spot where re-dropping is required, tell the player that it has come to rest nearer the hole, or whatever is appropriate based on Rule 20-2c requirements, and must be re-dropped once again.
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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby Doug » Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:02 pm

anyclues wrote:I thought the advice was: Don’t say, “That ball is not in play,” for an incorrect drop since the ball is in play, although it might have been dropped on the wrong spot for example. If it is properly dropped, rolls and come to rest in a spot where re-dropping is required, tell the player that it has come to rest nearer the hole, or whatever is appropriate based on Rule 20-2c requirements, and must be re-dropped once again.


My impression is that the statement made to the player is 'The ball is now in play' but the advice is not to say it until the ball had come to rest in a 'correct' place.
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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby anyclues » Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:49 pm

Quite agree Doug. And to me the statement 'The ball is now in play' is the point where most players understand they have been given the green light to play their next stroke. I think we understand that the ball is in play as it leaves the players grasp. I sometimes wonder if it might not be useful to remind the player that his ball is in play even though it requires a re drop.
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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby Doug » Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:11 pm

I think that saying "Your ball is in play but you shouldn't/mustn't play it" may confuse the player. I would simply keep a close watch on him and intervene if I thought anything untoward was likely to happen.
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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby MikeH » Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:45 pm

I take on board the views and comments however I would maintain that the opening sentence in D20-2c/1 answer appears to contradict some of the above opinions. Why say "Provided the ball has been correctly dropped (Rule 20-2a) and does not roll into any of the positions listed in R20-2c, it is in play" as to me this clearly implies that if a re-drop under R20-2c is required the ball is not yet in play.

If a player calls me over and states he has taken relief from casual water in this bunker and the ball has rolled out and come to rest outside the bunker and now asks " is my ball now in play?" There is only one answer I can give....NO......and I doubt a lengthy discussion over 'ball in play' with the player is going to cut the mustard :-)

Interestingly, from R20-4 " If the player's ball in play has been lifted, it is again in play when dropped" and R20-6 adds " dropped or placed in a wrong place or otherwise not in accordance with the Rules but not played may be lifted" etc and yet R20-2c states " A ball must be re-dropped, without penalty, if it" which all add to the debate.

In conclusion if I was a referee assigned to accompany this match..... a] I would instruct the player to re-drop the ball as IMHO it is not in play and b] I would not penalise the opponent for lifting the player's ball to return it to him
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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby Doug » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:05 pm

There would be no penalty anyway. 18-2 opens with "Except as permitted by the Rules, ....."
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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby RJM » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:19 pm

MikeH wrote:I take on board the views and comments however I would maintain that the opening sentence in D20-2c/1 answer appears to contradict some of the above opinions. Why say "Provided the ball has been correctly dropped (Rule 20-2a) and does not roll into any of the positions listed in R20-2c, it is in play" as to me this clearly implies that if a re-drop under R20-2c is required the ball is not yet in play.

If a player calls me over and states he has taken relief from casual water in this bunker and the ball has rolled out and come to rest outside the bunker and now asks " is my ball now in play?" There is only one answer I can give....NO......and I doubt a lengthy discussion over 'ball in play' with the player is going to cut the mustard :-)

Interestingly, from R20-4 " If the player's ball in play has been lifted, it is again in play when dropped" and R20-6 adds " dropped or placed in a wrong place or otherwise not in accordance with the Rules but not played may be lifted" etc and yet R20-2c states " A ball must be re-dropped, without penalty, if it" which all add to the debate.

In conclusion if I was a referee assigned to accompany this match..... a] I would instruct the player to re-drop the ball as IMHO it is not in play and b] I would not penalise the opponent for lifting the player's ball to return it to him


With all due respect, I think your ruling would be wrong, as the ball is definitely in play. A question for you - if the player were to play the ball without re-dropping it, what would be your ruling - wrong ball or wrong place?
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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby 999Q » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:41 pm

With respect Doug, my second question was not a Rule 18-2 situation, it was Rule 18-3b, and I said that the opponent lifted the ball without authority.

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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby MikeH » Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:21 pm

Gentlemen, I am simply trying to point out how we can get bogged down with technicalities of 'ball in play' which IMHO do not help the players nor assist people trying to learn the Rules of golf.

RJM, again with all due respect, IMO my ruling in a] would be correct to instruct the player to re-drop regardless of my perceived rational ....I simply could not bring myself to state as Doug puts it "Your ball is in play but you shouldn't/mustn't play it"

In answer to your question of course R20-7b applies which totally supports the reasoning that the 'ball is play', however I come back to D20-2c/1 and question why it is worded to imply a ball requiring a re-drop is not in play which nobody as yet has offered any explanation.

I have this feeling I need to wave a white flag and concur yes the ball is in play [although to me Dec 20-2c/1 implies it's not]

For your amusement I conjured up this scenario... [apologies for the wordiness]

Player: I’ve just taken relief from this path and my ball has rolled 5 yards down this bank, is it in play?
Official: Where were you dropping and where did the dropped ball first strike the course?
Player: Just here [points to spot on ground]
Official: OK, you dropped from shoulder height and arm’s length?
Player: Sure did, so is my ball in play?
Official: Well err yes it is but you have to re-drop it
Player: If it’s in play why do I have to re-drop it?
Official: The ball came to rest in a position that requires a re-drop under Rule 20-2c(vi)
Player: What does that mean?
Official: The ball rolled and came to rest more than two club lengths from where it first struck the course
Player: I’ve got a great lie, so if its in play can I play it from here?
Official: Yes you could but you would be playing from a wrong place so really No you cannot
Player: So I can or I cannot?
Official: No you cannot, you have to re-drop it
Player: So why did you say it was in play?
Official: Because technically it was in play as soon as you dropped it
Player: So technically the ball is in play but I still have to re-drop it?
Official: Yes

Player lifts the ball and re-drops in accordance with the Rules and the ball rolls and comes to rest a club length down the bank from where it first struck the course but outside the measured club length relief. Meanwhile the following groups are now backing up.

Official: Your ball is now in play
Player: Really? So I don’t have to re-drop it?
Official: No, where it has come to rest does not require a re-drop.
Player: So my ball is in play and I can play it from here?
Official: Yes!

As the player selects his club the ball now rolls down the bank some 5 yards from where it first struck the course when dropped.

Player: Gees, look at that I suppose I have to re-drop it?
Official: No you don’t, the ball was in play and at rest so you now play from its new position
Player: But that’s where I was before and you said I had to re-drop it
Official: Yes, that was different, before it rolled and came to rest there when dropped
Player: So how’s this different?
Official: Well, because it came to rest for 20 seconds at the top of the bank where its position satisfied the Rules and then it rolled down.
Player: So I can play the ball from this spot where I was before and you said I couldn’t play it?
Official: Yes

Player plays the ball and Official goes home to a dark room :lol:
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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby RJM » Wed Jun 29, 2016 2:16 am

I've given up saying "your ball's in play" when the player's drop has satisfied the Rules, and say "you're good to go" instead. I can see your whole discussion happening, but don't think it would take more than a minute. It could be shortened by the referee saying that it's in play and he can play it from there but it will cost him two strokes - the light normally goes on at that point.
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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby 999Q » Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:28 am

Mike said,
I take on board the views and comments however I would maintain that the opening sentence in D20-2c/1 answer appears to contradict some of the above opinions. Why say "Provided the ball has been correctly dropped (Rule 20-2a) and does not roll into any of the positions listed in R20-2c, it is in play" as to me this clearly implies that if a re-drop under R20-2c is required the ball is not yet in play.
I agree that this is the implication in D20-2c/1. I would also point out that if a ball incorrectly dropped from waist height comes to rest within the permitted area, it is in play and the penalty is only one stroke if it is played without correction. This further implies that the phrase in D20-2c/1, "... and does not roll into any of the positions listed in R20-2c, it is in play", means that it is not in play otherwise.

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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby RJM » Wed Jun 29, 2016 2:47 pm

999Q wrote:Mike said,
I take on board the views and comments however I would maintain that the opening sentence in D20-2c/1 answer appears to contradict some of the above opinions. Why say "Provided the ball has been correctly dropped (Rule 20-2a) and does not roll into any of the positions listed in R20-2c, it is in play" as to me this clearly implies that if a re-drop under R20-2c is required the ball is not yet in play.
I agree that this is the implication in D20-2c/1. I would also point out that if a ball incorrectly dropped from waist height comes to rest within the permitted area, it is in play and the penalty is only one stroke if it is played without correction. This further implies that the phrase in D20-2c/1, "... and does not roll into any of the positions listed in R20-2c, it is in play", means that it is not in play otherwise.

Barry


I maintain that the ball is in play when it leaves the player's hand, regardless of how it was dropped, and remains in play even if it rolls into a position covered by Rule 20-2c that requires a re-drop.

Recall the player on the LPGA tour that dropped incorrectly (not shoulder height) and then played that ball. The ruling was a one stroke penalty under Rule 20-2. If that ball was not in play, she would have played a wrong ball (see definition of wrong ball), been penalized two strokes and required to complete the hole with the correct ball.

Rather than continuing to debate, why don't you ask the R&A for their interpretation?
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Re: When is a dropped ball in play?

Postby Mr. Bean » Tue Jul 05, 2016 1:44 pm

RJM wrote:I've given up saying "your ball's in play" when the player's drop has satisfied the Rules, and say "you're good to go" instead.


Exactly this.

The person who invented that stupid phrase 'ball is now in play' should be shot.

And as it has been already said at least twice, a ball is in play as soon as it has been dropped (i.e. left the fingers). There is absolutely nothing unclear in that.
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