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Called penalty - was I right?

Posted by: user43166 [FORUM MODERATOR] | Fri 17th May 2013 08:57 | Last Reply

I was playing a matchplay the other day. I had to give this guy 12 shots so although I was 4 up with 4 to go I was keen to close the match out as he had strokes on me on 3 or the remaining 4 holes...

This guys is fairly new to golf and a little inexperienced. He took a swipe at the ball on the 15th tee and it went about a yard forward. He went to pick it up but I stopped him saying it would be a penalty if he did so and he would have to count his shot and play it from there.

He claimed it was a practice stroke but I said it didn't matter - he must still count it and play from there.

As it happened, I completely messed up and he took the hole anyway!! (I did however close the match on the 17th!)

Was I right?

re: Called penalty - was I right?
Reply : Fri 17th May 2013 09:34

Yes, you were right.

re: Called penalty - was I right?
Reply : Fri 17th May 2013 09:52

If he had his practice swing and hit it off the tee box then it counts as a stroke. Only on a tee shot though, if you hit the ball on a practice swing when the ball is in play and you incur a shot penelaty and have to replace the ball, if you don't replace the ball and play it from where it lies you get a further 2 shot penalty

However if he did only hit it a yard, as far as I am aware If the ball does not get off the tee box on your tee shot it is not classed as a shot, i.e it does not become in play. Think when someone knocks the ball of the tee for no penalty. As i've written this though it does sound a bit like I made that one up!!

Also if you make a practice swing on the teeing ground if you hit it by accident the abll then becomes in pley,

re: Called penalty - was I right?
user202037 [FORUM MODERATOR]
Reply : Fri 17th May 2013 10:35

I have come across this before and the correct answer (with Rule numbers) is complicated. First, never call it a "practice stroke", its a "practice swing". In the Rules a 'stroke' is always classed as an attempt to strike the ball. A ball only becomes 'in play' when it is struck (or attempted to be) from the teeing ground so that is why it is a different ruling on the tee as anywhere else. I'll look it up and get back this evening.


re: Called penalty - was I right?
Reply : Fri 17th May 2013 10:40

Quoting Rule 11-3

If a ball, when not in play, falls off a tee or is knocked off a tee by the player in addressing it, it may be re-teed, without penalty. However, if a stroke is made at the ball in these circumstances, whether the ball is moving or not, the stroke counts, but there is no penalty.

As Richard has said you were right and he has to play the ball where it ends up

re: Called penalty - was I right?
user202037 [FORUM MODERATOR]
Reply : Fri 17th May 2013 10:42

Quicker to find than I thought.

18-2a/19 Ball Moved Accidentally by Practice Swing Prior to Tee Shot

Q. Before playing from the teeing ground, a player took a practice swing, in the course of which he accidentally struck and moved the teed ball with his club. Did the player play a stroke or incur a penalty?

A. The player did not make a stroke - see Definition of "Stroke." Since the ball was not in play - see Definition of "Ball in Play" - he incurred no penalty under Rule 18-2a. The player must put a ball into play from the teeing ground.

Last edit : Fri 17th May 2013 10:43
re: Called penalty - was I right?
Reply : Fri 17th May 2013 10:50

I think from Paul's post that his playing partner "took a swipe" ie not a practice swing. But then claimed afterwards it was :-)

I was looking for the practice swing rule, thanks David

re: Called penalty - was I right?
Reply : Fri 17th May 2013 12:08

Thanks for all the answers so far...

Yes, it is debatable as to whether this was a "practice swing" (I now note the difference between this and stroke, should have used "swing" previously) or whether it was a "stroke" i.e. he intended to play the ball. To me, it looked like he intended to play the ball. If he did intend to play the ball, the rules are straight forward; so for this debate let's assume that he did not.

I've seen the rule re knocking the ball off the tee in addressing it (and have used this in the past - much to my opponents despar!!). Is this different from a practice swing though? He was not addressing, he was swinging - pendantic yes, but potentially important.

In this case, the ball was knocked beyond the tee markers. So, whether he intended to or not, I assume that this ball is then in play.

(I love these kind of debates!!)

re: Called penalty - was I right?
Reply : Fri 17th May 2013 12:12

Have just thought of another scenario... I saw this a few years ago. It happenned to a friend of mine (it was a friend, honest, not me!!).

On the first tee, in front of 20 mates, the pressure was on. This guy is known for boasting about how long he can hit it so, yes, there were a few egging him on.

Anyway, he took an almighty swipe (sorry, stroke!!), came right down on top of it, and managed to hit it a foot backwards!!

He took this as his first shot, but reading the previous answers, I wonder... did he actually put the ball into play? It was still within the 2-club teeing area, but he did take a stroke.

re: Called penalty - was I right?
Reply : Fri 17th May 2013 15:49

It doesn't make any difference how far the ball moves, the direction of movement or even if it doesn't move at all - an airshot on the tee still counts as a stroke.

The decision that David quoted is correct but the key to it is the definition of making a 'stroke'. Paul said that his opponent 'took a swipe at the ball', to me this means that he made a stroke at the ball and it counts as a shot.

The definition of a stroke is as follows:

A "stroke" is the forward movement of the club made with the intention of striking at and moving the ball, but if a player checks his downswing voluntarily before the clubhead reaches the ball he has not made a stroke.

I still say David was right!

Last edit : Fri 17th May 2013 15:51

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