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Tap down all round the hole...permitted?


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All on the green and Bob putts his ball straight into the hole from 12 ft.  He digs it out but the plastic lip protector pops up as he lifts the ball.  The lip protector lies on top of the metal cup which is buried in the hole.  Bob pushes the protector back down and retreats.

Now it's Frank's turn to putt however he taps down the grassy lip of the hole with his putter, all round the hole, presumably to level out the plastic lip. But he said nothing.  He proceeded to putt.

 

Then i wondered if Frank did the right thing with his tapping down.  I think a few years back such action would be forbidden but now with the new rules, which permit fixing nearly any imperfection on the green, i suppose Frank was legal.

 

I hardly ever speak up if i am not 99% solid in my rules thought. We play much too fast to consider checking any book at the time.

 

Any opinions on Frank's action?

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No problem.   Even before the 2019 revised rules you could fix a damaged hole.

Correct - if it wasn't a ball mark, you needed to call the Committee to fix it;  you could fix it after you had holed out.  If you have access to a 2017-18 Decisions book, look at Decision 16-1a/

Following up on the 'no problem' comment here.   I agree it is highly likely to be no problem but is interesting to identify why that is the case. In particular, I think it unlikely to be a

37 minutes ago, jobin said:

All on the green and Bob putts his ball straight into the hole from 12 ft.  He digs it out but the plastic lip protector pops up as he lifts the ball.  The lip protector lies on top of the metal cup which is buried in the hole.  Bob pushes the protector back down and retreats.

Now it's Frank's turn to putt however he taps down the grassy lip of the hole with his putter, all round the hole, presumably to level out the plastic lip. But he said nothing.  He proceeded to putt.

 

Then i wondered if Frank did the right thing with his tapping down.  I think a few years back such action would be forbidden but now with the new rules, which permit fixing nearly any imperfection on the green, i suppose Frank was legal.

 

I hardly ever speak up if i am not 99% solid in my rules thought. We play much too fast to consider checking any book at the time.

 

Any opinions on Frank's action?

 

No problem.

 

Even before the 2019 revised rules you could fix a damaged hole.

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34 minutes ago, nsxguy said:

 

No problem.

 

Even before the 2019 revised rules you could fix a damaged hole.

A correction if I may - before 2019 a player was only permitted to repair damage to a hole if that damage was clearly identifiable as a ball mark.  Any other repair would have been a breach of the Rules and incurred a penalty.

After the 2019 changes, a player is permitted to repair damage to the green, including to the hole.  I suspect that some players are doing more than repairing "damage to the green", but have no proof of this.  It just seems that, based on the "repairs" that are being done, there must be a lot of damage done by each group after their own repairs such that the following group needs to repair more damage!  Since I'm not there, I can't confirm this suspicion.

BTW, imo, those "lip protectors" are not conforming to the Rules since they reduce the hole diameter below the required 4 1/4 inches and are not sunk 1 inch below the surface of the green.

Edited by rogolf
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9 minutes ago, rogolf said:

A correction if I may - before 2019 a player was only permitted to repair damage to a hole if that damage was clearly identifiable as a ball mark.  Any other repair would have been a breach of the Rules and incurred a penalty.

After the 2019 changes, a player is permitted to repair damage to the green, including to the hole.  I suspect that some players are doing more than repairing "damage to the green", but have no proof of this.  It just seems that, based on the "repairs" that are being done, there must be a lot of damage done by each group after their own repairs such that the following group needs to repair more damage!  Since I'm not there, I can't confirm this suspicion.

BTW, imo, those "lip protectors" are not conforming to the Rules since they reduce the hole diameter below the required 4 1/4 inches and are not sunk 1 inch below the surface of the green.

 

I learn so much stuff here.

 

So prior to 1/1/2019, if say a hole was damaged by a careless caddie or fellow competitor say pulling the pin out carelessly, and that damaged appeared to "block" my ball from its path to the hole I couldn't fix it ?

 

Surely didn't know that. I'm sure I, and my fellow club members, occasionally fixed obvious damage around the hole, made by the ball or not.

 

Thank you.

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12 minutes ago, nsxguy said:

 

I learn so much stuff here.

 

So prior to 1/1/2019, if say a hole was damaged by a careless caddie or fellow competitor say pulling the pin out carelessly, and that damaged appeared to "block" my ball from its path to the hole I couldn't fix it ?

 

Surely didn't know that. I'm sure I, and my fellow club members, occasionally fixed obvious damage around the hole, made by the ball or not.

 

Thank you.

Correct - if it wasn't a ball mark, you needed to call the Committee to fix it;  you could fix it after you had holed out. 

If you have access to a 2017-18 Decisions book, look at Decision 16-1a/6.

Edited by rogolf
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3 hours ago, rogolf said:

Correct - if it wasn't a ball mark, you needed to call the Committee to fix it;  you could fix it after you had holed out. 

If you have access to a 2017-18 Decisions book, look at Decision 16-1a/6.

There was a very limited exception that allowed repair of 'material damage' in the absence of a Committee, but it is a scenario different to the OP and is now consigned to history anyway.

 

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4 hours ago, nsxguy said:

 

No problem.

 

Even before the 2019 revised rules you could fix a damaged hole.

Following up on the 'no problem' comment here.

 

I agree it is highly likely to be no problem but is interesting to identify why that is the case. In particular, I think it unlikely to be a matter of damage to the green.

 

I read the relevant 'facts' of the case being that some plastic insert in the hole (as RO says, there is no place for them on the playing course under the rules) has moved from below the level of the green and potentially prevents a putt from cleanly finding its way to the bottom of the cup. That plastic is an obstruction, and if it can be so easily moved then it is a movable obstruction. So the player would be within rights under rule 15.2 to remove that creature completely or to tap it down back below the level of the green.

 

But if the player gets carried away tapping down where there is no obstruction and no damage, then that may be a breach of Rule 8.1a. 

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7 hours ago, rogolf said:

A correction if I may - before 2019 a player was only permitted to repair damage to a hole if that damage was clearly identifiable as a ball mark.  Any other repair would have been a breach of the Rules and incurred a penalty.

After the 2019 changes, a player is permitted to repair damage to the green, including to the hole.  I suspect that some players are doing more than repairing "damage to the green", but have no proof of this.  It just seems that, based on the "repairs" that are being done, there must be a lot of damage done by each group after their own repairs such that the following group needs to repair more damage!  Since I'm not there, I can't confirm this suspicion.

BTW, imo, those "lip protectors" are not conforming to the Rules since they reduce the hole diameter below the required 4 1/4 inches and are not sunk 1 inch below the surface of the green.

As these ‘lip protectors’ do not conform to the rules of golf, should rounds played with them in the holes be posted for handicap purposes or not?

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1 hour ago, Deceptively Short said:

As these ‘lip protectors’ do not conform to the rules of golf, should rounds played with them in the holes be posted for handicap purposes or not?

It would seem that handicapping authorities around the world have historically turned a blind eye on the issue, whether pre or post WHS.

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5 hours ago, Newby said:

It would seem that handicapping authorities around the world have historically turned a blind eye on the issue, whether pre or post WHS.

Not sure why you suggest that?  The handicapping authorities do say to play by the Rules of golf.  If a round was played using holes cut to 3 inch diameter, would it be ok for handicapping posting?

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1 hour ago, rogolf said:

Not sure why you suggest that?  The handicapping authorities do say to play by the Rules of golf.  If a round was played using holes cut to 3 inch diameter, would it be ok for handicapping posting?

The traditionally sized inserts (which fit tightly to the inner surface of the hole) seem to be used by a minority of courses. I have never noticed anything in the various handicapping manuals (nor on their websites) approving or denying their use in handicap scoring rounds. As you say, the RoG always apply but were/are they always applied in practice? It would seem not.

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1 hour ago, Newby said:

The traditionally sized inserts (which fit tightly to the inner surface of the hole) seem to be used by a minority of courses. I have never noticed anything in the various handicapping manuals (nor on their websites) approving or denying their use in handicap scoring rounds. As you say, the RoG always apply but were/are they always applied in practice? It would seem not.

The previous USGA Handicap Manual had a comment that while hole liners were illegal, one should post rounds played with them installed.  Same for previously illegal course markings, when random areas had been incorrectly marked as water hazards.

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2 hours ago, davep043 said:

Just wondering, those "lip liners" are pretty thin material.  Is it possible they do have the correct inside diameter, so that installing them pushes the surrounding turf outward just a tiny bit?

I agree that the diameter tolerance may be no greater than the somewhat random dimension of the frequently warn equipment used to dig the holes in the first place.  But that "minimum of one inch below the surface" aspect isn't too hard to measure.

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The lining must be sunk at least 1 inch (25.4 mm) below the putting green surface, unless the nature of the soil requires that it be closer to the surface.

The Rules apparently allow a little flexibility in the liner depth.  For my more knowledgeable friends, how would you make a decision as to the compliance of these liners.  Perhaps the superintendent will tell you that there are problems with the edges of the hole eroding through a day's play, or over a few days in times of the year when holes are not changed daily.  There's an article in the USGA website that discusses "hole collapse" and mentions the use of these liners.

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/course-care/green-section-record/58/9/why-do-hole-edges-collapse-.html

 

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34 minutes ago, davep043 said:

The Rules apparently allow a little flexibility in the liner depth.  For my more knowledgeable friends, how would you make a decision as to the compliance of these liners.  Perhaps the superintendent will tell you that there are problems with the edges of the hole eroding through a day's play, or over a few days in times of the year when holes are not changed daily.  There's an article in the USGA website that discusses "hole collapse" and mentions the use of these liners.

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/course-care/green-section-record/58/9/why-do-hole-edges-collapse-.html

 

We used to have those liners.  Very flexible and thin.  Took years to get our course to get rid of them.  Took finally getting the course to get serious about a couple ROG issues/handicapping that got rid of them. The article seems to give a little leeway with "nature of the soil" but IMO when they are used it's to avoid having to move cups very often and the damage they are protecting is people shoving their putters in there vs. any extremely frangible soil.  At our course it was just convenience for the guy who was in charge of moving hole locations.  We get our holes moved twice a week if lucky, tee boxes may or may not move twice a week.  But the hole cutter leaves a nice wall of soil that sure enough, once the liners were removed, stays up just fine even with the less than ideal moving of hole locations.  No idea with other courses, but it's mostly a "convenience" thing, again IMO.  Seems like 99.9% of courses do fine without them.

 

Love putting without them and not having putts that may not have lipped out rocketing out of the hole like they were banking a turn at Daytona, or catching a piece sticking up. 

Edited by Hawkeye77
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30 minutes ago, Hawkeye77 said:

The article seems to give a little leeway with "nature of the soil" but IMO when they are used it's to avoid having to move cups very often and the damage they are protecting is people shoving their putters in there vs. any extremely frangible soil.  At our course it was just convenience for the guy who was in charge of moving hole locations.

Its not the article that gives leeway but the Rules of Golf, specifically the definition of Hole.  And in many cases, leaving a hole in the same spot may not be due to convenience, but allocation of limited resources.  

 

Even so, its a question for rules officials.  If a superintendent says he's using the lip liners to that all players will putt to a sharply defined hole, when is it appropriate to overrule?  How do you balance the responsibilities?

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1 hour ago, davep043 said:

The Rules apparently allow a little flexibility in the liner depth.  For my more knowledgeable friends, how would you make a decision as to the compliance of these liners.  Perhaps the superintendent will tell you that there are problems with the edges of the hole eroding through a day's play, or over a few days in times of the year when holes are not changed daily.  There's an article in the USGA website that discusses "hole collapse" and mentions the use of these liners.

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/course-care/green-section-record/58/9/why-do-hole-edges-collapse-.html

 

Thanks for posting that.

 

It's interesting that the article mostly discusses the vegetation, but the exception allowing hole liner use has to do with the nature of the soil and not the grass per se.

 

Like Hawkeye, I hate those liners, and couldn't trust myself if I had to make a ruling about them given my bias.  

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10 minutes ago, davep043 said:

Its not the article that gives leeway but the Rules of Golf, specifically the definition of Hole.  And in many cases, leaving a hole in the same spot may not be due to convenience, but allocation of limited resources.  

 

Even so, its a question for rules officials.  If a superintendent says he's using the lip liners to that all players will putt to a sharply defined hole, when is it appropriate to overrule?  How do you balance the responsibilities?

I see what you are getting at.  I'm no official, but really biased on this issue! I suppose on the spot a rules official would have to err on the side of assuming the course/super/whomever has them there for the reason allowed by the Rules?  I assume without knowing the official wouldn't be able to interview someone at the course to determine the reason, maybe the Committee actually knows (or presumably should) if the course has them?  Would sure seem to be such a rare thing to have them you think the course would give a heads up to any official before a competition, but that doesn't solve the problem if that isn't done.

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14 minutes ago, Sawgrass said:

Thanks for posting that.

 

It's interesting that the article mostly discusses the vegetation, but the exception allowing hole liner use has to do with the nature of the soil and not the grass per se.

I agree with you, the wording in the rule talks about soil.  I guess to me its the combination of soil and grass type that should probably be considered.  If the hole doesn't stay adequately well defined through its lifespan, however long that might be, lip liners might be both legal and appropriate.

3 minutes ago, Hawkeye77 said:

Would sure seem to be such a rare thing to have them you think the course would give a heads up to any official before a competition, but that doesn't solve the problem if that isn't done.

I imagine that for any competition that involves outside officials, there would be preliminary discussions about course set-up, including on-site evaluations.  I wouldn't think the presence of these "lip liners" would be a surprise very often.  But I don't know, that's why I'm asking questions.

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8 minutes ago, davep043 said:

I agree with you, the wording in the rule talks about soil.  I guess to me its the combination of soil and grass type that should probably be considered.  If the hole doesn't stay adequately well defined through its lifespan, however long that might be, lip liners might be both legal and appropriate.

I imagine that for any competition that involves outside officials, there would be preliminary discussions about course set-up, including on-site evaluations.  I wouldn't think the presence of these "lip liners" would be a surprise very often.  But I don't know, that's why I'm asking questions.

But if it reduces to an official making a call, and no other information provided the official for the competition, wouldn't the official have to err on the side of them being legal vs. trying to consider issues of soil and grass type? I guess I see that as different (guessing you do as well) than the considerations facing the course when decided if they are legal to use.

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27 minutes ago, Hawkeye77 said:

But if it reduces to an official making a call, and no other information provided the official for the competition, wouldn't the official have to err on the side of them being legal vs. trying to consider issues of soil and grass type? I guess I see that as different (guessing you do as well) than the considerations facing the course when decided if they are legal to use.

When we (as officials) run competitions, we don't make assumptions about the course.  We visit the course.  Even if a course regularly used these hole liners for everyday play for whatever reason, they would not be in use for our competitions.

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5 hours ago, rogolf said:

When we (as officials) run competitions, we don't make assumptions about the course.  We visit the course.  Even if a course regularly used these hole liners for everyday play for whatever reason, they would not be in use for our competitions.

That is our policy here also.

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