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Advice (about relief options)


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This came up recently in a regional tournament.  

 

Player A is in high grass and wants to take unplayable relief, but he doesn't know the relief options.  He calls the official, who is obviously very inexperienced and seems to have just read the rules this morning for the first time.  Official clearly doesn't know the options.  He only mutters something about lateral relief but doesn't even seem to know how many club lengths are allowed. 

 

Assume the facts above, and then consider the following two scenarios:  

 

1) Player A asks his competitors (stroke play) if they know the rules for a drop.  Player B tells him his three options without making any suggestions as to which one he should choose.  Player A decides to take lateral relief.  Any problem with Player A asking his competitors about relief options, and any problem with Player B telling him his options? 

 

2) Player A doesn't ask his competitors what his options are, but decides to take lateral relief.  He's clearly concerned about taking lateral relief because he would still have tree trouble.  Just as he's about to drop the ball, Player B tells him, "You know, you could also take back on the line relief right over there."  He doesn't say "and you wouldn't have tree trouble over there" but it is obvious that taking back on the line relief would avoid any trees and make for a much easier next shot.  Any problem with what Player B said?   

 

I read Rule 10.2 and the interpretations but don't see anything helpful there on these questions.  

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Oh Hi Carl said:

I read Rule 10.2 and the interpretations but don't see anything helpful there on these questions. 

 

Read the Definition of Advice. You'll easily be able to answer your questions.

 

Advice - Any verbal comment or action (such as showing what club was just used to make a stroke) that is intended to influence a player in:

 

Choosing a club,

Making a stroke, or

Deciding how to play during a hole or round. 

 

But advice does not include public information, such as:

The location of things on the course such as the hole, the putting green, the fairway, penalty areas, bunkers, or another player’s ball,

The distance from one point to another, or

The Rules.

 

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=fr&section=definitions&subrulenum=2

Knowledge of the Rules is part of the applied skill set which a player must use to play competitive golf.

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7 minutes ago, sui generis said:

 

Read the Definition of Advice. You'll easily be able to answer your questions.

 

Advice - Any verbal comment or action (such as showing what club was just used to make a stroke) that is intended to influence a player in:

 

Choosing a club,

Making a stroke, or

Deciding how to play during a hole or round. 

 

But advice does not include public information, such as:

The location of things on the course such as the hole, the putting green, the fairway, penalty areas, bunkers, or another player’s ball,

The distance from one point to another, or

The Rules.

 

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-2019/rules-of-golf/rules-and-interpretations.html#!ruletype=fr&section=definitions&subrulenum=2

OK, that might answer situation 1, but does it "easily" answer my question about situation 2?  I'm not so sure.  That seems like unsolicited advice that a caddie would offer when his player is about to do something stupid.   

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4 minutes ago, Oh Hi Carl said:

OK, that might answer situation 1, but does it "easily" answer my question about situation 2?  I'm not so sure.  That seems like unsolicited advice that a caddie would offer when his player is about to do something stupid.   

Informing someone of the options at hand is not advice by itself, even if unsolicited.  If he said "I think you would be better off dropping here" that is a different story. Its in the same boat as telling someone a distance or about a hidden hazard vs telling them what club to hit.

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The "you'd be better off dropping here" part was clearly implied and the third player was visibly upset when Player B made his comment because he knew it was helping Player A save at least a stroke.  

 

But what I am hearing is that it doesn't matter how implied the advice on what to do is as long as the "you'd be better off part" isn't said.  

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9 minutes ago, Oh Hi Carl said:

does it "easily" answer my question about situation 2?

 

Ask yourself if B was giving "advice" within the Definition of Advice. Was B's comment intended to influence how A should play the hole?

Knowledge of the Rules is part of the applied skill set which a player must use to play competitive golf.

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2 minutes ago, sui generis said:

 

Ask yourself if B was giving "advice" within the Definition of Advice. Was B's comment intended to influence how A should play the hole?

I believe it was.  But is that really the question to ask?  You and Krt22 seemed to answer that any information provided by a playing competitor about the Rules is permissible. 

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3 minutes ago, Oh Hi Carl said:

information provided by a playing competitor about the Rules is permissible. 

 

Reread the Definition of Advice. It seems this was not information about the Rules, but instead was made with the intent of influencing the player's play of the hole.

Knowledge of the Rules is part of the applied skill set which a player must use to play competitive golf.

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12 minutes ago, Oh Hi Carl said:

The "you'd be better off dropping here" part was clearly implied and the third player was visibly upset when Player B made his comment because he knew it was helping Player A save at least a stroke.  

 

But what I am hearing is that it doesn't matter how implied the advice on what to do is as long as the "you'd be better off part" isn't said.  

Was that statement said or not? If someone said "you'd be better off dropping here" that is clearly advice. If you just state the rule, it is not by itself a breach, it's purely information and what the player does with that information is up to them. Player B or player C in this case don't know what shot player A intends to hit, so I don't know how it can be construed as "clearly implied" advice without it actually being spelled out

 

 

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Sounds like what @Oh Hi Carl's concern is mostly around the timing of the comment.  While officially not advice, I assume player B watched player A mutter to himself and have bad body language and a furrowed brow as he was about to drop behind tree trouble. 

 

Not advice, but the timing made it almost advice.

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, david.c.w said:

Sounds like what @Oh Hi Carl's concern is mostly around the timing of the comment.  While officially not advice, I assume player B watched player A mutter to himself and have bad body language and a furrowed brow as he was about to drop behind tree trouble. 

 

Not advice, but the timing made it almost advice.

 

 

 

Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades

 

The fact that Player A asked an official about the rules tells me they are not well versed in their options, so player B chiming in is just filling the gap that the rules official failed at. The real issue here is a rules official who doesn't know relief options for an unplayable lie.

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Yeah, I think option 2 is a close call. But let's look at exactly what was said (assuming it's an exact quote):

 

"You know, you could also take back on the line relief right over there."

 

In this case it seems that player B believed, with evidence, that player A was unaware of their relief options. An official was brought in because player A was unaware. Player B was aware of relief options available to player A that the official clearly did not do their job to inform player A. In this case, I would think that player B informing player A of allowable relief is not advice as long as player B does not say anything favoring one option or another. 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, david.c.w said:

Sounds like what @Oh Hi Carl's concern is mostly around the timing of the comment.  While officially not advice, I assume player B watched player A mutter to himself and have bad body language and a furrowed brow as he was about to drop behind tree trouble. 

 

Not advice, but the timing made it almost advice.

 

 

 

Yes, the timing is what really annoyed Player C.  Seemed like trying to save a guy from a bad move.  

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Situations like this are why I continually lobby the USGA to do away with the restrictions on advice. Make advice allowable, from any source, always. I’m hoping they change it in the new Rules next year. I’m not holding my breath though. 
 

Relief options “should” always be given like in scenario 1. Just lay them out without influencing. When they aren’t, like scenario 2, we get into a bunch of gray area which is completely unnecessary. 
 

Just allow all advice. Players still have to hit the shots. 


 

 

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59 minutes ago, Augster said:

Situations like this are why I continually lobby the USGA to do away with the restrictions on advice. Make advice allowable, from any source, always. I’m hoping they change it in the new Rules next year. I’m not holding my breath though. 
 

Relief options “should” always be given like in scenario 1. Just lay them out without influencing. When they aren’t, like scenario 2, we get into a bunch of gray area which is completely unnecessary. 
 

Just allow all advice. Players still have to hit the shots. 


 

 

 

Not to mention that if one takes advice from an opponent he/she deserves what they get. :classic_biggrin:

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10 hours ago, Oh Hi Carl said:

2) Player A doesn't ask his competitors what his options are, but decides to take lateral relief.  He's clearly concerned about taking lateral relief because he would still have tree trouble.  Just as he's about to drop the ball, Player B tells him, "You know, you could also take back on the line relief right over there."  He doesn't say "and you wouldn't have tree trouble over there" but it is obvious that taking back on the line relief would avoid any trees and make for a much easier next shot.  Any problem with what Player B said?   

 

 

I am with Sui here.

 

At that point anything player B says about the options can be seen as an attempt to influence the player A's decision on where to drop. If B wants to open his mouth he should do it as soon as A has declared taking the unplayable and asking eg. "do you know all your options".

 

However, IMO one should be very prudent when offering assistance on the Rules unless asked for. Preventing a breach is another story and that goes with the spirit of the game but Rules in general is a different animal for two obvious reasons:

1. It could be considered as an advice

2. Not many people out there know the Rules well enough to really be of assistance.

 

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14 hours ago, Augster said:

Situations like this are why I continually lobby the USGA to do away with the restrictions on advice. Make advice allowable, from any source, always. I’m hoping they change it in the new Rules next year. I’m not holding my breath though. 
 

Relief options “should” always be given like in scenario 1. Just lay them out without influencing. When they aren’t, like scenario 2, we get into a bunch of gray area which is completely unnecessary. 
 

Just allow all advice. Players still have to hit the shots. 


 

 

I’m totally against that suggestion. I played against a guy ( A ) in friendly golf for small stakes in many winters. We were a 3-ball with a friend of mine (B ) who would not engage in the game with a bet as he found A too competitive. B and A were golf friends. I had no other connections with A.
 

Whenever A had issues with drops he came to me for advice usually claiming non-existent or wrong relief. Whereas I would claim equitable relief and advise him what I was doing in case of an objection. 
 

One day he hit his ball into dense gorse so profuse his only sensible relief was stroke and distance. But he wanted to declare the gorse GUR and drop to the side. I then told him to cease asking me about the rules, read the book and take relief he thought appropriate and I’d penalise him for errors. The basis being I wanted to manage my own game and not his.

 

Your idea would see bedlam on the course IMO. The duty is upon the player to know the game in full. 

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4 hours ago, Halebopp said:

The comment was made with an attempt to influence the other player's actions.

This is the thing that pushes me to agree that its advice, the timing of B's comment seems intended to influence the player's choice, and intent matters in the definition of Advice.  But what if B had said it differently, had asked A if he knew all of his options, would the timing still indicate his intent to influence A's choice?  In essence, does the timing of the remark override the actual words used?  

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7 hours ago, Newby said:

B should really have given A all the options (Lateral, BOL, S&D) not just the one that indicated the best way out. Then there is no suggestion of influencing the player.

IMO B was giving advice in case 2.

 

Even giving all the options just before the drop would indicate B did want to help A thus giving advice. As I said earlier, he should have opened his mouth as soon as A declared his ball unplayable.

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21 hours ago, davep043 said:

This is the thing that pushes me to agree that its advice, the timing of B's comment seems intended to influence the player's choice, and intent matters in the definition of Advice.  But what if B had said it differently, had asked A if he knew all of his options, would the timing still indicate his intent to influence A's choice?  In essence, does the timing of the remark override the actual words used?  

 

In my opinion, yes, the timing does matter. If the player is about to proceed under an applicable rule, any implication of other ways of proceeding would seem like an attempt to influence the other player. Even as a rules official, as much as I'd like to help players by pointing out an obviously better relief option, it's not something I'd do.

 

But it's perfectly fine to ask (as a player or as a rules official) if the player knows his/her options when the player arrives at the scene or is looking around and trying to figure out what to do.

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On 8/4/2022 at 7:33 AM, Halebopp said:

 

In my opinion, yes, the timing does matter. If the player is about to proceed under an applicable rule, any implication of other ways of proceeding would seem like an attempt to influence the other player.

 

"would seem like an attempt" says to me that you're not sure.

 

Is an official, when unsure and deciding among 2 such possibilities, trained to take the "guilty" avenue ? :classic_blink:

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