Make sure the ball is yours before you hit it

2013-01-25 00:00

A COUPLE of weeks ago something unusual happened during a Monthly Mug competition. On the second hole, a golfer (let’s call him Fred) hit his tee shot into the rough. The ball was eventually found, but it was deep down in the thick rough and it would need something special to get it back onto the fairway.

Fred selected a club and took a mighty swipe at the ball. He made the cardinal error of trying to hit the ball too hard and missed the ball completely. A “fresh air” as they say. Then he bent over and saw that the ball wasn’t his, so he picked it up. He advised his playing companions that his ball was still lost. His original ball was found in quick time and Fred completed the hole. As the group walked off the green, his marker asked Fred what he had scored. He said five. His marker asked him about the fresh air back there in the rough. Fred said that he was lucky because the ball wasn’t his, so there is no problem. He was adamant that he was right, but his marker felt that Fred should have incurred a penalty shot.

Even though Fred’s marker had a rule book in his bag, they didn’t look up the rule until they had finished playing. During a round it sometimes isn’t possible to stop playing to search for the relevant rule. Fred had played steady golf after the second hole and had a net 68 on his card. That’s a good round of golf that could win him the Monthly Mug, or at least second or third place. Before posting the card into the competition box, Fred and his marker looked for the rule. They found it under Rule 15. Playing the wrong ball is a two-stroke penalty, but Fred said he didn’t actually hit it. Does that make a difference? No, because the rule states that “making a stroke at the ball with the intention of striking it” counts as a shot and is the same as hitting the wrong ball. Fred should have taken care to identify his ball before he tried to hit it. Unfortunately, the two-stroke penalty was added to his score and deprived Fred of second prize. Had he entered his card without referring to the rule book, he would have been disqualified.

From the 19th hole

A wife comes home late at night and quietly opens the door to her bedroom.

From under the blanket she sees four legs instead of two. She reaches for a cricket bat and starts hitting the blankets very hard. Once she’s done, she goes to the kitchen to have a drink. As she enters, she sees her husband sitting there reading a magazine.

“Hi Darling”, he says, “your parents have come to visit us, so I let them stay in our bedroom.”

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