Knowing the rule when your ball is stuck up a tree

2011-09-08 00:00

MOST golfers at some time have hit a ball into a tree and the ball didn’t come down, it stayed up there.

It’s a fairly strange thing, but it does happen, especially within the conifer family of trees.

The rule here is quite simple in that if a ball is hit into a tree and it doesn’t come down and you can’t see it, the ball is lost and the penalty is stroke and distance; in other words, go back and hit another ball.

That’s easy, but what if a ball can be seen up there in a tree. Is it still a penalty of stroke and distance?

Well, seeing a ball up in a tree doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the player’s ball. If it can’t be identified as the ball belonging to the player, the penalty is the same — stroke and distance.

Anyone who watches professional tournament golf on television would probably have seen a player hit his ball high into a palm tree and it didn’t come down.

However, the player and his caddy could see a ball stuck up there so the enterprising caddie borrowed a set of binoculars from a spectator and positively identified the ball, not only because of the make and number but the personalised marking the player made on the ball before he teed off.

The player therefore found the ball and declared it unplayable, which meant that he didn’t have to go back and hit another ball. He dropped within two club lengths and hit the ball on to the green and holed the putt for a par-four.

On one occasion many years ago Bernhard Langer climbed a tree and played the ball from where it was wedged (pun intended). He chipped it onto the green and didn’t incur any penalty and no, he didn’t use a tree iron.

Golfers, amateur and professionals alike have all sorts of things and bits and bobs in the golf bag, and it’s likely that lady golfers have more, but a set of binoculars may be taking it too far.


On Saturday, Maritzburg Golf Club held the Bedstore Monthly Mug coupled with the Peters Cup.

A division: 1. R. Nel net 67; 2. L. Franklin net 71

B division: 1. H. Horsley net 71; 2. B. Malunga net 71

C division: 1. P. Maher net 70; 2. J. Hattingh net 71

Seniors: 1. A. Fiene net 71

2. M. Wulfsohn net 71

The winner of the Peters Cup was P. Maher on 38 points on a count out from H. Horsley.

Victoria Country Club held a 4 ball Stableford alliance (one to count) on Saturday.

The winners were D. Nicholson, J. Derrett, K. Naidoo and J. Norman-Smith on 53 points. In second place were R. Davis, P. Claasens, R. Kleinhans and B. Fourie on 52 points.

From the 19th hole …

In the clubhouse bar after his game of golf, Sam was telling his mates about his visit to his lawyer to make out his will.

Sam asked the lawyer what he should do. The lawyer said, “Just answer a few questions and leave it all to me.”

Sam replied, “Well you seem to be a nice guy but I was hoping to leave everything to my wife.”

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