Rules Guy: What do you do when your ball splits in two — and one half is OB?
The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.
You hit a ball, and it breaks into two parts. One part lands on the green, the other part out of bounds. What is the rule as to how to proceed? —J. Herring, via email
Did you hit the ball with a golf club or a lawnmower, J? Was this a gutta percha ball or a feathery?
This kind of thing doesn’t happen much anymore, thanks to modern technology, but on the rare occasion it does, Rule 4.2b covers matters — the stroke doesn’t count, and you go back and play again from where you made that last, scything, ill-fated stroke.
For more OB guidance from our guru, read on …
Our club is using the local two-stroke rule for out of bounds. We have a par 3 with OB about 20 yards behind the green, while the only fairway is in front of the green. So can we drop equidistant from the hole in front of the green if we go out of bounds behind it?
—Neal Prescott, via email
While you’ve got the gist of things, rather than go in a straight line from where the ball last went out of bounds to the opposite side, you instead work on an arc and swing around until you find the nearest fairway point, no closer to the hole than where the original ball went out of bounds. (Think of a compass that is used for technical drawings.)
From there, you get two club-lengths into the fairway to drop, no closer to the hole. That’s model rules behavior.
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