Going over golf rules | SierraSun.com

Going over golf rules

Dirk SkillicornSpecial to the Sun

When was the last time you brushed up on the rules of golf? Industry research shows that only 15 percent of all golfers have a general understanding of the rules and how to apply them.Unlike many sports, golf is played for the most part without the supervision of a referee or umpire. The game relies on the players integrity by abiding by the rules. When players follow the rules, the game goes smoothly and everyone enjoys it more. The official Rules of Golf span at least 100 pages in a booklet published by the United States Golf Association (USGA) and Royal & Ancient (R&A). But for those of us who dont have the leisure time to read about golf only to play the sport below are some of the most frequently asked questions, and answers, golfers have about the rules:Q: A player touches his line of putt with his towel or his cap to brush aside loose impediments such as leaves, pine needles, worms and insects. Is this permissible?A: Yes, provided he does not alter the green by pressing anything down or pulling anything out.Q: May a player brush dew or frost from his line of putt?A: No. The player is prohibited to touch the line of putt except in removal of loose impediments, repair ball marks, etc. Dew and frost are not loose impediments.Q: A player searches for one minute for his original ball. He decides to abandon it and walks forward to continue play with his provisional ball a second ball to play if the first one is lost but not out of bounds or in a water hazard. Before he plays the provisional ball, some spectators or players find the original before the five-minute search period expires. What is the ruling?A: The original ball remains the ball in play since it was found within five minutes. Also, the player had not played a stroke with the provisional ball from the place where the original ball was likely to be or from a point nearer the hole than that place.Q: A player whose ball lies in the rough close to the fairway is entitled to relief from an immovable obstruction. The rule states that through a green, if the ball last crossed the outermost limits of the immovable obstruction at a spot through the green, the player may substitute another ball without penalty and take relief. In obtaining relief, under the rule, may the player drop the ball on the fairway?A: Yes. There is no distinction in the rules between a fairway and the rough; both are covered by the term through a green.Dirk Skillicorn is the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) General Manager for The Golf Club at Grays Crossing, which is part of Tahoe Mountain Resorts (TMR). For more detailed information on the rules of golf, visit http://www.usga.org/playing/rules/rules.html.