A suggestion can be costly for the person giving it

Published 17/05/2011 07:20:00

Tom hits his tee shot into the trees, with his ball coming to rest near a bush. His fellow competitor in stroke play, Paul, tells him, "It looks like you have no shot. If I were you, I would declare the ball unplayable."

Is Paul in violation of the Rule on giving advice?

Yes. Paul is penalized two strokes for giving advice (Rule 8-1). Advice is defined as any counsel or suggestion that could influence a player in determining his play, the choice of a club, or the method of making a stroke. Paul's suggestion could influence Tom in determining his play, so it is a violation.

A player is allowed to give information on the Rules or on matters of public information, such as the location of hazards, the position of the flagstick on the green, or the yardage to the green from a fixed point. Paul would be allowed to explain the options under the unplayable ball Rule -- that's information on the Rules -- but he crosses the line by suggestion what Tom should do.

A player is also not allowed to ask for advice from anyone except his partner or caddie, so Tom would be penalized if he asked Paul whether he should take an unplayable lie, but not if he asked what his options were if he declared the ball unplayable. If Tom asks for advice and Paul responds by giving it, both are penalized.

Now What If?

Before playing his shot to the green, Paul asks a spectator to tell him how far Tom's ball, which is on the green, lies from the flagstick.

Is Paul in violation of the Rule on asking for advice?

No. The position of Tom's ball on the green is considered public information, so the question is permissible even though the answer will help determine Paul's play.


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