These updated rules should help you make decisions more quickly and accurately…and should cover just about any situation that comes up on Sterling Farms. Please check them out online at sfmensclub.com….(scroll down to About SFMC and then Local & USGA Rules). Also, our Rules Chairman, Howie Meditz, wants to call your special attention to two new rules/markings that could affect your round.
I want you to be aware of the fact that we’ve enacted a new Local Rule this year which you are free to take advantage of if you wish. And in addition, there are two Lateral Water Hazard markings which will be modified sometime during the next few weeks that you should watch for.
Local Rule for Ball Feared Lost in Water Hazard
The USGA approves of an optional Local Rule which may be used in certain circumstances. It permits you to hit a provisional ball for a ball you fear is lost in a Water Hazard. (In the absence of this Local Rule, you may not hit a provisional ball solely because you fear your ball is in a Water Hazard — if you do so, you are not hitting a provisional but instead are putting a new ball in play.)
There are two places on our course where right after your shot, you might not be able to easily see if your ball is in the Water Hazard or instead safely past it — places where a ball would not likely be lost outside the hazard. Rather than having to walk all the way up and check, and then go back to the other side again to drop if you need to do that, we are authorizing that a provisional ball may be hit in these two places. The first place is the yellow-staked Water Hazard which crosses the fairway about 100 yards short of the green on #2. The other place is the pond on the left side of #14. In both of these cases you might hit a ball that you hope is across the hazard, but depending on your sight line you may not be able to see it safely sitting there. From now on you’re welcome to declare a provisional ball, drop one and hit it, and then go search. Below are the specifics for this Local Rule, and like all our Local Rules it is permanently described in the “Local Rules” section of our website.
Water Hazard/Ball Played Provisionally
If there is doubt whether a ball is in or is lost in the Water Hazard in front of the 2nd green or in the Lateral Water Hazard on the left side of the 14th hole, the player may play another ball provisionally under any of the applicable options in Rule 26-1.
If the original ball is found outside the water hazard, the player must continue play with it.
If the original ball is found in the water hazard, the player may either play the original ball as it lies or continue with the ball played provisionally under Rule 26-1.
If the original ball is not found or identified within the five-minute search period, the player must continue with the ball played provisionally.
PENALTY FOR BREACH OF LOCAL RULE: Match play – Loss of hole; Stroke play – Two strokes.”
New Lateral Water Hazard Markings on Hole #12 and #13
For several years now the cart path near the Lateral Water Hazard on hole #11 has been marked with a red line to show that much of the cart path itself is in the hazard. This effectively permits us to drop closer to the fairway, and further from the overhanging trees.
On holes #12 and #13 this has not been the case — the cart path has been near, but not in, the hazard. Unfortunately some players have not realized that if they take a two-club-length drop from the point where their ball last crossed the hazard line, depending on where they are on both of these holes, they may have to drop directly on the cart path — and then have the option of additional relief from the cart path if their ball stays on it. (Players who have simply dropped in the rough on the fairway side of the cart path have likely dropped in a wrong place, and may inadvertently be gaining an advantage over players who drop correctly. To address this, we are now moving the hazard line to include the cart path in these problem areas. So everyone will legally be dropping free of the path. You will also be closer to the fairway when you drop, probably yielding a better line in to the green. And the drop process will likely take substantially less time.
Please remember that as always, you do not get free relief from the paved cart path if your ball is in the hazard. You only get relief from it (for your stance, for instance) if your ball lies outside the hazard.
So watch for these new painted lines! If anyone has any questions about the Provisional ball Local Rule or these new hazard markings, I’ll be happy to answer them.