Despite the simplification of the Rules of Golf at the beginning of 2019, there are still some that leave us scratching our heads. And as I’ve passed the R&A’s level 2 rules exam with distinction, I am more than happy to help.
Play a ball from anywhere inside the teeing area, they say. But what if you don’t know where that is? What if you get to the tee and there’s a marker missing? Or worse, both of them are nowhere to be found.
I actually saw this one for myself a few weeks ago. So given the teeing area is defined by the two tee markers set, what happens if they’re not there to guide you?
Missing tee markers
Get help, and if you can’t do that, guess. That’s the answer in a nutshell, and it’s probably obvious if you think about it. But there’s one other thing you need to consider.
In the 2023 Rules of Golf, it’s included in Rule 6.2b (4). It says that if a player finds one or both tee markers missing, they should seek help from the committee.
“But if the committee is not available within a reasonable time, the player should use their reasonable judgement to estimate the location of the teeing area.”
All straightforward so far. But what if someone later complains that you were being a bit fast and loose in where you decided to play the ball from? After all, a tee can be quite wide space of grass.
Here’s where ‘reasonable judgement’ becomes key.
Rule 1.3b (2) says that determinations about location often cannot be precise but, “so long as the player does what can be reasonably expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination”, their reasonable judgement will be accepted.
That’s the case even if it later turns out to be wrong.
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