Ball May Be Teed or Played from Ground. The ball must be played from either:
- A tee in or on the ground.
- The ground itself.
The purpose of the Rule, the “ground” includes sand or other natural materials put in place to set the tee or ball on.
The player must not make a stroke at a ball on a non-conforming tee or a ball teed in a way not allowed by this Rule.
Penalty for Breach of Rule 6.2b(2):
- First Breach – General Penalty
- Second Breach – Disqualification
Certain Conditions in Teeing Area May Be Improved. Before making a stroke, the player may take these actions in the teeing area to improve the conditions affecting the stroke (see Rule 8.1b(8)):
- Alter the surface of the ground in the teeing area (such as by making an indentation with a club or foot),
- Move, bend or break grass, weeds and other natural objects that are attached or growing in the ground in the teeing area.
- Remove dew, frost and water in the teeing area.
But the player gets the General Penalty if they take any other actions to improve the conditions affecting the stroke in breach of Rule 8.1a.
Restrictions on Moving Tee-Markers, or Tee Markers Missing, When Playing from Teeing Area.
- The location of the tee-markers is set by the Committee to define each teeing area and should remain in that same location for all players who will play from that teeing area.
- If the player improves the conditions effecting the stroke by moving any such tee-markers before making a stroke from the teeing area, they get the General Penalty for breach of Rule 8.1a(1)
- If a player finds one or both tee-markers missing, the player should seek help from the committee. But if the Committee is not available in a reasonable time, the player should use their reasonable judgement (Rule 1.3b(2)) to estimate the location of the teeing area.
In all other situations, the tee-markers are treated as regular moveable obstructions that may be removed as allowed in Rule 15.2.
Ball is Not in Play Until Stroke Is Made. Whether the ball is teed or on the ground, when starting a hole or playing again from the teeing area under a Rule:
- The ball is not in play until the player makes a stroke at it.
- The ball may be lifted or moved without penalty before the stroke is made.
If a teed ball falls off the tee or is knocked off the tee by the player before the player has made a stroke at it, it may be re-teed anywhere in the teeing area without penalty.
But if the player makes a stroke at that ball while it is falling or after it has fallen off, there is no penalty, the stroke counts and the ball is in play.
When Ball in Play Lies in Teeing Area. If the player’s ball in play is in the teeing area after a stroke (such as a teed ball after a stroke that missed the ball) or after taking relief, the player may:
- Lift or move the ball without penalty (see Rule 9.4b, Exception 1).
- Play that ball or another ball from anywhere in the teeing area from a tee or the ground under (2), including playing the ball as it lies.
Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Rule 6.2b(6): General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a.
6.3 Ball Used in Play of Hole
Purpose of Rule.
A hole is played as a progression of strokes made from the teeing area to the putting green and into the hole. After teeing off, the player is normally required to play the same ball until the hole is completed. The player gets a penalty for making a stroke at the wrong ball or a substituted ball when is not allowed under the Rules.
6.3a Holing Out with Same Ball Played from Teeing Area
A player may play any conforming ball when starting a hole from the teeing area and may change balls between two holes.
The players must hole out with the same ball played from the teeing area, except when:
- That ball is lost or comes to rest out of bounds.
- The player substitutes another ball (whether or not allowed to do so).
The player should put an identifying mark on the ball to be played (see Rule 7.2).
6.3b Substitution of Another Ball While Playing Hole
When Player Is Allowed and Not Allowed to Substitute Another Ball. Certain Rules allow a player to change the ball they using to play a hole by substituting another ball as the ball in play, and other do not:
- When taking relief under a Rule, including when either dropping a ball or placing a ball (such as when a ball will not stay in the relief area or when taking relief on the putting green), the player may use either the original ball or another ball (Rule 14.3a).
- When playing again from where a previous stroke was made, the player may use either the original ball or another ball (see Rule 14.6)
- When replacing a ball on a spot, the player is not allowed to substitute a ball and must use the original ball, with certain exceptions (Rule 14.2a).
Substituted Ball Becomes Ball in Play. When a player substitutes another ball as the ball in play (see Rule 14.4):
- The original ball is no longer in play, even if it is as rest on the course.
- This is true even if the player:
Substitutes another ball for the original ball when not allowed by the Rules (whether or not player realized that they were substituting another ball).
Replacing, dropped or placed the substituted ball (1) in a wrong way, (2) in a wrong place or (3) by using a procedure that does not apply.
- For how to correct any error before playing the substituted ball, see Rule 14.5.
If the player’s original ball has not been found and the player put another ball in play to take stroke-and-distance relief (see Rules 14.1d, 18.1, 18.2b and 19.2a) or as allowed under Rule that applies when it is known or virtually certain what happened to the ball (see Rule 6.3c, 9.6, 11.2c, 15.2b, 16.1e and 17.1c):
- The player must continue playing with the substituted ball.
- The player must not play the original ball even if it is found on the course before the end of the three-minute search time (see Rule 18.2a(1))
Making Stroke at Incorrectly Substituted Ball. If a player makes a stroke at an incorrectly substituted ball, the player gets one penalty stroke and must then play out the hole with the incorrectly substituted ball.
6.3c Wrong Ball
Making Stroke at Wrong Ball. A player must not make a stroke at a wrong ball.
Exception – Ball Moving in Water: There is no penalty if a player makes a stroke at a wrong ball that is moving in water in a penalty area or in temporary water:
- The stroke does not count.
- The player must correct the mistake under the Rules by playing the right ball from its original spot or by taking relief under the Rules.
Penalty for Playing Wrong Ball in Breach of Rule 6.3c(1):
in Match Play, the player gets the General Penalty (Loss of Hole):
- If the player and the opponent play each other’s ball during the play of a hole, the first to make a stroke at the wrong ball gets the General Penalty (Loss of Hole).
But if it is not known which wrong ball was played first, there is no penalty and the hole must be played out with the balls exchanged.
In stroke play, the player gets the General Penalty (Two Penalty Strokes) and must correct the mistake by continuing play with the original ball by playing it as it lies or taking relief under the Rules:
- The stroke made with the wrong ball and any more strokes before the mistake is corrected (including strokes made and any additional penalty strokes solely playing that ball) do not count.
- If the player does not correct the mistake before making a stroke to begin another hole or, for the final hole of the round, before returning their scorecard, the player is disqualified.
What to Do When Player’s Ball Was Played by Another Player as Wrong Ball. if it is known or virtually certain that the player’s ball was played by another player as a wrong ball, the player must replace the original ball or another ball on the original spot (which if not known must be estimated) (see Rule 14.2)
This applies whether or not the original ball has been found.
6.3d When Player May Play More Than One Ball at a Time
A player may play more than one ball at a time on a hole when:
- Playing a provisional ball (which will either become the ball in play or be abandoned, as provided in Rule 18.33).
- Playing two balls in stroke play to correct a possible serious breach in playing from the wrong place (see Rule 14.7b) or when uncertain about the right procedure to use (see Rule 20.1c(3)).
In the next newsletter we will elaborate more on rule 6.4 and 6.5.
This month, we introduce you to one of our mobile app’s most useful and yet frequently overlooked features.
We also address the most common questions that we receive about the app, particularly in terms of viewing the content and understanding scoring records, and continue our exploration into the origins and history of the golf handicap. But first some news!
As you will know, HNA manages the World Handicap System™ (WHS™) on behalf of GolfRSA, which has been authorised to ensure that the system operates effectively and responsively in South Africa.
In order to keep ourselves aligned with the WHS; some small backend changes will be implemented from 1 January 2024.
This will include changes to the GolfRSA local guidance to clubs and players to ensure consistency in the implementation of the 2024 edition of the Rules of Handicapping™, and these changes and any supporting explanations, will be communicated in next month's newsletter.
How to Get Started
The HNA Handicaps & Tournament App, offers a convenient way for any HNA registered golfer, to submit scores on the golf course, or after a round has been completed.
It also enables golfers to:
- Display a digital version of their official handicap card to pro shop attendants
Create tournaments and view live leaderboards
- Calculate course and playing handicaps for themselves and others
- View their Handicap Index® and scoring history
- Look up the scoring history of fellow golfers
- Capture hole by hole scores, while on the golf course
- Examine in-depth playing statistics, to help identify their golf game’s strengths and weaknesses
If you have not done so already, you can download the app onto your phone from the Apple App Store (for iPhone users) or Google Play (for Android users—Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, etc.).
Huawei users can download the app via this link.
Players often forget their handicap cards at home, or misplace them before arriving at a golf club.
This can be problematic, when you need to register for your round in the pro shop, and are asked to provide your handicap card.
However, with the HNA app, you can easily overcome this issue by displaying an official digital version of your card, as shown below.To display an official digital version of your card, simply log into your profile and turn your phone sideways — i.e., put the screen into landscape mode.
If the card doesn’t appear, make sure that your phone’s landscape mode is enabled.
Enabling landscape mode will also allow you to get the most data out of your ‘Scoring History’ section, as we explain below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between the ‘Create Scorecard’ and ‘Events’ features, because both seem to serve the same purpose?
The ‘Create Scorecard’ feature allows you to score for your four-ball.
The ‘Events’ section allows you to create both public and private tournaments, where potentially thousands of players from different clubs can compete.
You can find step-by-step instructions on setting up ‘Events’ here.
When I access my ‘Score History’ section, I can only see each round’s score, PCC value, and differential. How can I view more information?
To view more information, the function is similar to the digital card, and you should switch your phone to landscape mode.
After switching, you should now also see the Par, Course Rating, and Slope Rating.
If the display does not change, ensure that your landscape mode is enabled - as per the instructions above.
If you submitted your score hole-by-hole, you can access even more details by tapping on the round.
You will be able to see your Course Handicap, Open HI, the tee colour, and a hole-by-hole breakdown of your round. Some of the differentials on my scoring record are red and underlined, while others are just red or black. Why are they different?
A red underlined differential, indicates that it was one of the differentials used to calculate your Handicap Index.
You will have eight of these on your scoring record if you have entered 20 scores.
A red differential, whether underlined or not, will show one of your 20 most recent differentials.
A black differential means it has fallen out of your 20 most recent differentials and can therefore, no longer be used to calculate your Handicap Index.
I notice various symbols and acronyms on my scoring record. What do they all represent? Where did the idea of a handicap come from?
The earliest records seem to indicate that a ‘golf handicap’ of sorts, was being used as early as the late 1600’s in Scotland.
However, the term ‘handicap’, which we associate with ‘modern’ golf, would not come into common use, until just before the beginning of the last century.
The whole process was a far cry from what would be introduced in the 1920’s, and also what we are used to seeing today.
In effect the handicap used, in its earliest form, was based on an informal ‘deal’ agreed between two players before they teed off.
The deal would agree the numbers of strokes to be given by one player to another, and on which holes they would be given on the course.
In the Golfer’s Manual (author – Henry Brougham Farnie), a number of the terms used are listed, and these include "third-one" - wherein the weaker player would receive one stroke every three holes, a "half-one"- which would give the player a stroke every two holes, "one more"- the allocation of stroke on each hole, and finally "two more" – which translated as two strokes on each hole.
There are probably more terms that have been lost in the mists of time, along with other golf names such as the cleek (an iron club with bout the same loft as a 5 iron), brassie (a 2 wood, and which is a term which died out before the beginning of the 20th Century, only to enjoy something of a comeback as a name in the 1980’s, as Taylor Made launched a new range ‘branded’ with old golf club names) and stymie. The last required that if two balls were within 6 inches of each other, then the ball nearer the hole would not be marked, thereby hindering, impeding or stymying the player with the ball further away.
This rule exited golf’s stage in the 1950’s – thank goodness!
The ladies had led the way, by creating one of the first standard and equitable handicap systems, and it was introduced by the Ladies Golf Union in England in the late 19th Century.
This system was principally built on the foundation of the union assigning the course ratings, instead of allowing the golf clubs to use their own.
Towards the end of the 1800’s, a further attempt was made to formalise the handicap system, by calculating a player’s handicap, based on the difference between par and the average of the player’s best three scores in the year.
This became the most widely used system in England and Scotland.
It might have been widely used, but it was not necessarily widely accepted, or universally liked!
Naturally enough, and as the sport’s popularity and player numbers grew, so did the discontent with the fairness of handicapping.
Not unsurprisingly, many of the less proficient players, who represented the bulk of the golfing community (some things don’t change!), were particularly unhappy, as it was much less likely for them to be able to play consistently to the level of their three-score average.
However, not until the 1920’s, and the set-up of the British Golf Unions’ Joint Advisory Committee, was the men's game finally able to introduce a fully coordinated, and equitable handicap system.
This ‘new’ system, included a uniform course rating, throughout Great Britain and Ireland, and it also saw the introduction of the Standard Scratch Score and Handicapping Scheme.” Handicap Network Africa
“what a round! Not only did I get a birdie… I got a rabbit and two squirrels!” Unknown.