Roger K

Greensomes rules.

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Playing Greensomes this morning, my partner and I teed off on the second hole, which is a Par 3. Both of us went straight into the lake. What is the ruling, do we both  drop one in the DZ, or do we nominate? Opinions here seem to differ.

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I'm afraid they are bound to differ. Greensomes are not covered by the Rules of Golf.

As far as I can determine, the favoured route is that the team choose the one that gives the most favourable relief option and the partner takes that relief and plays.

The principle being that both players have made their first stroke and after that, everything is alternate.

IMO the same would apply if both balls were OB or one OB and the other in a WH (or even deemed unplayable).


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This is a copy from the old Forum from 7 years ago with regard to the same type of question.

Well, the experts have spoken.

The Committee should produce a CoC (Conditions of Competition) and include in it how a Team should proceed in this matter as no Rules of Golf cover it. Specially for the playing of Provisional Balls and what to do if it is a Mixed Greensome.

Here is a little help:-

Players A & B are a Team. The fact that either could be a Lady doesn't matter because they will play from there own Tee.

If both players either lose their balls or hit them OoB's they choose who will play their THIRD stroke from the Tee, but it becomes difficult if the 1st Tee-shots may be Lost or OoB's and Provisionals come into the equasion.

On a hole where both players hit tee-shots that may be lost or OoB's. A CoC can state that both players may hit Provisional Balls for each other, A hitting a PB for B's ball and visa versa or that only ONE PB can be hit. The CoC could also state that Provisionals may not be hit at all. 

I favour both players being allowed to hit Provisionals (as above) as it then covers most outcomes without holding up play. The only argument against this is that a Team gets to choose a ball Twice on a hole and may get an advantage, so maybe adding to a CoC that a Team nominates one ball in this situation for when both originals are lost or OoB's.



Last edit : Tue 2nd Nov 2010 13:28

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From a book called " Golf: It's Rules And Decisions" by Richard Francis first published in 1936.

SELECTIVE DRIVE FOURSOME : Both partners shall put a ball in play from every tee and having done so shall, before another shot be played, determine which ball shall continue for that hole. Having driven, and the selection having been made, the rules of foursome ( not four-ball) then apply and no further selection is permitted. Under this rule, if both balls from the tee be out of bounds, lost or unplayable, or if one ball be one of these and other ball another, then the partners shall decide which ball shall be played, and if the man's ball be chosen then the woman shall play again from the tee and vice versa. If from the tee one player's ball be out of bounds, lost or unplayable, that player may not replay the shot from the tee. Either the partner's ball must be played for that hole ( if the other ball be chosen) the partner shall plasy again from the tee and the ball continued for that hole.

From an old Decision in the combined R&A/USGA Decision Book in 1976.

Rule 15 Decision 65/27/251: 
Question.- In a Greensome two partner drove at a bogey  three hole; one drive was very poor, but playable, the other out of bounds. the player whose ball was out of bounds played another ball, put it near the pin, and her side got a four with that ball. Was that allowed, or should they have played the poor drive? It was argued that one of the partner would have had to drive again if both balls had been out of bounds.

Answer.- Greensome competitions are not legislated for the Rules Of Golf. They are , however, a modification of foursome, and Rule 15 regarding the order of play should be applied. In the case cited the player who drove out of bounds should not have played a second ball off the tee under Rule 29-1a. If her side decided to select this drive her partner should have played three off the tee, since penalty strokes do not affect the order of play ( Rule 15-1). Since the player played out of turn, her side lost the hole ( Rule 15-2).



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In the 2nd situation, I think there is a flaw. The player who hit OB could well have decided to take an unplayable for her partner's ball and taken S&D.

But here is another suggestion 

From a respected rules expert:

1. Teeshots 
On each hole both players tee off from their respective teeing grounds. 
Before the 2nd stroke the team then selects the ball with which to play out the hole, playing alternate shots. 
The selection can be made explicitly (by announcing which ball is selected) or implicitly (by playing a 2nd stroke with either of the balls, or by playing a new ball, other then a Provisional ball, from the teeing ground.) 
An explicit selection may be changed before playing the 2nd stroke. 
The partner of the player whose ball is selected must play the second stroke with this selected ball. (for playing in incorrect order see Rule 29-3) 
Once the selection is made, the non-selected ball becomes a wrong ball.

2. Provisional Balls 
After the players have selected the ball, Rule 27-2 is applicable. 
Before the selection is made, the following Rules cover the play of a Provisional Ball: 
1. A PB can only be played if both balls may be Lost outside a Water Hazard or Out of Bounds. 
2. a. Only one of the players may play a PB and the PB must be played after both players have teed off. 
b. A PB played before either of the partners has teed off deems the already played ball to be the selected ball. 
3. If either of the original balls is found in bounds or is lost in a Water Hazard, the PB must be abandoned. 
4. Clause #c of the definition of Lost Ball applies to each original ball separately."

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