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Caddie deems ball Unplayable.

Caddie deems ball Unplayable.

Today is March 21st, 2018 and we present Caddie deems ball Unplayable.  Rules and Etiquette Wednesday #80.  A Golf Video Blog with Mel Sole, Director of Instruction and Master Professional at the Mel Sole Golf School located in Pawleys Island, SC.

Caddie deems ball Unplayable.

The Definition of Rule 28 says “The player may deem his ball unplayable at any place on the course, except when the ball is in a water hazard.  The player is the sole judge as to whether the ball is unplayable.”


A situation happened on the European Tour recently where a player’s caddie arrived at the ball location before his player.  The caddie decided that the ball was definitely unplayable. He picked up the ball and presented it to the player when he arrived.  A marshall was standing nearby and immediately informed the player that he had been assessed a two-stroke penalty because his caddie picked up the ball.  As the player is the sole judge as to whether the ball is playable or not, he was in violation of Rule 28.

Obviously, the player was not very happy as this penalty had cost him winning the tournament.  The caddie was fired after the round.  So it is just as important for the caddie to know the rules on tour as the player.  I do remember Tom Kite going to a rules seminar put on by the USGA and he paid for his caddie to come along as well.  Wish more Tour players (from any Tour) would do that.  It seems we have accidental rules violations far too often.

Recent players receiving a penalty that affected the outcome of a Major Championship.

Dustin Johnson – 2010 PGA Championship.  (He did receive a one-stroke penalty in the 2016 US Open, but it did not affect the outcome.)

Lexi Thompson – 2017 ANA Inspiration – 4 strokes for marking her ball incorrectly. 


Mel Sole Golf School.

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