The CSGA Links Volume 6 Issue 4 August 2018 - Page 39

angle and then adjust your aim. Another complication: When square tee mark- ers are positioned in such a way that their edges are not parallel to each other, the rectangular area of the teeing ground will not parallel both of the edges. Only the outside limits of the square tee-markers “count.” What’s more, if a ball is partially outside the teeing ground it is still considered technically “with- in” it because the definition requires that “all” of the ball lie outside before there’s a problem. If you’re one of the thousands of players who want to get every last inch closer to the hole when they tee it up (or on occasion want to be almost a full two club lengths away from the front of the teeing ground) take heed! The exact placement of the tee markers takes on critical importance in another way, too. Rule 11-2 forbids you from mov- ing the tee-markers to assist you before you make your first stroke from the teeing ground. So unless you have already made a stroke (in which case the tee-markers have become movable obstructions which you may temporarily move), don’t intentionally move them — even to “straighten” them for groups behind you. Decision 11-2/2 gives you the fairly com- plicated details on when you may or may not touch them without penalty—but it’s way easier just to leave them alone! In wild contrast to the prohibitions against changing the position of the tee-markers, the Rules are downright liberal in terms of what you may do to the surface of the teeing ground before you play. While Rule 1-2 generally prohibits you from altering physical conditions with the intent of affecting the play of a hole, Rule 11-1 lets you go hog-wild in changing the surface of this particular area. You’re free to create or eliminate any irregularity of surface you wish: Stamp on the ground with your foot, create a divot hole or tuft of turf with your club, pull out a hunk of grass or a weed—have at it if you’re so moved. In addition, Rule 13-2 allows you to remove dew, frost or water from the teeing ground. In all cases, make sure you’re doing this landscaping only to the ground within the two club-length deep official teeing ground. Do it to the surrounding area and you might be in trouble. (In particular, Decision 13-2/14 makes it clear that you may not break a branch off a tree near the teeing ground that might interfere with your swing.) One last note: Rule 11-1 assures us that a player’s stance may be outside the teeing ground when he or she plays a ball from within it. So if you’re looking to get an edge with a better angle to a dogleg fairway or to avoid some overhanging branches out there, feel free to tee it up anywhere you wish between the tee-markers and deal with your stance afterwards. Take care, play well! Editor’s Note: Due to an editing error, the previous Rules column implied that in a rare circumstance an out-of-bounds stake might be removed. It may never be removed. CSGA Links // August 2018 39