Surely the easiest decision in golf is whose turn it is to play. While “Ready Golf” is to be very much encouraged in stroke play, in match play it should be strictly the farthest from the hole at all times (and you can have your stroke recalled by your opponent if you play out of turn).
I also though it was easy until the match I was refereeing in the final of a season long team inter-club matchplay tournament became the deciding game when it went into extra holes. For consecutive shots we had to laser the distances (which were identical so the decision was on the toss of a coin), and then get out the “Gotcha” putting measure (difference less than 1/2″ in 20 feet) and all this in front of all the players, supporters, referees, club and county officials from the other matches.
Anyway, here is a scenario presented during the role playing sessions at the Level 3 Rules School. I’m just glad I wasn’t presented with this during my final – although thankfully there were plenty of other referees available from whom I would have sought help!
The two players are all square and playing the 18th in the final of the summer scratch knockout. Player 1 splits the fairway from the tee, while Player 2 ends up on the far side of a Red Penalty Area on the right of the fairway.
Player 1 then slices their second into the RPA, crossing in at Point X and coming to rest at Point A. Player 2 goes for the green but also ends up in the RPA, crossing in at Point Y with the ball ending up at Point B.
While the Penalty Area is a fairly wide stream in the winter, at this time of year it is dry and most players, especially low handicappers, would attempt to play the ball where it lies rather than take a penalty drop.
As the Referee assigned to the match you have to decide: Who is it to play next?
Let me know your decision by adding a comment.