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Playing Outside the Tee Markers
Stay Within the Limit

Learn the rule for playing outside the tee markers. The Teeing Ground

You've heard many times that "golf is a gentleman's game" or "golf is a ladies game." While this may mean different things to different people, it is supposed to represent the dignity and respect that is commanded by the nature of the game. After all, there are no referees out there, so honesty, honor and rule abiding are a must for a fair game. Beyond that though is etiquette, consideration, thoughtfulness and helpfulness. Of course there is some trash talking going on from the ranks of tour players to the every day locals at the muni course, but all in all, it's mainly in good fun and competitors are out there not to beat each other up as much as to beat the course.

Good sportsmanship is perhaps seen more with the teeing ground rule than in any other part of the game. Not every tee box is a perfect square or rectangle. A lot of them are skewed and this makes it difficult to visually line up the tee markers in a straight line. For this reason, if you aren't paying close attention, you can sneak ever so slightly in front of one of the markers and end up outside the designated teeing area (the legal teeing ground is equal with or behind the tee markers up to two feet).

Speak Up!

Fortunately it is common and expected that if one of your competitors or playing partners notices that you are outside of the markers that they would speak up and warn you before you strike the ball. It really is just common courtesy. Not warning someone is nothing short of evil. It is somewhat of a silly penalty because being a few inches in front of the marker is not going to make or break a good drive in 99.9% of cases, but yet a rule is a rule and without it golfers would be teeing up all over the place trying to get the best advantage. Because it's not going to give your playing partner that much of a break, it's polite to speak up. The penalty is a harsh 2 strokes and then to make things worse you have to hit it again!. As you can see in the USGA's Rule 11, the penalty gets severe if you don't correct the mistake while on the hole where the infraction occurred.

USGA Rule 11:

"11-4. Playing From Outside Teeing Ground
a. Match Play
If a player, when starting a hole, plays a ball from outside the teeing ground, there is no penalty, but the opponent may immediately require the player to cancel the stroke and play a ball from within the teeing ground.

b. Stroke Play
If a competitor, when starting a hole, plays a ball from outside the teeing ground, he incurs a penalty of two strokes and must then play a ball from within the teeing ground. If the competitor makes a stroke from the next teeing ground without first correcting his mistake or, in the case of the last hole of the round, leaves the putting green without first declaring his intention to correct his mistake, he is disqualified. The stroke from outside the teeing ground and any subsequent strokes by the competitor on the hole prior to his correction of the mistake do not count in his score."

Take Your Time When Lining Up

Remember when lining up to check both markers, not just one, to make sure you are behind both and within the legal teeing area. Even if you are lagging behind the group in front of you, take your time when teeing up to make sure you are within the limits, have a good stance and have the ball teed to the correct height. As always go through your entire pre shot routine which should include a practice swing or two and stepping back to line up the ball to your target. Doing this gives you a second chance to notice if you've mis teed your ball. Always be respectful and remind others before they hit if you notice they are ahead of the tee marker. What goes around comes around and you would certainly want someone to alert you if you make that mistake. Every rule is there for a reason and this one is particularly harsh and not worth getting 2 strokes added to your card.

Maria Palozola

Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.

Who is Maria Palozola?
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