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Trial Version of the Wrong Ball Rule for Golf Croquet

Note: Trial ended

Introduction

Below is the alternative version of rule 11, which will be in mandatory use for all the major CA sponsored events during the 2013 CA season and for optional use in all other listed CA events at the Manager's discretion. It will not be used for the All-England GC Handicap, the Grass Roots and Centre Stage. Individual Federations will determine its usage in all Federation events.

The Trial Law 11

(a) Definitions

Law 1(a) defines which ball belongs to each player and Law 1(e) defines the correct sequence in which the balls should be played. If any player (or Referee in Charge) believes that

(1) a ball has been played out of sequence, or

(2) a player has played a ball that does not belong to him, or

(3) a player has played when he was not entitled to play

then he shall stop play immediately so that the matter may be investigated and play continued in accordance with the relevant remedy set out in paragraphs (b) to (d) below. In those paragraphs, the "last player" is the player who played the stroke immediately before play was stopped and "last stroke" and "last ball" refer to that stroke and the ball played therein. The "opposing side" refers to the side opposing the last player. The "previous stroke" refers to the stroke immediately preceding the last stroke and the "previous ball" refers to the ball played in the previous stroke.

(b) Continuation Without Penalty

If the last player played a ball that belongs to him and the previous stroke was played by the opposing side and either

(1) the last ball followed in sequence from the previous ball, or

(2) the previous ball did not belong to the player who played it

then the last stroke condones the previous stroke and any prior occurrences of wrong ball play. Any points scored in the previous stroke are valid, subject to Rule 13. Play then continues by the opposing side playing the ball that follows in sequence from the last ball.

(c) Replay or Exchange

If the last player played a ball that belongs to him and the previous stroke was played by the opposing side and

(1) the last ball did not follow in sequence from the previous ball, and

(2) the previous ball belongs to the player who played it

then, at the option of the opposing side, either

(i) no points are scored as a result of the last stroke, any striking fault committed in the last stroke is ignored, all balls moved in the last stroke are replaced in the position they occupied before the last stroke and play then continues by the side of the last player playing the ball that follows the previous ball in sequence, or

(ii) the last stroke is not replayed, any points scored are counted, the positions of the last ball played and its partner ball are exchanged and play then continues by the opposing side playing the ball that follows in sequence from that partner ball.

(d) Full Penalty

In all other cases, no points are scored as a result of the last stroke, any striking fault committed in the last stroke is ignored and the opposing side decides

(1) whether the balls moved in the last stroke are all left where they lie or are all replaced in the positions they occupied before the last stroke

and

(2) with which of its balls it will play next.

Play then continues by the opposing side playing the ball that it has chosen under (2).

(e)

A player (or a Referee in Charge) shall forestall an opponent if he believes that the opponent is about to play a stroke to which (c) will apply. He shall not forestall in any other circumstances.

Commentary and Explanation

wrong ball law flowchart Trial wrong ball law flowchart - Click for a full-size, printable copy.

In practice the trial law introduces very little changes in the intent of the law other than the introduction of an Exchange option (shown in coloured type in the law). As the new option is specifically designed to eliminate very unfair circumstances that can occur after a long period of out of sequence which will not be very common. To assist in the understanding of the trial law a simple flow chart has been designed and is shown below.

The total differences between the present and trial law are as follows:

  • The new logic ensures that singles and doubles are treated in the same manner which has been a major talking point but in reality is also very rare event.
    • Now in singles if your opponent plays one of your balls and you do not notice and play one of your own, there is no full penalty as you are allowed to play either of your balls after such a mistake.
    • In doubles Black playing black after Yellow plays yellow is no longer a full penalty but is treated in the same way as singles - Replay or Exchange.
  • The addition of an exchange option in the bottom balloon of the flow chart
    • This is a change of intent and the main purpose of the trial is to find out whether this option will improve the game or not. Your GC Laws Committee consider it will but would like practical proof of its need. As it is the last link in a decision making chain, it should not make understanding of the overall law significantly more difficult.

Although the initial purpose of the trial is to discover whether the additional Exchange option is a valid and workable way of solving some known problems, a second aim is to prove how effective the chosen words of the trial law are in promoting understanding of the requirement for dealing with wrong balls. Our GC Laws Committee firmly believe that any law which uses terms that effectively have to be translated by another law, e.g. the striker, will never lead to easy understanding by most club players. The wording of the trial law is based upon that used in the Idiot's Guide to the Wrong Ball Law that many have found very understandable. We now believe that with use of the flow chart below, most club players will be able to understand the workings of the wrong ball law which is something they have not managed previously.

To ensure maximum benefit is obtained from the trial of the exchange option, a simple reporting form has been designed and will be sent in the next few days (early April) to all clubs running tournaments under the trial rule. Filling in of the form is not an onerous duty and all information submitted would be greatly appreciated.

Bill Arliss
Chairman
GC Laws Committee

 

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