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OB Rules Adjusted for 2013
USDGC competitors should feel more at home at Winthrop this year thanks to some important ground rules adjustments surrounding out-of-bounds (OB) areas. The Championship is famous for its miles of yellow rope that tighten fairways and demand precision shot-making. While that will not change, players can look forward to course rules geared towards an even better experience overall.
In 2012 the USDGC moved away from a “Throw and Distance” OB penalty used in 2011, in favor of a less punitive rule where the penalty was just distance. Basically if a player did not throw in bounds last year, they did not earn the right to move forward. There was no added penalty throw. What the distance-only penalty did, according to USDGC officials, was to promote more spectacular play.
This year’s rule should continue to promote incredible play with minimal backups, and bring OB rules closer to the typical tournament experience. Crossing the yellow rope will be known as a “Hazard”, an important new term for 2013. When players throw into a Hazard they will incur a one-throw penalty and then have the option to re-throw from the original lie or to play the disc from where it comes to rest.
In addition to Hazard, there will also be traditional OB area defined by red rope. When players throw OB (red) they will throw their next shot from where it was last in bounds (or previous lie) and take a one throw penalty. This more traditional OB rule will also apply to shots thrown into Winthrop Lake, into or beyond paved roads, parking lots, and a few other designated areas.
Winthrop Gold spans virtually all of the University’s recreational complex, which includes a diversity of terrain. As a result it can be relatively challenging for spotters and hole marshals to officiate consistently. These changes should reduce instances of crucial spotting decisions, maintain a desirable pace of play, and better balance scores with demonstrated skill.
Regardless of the ground rules at Winthrop one thing is for sure… players hoping to win had better bring their A-game. Winthrop Gold will not allow anyone to score well without it.
For a hole-by-hole analysis of the ground rules look to the 2013 USDGC Caddy Book at usdgc.com.