DEAR RULES GUY: I began putting croquet-style, with one foot on each side of the target line and my body facing the hole, like Sam Snead used to. A marshal told me that my stance violated the Rules, so I changed my address, placing my right foot next to my left, with my body still facing the hole. Is this OK? — Gary A. Green, Carlsbad, Calif.
Answer: While you may suffer the zings and arrows of your snickering friends, your altered stance is legal, as long as your feet are on one side of the target line, and not straddling it. Rule 16-1e forbids making a putting stroke while standing “astride” the line, as Snead did before it was banned in 1968. But you can putt while standing on one side of the target line with your body facing the hole. Still, have you considered a career on the pro croquet tour? I hear the groupies show a lot of ankle!
MR. RULES: My buddy sculpted some dirt into a little mound on the tee box and stuck a 4-inch tee on top of the pile, so his ball was about half a foot off the ground. I cried foul. Am I right? — Mark Connelly, Richmond, Va.
Answer: That has to be the strangest sculpture since Richard Dreyfuss molded his mashed potatoes into a mini UFO-landing pad. Indeed, you witnessed a close encounter of the illegal kind. Rule 11-1 holds that if an irregularity of surface is created and used, the ball must be placed directly on that surface. A tee may only be placed on the teeing surface, not within a pile of sand or dirt.
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