So first things first. This is not meant to to be a buzzkill or inspire people to start obsessing about foot faults. This is not about casual rounds and is not about nit picking. The reality is we have more and more players playing tournaments and Team Challenge and in that context it starts to be more important.
Truth is if you are playing REC, or AM2 odds are off being called for a foot fault are pretty low. But as you move up the ranks it gets to be a bigger deal.
It is also coming up in putting league. And as I talked to people (Thank you Bryan Lake) and researched it, I frankly had it wrong.
Remember, this is for informational purposes. Like I said, I had it wrong and this way we all know what the rule should be. Its application should be practiced by individuals that plan on playing competitive golf and employed/enforced when appropriate.
The official Rule is covered under 802.04 "Throwing From a Stance"
- A player must choose the stance that will result in the least movement of any part of any obstacle that is a permanent or integral part of the course. Once a legal stance is taken, the player may not move an obstacle in any way in order to make room for a throwing motion. It is legal for a player's throwing motion to cause incidental movement of an obstacle.
- When the disc is released, a player must:
- Have at least one supporting point that is in contact with the lie; and,
- Have no supporting point in contact with the marker disc or any object (including the playing surface) closer to the target than the rear edge of the marker disc; and,
- Have all supporting points in-bounds.
- Supporting point contact with or beyond the marker disc is permitted after the disc is released, except when putting.
- Putting: Any throw from within 10 meters of the target, as measured from the rear of the marker disc to the base of the target, is a putt. Supporting point contact closer to the target than the rear edge of the marker disc after the disc has been released is a stance violation. The player must demonstrate full control of balance before advancing toward the target.
- A player shall receive a warning for the first stance violation in the round. Subsequent stance violations in the same round shall incur a one-throw penalty. Stance violations may not be called or seconded by the thrower.
- Any throw made from an illegal stance is disregarded. A re-throw must be taken from the original lie, prior to subsequent play by others in the group.
QA 37 helps explain this.
Q: As I release a putt, I push off from my back foot so that after release I am balanced on my front foot. I typically freeze there for a couple of seconds, then swing my back foot forward and continue toward the hole. Is that a foot fault?
A: It's hard to say. Your group will have to make a judgment call. To demonstrate "full control of balance" the player must perform some action that breaks up the flow of movement after release before proceeding toward the target. Some examples of actions that demonstrate balance might be: (1) a clear pause and display of balance, (2) placement of the back foot on the ground behind the mark, or (3) retrieval of the marker disc. The key to all of those is to show balance and control of your body behind the mark before moving forward. The best course of action is to leave no room for doubt, which is easy to do if you are indeed in control of your body after you've released the putt.
In addition there was confusion on my part as to how close I had to be to my mini. I knew the number was 30cm (11 inches) but I was making a half circle around the back of the mini. That is incorrect.
The definitions for "Lie" and "Line of Play" explain this.
The spot on the playing surface behind the marker, upon which the player takes a stance in accordance with the rules. It is a line 30 centimeters in length extending back along the line of play from the rear edge of the marker disc. The lie for the first throw on a hole is the teeing area. A drop zone is also a lie.
Line of Play
The imaginary line on the playing surface extending from the center of the target through the center of the marker disc and beyond.
Ok, I know you are thinking..."thanks Bob for boring the crap out of me" !
So lets summarize.
1) To avoid a foot fault inside the 10m putting circle, you must demonstrate " full control of balance" before proceeding to the basket. The people on the card make this determination. First time is warning and a re-throw. Second time is a stroke and a re-throw. You have 30cm directly behind the disc to play with. Stepping on your marker is considered a foot fault.
2) To avoid a foot fault outside the circle you really just need to pay attention to being directly (no more than 10cm) behind you marker when you release your throw. You will notice it on big run ups and when you are reaching around that big obstacle in your way.
This video is very bad, but does visually explain what is considered a foot fault.