Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Ask Linda 1858-Relief from dog paw prints in bunker

My question concerns animals in bunkers and I am somewhat confused by this one.
One of the bunkers was full of dog paw prints. There were no holes or scrapes, just numerous indentations. A player took relief under Rule 16.1c [Relief for Ball in Bunker]. Were there scrapes and holes I believe that would be correct, but in their absence I don't believe relief is available. No relief is available for isolated prints, but they were certainly not isolated. Could you kindly clarify, and if relief is not possible can we make a local rule to cover all prints in the bunker? This is a frequent occurrence.
Lou from France

Dear Lou,

There is no free relief from paw prints in a bunker; they do not meet the Definition of “Abnormal Course Condition.” Nor would it be permissible to declare them ground under repair. There is a Local Rule that may be adopted to deal with damage by animals, but it pertains to damage in the general area, which does not include bunkers [Model Local Rule F-10, page 483 in my edition of the Official Guide]. There is also a Local Rule to deal with animal hoof damage [F-13], but that would not apply to dogs, as they do not have hooves. 

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