Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ask Linda #908-Maximum relief from GUR on green

Hi Linda,

My query pertains to seeking relief from abnormal ground conditions on the green. There is GUR on a portion of the green. As per a local rule, play is prohibited from the GUR.

Could you please clarify this particular section of Rule 25-1b:

(iii) On the Putting Green: If the ball lies on the putting green, the player must lift the ball and place it, without penalty, at the nearest point of relief that is not in a hazard, or if complete relief is impossible, at the nearest position to where it lay that affords maximum available relief from the condition, but not nearer the hole and not in a hazard. The nearest point of relief or maximum available relief may be off the putting green.

I am confused by the following:

 1. What do "complete relief is impossible…” and "maximum available relief from the condition…” imply?

2. Last sentence marked in red: It seems that besides nearest point of relief there is also an "or" regarding maximum relief. Doesn't that imply it could be either nearest point of relief or maximum available relief? Of course the cardinal rule of not nearer the hole would always apply. 

Many thanks,
Lulu from India

Dear Lulu,

The procedure for taking relief from an abnormal ground condition on the putting green is different from the procedure elsewhere on the course. Players are always entitled to relief if their ball lies in the abnormal condition, or if the condition interferes with their stance or the area of their intended swing. On the putting green, they are additionally entitled to relief if the condition interferes on their line of putt. In other words, if your putt will have to roll through an abnormal condition on its way to the hole, you get relief.

When you seek relief from ground under repair (GUR) on the putting green, your first obligation is to find the nearest point of relief no closer to the hole where you will get complete relief – not just for the ball, your stance, and your swing, but also for the line of putt. This point must be at the spot nearest to where your ball lay (not in a hazard), and may turn out to be off the putting surface.

In cases where complete relief is not available, the player is entitled to seek out the nearest point of relief that provides the maximum available relief. Perhaps casual water has collected around the hole, or there is damage surrounding the hole that has been marked as GUR. If you encounter such situations, you must inspect the abnormal ground condition and choose the line where it will least interfere with your putt. (In the case of casual water, for example, the point providing the maximum available relief would be the point where you would be putting through the shallowest water.) You will then place your ball at the nearest point of relief, no closer to the hole and not in a hazard, where your putt will have the least interference from the abnormal ground condition. The location where you will get the maximum relief from the condition may turn out to be off the green. It may also turn out to be on the green on the other side of the hole. You don’t get to choose – you are limited to the nearest point.

Your first obligation is to find complete relief at the nearest spot to where your ball lies that is no closer to the hole and not in a hazard. When complete relief is not possible (because the condition surrounds the hole), you must find the nearest point no closer to the hole where you will have the least interference (the point where you get maximum relief). In either case, you must observe the requirement to find the nearest spot. You are not automatically entitled to a spot on the putting surface. If the nearest spot is off the green in the rough, you are obligated to place your ball in the rough.

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