Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ask Linda #752-Identify rabbit scrape

Dear Linda:
Firstly, my apologies for having to contact you twice in the space of a couple of weeks, but search the Rules and Decisions as I might, I haven't been able to resolve this one . . .

At the Invitation Day of a local Club, a friend of mine was playing with a lady whose ball went into what appeared to be a rabbit scrape. He advised her to take free relief, but she declined because she had been told that free relief could only be claimed in that scenario when animal droppings were present (to prove that it was an animal scrape and not just a ground irregularity). This seems to me to be an over-zealous interpretation of the Rules, although I do realize that relief from an Abnormal Ground Condition is sometimes (mis)used as an excuse to improve the lie of a ball.

So, my question is whether there are any guidelines to help one determine whether an animal scrape exists or not, and what exactly are the criteria?

Again, many thanks for the exceptional help you give all of us.

Lou from England

Dear Lou,

I am not aware of any guidelines to help players identify an animal scrape. I would think that if your fellow competitor readily agrees that the abnormal ground condition your ball has found is one made by a burrowing animal, it should be treated as such. There is no requirement that droppings must be present. In my experience, holes made by burrowing animals are easily identified.

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