Monday, January 27, 2014

Ask Linda #783-Local Rule for GUR

Linda, good afternoon from the UK.

Perhaps you can assist regarding a local rule at our club.

The local rule in question states: “Ground Under Repair includes…areas directly above drainage and irrigation lines.” In a recent match-play event, player A took relief under this rule and dropped his ball within one club-length behind the drainage line from which he was entitled to relief. This ball rolled back into the same drainage area from which he was entitled to relief. He re-dropped it and the ball again rolled back. Having rolled back twice, this player felt he was entitled to now place the ball at the spot where it had touched the ground when dropped for the second time.
His opponent, however, player B, insisted that because he had dropped it twice he must now play it from where it lay, on the drainage line where it was originally, and from which relief could be taken under the local rule.
There was considerable disagreement between the two players, but player A, not wishing to be disqualified if he was wrong, played from out of the drainage line where it first finished and from which he was entitled to relief under the local rule.
Can you please advise what the correct procedure should have been and any penalties that may have resulted?

Lou from the UK

Dear Lou,

Player A’s procedure was correct. The player was entitled to relief (stance plus one club-length, no closer to the hole) under the Local Rule. When the ball rolled back into the condition from which he was taking relief, he was required to re-drop. When the re-drop did the same, he was required to place the ball where it hit the ground after the second drop [Rule 20-2c].

Player A should have stuck to his guns. Any Committee would have ruled that his procedure was correct.

Since this was match play, and both players agreed on the procedure (albeit reluctantly on the part of Player A), there is no penalty. In stroke play it would have cost the player two strokes.

This is an easy Rule to find. One of the players could have whipped out a rulebook and located the answer in less time than it took me to write this sentence. Players should carry a rulebook, and should not be afraid to open it when a suitable occasion arises.

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