Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ask Linda #800-Permission to clean ball on fairway

Me again… 
Today I played in a Canadian Foursomes competition and before we teed off they announced we could clean the ball on the fairway. 

I was very surprised as I thought the only time you can clean the ball on the fairway would be to have a local rule of winter rules/preferred lies, but there was no mention of either, just that we could clean the ball whenever we liked on the fairway. 

It was at a very highly respected private club, and I was surprised to see some of my fellow golfers mark the ball on the fairway, clean it  and replace the ball in the same spot . 

I would have thought this is against the Rules of Golf. Surely you have all of the winter rules/preferred lies or none.

Lulu from Perth, Australia 

Dear Lulu,

Local Rule #4b [Appendix I, Part B] allows players to mark, lift, clean, and replace the ball. The Committee decides where to put this Local Rule into effect (e.g., all closely mown areas, on Holes #2-5 only, etc.). One reason why this Local Rule might be adopted is when conditions are so wet that mud is likely to adhere to the ball when it lands.

Preferred lies (or winter rules) are more appropriate when conditions are so poor throughout the course that players will need to move the ball for play to be fair. Preferred lies, just like “lift, clean, and replace,” may be limited to specific areas or holes (e.g., all closely mown areas, Hole #8 only, etc.).

When you are surprised by a directive, don’t hesitate to ask a Committee member where the Rule may be found in the rulebook. This will help further your understanding of the Rules of Golf, and you might occasionally (rarely, I would hope) catch them in an error that they will correct before play begins.

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