Friday, November 14, 2014

Ask Linda #949-Tire ruts GUR

Linda, before a stroke play tournament, a large, diseased tree fell in the middle of the fairway and near the green. In order to remove it, a tractor type piece of equipment was brought in. Due to damp conditions, ruts were left by the tractor’s tires. 
Although they are not marked as GUR, is relief granted if a ball is resting in these ruts? We can’t decide if Decision 25/16 addresses this or not. Thanks, we enjoy your column.
Lou from Texas

Dear Lou,

Decision 25/16 explains that a Committee may declare a deep rut caused by greenkeeping equipment to be ground under repair (GUR); if the rut is shallow, it should not be marked as GUR.

For argument’s sake, let’s agree that this was a deep rut, eligible for a GUR designation. The Committee should make every effort to mark the area as GUR, or to at least notify players that a ball lying in the deep ruts on Hole # such-and-such is lying in GUR.

If the area has not been marked, and the players have not received notification of the GUR status, the players may invoke Rule 3-3 and play two balls – the original as it lies in the GUR and a second ball dropped in accordance with the relief options provided for a ball in GUR in Rule 25-1b. The player must tell his marker or fellow competitor that he is invoking Rule 3-3 before he hits either ball, and state which ball he wishes to count (if the procedure is correct for that ball).

At the end of the round (or during the round, if a tournament official is available to make a ruling), the player will explain to the Committee that he believed his ball to lie in GUR. A member of the Committee will inspect the area, make a determination, and rule which ball counts.

In your situation, where the ruts were made prior to the start of the tournament, it would save all the players time and aggravation (and make the tournament more equitable, since not all players would necessarily be aware of their option to play two balls) if the Committee made their determination and communicated their decision to the competitors before the start of play.

Copyright © 2014 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.