Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ask Linda #955-Ball embedded in not-so-closely-mown area

Hi Linda,
We had an incident the other day. It went like this: We're on the sixth hole, a short par four a little over three hundred yards. To make it more difficult, the green is not very deep and is elevated, the fairway ends about twenty yards in front of the green. That area is usually very soggy and balls become embedded. We couldn't decide, although the grass there is cropped short, whether it is considered closely mown. I told him to play two balls and get a ruling later, but I was overridden and he picked up his ball, cleaned it and placed it back close to where it was embedded. I've always been a little confused by the phrasing of “closely mown area.” Some definitions say anywhere on the course except hazards. Anyway, what is your opinion?
Lou from Florida

Dear Lou,

“Closely mown areas” are defined right in the Embedded Ball Rule [25-2] as “any areas of the course…cut to fairway height or less.” If the grass in that 20-yard section between the fairway and the putting green is taller than the grass on the fairway, it is not “closely mown” and you do not get free relief for an embedded ball.

Incidentally, when you take relief for a ball that is embedded in its own pitch mark in a closely mown area, the ball may be lifted, cleaned, and dropped as near as possible to where it lay, no closer to the hole. I’ll repeat: An embedded ball is dropped, not placed.

There is a Local Rule that allows players to take relief for an embedded ball “through the green [Appendix I, Part B, #4]. “Through the green” means everywhere on the course except all hazards and the teeing ground and putting green of the hole you are playing. Under the circumstances, this Local Rule should probably be adopted at your course.

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