Saturday, October 24, 2015
Ask Linda #1176x-Leaf Rule
When can a LEAF RULE come into PLAY – before a hole starts, or after a ball is LOST?
My partner lost a ball and he said he could take a drop where he thought it would have STOPPED.
I said the LEAF RULE should start on the FIRST TEE!
What is the rule, if there is one?
Lou from Wildwood, New Jersey
Curiously enough, there is a leaf rule. If there are temporary accumulations of leaves on the course, the Committee may adopt a Local Rule declaring such accumulations ground under repair. The Rule should be limited to those particular holes where trouble is known to exist [Decision 33-8/31].
If this Local Rule is in effect, players are entitled to free relief under Rule 25-1. Note in particular that in order to claim that a ball that is not found is actually lost in the leaves, there must be knowledge or virtual certainty that the ball entered the pile of leaves [Rule 25-1c]. Without such knowledge or certainty, the ball must be treated as lost.
Addressing your specific questions…
1. If the Committee has adopted the “leaf rule,” it is in effect for your entire round.
2. The player does not drop the ball where he estimates it might have stopped. If he finds the ball, he drops it within one club-length of the nearest point of relief that is no closer to the hole. If he does not find it, his point of reference for dropping is the point where the ball last crossed the outer limits of the accumulation of leaves. If the leaves are in a bunker, free relief requires a drop in the bunker. [Rule 25-1b (ii) explains how to find relief from GUR in a bunker].
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