Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Rules Nugget: Ground Under Repair

The Definition of “Ground Under Repair” includes the following statement: “All ground and any grass, bush, tree or other growing thing within the ground under repair are part of the ground under repair.”  It also states that “the margin of ground under repair extends vertically downwards but not upwards.”

These two statements taken together have a surprising effect on your right to free relief. If you understand their meaning, you may very well save a stroke or two in a future round.

Suppose your ball settles near (but not in) an area marked as GUR. Growing within the GUR is a large tree with branches that extend well past the margin of the GUR. Do you get free relief if one of those branches that extends past the margin interferes with your swing? You certainly do! Returning to the Definition, you will see that anything growing in the GUR is part of the GUR. Since the tree is growing in the GUR, and the branches are part of that tree, if any part of that tree (with one exception) interferes with your swing, the interference is coming from GUR and you are entitled to free relief [Decision 25-1a/1].

The exception is the tree roots. If the roots extend outside the GUR, and those roots outside the GUR interfere with your shot, there is no free relief. (If you cannot play the ball, you will have to proceed under Rule 28: Ball Unplayable.) The reasoning is that the margin of GUR extends vertically downwards. Any part of something growing in GUR that extends past the margin at or below ground level is not GUR [Decision 25/10.7].

The difference between free relief from the overhanging branches (which are part of the GUR) and no free relief from the roots that extend past the margin of the GUR (which are not) is an important concept. Understanding your rights in both situations may have a positive effect on your game.