Saturday, April 2, 2016

Follow-up questions to GUR Rules Nugget

Thanks Linda,
This is very very very interesting. I have a question or two about this matter. You said that I can have free relief if a branch interferes with my swing, but is it valid also if my ball lies in a water hazard or even out of bounds? If the tree is used as GUR delimiter, thus it's half in and half out, should I consider it all in?
As usual, thank you very much for your kind reply.
Lou, an Italian living in the Czech Republic

Dear Lou,

You are entitled to free relief from a branch of a tree growing in ground under repair (GUR) that extends past the margin of the GUR because you are entitled to free relief from GUR.

There is no free relief from GUR if your ball lies in a water hazard. If your ball lies out of bounds, you are required to hit another ball under stroke and distance.

Dear Linda,
Wait a minute! The GUR extends downward, but doesn't include tree roots? I'm confused. 
Lulu from Maryland

Dear Lulu,

The ground under repair (GUR) does not extend downwards; the margin of the GUR extends downwards. Nothing beyond the margin at ground level or below is in the GUR.

Question: If the limbs extend say ten feet past your ball in the example you gave, is that where the GUR ends? Do you then have one club length before you drop (no closer to the hole)?
Lou from Reno, Nevada

Dear Lou,

No, that is not where the GUR ends. If the branch of the tree growing in GUR interferes with your swing, you would have to find the nearest point of relief and drop within one club-length of that point, no closer to the hole. That nearest point of relief might be behind the branch, closer to the margin of the GUR. “Nearest” means “nearest.” Remember that you are only entitled relief for your stance and the area of your intended swing. There is no free relief if the branch interferes on your line of play.

Linda, I am puzzled regarding your GUR “Rules Nugget.” Did you state the clarified rule incorrectly, or are your examples incorrect? 
If “the margin of ground under repair extends vertically downwards but not upward,” wouldn't you get relief from extended roots (downward), but not from overhanging tree branches (upward)?
I share all your info with my ladies league, but will wait on this one...
Lulu from Stillwater, Oklahoma

Dear Lulu,

It would seem that you are confused about the meaning of “margin” as it applies to golf. Let’s see what I can do to provide some clarity.

We all know now that the margin of ground under repair (GUR) extends vertically downwards. Picture an imaginary area of GUR that is perfectly round and has a five-foot diameter. Take a five-foot cylinder that is very thin and place it on the outer edge of the white line that marks the margin of the GUR. Hammer that cylinder into the ground until the top of the cylinder is flush with the ground. We now have a physical object (the cylinder) that defines the downward margin.
• Everything on the ground at the level of the top of the cylinder (which is level with the ground) that is outside the cylinder is outside the GUR.
• Everything below the ground, outside the cylinder, is outside the GUR.
• Everything that is growing within the cylinder is part of the GUR.
Since the margin does not extend upwards, anything growing in the cylinder that extends past the cylinder above the ground is still part of the GUR. Thus, when a tree is growing in GUR, any branches that extend outside the cylinder are still part of the GUR. The margin of GUR does not extend upwards.

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