Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Ask Linda #1315-Lift, clean, and place on a worm cast or loose impediment

Hi Linda,

My golf course has an excessive worm problem in the winter months and is about 40% covered with worm casts.

These casts are designated loose impediments. (Rule Book)

My question is: Can the player, when operating under the Preferred Lie Rule, place his ball on top of the loose impediment (worm cast) to give himself a better lie than he would get by placing the ball on the fairway grass?

Taking it a step further, can the ball be placed on any type of loose impediment that improves the lie of the ball but still meets the requirements of the local rule, as per the specimen rule?

Kind regards,
Lou from New Zealand

Dear Lou,

The Local Rule for “preferred lies” states that the ball must be placed on a spot. It does not put any limits on that spot other than that it be no closer to the hole and within whatever distance the Committee requires (e.g., one club-length, one scorecard length, etc.).

Accordingly, the player may place his ball on a worm cast or other loose impediment, or even on an obstruction. However, the loose impediment or obstruction must already be there, and the player may not move it.

This may sound like good news, but buyer beware – if the ball comes to rest after it is placed, and subsequently moves, the player must play the ball as it lies. This may mean that there is now a lumpy worm cast directly behind the ball, giving the player a lie that is less than ideal.

My thanks to Referee Lou from England who provided this ruling.

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