Monday, August 29, 2016

Ask Linda #1371-Ball lands in sheep dung

Hi Linda,

Not been in touch for ages as lost access to this email. Just got it back so lots of posts to catch up on.
I’ve searched the blog for an answer to this one. On our course we have sheep. Sometimes a ball may land in sheep dung, and this may be fresh. It’s horrible to have to play the ball and it now also turns out that in fact there is danger of contracting a bacterial infection from the dung. I cannot find a golf rule or decision that covers this. Does it need to be a local rule by our club that players are offered relief when a ball lands in such sheep dung?

Hope you’re keeping very well.

All the best,
Lou from Wales

Dear Lou,

If sheep dung is prevalent on the course, the Committee may declare the dung to be ground under repair [Decision 33-8/32.7]. Players would be entitled to free relief under Rule 25-1b:
• Through the green, the ball would be dropped within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, no closer to the hole.
• In a bunker, free relief would only be available for a drop in the bunker (please read the Rule for more details).
• On the putting green, the ball would be placed at the nearest point of relief (not a club-length away from that point), which could be on or off the putting green.

Without a Local Rule in place, the player is not entitled to free relief. He may declare the ball unplayable, add a one-stroke penalty to his score, and choose any of the relief options provided in Rule 28 for an unplayable ball.

Dung is a loose impediment when it does not adhere to the ball [Definition of “Loose Impediments”]. Dung that lies near your ball may be brushed away in any manner you see fit.

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