Thursday, December 14, 2017
Ask Linda #1664-Ball lost in ground under repair
A golfer hits her second shot and it disappears into some branches that have been cut down from a tree but have not been removed yet. She is unable to find her ball. The golfers in the group saw the ball go into the cut-down branches. I know if she could find her ball she would get relief, but does she get relief when the ball is not found, or does she have to go back to where she hit her previous shot under penalty of stroke and distance for a lost ball? Our rules chairman said she gets free relief. Several of us thought she wouldn’t.
Lulu from Sequim, Washington
Your rules chairman is correct.
Your description of “branches that have been cut down from a tree but have not been removed yet” suggests that the branches were material piled for removal, which falls under the Definition of “Ground Under Repair.” When it is known or virtually certain that a ball that cannot be found lies in ground under repair (GUR), the player is entitled to free relief [Rule 25-1c].
The players must determine where the ball crossed into the GUR. For purposes of relief, the ball is deemed to lie at that spot. The player may substitute another ball and drop within one club-length of the nearest point of relief from that spot, no closer to the hole.
For specifics about where to drop if the GUR is in a bunker or on a putting green, please read the Rule (25-1c). If the GUR is in a water hazard, the player is not entitled to free relief (see Rule 26-1 for relief options from a water hazard).
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