Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Ask Linda #1703-Relief location for “Preferred Lies”

Hi Linda,
I have 3 queries I would like clarified please:

1. When Preferred Lies “through the green” are in place and a player’s ball is in the rough, may they place it on the fairway, providing it is placed within the specified distance – i.e., technically improving their lie?

2. When a ball lies in GUR and you are taking relief, is it necessary to mark the ball before lifting?

3. When a ball lies in GUR and “preferred lies” through the green are in place, can you prefer the ball within the specified distance and remain in GUR, or because you have lifted the ball must you take full relief from GUR?

Thanking you
Lulu from Australia

Dear Lulu,

Before I answer your questions, I must clear up a basic misunderstanding of the Local Rule for Preferred Lies (Winter Rules). When this Local Rule has been adopted, it applies exclusively to closely-mown areas. Players are only granted permission to move a ball that lies on a fairway, a dew path, the apron surrounding the green, or any other area cut to fairway height or less. They may not prefer their lie in the rough.

When conditions are so poor as to necessitate lifting and cleaning the ball through the green (which means everywhere on the course except the teeing ground and putting green of the hole being played and all hazards, commonly referred to as “rough”), the Committee may adopt the Local Rule for cleaning the ball. This Rule allows the player to mark, lift, clean, and replace the ball on the very same spot from which it was lifted.

The answers to all of your questions can be found by a careful reading of Appendix I, Part A, #3b: “Preferred Lies” and “Winter Rules,” and #3c: Cleaning Ball. Local Rule #3b states that when the Committee has adopted the Local Rule for “preferred lies” on closely-mown areas through the green, the player must mark the ball before she lifts it. She must place it within an area specified by the Committee (e.g., within one club-length). She may not place it nearer the hole, in a hazard, or on a putting green. The ball may be cleaned. This Rule may be applied to all closely-mown areas, or to very specific ones (e.g., “hole #5 fairway only). It may not be applied to areas of rough.

Local Rule #3c, which allows the player to mark, lift, clean, and replace the ball, may be applied to anything from very specific areas (e.g., closely-mown areas only on holes # 7 and 10) to through the green on the entire golf course, should conditions warrant. This is the Rule the Committee must adopt to allow a player to clean her ball in the rough.

Let’s apply this information to your questions:

1. No. There is no Local Rule that allows a player to prefer her lie in the rough. She may drop the ball up to two club-lengths away if she decides to declare the ball unplayable (which might get her a lie on the fairway), but that will cost her a penalty stroke [Rule 28].

2. Yes. If you prefer the lie of a ball in ground under repair (GUR) on a closely-mown area, you must mark the ball before you lift it. However, if you are taking relief from the GUR, meaning you are proceeding under Rule 25-1 and not under the Local Rule for “preferred lies,” there is no requirement in 25-1 to mark your ball before you lift it. You must observe the requirements of the Rule under which you are proceeding.

3. Yes. If you are taking relief in GUR under the Local Rule for “preferred lies,” and the specified relief distance lies within the GUR, you will place your ball in the GUR. If the specified relief distance takes you out of the GUR, you may place your ball outside the GUR. If the specified distance does not get your ball out of the GUR, and you prefer to get out of it, you must take your relief under Rule 25-1. Please remember that you may only prefer a lie in GUR if the GUR lies in a closely-mown area through the green.

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