Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Ask Linda #1766-Material piled for removal

Dear Linda, 
The heaps of grass cuttings, twigs, tree branches, etc., left on the Course by the Maintenance staff, with an intention to remove them later, does raise issues of interpretation of rules. When the golf ball lands in such a heap/area, it may be visible or hidden, and quite often the ball moves in the process of finding it and removing such loose impediments. Many Clubs have a Local Rule of free drop from such areas as long as the ball is found. This also saves time. Is this permissible under the Royal and Ancient golf rules? 
Regards as always,
Lou from Pune, India 

Dear Lou,

Material piled for removal is defined as Ground Under Repair [GUR]. GUR is defined as an Abnormal Ground Condition. Such conditions are governed by Rule 25-1. If you will read this Rule in its entirety, you will find out how to properly take relief when you have interference from an abnormal ground condition. If you decide to take relief from the condition (which will entail a drop outside the condition), there is no penalty for moving the ball, as you will be lifting it out of the area.

The free drop is not necessarily dependent on the ball being found. There is no requirement that a ball in an abnormal ground condition be found, provided there is knowledge or virtual certainty that the ball entered the condition. In this situation, the player will take his free relief in relation to the point where it is determined that the ball last crossed the limits of the area.

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