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CASUAL WATER: DEFINITION

25/1

Soft, Mushy Earth

Q.Is soft, mushy earth casual water?

A.No. Soft, mushy earth is not casual water unless water is visible on the surface before or after the player takes his stance – see Definition of "Casual Water."

25/2

Overflow from Water Hazard

Q.If a pond (water hazard) has overflowed, is the overflow casual water?

A.Yes. Any overflow of water from a water hazard which is outside the margin of the hazard is casual water.

Related Decision:

1-4/7 Ball Lost in Either Water Hazard or Casual Water Overflowing Hazard.

25/3

Pitch-Mark Filled with Casual Water

Q.A player's ball plugged deeply in short rough. No casual water was visible on the surface, but the pitch-mark in which the ball came to rest was filled with water. Was the player's ball in casual water?

A.Yes.

25/4

Water Visible as Result of Undue Effort with Feet

Q.In a wet area, casual water is not visible before or after the player takes his normal stance. However, by pressing down hard with one foot, the player causes water to appear around the sole of his shoe. Is the player entitled to relief under Rule 25-1b?

A.No. Water visible through undue effort with the feet is not casual water – see Definition of "Casual Water."

25/5

Casual Water on Putting Green Visible When Player Walks Beside Line of Putt But Not Visible Elsewhere

Q.A player's ball lies on a putting green. Casual water is not visible on the green. However, when the player walks beside his line of putt, casual water is visible around the player's feet. Is the player entitled to relief?

A.Not unless there is casual water visible around the player's feet when he takes his stance – see Definition of "Casual Water."

25/6

Status of Saliva

Q.What is the status of saliva?

A.In equity (Rule 1-4), saliva may be treated as either an abnormal ground condition (Rule 25-1) or a loose impediment (Rule 23-1), at the option of the player.

Other Decisions related to Casual Water: See "Casual Water" in the Index.

GROUND UNDER REPAIR: DEFINITION

25/7

Fallen Tree in Process of Being Removed

Q.A greenkeeper is in the process of sawing up a fallen tree and stacking the wood. What is the status of such a tree?

A.The tree in its entirety is ground under repair as it constitutes "material piled for removal" – see Definition of "Ground Under Repair."

25/8

Tree Stump

Q.Do the Rules provide relief without penalty from a tree stump?

A.No, not unless it has been marked as ground under repair or it is in the process of being unearthed or cut up for removal, in which case it is "material piled for removal" and thus automatically ground under repair – see Definition of "Ground Under Repair."

A tree stump which the Committee intends to remove, but which is not in the process of being removed, is not automatically ground under repair.

25/9

Fallen Tree Attached to Stump

Q.A tree has fallen onto a fairway due to a windstorm and is still attached to the stump. Does it constitute ground under repair?

A.No. However, a player could request relief from the Committee and the Committee would be justified in declaring the area covered by the tree to be ground under repair.

25/9.5

Tree Falls onto Fairway During Stipulated Round

Q.A large tree falls onto a fairway during a stipulated round and cannot readily be removed. What should the Committee do?

A.The most appropriate course of action will depend on the circumstances in each case. The Committee has the following options:

(1) require play to continue, providing no additional relief from the fallen tree;

(2) suspend play and have the tree removed;

(3) declare the tree and the area covered by the tree to be ground under repair (Rule 25-1) and may, as an additional option, establish a dropping zone; or

(4) in equity (Rule 1-4), adopt the relief procedures under the Local Rule for Temporary Obstructions, thus providing intervention relief from the fallen tree.

25/10

Ball Lost in Tree in Ground Under Repair

Q.A ball is lost in a tree rooted in an area marked as ground under repair. Is the player entitled to relief without penalty under Rule 25-1c?

A.As all ground and any grass, bush, tree or other growing thing within ground under repair is considered to be part of the ground under repair (see Definition of "Ground Under Repair"), the ball is lost in ground under repair and the player is entitled to relief under Rule 25-1c.

In this case, the reference point for taking relief is the spot where the ball last crossed the outermost limits of the area of ground under repair.

Related Decision:

25-1c/1.5 Clarification of Point Where Ball "Last Crossed Outermost Limits of" Abnormal Ground Condition.

25/10.5

Ball in Tree in Ground Under Repair

Q.A player's ball is found through the green in a tree rooted in an area marked as ground under repair. The spot on the ground directly under where the ball lies is outside the white-lined area defining the ground under repair. Is the player entitled to relief under Rule 25-1b(i)?

A.Yes, because the ball lies in or touches the ground under repair – see Definition of "Ground Under Repair." In this case, the reference point for taking relief is the spot on the ground immediately below the place where the ball lay in the tree.

25/10.7

Status of Roots Outside Ground Under Repair Growing from Tree Inside Ground Under Repair

Q.A player's ball comes to rest against a tree root. The tree is within ground under repair, but the ball is against a part of the root outside the ground under repair. Is the player entitled to relief without penalty under Rule 25-1?

A.No. The margin of ground under repair extends vertically downwards, so part of a growing thing within ground under repair that extends beyond the area at or below ground level is not ground under repair.

Decision related to 25/10.5 and 25/10.7:

25-1a/1 Ball Outside Ground Under Repair Area But Tree Within Area Interferes with Swing.

25/10.9

Status of Non-Growing Plants Within Area of Ground Under Repair

Q.A bush, tree or other plant is rooted within an area of ground under repair, but there is a possibility that it may not be growing, e.g., because it is dead or dormant. The Definition of "Ground Under Repair" states in part: "All ground and any grass, bush, tree or other growing thing within the ground under repair is part of the ground under repair." Is the bush, tree or other plant considered ground under repair?

A.Yes. Provided the bush, tree or other plant is rooted within the ground under repair and thus fixed, it is part of the condition. It is often difficult to differentiate between plant life that is alive, dead or dormant.

25/11

Grass Cuttings

Grass cuttings are ground under repair only if they have been piled for removal – see Definition of "Ground Under Repair." If cuttings piled for removal interfere with a player's stance or swing, the player is entitled to relief under Rule 25-1b.

Grass cuttings are loose impediments (see Definition of "Loose Impediments"), whether or not they are piled for removal, and may be removed by the player – Rule 23-1.

25/12

Cracks in Earth

Q.Are cracks in the earth which occur in hot and dry conditions ground under repair? Do the Rules of Golf provide relief?

A.No. However, a player whose ball is in a large crack would be justified in requesting the Committee to declare the crack to be ground under repair, and the Committee would be justified in doing so.

Related Decision:

25/16 Rut Made by Tractor.

25/13

Bunker Totally Under Repair

If a bunker is being renovated and the Committee defines the entire bunker as ground under repair, the bunker loses its status as a hazard and is automatically classified as "through the green." Therefore, unless a Committee specifically states otherwise, Rule 25-1b(i) applies, not Rule 25-1b(ii).

Related Decisions:

25-1b/8 Player's Options When Bunker Completely Covered by Casual Water.

33-8/27 Local Rule Providing Relief Without Penalty from Bunker Filled with Casual Water.

25/14

Explanation of "Hole Made by Greenkeeper" in Definition of "Ground Under Repair"

Q.What constitutes a "hole made by a greenkeeper"?

A.A "hole made by a greenkeeper" is usually ground temporarily dug up in connection with course maintenance, such as a hole made in removing turf or a tree stump, laying pipelines, etc.

25/15

Aeration Holes

Q.Is an aeration hole a hole made by a greenkeeper within the meaning of that term in the Definition of "Ground Under Repair"?

A.No.

Related Decision:

23/12 Aeration Plugs.

25/16

Rut Made by Tractor

Q.Is a rut made by a tractor considered a hole made by a greenkeeper and thus ground under repair? If not, should the Committee declare such a rut to be ground under repair?

A.Such a rut is not a hole made by a greenkeeper. The Committee would be justified in declaring a deep rut to be ground under repair, but not a shallow indentation made by greenkeeping equipment.

Related Decision:

25/12 Cracks in Earth.

25/17

Sunken Hole Plug

Q.Is an old hole plug which has sunk below the level of the surface of the putting green a hole made by a greenkeeper and therefore ground under repair?

A.No. Rule 16-1c applies.

25/18

Hole of Removed Stake Defining Water Hazard

Q.A stake defining the margin of a water hazard is removed. Is the hole in which the stake was previously located a "hole made by a greenkeeper" and thus ground under repair?

A.Yes. However, such a hole is in a water hazard (see Definition of "Water Hazard") and a player would not be entitled to relief from the hole if his ball was in the water hazard – see first paragraph of Rule 25-1b.

Decisions related to 25/17 and 25/18:

16/7 Two Holes on Each Green of Nine-Hole Course.

16-1c/3 Old Hole Plug Sunk or Raised on Line of Putt.

Other Decisions related to Ground Under Repair: See "Ground Under Repair" in the Index.

HOLE MADE BY BURROWING ANIMAL, ETC.: DEFINITION

25/19 (Reserved)

25/19.5

Footprint of Burrowing Animal, Reptile or Bird

Q.Is the footprint of a burrowing animal, a reptile or a bird a "hole, cast or runway" within the meaning of these terms in the Definition of "Abnormal Ground Conditions"?

A.No. A footprint is an irregularity of surface from which there is no relief without penalty.

25/20 (Reserved)

25/21 (Reserved)

25/22 (Reserved)

25/23

Molehills

Molehills are casts made by a burrowing animal. Accordingly, a player having interference from a molehill, or the remains of a molehill, is entitled to relief under Rule 25-1b, provided, in the latter instance, the remains are still identifiable as a cast made by a burrowing animal.

Related Decisions:

23/5 Ant Hill.

23/11 Loose Soil from Cast of Hole Made by Burrowing Animal.

Other Decisions related to Hole Made by Burrowing Animals, etc.: See "Burrowing Animal, Reptile or Bird" in the Index.

ABNORMAL GROUND CONDITIONS: GENERAL

25-1/1

Ball in Casual Water Difficult to Retrieve

Q.It is known or virtually certain that a player's ball came to rest in a large puddle of casual water. A ball is visible in the casual water, but the player cannot retrieve it or identify it as his ball without unreasonable effort. The player abandons the ball and proceeds under Rule 25-1c, which provides relief for a ball lost in casual water. Was the player justified in doing so?

A.Yes. A player is not obliged to use unreasonable effort to retrieve a ball in casual water, for identification purposes.

However, if it would not take unreasonable effort to retrieve a ball in casual water, the player must retrieve it. If it turns out to be the player's ball and he elects to take relief, he must proceed under Rule 25-1b; otherwise, he must proceed under Rule 25-1c.

INTERFERENCE BY ABNORMAL GROUND CONDITIONS

25-1a/1

Ball Outside Ground Under Repair Area But Tree Within Area Interferes with Swing

Q.The margins of ground under repair do not extend vertically upwards. If the ball lies outside ground under repair and a tree rooted within the ground under repair interferes with a player's swing, but there is no interference with his stance, is the player entitled to relief?

A.Yes. The Definition of "Ground Under Repair" states: "All ground and any grass, bush, tree or other growing thing within the ground under repair is part of the ground under repair." Therefore, the player may take relief under Rule 25-1 as the tree within the ground under repair interferes with the area of his intended swing.

Related Decisions:

25/10.5 Ball in Tree in Ground Under Repair.

25/10.7 Status of Roots Outside Ground Under Repair Growing from Tree Inside Ground Under Repair.

25-1a/2

Casual Water on Putting Green Intervenes Between Ball Off Green and Hole

Q.A player's ball lies just off the putting green and casual water on the green intervenes between the ball and the hole. Is the player entitled to relief?

A.No. In addition, Rule 13-2 prohibits the player from removing casual water from his line of play.

Related Decision:

25-1b/10.5 Casual Water on Putting Green; Whether Player Entitled to Relief for Intervention If Ball Is on Green and Nearest Point of Relief Is Off Green.

RELIEF FROM ABNORMAL GROUND CONDITIONS: GENERAL

25-1b/1 (Reserved)

25-1b/2

Diagrams Illustrating Nearest Point of Relief

The diagrams illustrate the term "nearest point of relief" in Rule 25-1b(i) in the case of both a right-handed and left-handed player.

The "nearest point of relief" must be strictly interpreted. A player is not permitted to choose on which side of the ground under repair he will drop the ball, unless there are two equidistant "nearest points of relief." Even if one side of the ground under repair is fairway and the other is bushes, if the "nearest point of relief" is in the bushes then the player, if taking relief, must drop the ball within one club-length of that point, even though he may have to drop the ball in a virtually unplayable lie.

The same procedure applies under Rule 24-2b dealing with immovable obstructions.

 

 

Related Decisions:

24-2b/1 Determining "Nearest Point of Relief."

24-2b/3.7 Diagram Illustrating Player Unable to Determine Nearest Point of Relief.

33-8/19 Local Rule Permitting Relief on Specified Side of Paved Path.

25-1b/3

Improving Line of Play When Taking Relief from Abnormal Ground Condition

Q.In certain circumstances, in complying with Rule 25-1b, it is possible for a player incidentally to improve his line of play, e.g., avoid playing over a bunker or a tree. Is this permissible?

A.Yes. If a player's ball is in one of the conditions covered by Rule 25 and if, in taking relief in accordance with the procedure laid down in Rule 25-1b, his line of play is improved, this is his good fortune.

25-1b/4

Casual Water Covering Teeing Ground

Q.After several groups have played a particular hole, a player arrives at the teeing ground of that hole and the teeing ground has become completely covered with casual water. What is the procedure?

A.Even though the players may remove water from the teeing ground (Rule 13-2), the matter should be brought to the attention of the Committee. Rule 25-1 is not applicable since the player's ball is not in play – see Definition of "Ball in Play."

In match play, the Committee may relocate the teeing ground.

In stroke play, if the conditions are such that removal of the casual water might be possible, the Committee should suspend play and attempt to remove the casual water. If the removal of the casual water is impossible, the Committee may (1) suspend play until the teeing ground is playable or cancel the round (Rule 33-2d) or (2) relocate the teeing ground if this could be done without giving any competitor an undue advantage or disadvantage.

Related Decisions:

33-2b/1 Holes Relocated and/or Tee-Markers Moved During Stroke Play Round.

33-2d/2 Hole Surrounded by Casual Water.

25-1b/5

Explanation of "Maximum Available Relief" from Casual Water in Bunker

Q.In a bunker completely covered by casual water, is the place providing "maximum available relief" the spot which will provide the most relief for both lie and stance or just lie?

A.The term applies to both lie and stance. The spot providing "maximum available relief" might be such that the ball will be in shallower water than the player's feet after he takes his stance, or vice versa.

25-1b/6

Ball Dropped from Casual Water in Bunker at Point of Maximum Relief Rolls Elsewhere

Q.A player whose ball lies in a bunker completely covered by casual water drops his ball under Rule 25-1b(ii) at a spot where there is 1„4 inch of casual water. This spot is the nearest spot providing maximum available relief. The ball rolls into a spot where there is about 1„2 inch of casual water. What is the ruling?

A.In equity (Rule 1-4), and under the principle of Rule 20-2c(v), the player may re-drop and, if the ball so rolls again, place the ball where it first struck a part of the course when re-dropped.

25-1b/7

Ball to Be Dropped in Bunker Dropped Outside Bunker and Rolls into Bunker

Q.A player's ball lies in casual water in a bunker. The player elects to proceed under Rule 25-1b(ii)(a) and determines that the nearest point of relief in the bunker is close to the back of the bunker. The player drops his ball within one club-length of the nearest point of relief on a slope outside the bunker because he fears it will plug in the sand. The ball rolls down the slope and comes to rest in the bunker not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief. Is the player subject to penalty?

A.Yes, unless he lifts the ball and proceeds correctly, as provided in Rule 20-6. Under Rule 25-1b(ii)(a), the player is required to drop the ball in the bunker. If the player, although proceeding under this Rule, drops the ball outside the bunker and plays it, he is in breach of Rule 25 and the penalty is loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play.

25-1b/8

Player's Options When Bunker Completely Covered by Casual Water

Q.If a player's ball lies in a bunker completely covered by casual water, what are his options?

A.The player may play the ball as it lies or:

(1) drop the ball in the bunker without penalty at the nearest point, not nearer the hole, where the depth of the casual water is least – Rule 25-1b(ii)(a); or

(2) drop the ball behind the bunker under penalty of one stroke – Rule 25-1b(ii)(b); or

(3) deem the ball unplayable and proceed in accordance with Rule 28.

Related Decisions:

25/13 Bunker Totally Under Repair.

33-8/27 Local Rule Providing Relief Without Penalty from Bunker Filled with Casual Water.

25-1b/9

Player Who Invokes First Option of Rule 25-1b(ii) Then Wishes to Invoke Second Option

Q.A player's ball is in a bunker completely covered by casual water. Under the first option of Rule 25-1b(ii), he drops the ball on ground in the bunker affording maximum available relief. He then decides he would have been better off to invoke the second option and drop behind the bunker. May he invoke the second option?

A.No. Rule 25-1b(ii) permits the player to proceed under one of two options. He is not entitled to invoke one option and then, if he does not like the result, invoke the other. Therefore, as Rule 25-1 no longer applies, the player must play the ball as it lies or proceed under the unplayable ball Rule, incurring the penalty stroke prescribed by that Rule.

Related Decisions:

24-2b/5 Player Who Lifts Ball Under First Option of Rule 24-2b(ii) Then Wishes to Proceed Under Second Option.

Other Decisions related to whether a player may change a selected relief option after taking further action: See "Casual Water: changing relief option" in the Index.

25-1b/10

Casual Water on Putting Green; Nearest Point of Relief Is Off Green

Q.A player whose ball is on a putting green is entitled to relief from casual water. However, the nearest position affording complete relief which is not nearer the hole or in a hazard is off the green in the rough. If the player opts to take relief, must he place the ball in the rough?

A.Yes. See Rule 25-1b(iii).

25-1b/10.5

Casual Water on Putting Green; Whether Player Entitled to Relief for Intervention If Ball Is on Green and Nearest Point of Relief Is Off Green

Q.In Diagram X, a player's ball lies at Point 1 in casual water on the putting green. In Diagram Y, a player's ball lies at Point 1 on the putting green with casual water intervening on his line of putt.

Under Rule 25-1b(iii), the player is not entitled to place the ball at Point 4, which is on the green, because Point 4 is farther from Point 1 than either Point 2 or Point 3, both of which are off the green. It would seem that Point 2 may be the correct point because there is no relief if a ball lies off the green and casual water on the green intervenes on the line of play. In taking relief must the player place the ball at Point 2 or Point 3?

A.Since, in both diagrams, the ball lies on the putting green, the player is entitled to relief with respect to the lie of the ball and intervention on his line. Accordingly, in either case the player must place the ball at Point 3, the nearest point which affords complete relief with respect to both situations.

 

25-1b/11

Ball in Casual Water Within Ground Under Repair

Q.A ball lies in casual water within an area defined as ground under repair. May a player take relief from the casual water under Rule 25-1b, drop the ball in the ground under repair, and then either play the ball as it lies or take relief from the ground under repair under Rule 25-1b?

A.Yes.

25-1b/11.5

Ball in Casual Water Within Ground Under Repair; Whether Player Entitled to Take Relief from Both Conditions in Single Procedure

Q.The diagram shows a player's ball which lies in casual water, at Point X, within an area of ground under repair. May the player, in a single procedure, drop the ball at Point Y, the nearest point of relief from both conditions?

A.No. The player has the option of taking relief from each condition in separate stages but not from both at the same time.

 

The player may take relief from the casual water at Point A and then may take relief from the ground under repair.

Alternatively, he may take relief from ground under repair at Point B and then may take relief from the casual water.

Decisions related to 25-1b/11 and 25-1b/11.5:

1-4/8 Nearest Point of Relief from Cart Path Is in Casual Water; Nearest Point of Relief from Casual Water Is Back on Cart Path.

24-2b/10 Obstruction in Ground Under Repair Interferes with Player's Swing.

24-2b/19 Stroke at Ball Not Practicable Due to Interference by Immovable Obstruction and Casual Water.

25-1b/12

Casual Water Mistaken for Water Hazard; Original Ball Played Under Water Hazard Rule

Q.A player whose ball is in casual water mistakes the casual water for a water hazard. He retrieves his original ball, drops it 10 yards behind the casual water in accordance with the water hazard Rule and plays it. His error is then discovered. What is the ruling?

A.The player did not follow the procedure prescribed in Rule 25-1b(i) for dropping a ball from casual water; he dropped the ball in a wrong place. In match play, he loses the hole (Rule 20-7b). In stroke play, he incurs a penalty of two strokes (Rules 25-1b(i) and 20-7c).

25-1b/13

Casual Water Mistaken for Water Hazard; Substituted Ball Played Under Water Hazard Rule

Q.A player whose ball is in casual water mistakes the casual water for a water hazard. The player does not retrieve his original ball, although he could have done so without unreasonable effort – see Decision 25-1/1. Rather, he drops another ball ten yards behind the casual water in accordance with the water hazard Rule and plays it. His error is then discovered. What is the ruling?

A.Since the player could retrieve the ball without unreasonable effort, he was not permitted to substitute a ball in taking relief from the casual water. Additionally, as a result of proceeding under the water hazard Rule (Rule 26-1), he dropped the ball in a wrong place.

In match play, the player loses the hole (Rules 15-2, 25-1b(i) and 20-7b).

In stroke play, the player incurs a penalty of two strokes. Although the player substituted a ball when not permitted (Rule 15-2 and Rule 25-1) and played from a wrong place (Rules 25-1b(i) and 20-7c), the Exception to Rule 15-2 and Note 3 to Rule 20-7 explain that a player who substitutes a ball and plays from a wrong place incurs a total penalty of two strokes.

Related Decision:

34-3/6 Player Proceeds Under an Inapplicable Rule; Committee's Decision.

25-1b/14 (Reserved)

25-1b/14.5

Ball Deemed Unplayable Dropped in Ground Under Repair from Which Play Prohibited; Ball Then Dropped Under Ground Under Repair Rule

Q.A player deemed his ball unplayable. In proceeding under Rule 28b or 28c, the player dropped his ball in an area of ground under repair from which play was prohibited by Local Rule. He then took the mandatory relief under Rule 25-1b. Is this procedure permitted?

A.Yes.

Related Decision:

20-7/3 Whether Player May Drop Ball into Area from Which Play Prohibited.

25-1b/15

Measuring Across Ground Under Repair in Obtaining Relief

Q.A player obtaining relief from a narrow strip of ground under repair through the green determines his nearest point of relief (Point A) which is not in a hazard or on a putting green. Point A is on the right-hand side of the ground under repair. Within one club-length of Point A is a point (Point B) on the left side of the ground under repair which meets the requirements of Rule 25-1b(i). May the player drop his ball at Point B?

A.Yes. There is nothing in Rule 25-1b prohibiting measuring the one club-length across ground under repair in obtaining relief.

Related Decisions:

20/1 Club to Be Used in Measuring.

20/2 Borrowing Club for Measuring Purposes.

20-2b/2 Measuring Club-Lengths.

25-1b/16

Ball Equidistant from Two Points Which Meet Requirements of Ground Under Repair Rule

Q.Through the green, the player's ball lies in ground under repair and he opts for relief under Rule 25-1b(i). There is no single nearest point of relief. Rather, there are two such points equidistant from the spot where the ball lies. May the player drop within one club-length of either point?

A.Yes.

25-1b/17

Pine Needles Piled for Removal Interfere with Line of Play After Ball Dropped Away

Q.A player whose ball lies in pine needles piled for removal drops away under Rule 25-1b. The ball comes to rest in such a position that the pile of pine needles intervenes on his line of play. May the player remove the pine needles from his line of play?

A.Yes. Pine needles piled for removal are loose impediments or ground under repair. Initially, the player was entitled to remove the pine needles under Rule 23-1 (Loose Impediments) or drop away, as he did, under Rule 25-1b.

After the player dropped away a new situation existed and he was no longer entitled to invoke Rule 25-1b. However, he was not prohibited from removing the pine needles under Rule 23-1.

25-1b/18(Reserved)

25-1b/19

Ball Lies on Mound Made by Burrowing Animal; Impracticable to Make Stroke Due to Bush

Q.A player's ball lies under a bush and it is clearly impracticable for the player to make a stroke at it. However, the ball lies on a mound made by a burrowing animal. Is the player entitled to relief without penalty under Rule 25-1b?

A.Under the Exception to Rule 25-1b a player may not obtain relief from an abnormal ground condition if it is clearly impracticable for him to make a stroke due to interference by something other than such a condition. Therefore, in the circumstances described, the player is not entitled to relief.

Related Decision:

24-2b/16 Obstruction Interferes But Ball Unplayable Due to Some Other Condition.

25-1b/20

Stance Interfered with by Burrowing Animal Hole; Impracticable to Make Stroke Because of Other Condition

Q.A player's ball is in an indentation at the base of a tree in such a position that it is clearly impracticable for him to make a stroke. Despite this, the player claims relief without penalty under Rule 25-1 because his stance for a stroke at the ball in the indentation would be on a burrowing animal hole. Is the player entitled to relief without penalty under Rule 25-1b?

A.Under the Exception to Rule 25-1b a player may not obtain relief from an abnormal ground condition if it is clearly impracticable for him to make a stroke due to interference by something other than such a condition. In the circumstances described above, the player's ball is unplayable as it lies in an indentation at the base of a tree. Therefore, the player is not entitled to relief under Rule 25-1 from the burrowing animal hole.

25-1b/21

Cast of Burrowing Animal Interferes with Stroke Towards Green; Tree Prevents Such Stroke

Q.A player's ball is immediately behind a tree. A cast behind the ball made by a burrowing animal would interfere with the player's backswing for a stroke towards the green, but not with a sideways stroke, which is the only reasonable stroke. If the player says he intends to play towards the green into the tree, may he take relief without penalty under Rule 25-1b?

A.Under the Exception to Rule 25-1b a player may not obtain relief from an abnormal ground condition if interference from such a condition would only occur through the player using an unnecessarily abnormal direction of play. Therefore, in the circumstances described above, the player is not entitled to relief.

25-1b/22

Cast of Burrowing Animal Interferes with Sideways Stroke; When Relief Granted

Q.A ball is behind a tree so that a sideways stroke is the only reasonable stroke for the player. However, a cast made by a burrowing animal interferes with the backswing for a sideways stroke. Is the player entitled to relief under Rule 25-1b?

A.Yes, and if relief gets the player out from behind the tree, he is entitled to play towards the green.

Related Decisions:

24-2b/9.5 After Relief Taken from Obstruction for Stroke Towards Green, Obstruction Interferes with Stance for Necessary Sideways Stroke.

24-2b/17 Obstruction Interferes with Abnormal Stroke; Abnormal Stroke Reasonable in Circumstances.

25-1b/23

Ball Enters Burrowing Animal Hole Out of Bounds and Comes to Rest in Bounds

Q.The entrance to a burrowing animal hole is out of bounds, but most of the burrow is in bounds under the course. A ball enters the hole from out of bounds and comes to rest in bounds under ground classified as through the green. What is the procedure?

A.Under Rule 25-1b, the player may drop the ball, without penalty, within one club-length of the point on the ground directly above its position in the burrow. In such cases, vertical distance is disregarded in applying the Rules.

25-1b/24

Ball Enters Burrowing Animal Hole in Bounds and Comes to Rest Out of Bounds

Q.A player's ball entered a rabbit hole, the mouth of which was in bounds but only about a foot from a boundary fence. The rabbit hole sloped steeply down below the fence, so that the ball came to rest beyond the boundary line. What is the ruling?

A.Whether or not a ball is out of bounds depends on where it lies in relation to the boundary of the course and this must be measured vertically upwards or downwards – see Definition of "Out of Bounds."

In the case cited, the ball was lying out of bounds and Rule 27-1 applied. Relief could not be obtained under Rule 25-1, i.e., from a hole made by a burrowing animal.

25-1b/25

Ball Enters Burrowing Animal Hole in Bunker and Is Found Underneath Putting Green

Q.A ball enters a burrowing animal hole in a greenside bunker and is found underneath the putting green. As the ball is not in the bunker or on the putting green, is relief taken in accordance with Rule 25-1b(i), i.e., through the green?

A.Yes. The player would drop the ball without penalty on a part of the course through the green within one club-length of the nearest point to its position in the burrowing animal hole that avoids interference from the condition and is not in a hazard, not on a putting green and not nearer the hole.

Decisions related to 25-1b/23 through 25-1b/25:

24-2b/11 Ball Lying on Elevated Part of Immovable Obstruction.

28/11 Ball Unplayable in Tree and Player Opts to Drop Within Two Club-Lengths.

28/12 Ball Unplayable at Base of Cliff and Player Wishes to Drop Within Two Club-Lengths of Point Above Ball.

25-1b/25.5

Application of Exception to Rule 25-1b When Ball Lies Underground in Burrowing Animal Hole

Q.Through the green, a player's ball comes to rest underground in a hole made by a burrowing animal. A large bush is immediately next to and overhanging the entrance to the hole. Given the Exception to Rule 25-1b, is the player entitled to relief without penalty from the burrowing animal hole?

A.For the purpose of applying the Exception to Rule 25-1b, a ball lying underground in a burrowing animal hole is deemed to lie at the entrance to the hole. If the nature of the area surrounding the entrance to the hole is such that it is clearly impracticable for the player to make a stroke at a ball lying at any part of the entrance to the hole (e.g., because of the overhanging bush), the player is not entitled to relief without penalty under Rule 25-1b. Otherwise, the player is entitled to relief without penalty under Rule 25-1b.

If the ball lies in a hole, but is not underground, it is the position of the ball, rather than the entrance to the hole, which is relevant in determining whether the Exception to Rule 25-1b applies.

25-1b/26

Player Unaware Ball in Water Hazard Takes Relief from Interference by Burrowing Animal Hole

Q.A player, unaware that his ball is in a dry water hazard, lifts and drops the ball under Rule 25-1b(i) believing he is entitled to relief from a hole made by a burrowing animal. After dropping the ball in the hazard, he discovers his mistake. What is the ruling?

A.As the player's ball lay in a water hazard, he was not entitled to relief without penalty from a hole made by a burrowing animal – see first paragraph of Rule 25-1b. However, as his ball lay in a water hazard, he is not precluded from taking relief under Rule 26.

As the player had dropped the ball under an inapplicable Rule, he may correct his error under Rule 20-6 by:

1. lifting the ball and replacing it where it originally lay in the water hazard, in which case he incurs a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a – see Decision 18-2a/12; or

2. proceeding under Rule 26-1. He incurs a penalty of one stroke under Rule 26-1, but no additional penalty is incurred.

Related Decisions:

20-6/5 Player Drops Ball Under Rules and Then Wishes to Replace Ball in Original Position.

20-7/2 Ball Deemed Unplayable in Water Hazard Is Dropped in Hazard and Played.

27/17 Competitor Plays Out of Turn Other Than From Teeing Ground and Puts Another Ball into Play at Spot of Previous Stroke.

BALL IN ABNORMAL GROUND CONDITION NOT FOUND

25-1c/1

Ball Not Found Is in Casual Water or Rough

Q.An area of casual water preceded by high rough is in a hollow not visible from the tee. A ball driven into this area is not found. The ball may be in the casual water or it may be in the high rough. May the player treat the ball as being in the casual water?

A.No. In such circumstances, it is neither known nor virtually certain that the ball is in casual water. The player may not proceed under Rule 25-1c.

25-1c/1.5

Clarification of Point Where Ball "Last Crossed Outermost Limits of" Abnormal Ground Condition

 

Q.In the diagram, a ball is lost in an area of casual water, having splashed at Point A. Point B represents the point where the ball crossed over the outermost limits of the casual water. For the purposes of proceeding under Rule 25-1c, where is the ball deemed to lie?

A.The ball is deemed to lie at Point B.

Related Decisions:

24-2b/12 Ball in Drainpipe Under Course; Entrance to Drainpipe Is Out of Bounds.

24-3b/1 Ball Lost in Underground Drainpipe.

25/10 Ball Lost in Tree in Ground Under Repair.

25-1c/2

Ball Dropped and Played Under Ground Under Repair Rule in Absence of Knowledge or Virtual Certainty That Original Ball in Ground Under Repair

Q.A player, after a search of less than one minute, considers that his ball is in ground under repair, although it is neither known nor virtually certain that this is the case. He drops a ball under Rule 25-1c and plays it. His original ball is then found beyond the ground under repair. What is the ruling?

A.When the player dropped and played another ball under Rule 25-1c, it became the ball in play and the original ball was lost.

In the absence of knowledge or virtual certainty that the ball was in ground under repair, the player was not permitted to proceed under Rule 25-1; therefore, he was considered to have put another ball into play under Rule 27-1. In playing the ball dropped under Rule 25-1c, the player played from a wrong place.

In match play, he incurred a penalty of loss of hole (Rule 20-7b).

In stroke play, he incurred the stroke-and-distance penalty prescribed by Rule 27-1 and an additional penalty of two strokes for a breach of that Rule (Rule 20-7c). If the breach was a serious one, he was subject to disqualification unless he corrected the error as provided in Rule 20-7c.

Related Decisions:

15/8 Ball Played Under Rule for Ball Lost in Ground Under Repair After Another Ball Played Under Stroke-and-Distance Procedure.

18-2a/8.5 Ball Played from Ground Under Repair Abandoned and Relief Taken Under Ground Under Repair Rule.

20-7c/4 Competitor's Ball Played by Fellow-Competitor; Competitor Substitutes Another Ball at Wrong Place, Plays It and Then Abandons It and Plays Out Original Ball From Right Place.

27-1/2.5 Lost Ball Treated as Moved by Outside Agency in Absence of Knowledge or Virtual Certainty to That Effect.

34-3/6 Player Proceeds Under an Inapplicable Rule; Committee's Decision.

25-1c/2.5

Ball Dropped Under Rule 25-1c with Knowledge or Virtual Certainty That Ball Is in Casual Water; Original Ball Then Found

Q.A player's ball is struck towards a large area of casual water. It is known or virtually certain that the player's ball is lost in the casual water and the player drops a ball under Rule 25-1c. Before he plays the dropped ball, his original ball is found within the five-minute search period. What is the ruling?

A.As it was known or virtually certain that the player's ball was in casual water when he put the substituted ball into play, that ball was correctly substituted and he may not play the original ball.

If the original ball was found in the casual water and this discovery affects the reference point for proceeding under Rule 25-1c, resulting in the substituted ball having been dropped in a wrong place, the player must correct the error under Rule 20-6 and drop a ball under Rule 25-1c with respect to the correct reference point. Otherwise, Rule 20-6 does not apply, and the player must continue play with the dropped ball. In either case, the player incurs no penalty.

In the unlikely event that the original ball was found outside the casual water, the player must continue play with the dropped ball without penalty.

The same answer would apply if it is known or virtually certain that the player's ball is in any other abnormal ground condition or an obstruction (Rule 24-3).

Related Decision:

26-1/3.5 Ball Dropped Under Water Hazard Rule with Knowledge or Virtual Certainty; Original Ball Then Found.

25-1c/3

Ball Played in Ground Under Repair Area Lost in Same Area

 

Q.In the diagram, a player's tee shot comes to rest at point A in a large area of ground under repair. He makes a stroke at his ball from within the ground under repair. He advances the ball to point B, which is still in the ground under repair, and the ball never crossed the outermost limits of the ground under repair. The ball cannot be found. What is the ruling?

A.The player may drop a ball outside the ground under repair area, without penalty, as provided in Rule 25-1c and make his third stroke. In this case, the reference point is where the ball last crossed the outermost limits of the ground under repair with the player's tee shot (point C).

Alternatively, the player may, under penalty of one stroke, drop a ball in the ground under repair as near as possible at the spot from which his original ball was last played (point A) under Rule 27-1 and make his fourth stroke. Having dropped a ball under Rule 27-1, if the player then has interference from the ground under repair, he may take relief under Rule 25-1b without further penalty.

Related Decision:

27-2c/1.5 Whether Provisional Ball Becomes Ball in Play If Original Ball Lost in Ground Under Repair.

EMBEDDED BALL

25-2/0.5

When Ball Embedded in Ground

A ball is deemed to be embedded in the ground only if:

  • the impact of the ball landing has created a pitch-mark in the ground,
  • the ball is in its own pitch-mark, and
  • part of the ball is below the level of the ground.

Provided that these three requirements are met, a ball does not necessarily have to touch the soil to be considered embedded (e.g., grass, loose impediments or the like may intervene between the ball and the soil).

Any doubt as to whether a ball is embedded should be resolved against the player. (Revised)

 

25-2/1

Ball Bounces Out of Its Pitch-Mark and Spins Back into It

Q.A player's ball lands in soft ground in a closely mown area through the green, bounces out of its pitch-mark and then spins back into the pitch-mark. Is the player entitled to relief under Rule 25-2?

A.Yes. If a ball spins back into its pitch-mark, it is embedded in the pitch-mark.

25-2/2

Dropped Ball Embeds

Q.A player takes relief under an applicable Rule and drops a ball on a fairway. The ball embeds on impact. Is the player entitled to relief under Rule 25-2?

A.Yes.

25-2/2.5

Dropped Ball Embeds; Procedure If Ball Again Embeds When Re-Dropped

Q.According to Decision 25-2/2, if a ball dropped on a fairway embeds on impact, the player is entitled to relief under Rule 25-2. What is the proper procedure if a ball embeds each time it is dropped?

A.If a ball embeds when dropped and embeds again when re-dropped, the player may, in equity (Rule 1-4), place the ball as near as possible to the spot where it embedded when re-dropped, but not nearer the hole.

If the player drops the ball more than twice, the ball embeds each time and he then becomes aware that he was entitled to place the ball after the second drop, he may place the ball as near as possible to the spot where it embedded on the second drop.

25-2/3

Ball Returns to Pitch-Mark from Prior Stroke

Q.A player's ball embeds in its own pitch-mark in the ground in a closely-mown area through the green. After taking relief under Rule 25-2, the player makes a stroke. The ball climbs a slope but rolls back down it and into the same pitch-mark. Is the player entitled to relief without penalty?

A.No. A player is only entitled to relief under Rule 25-2 when his ball is embedded in a pitch-mark created by the last stroke he made – but see Decision 25-2/2 with regard to a dropped ball that embeds.

25-2/4

Ball Embedded in Ground Under Repair in Closely-Mown Area

Q.A player's ball is embedded in ground under repair in a closely-mown area through the green. May the player drop the ball within the ground under repair under Rule 25-2 (Embedded Ball) and then elect whether to play the ball as it lies or take relief from the ground under repair under Rule 25-1b?

A.Yes.

Related Decision:

25-1b/11.5 Ball in Casual Water Within Ground Under Repair; Whether Player Entitled to Take Relief from Both Conditions in Single Procedure.

25-2/5

Ball Embedded in Grass Bank or Face of Bunker

Q.Are grass banks or faces of bunkers considered to be "closely-mown areas" under Rule 25-2 (Embedded Ball) and may relief be taken from them under that Rule?

A.No, not unless they are cut to fairway height or less.

Related Decisions:

13/4 Ball Completely Embedded in Lip of Bunker.

16/2 Ball Embedded in Side of Hole; All of Ball Below Lip of Hole.

16/3 Ball Embedded in Side of Hole; All of Ball Not Below Lip of Hole.

33-8/39 Local Rule for Bunker Faces Consisting of Stacked Turf.

33-8/39.5 Local Rule Deeming Partially Grass-Covered Wall of Bunker to Be Part of Bunker.

25-2/6

Ball on Steep Bank Driven Straight into Ground

Q.A player's ball lies on a steep bank in the fairway. He plays a stroke and drives the ball straight into the bank, i.e., the ball is never airborne. Is the player entitled to relief without penalty under Rule 25-2?

A.No. Under Rule 25-2, relief is provided if a ball is embedded in its own pitch-mark. The word "pitch-mark" implies that the ball has become airborne.

25-2/7 (Reserved)

25-2/8

Ball Embedded in Teeing Ground

Q.A player's tee shot strikes a tree and returns to the teeing ground, where the ball embeds in the ground. Is the player entitled to relief without penalty?

A.Yes. Although the Rules of Golf do not contemplate such a situation, in equity (Rule 1-4), the player is entitled to relief without penalty and must follow the procedure prescribed in Rule 25-2 for a ball that lies in a closely-mown area through the green.

The same principle would apply to other relief situations that do not contemplate relief being required within the teeing ground (e.g., Rule 24-1b).

Other Decisions related to Rule 25-2: See "Embedded Ball" in the Index.

WRONG PUTTING GREEN

25-3/1

Status of Double Green Serving Hole Not Being Played

Q.One half of a U-shaped putting green serves as the 11th green and the other half serves as the 17th green. In play of the 17th hole, if a ball comes to rest on the part of the green serving the 11th hole, does Rule 25-3 (Wrong Putting Green) apply?

A.No, not unless the Committee divides the green by use of stakes or a line and declares one part to be the green of the 11th hole and the other part to be the green of the 17th hole. The Definition of "Putting Green" gives a Committee this right.

Other Decisions related to Rule 25-3: See "Wrong Putting Green" in the Index.

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