Pro­ceed Care­fully

Don’t let course main­te­nance trip you up

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life -

eep­ing your favourite course as pretty and playable as pos­si­ble takes a lot of hard work. Ku­dos to green­keep­ers and their staff. How­ever, you still might en­counter times when a con­struc­tion zone af­fects your round. For a re­fresher on what to do in many sit­u­a­tions, read on.

– ron kaspriske

KTh­ese ar­eas are usu­ally marked by lines or stakes, but not al­ways. If you en­counter a hole made by the staff or ma­te­ri­als that have been piled for re­moval, they are GUR. This in­cludes grass clip­pings and cutup wood from a downed tree. The key words are “piled for re­moval.” If it’s just ly­ing there, it’s not GUR. Fur­ther­more, washouts from big rain storms aren’t GUR un­less they are marked. When your ball is lo­cated within GUR, how you pro­ceed de­pends on where the ball is lo­cated. In most cases you find the near­est point that’s clear of in­ter­fer­ence from the area, and drop within one club-length of that spot, but not closer to the hole. An ex­cep­tion is if the GUR and the ball are on the putting green. In this case, you find the near­est point of re­lief that isn’t closer to the hole, and then place the ball. The only sit­u­a­tions you don’t re­ceive re­lief with­out penalty from GUR are when your ball is in a wa­ter haz­ard or when your ball is in a bunker and you choose to drop out­side that bunker. Fi­nal thought:You can play the ball as it lies in GUR, but first check to see if the course or com­mit­tee has en­acted a Lo­cal Rule man­dat­ing that you must take re­lief. Green­keep­ers rou­tinely poke holes into your golf course. Some­times these holes, and the plugs of turf re­moved when the holes are cre­ated, can get in the way of a good round. Un­for­tu­nately, un­less a Lo­cal Rule is in ef­fect, you do not get re­lief if your ball is rest­ing in an aer­a­tion hole.You can, how­ever, re­move plugs of turf around your ball pro­vided you don’t move your ball in the process. If your ball ends up in a rut cre­ated by a cart or main­te­nance ve­hi­cle, it’s up to the course or com­mit­tee to de­clare it GUR. If not, play it as it lies. Keep in mind that the rut would have to be sig­nif­i­cant to even war­rant con­sid­er­a­tion. Shal­low in­den­ta­tions do not qual­ify. Was your ball dam­aged by a mower? See page 23. Your course needs wa­ter.That means there’s a good chance you’re go­ing to en­counter equip­ment needed to ir­ri­gate. You get free re­lief if you find your ball next to a hose or a sprin­kler head (same ap­plies for rakes, lad­ders and any other main­te­nance equip­ment). Re­mem­ber that your stance, ball or in­tended swing has to be in­ter­fered with to take re­lief. If pos­si­ble, have the equip­ment re­moved and play on. If your ball moved in the process, just re­turn it to its orig­i­nal po­si­tion. You do not get re­lief if a sprin­kler head is in your line of play. An ex­am­ple is if you want to putt from off the green and a sprin­kler head is be­tween your ball and the hole.You also don’t get re­lief if a sprin­kler douses your ball or comes on as you’re about to hit. Treat any vis­i­ble ac­cu­mu­la­tion of wa­ter cre­ated by the sprin­kler, be­fore or af­ter tak­ing your stance, as ca­sual wa­ter. Ball cov­ered in chem­i­cals? Un­for­tu­nately, it’s against the rules in most cases to lift and clean your ball be­fore you reach the putting green. But you can treat ap­pli­ca­tions, such as foam, as mov­able ob­struc­tions and take re­lief with­out penalty. Your ball lands on a green cov­ered with leaves. How long can you spend clear­ing leaves to hit your putt be­fore you are hit with a de­lay penalty? You may take as long as you need pro­vided you don’t un­duly de­lay play. In other words, just be mind­ful of the group be­hind you. Will you, please?

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