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Ground Under Repair sign

Do you have to move your ball from Ground Under Repair?

Is it compulsory to pick up from an area labelled GUR? Our Rules of Golf expert Steve Carroll explains

 

The bulldozers have been out, the rain has been falling like we all need to live in Arks rather than houses, and now it’s frozen solid. The perfect scenario for ground under repair.

Yes, conditions on the course can sometimes we less than ideal. That’s winter golf for you, but whether it’s inclement conditions or a course renovation, you can find yourself asking the sort of question that Ron Boyce recently emailed to me.

He wrote: “Can you please confirm the rule for taking relief from a bunker that has been deemed compulsory GUR?”

ground under repair

Is ground under repair compulsory?

I don’t think this is specifically the question Ron is asking (we’ll get to that in a minute) but his email raises a wider point about ground under repair that many players misunderstand.

If a committee has labelled an area of the golf course as GUR then you can take free relief, but you also have the option to play the ball as it lies.

There are a couple of caveats to this. If the area has been designated as a No Play Zone, then that’s a very different matter.

Now, you are compelled to take relief and you must find the nearest point of complete relief where interference from the NPZ does not exist. You’ve got a one-club relief area in which to drop.

A committee could also bring in a drop zone and make it mandatory where there is an area of ground under repair they don’t want you to play from but don’t necessarily want to define as a no play zone.

On to Ron’s main point. The definition of bunker says that when a bunker is being repaired and the committee defines the entire bunker as ground under repair, that means it is treated as part of the general area. It is not a bunker. You’d take relief as you normally would from an abnormal course condition under Rule 16.1.

Let’s say the bunker is flooded with temporary water. There’s a local rule – it’s F-16 under the 2023 Rules – that allows committees to deal with this.

They need to specify exactly which bunker, or bunkers, are affected and they are also classified as ground under repair in the general area.

Got a question for our expert?

Despite the changes to the Rules of Golf in 2019 and 2023, there are still some that leave us scratching our heads. I’ll try to help by featuring the best of your queries in this column.

Is ground under repair compulsory? Do you agree with this in the Rules of Golf? Let me know by leaving a comment on X.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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