We all know we can take relief, but what about if you wanted to play it as it lies? Our Rules of Golf expert guides you through the variables of GUR
Ground under repair – can you play from it or not? It’s a simple question, but it causes genuine confusion for both golfers and competition committees.
Players aren’t sure, and I’ve seen various stabs at Local Rules over the years that have said all sorts of things.
We all know we can take free relief from ground under repair. It’s an abnormal course condition and it’s covered by Rule 16.
But what if you’ve looked at your nearest point of complete relief and just don’t fancy it? What if you’d prefer to take your chances in the GUR?
It’s seems counter-intuitive. It’s ground under repair after all and I’m sure both your clubs and your greenkeepers would much prefer you must lifted and took relief.
Is that a compulsion, though? Do you have to take a drop out of ground under repair?
Ground under repair rules
You can play your ball as it lies from ground under repair. You can take relief, but you don’t have to.
I’m not sure enough committees have grasped this when they send out Local Rules saying you must take relief from ground under repair. The reality, under the Rules of Golf, is you’ve got a choice.
Now, before you all start putting big divots in that newly laid turf with the big GUR sign in it, clubs do have an option to stop you hacking about in such areas.
They can declare it a No Play Zone when they’re looking to protect an area or a habitat. If they’re going to do this, it’s best to specify which areas to which it will apply.
I’m not a massive fan of blanket No Play Zones, or using them to universally compel players to lift from ground under repair, because of the rare but irritating occasions they force a player into a worse position.
A friend of mine once hit his ball into an area of GUR where a No Play Zone was in force. His nearest point of complete relief turned out to be under a fir tree.
Bad luck, you might say, but it was a situation that easily avoided if he’d also had the option to play the ball as it lies.
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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.
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