I keep saying that the one thing about golf that is most different from other sports is that we play in Nature, not on a prepared surface. So, you’re never going to get a perfect lie or a fair bounce all the time. But sometimes it’s just too much. Your ball lands in what looks like a construction project, or is comes down hard and sticks where it hits. What to do>
Rule 25 covers these events, and believe me, it is a complicated rule with a huge section in the Decisions book.
Basically, and abnormal ground condition is an area marked as ground under repair or covered by casual water. Ground under repair is generally is marked off with a white boundary line. Casual water is a temporary collection of water. Snow and natural ice are loose impediments or casual water, at the player’s discretion. Dew and frost are not casual water.
Exposed drainage lines in the ground are generally ground under repair. Be sure to ask at the pro shop.
Interference by an abnormal ground condition occurs when a ball lies in or touches the condition or when the condition interferes with the player’s stance or the area of his intended swing. If the player’s ball lies on the putting green, interference also occurs if an abnormal ground condition on the putting green intervenes on his line of putt.
If the ball lies through the green (not in a hazard, on the putting ground, or the teeing ground), the player must lift the ball and drop it, without penalty, within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief. The nearest point of relief must not be in a hazard or on a putting green.
If the ball lies in a bunker, the ball may be lifted and dropped without penalty, within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief, but in the bunker. The player may choose to drop the ball out of the bunker, under a penalty of one stroke, but must drop the ball on a line connecting the point where the ball lay and the pin.
If the ball lies on the putting green, the player must lift the ball and place it (not drop it), without penalty, at the nearest point of relief that is not in a hazard or, if complete relief is impossible, at the nearest position to where it lay that affords maximum available relief from the condition, but not nearer the hole and not in a hazard. The nearest point of relief or maximum available relief may be off the putting green.
A player may not take relief afforded for an abnormal ground condition when the ball is in a water hazard.
A ball embedded in a closely-mown area through the green may be lifted, cleaned, and replaced as near as possible to the spot where the ball originally lay. “Closely-mown” means fairway height or lower.
A ball embedded in a bunker must be played as it lies. Since a ball on the putting green may be lifted, cleaned, and replaced anyway, there is no special rule for en embedded ball here. Just be sure to do a thorough job of repairing the ball mark.
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