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bkuehn1952

Animal Hole - How to Determine Whether It Was Made By a Burrowing Animal

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Let's say you are playing a course in the north central USA.  Your ball ends up in a freshly excavated hole located in the center of the fairway.  It is a bit smaller than your fist.  It is pretty clearly not a divot hole.  You do not know what sort of animal made the hole.  It could have been a fox squirrel (tree dweller) digging for a nut or it might be a ground squirrel's attempt to start a new home.

One gets relief from a hole made by a burrowing animal.  There is no relief from a non-burrowing animal (like a fox squirrel) unless the committee marked the area as GUR.  Do you take a penalty stroke to get relief because you can't say with certainty that this was made by a burrowing animal while in a similar situation, a local zoologist gets free relief because she recognizes the species that made the hole (ground squirrel)?

I would be inclined to call it a hole made by a burrowing animal unless I witnessed the critter doing it AND knew the animal did not create holes for burrows or protection.

What do you think?  I could not find a Decision on point but maybe I missed it.

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Let's say you are playing a course in the north central USA.  Your ball ends up in a freshly excavated hole located in the center of the fairway.  It is a bit smaller than your fist.  It is pretty clearly not a divot hole.  You do not know what sort of animal made the hole.  It could have been a fox squirrel (tree dweller) digging for a nut or it might be a ground squirrel's attempt to start a new home.

One gets relief from a hole made by a burrowing animal.  There is no relief from a non-burrowing animal (like a fox squirrel) unless the committee marked the area as GUR.  Do you take a penalty stroke to get relief because you can't say with certainty that this was made by a burrowing animal while in a similar situation, a local zoologist gets free relief because she recognizes the species that made the hole (ground squirrel)?

I would be inclined to call it a hole made by a burrowing animal unless I witnessed the critter doing it AND knew the animal did not create holes for burrows or protection.

What do you think?  I could not find a Decision on point but maybe I missed it.

My thoughts.

The committee is the one that needs to determine whether that particular hole is that of a burrowing animal or not.  In a stroke play competition, I'd play a second ball under rule 3-3.  In a private round, you and your FC's make up the committee and will decide amongst yourselves.

Having said that, I think the committee, whichever committee it is, needs to be virtually certain that the hole was, in fact, made by a burrowing animal in order to grant relief.  The rules are very clear that not all holes made by animals qualify for relief.  In the absence of virtual certainty that the hole you happened to end up in was made by a burrowing animal, I don't see how you and your FC's acting as your own committee can grant relief......

.......but my buddies and I probably would too. :whistle:

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What about animal damage that occurred overnight (no GUR sign)?   In my course, animals often turn sod over to get at its root.  Ball can land inside of it and become unplayable (e.g, get underneath overturned sod).

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We have numerous wild pigs on the nearby golf property and they cause loads of damage, thankfully hardly ever on the greens.  The basic rule here is that such torn-up ground, wherever found, is deemed to be 'abnormal ground' and free relief is offered. Often times that relief is many yards away as the pigs root huge areas. Try that rule, see if it fits your needs.

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In a casual round with no rules officials or committee I would do exactly as I think they would do. Determine by my best judgment whether it was a burrowing animal or not.

Sometimes I might be right and sometimes I might be wrong in that judgment, but the same can be said for rules officials and committees. They are no more experts on animal holes than I am.

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