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Should Divots Be Considered Ground Under Repair?


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Should divot holes be considered GUR under the Rules of Golf?  

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  1. 1. Should divot holes be considered GUR under the Rules of Golf?



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18 minutes ago, David in FL said:

Completely subjective, and as such it cannot be applied equally and consistently to every golfer/situation.   You're simply saying that if you want to move your ball, you can do so.  Again, back to the first Principle of the game.  

Ball marks on the green are also subjective and I've run into those situations more often (which isn't to say frequently, maybe 5 times ever) than the example you cite (which I've never encountered).  

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36 minutes ago, imsys0042 said:

And since it tends to be rare, I doubt this, if properly applied, affects score or handicap.   People try to abuse causal water and other relief situations, it meets the same standard.

the issue is still figuring out if it is a divot or some other defect on the course. We play golf on not absolute perfect conditions. In the end the rules are fair because they are applied equally.

Golf is a game of good and bad bounces. I've absolutely ended up in some BS lies, like an area washed out by water that was muddy but not standing water, not marked as GUR. I cursed the golfing gods and tried to hit the best shot I could. 

I see no reason to add the complexity of subjective reasoning to this. You know for certain what OB is. You know for certain what a lateral hazard is. You know for certain what standing water is. You do not know for certain if something is a divot or not.

 

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7 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

I see no reason to add the complexity of subjective reasoning to this. You know for certain what OB is. You know for certain what a lateral hazard is. You know for certain what standing water is. You do not know for certain if something is a divot or not.

Agree with what you posted, and highlighting this one aspect. It's just so subjective as @David in FL mentioned in an earlier post. You really have no idea especially as they grow back. Even though I would find it cool if the rule changed, I would probably never really use it. I say this even though I've been in divots (with or without sand) a lot more often than some of the people here (about once a week, and even last night on a purely practicing round). Divots are just a part of the game like ending up on a tree root or something. . .

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12 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

the issue is still figuring out if it is a divot or some other defect on the course. We play golf on not absolute perfect conditions. In the end the rules are fair because they are applied equally.

I see no reason to add the complexity of subjective reasoning to this. You know for certain what OB is. You know for certain what a lateral hazard is. You know for certain what standing water is. You do not know for certain if something is a divot or not.

 

What else is there?   Burrowing animals are covered.   If the course equipment damages the course then they are supposed to draw a white circle around it.   I fail to see how it is more subjective than calling someone out for extending his arms so his feet touch the cart path and therefore takes a drop from a bad lie, or tries to claim that casual water is really there, when in fact it does not meet the definition.

The main push back on this seems to be "too many people are going to try and pull something and no one wants to put up with that".   That's fine if that is why golf's ruling bodies want to take that stance, and people want to take that stance.   But that doesn't make it right either.   If it's a problem too big to police and too in-frequent to address, then by all means chalk it up to "rub of the green" or "part of the game".

However the point I am trying to make, and why I generally avoid the Rules forum like the plague (I clicked originally on the main page not knowing it was here) is that any deviation from the current rules gets the holier than thou folks riled up and it's sacrosanct that the rules are they are, are completely correct and discussion to the contrary is some input on the game and you are somehow lesser than others (your response is not like this saevel25).

But the fact that the situation is wrong, and that people would like to see it changed is completely decoupled from whether Jack Nicklaus thinks it's right or not, or whether it is absolutely right that you land in one and lose a match by a stroke.   It's part of the game, but that doesn't make it _right_.  And that is what a lot of people are saying here.

for the record, I still don't see it as some big thing to change.   there are other rules worth looking at.   mainly I got pulled in by getting two "you're disqualified" and a pasting of one of the rules when I replied to something where I was wrong about the rule but was at least showing good sportsmanship.

 

Edit:   and no one mentioned that I think it needs to be restricted to cases that are just as subjective and require looking at.   You cannot quantify a divot attached or replaced to the course.   but you can quantify whether a ball touches sand (we use that on my course) or whether it is beneath the ground in a divot, or partially filled divot.   I think the discussion over whether it is a divot or not goes out the window when you omit instances where it's been replaced and laying on top.   Not that that still means that the rule should be changed, for the reasoning above, but it does greatly reduce the ability to cheat by it.

Edited by imsys0042
Remove case where divot is replaced or growing
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26 minutes ago, imsys0042 said:

Edit:   and no one mentioned that I think it needs to be restricted to cases that are just as subjective and require looking at.   You cannot quantify a divot attached or replaced to the course.   but you can quantify whether a ball touches sand (we use that on my course) or whether it is beneath the ground in a divot, or partially filled divot.   I think the discussion over whether it is a divot or not goes out the window when you omit instances where it's been replaced and laying on top.   Not that that still means that the rule should be changed, for the reasoning above, but it does greatly reduce the ability to cheat by it.

The issue I see is that divots, unlike burrowing animals or equipment marks, are part of the game. It is an expected artifact of playing the game, while the others are not. On top of that it seems like determining if an indentation in the ground is a divot is somewhat subjective because of the fact that it is growing back as soon as it is made.

I see your point about there being sand, but sometimes people sprinkle a tiny bit of sand over the grass where there is no actual divot so the depth is only 1/8" deep rather than an inch or so filling in a real divot. It seems like by allowing any sand relief could also lead to potential abuse of any new "divot or sand" rule?

Edited by Lihu
Edited per Rulesman's post. My grammer sucks :-P
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Divot - a piece of turf cut out of the ground by a golf club in making a stroke or by a sports player's boot.

Divot hole - the hole remaining when a divot has been removed

Edited by Rulesman
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3 minutes ago, Lihu said:

The issue I see is that divots, unlike burrowing animals or equipment marks, are part of the game. It is an expected artifact of playing the game, while the others are not. On top of that it seems like defining a divot is somewhat subjective because of the fact that it is growing back as soon as it is made.

I see your point about there being sand, but sometimes people sprinkle a tiny bit of sand over the grass where there is no actual divot so the depth is only 1/8" deep rather than an inch or so filling in a real divot. It seems like by allowing any sand relief could also lead to potential abuse of any new "divot or sand" rule?

But that is exactly as subjective as the casual water rule.   People will try and claim it to get an advantage that they shouldn't.

While traversing the USGA rules section I came across a diagram of what is acceptable and not for an embedded ball.   There are plenty of ways to diagram and define what is acceptable or not, that are as subjective as other rules.  You can certainly define as top dressing as not acceptable.  You can certainly define a ball that is partially beneath the ground as something that is not subjective.   

Reading thru the website for the rules actually swung me more towards believing this is something that should be, at least discussed.

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10 minutes ago, imsys0042 said:

But that is exactly as subjective as the casual water rule.   People will try and claim it to get an advantage that they shouldn't.

While traversing the USGA rules section I came across a diagram of what is acceptable and not for an embedded ball.   There are plenty of ways to diagram and define what is acceptable or not, that are as subjective as other rules.  You can certainly define as top dressing as not acceptable.  You can certainly define a ball that is partially beneath the ground as something that is not subjective.   

Reading thru the website for the rules actually swung me more towards believing this is something that should be, at least discussed.

I agree that it is an interesting discussion, and in reading through all the posts it seems to have solidified my opinion on this matter. Winter rules which are applied to our courses in non-tournament conditions allow people to knock their balls out of ruts and holes (divots or not). People abuse that rule. I see many people moving their balls to a more favorable position even when it is all grass, but just halfway on the rough and fairway or something like that.

Casual water is also abused a lot, in a similar manner.

It seems like having more rules that allow relief is going to lead to more abuse?

 

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4 hours ago, 14ledo81 said:

at what exact moment in time does a divot no longer become a divot?

Let's try this suggestion that a sand-filled divot hole be called GUR until such time that grass starts growing out of it. And the same for divot holes that are not filled with sand (it'll take much longer for any grass to grow back out of those).

Not perfect as it won't fix all bad situations, but it'll alleviate them a lot and it's similar in definition as to what is casual water (or rather, what is no longer casual water). It's an observable fact, not an opinion.

There are other things in golf that are not completely certain either (without the help of slow-motion video camera footage), such as where is the entry point into a lateral or water hazard: sure, you have an idea but can you tell within say an inch? I would argue, maybe within a foot or two, but not within an inch. Yet, that two feet difference can vastly change where and how you take relief after the penalty stroke...

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1 minute ago, Lihu said:

I agree that it is an interesting discussion, and in reading through all the posts it seems to have solidified my opinion on this matter. Winter rules in on our courses in non-tournament conditions allow people to knock their balls out of ruts and holes (divots or not). People abuse that rule. I see many people moving their balls to a more favorable position even when it is all grass, but just halfway on the rough and fairway or something like that.

Casual water is also abused a lot, in a similar manner.

It seems like having more rules that allow relief is going to lead to more abuse?

 

So we shouldn't clarify it?   I see your point, but that still doesn't mean that it's worthwhile.   it was discussed on another thread, but the outlawing of posting as a single enables cheating to a degree because I can play a lot by myself and my handicap won't reflect that.   The reverse is true, posting scores that are higher that no on can verify is just as bad.   Still, a decision was made, right or wrong.   I'm not sure avoiding it is the right thing.   

My feeling is that you can clearly define, as well as casual water, on the basis of whether a ball is below the level of the ground (unfilled divot) or whether sand is present.   I would say that that leads to a lot of abuse, but reading the USGA there are provisions for cart paths and sprinklers as well.   Given the frequency of all three events, and how people will try to game for a better lie, I don't think we would be opening Pandora's box to an era of cheating.   "Oh yes, I always stick my arms out this far on this type of shot, so it's in my way!"  :)

Here's a little more granular.   If we say that divots are part of the course, then we should outlaw sand filling them in because sand is not a reasonable expectation in the closely mowed grass.   If divots are a part of the game, then I don't think sand really is except in a bunker, waste area, etc.   So do find yourself in one is not expected, certainly outside of a reasonable amount of what bad can happen to you.  if a course uses sand filled divots then perhaps a local rule saying that you can remove in the pretense of sand?   I'm not sure that is good either.   I don't like local rules too much.

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10 minutes ago, imsys0042 said:

So we shouldn't clarify it?   I see your point, but that still doesn't mean that it's worthwhile.   it was discussed on another thread, but the outlawing of posting as a single enables cheating to a degree because I can play a lot by myself and my handicap won't reflect that.   The reverse is true, posting scores that are higher that no on can verify is just as bad.   Still, a decision was made, right or wrong.   I'm not sure avoiding it is the right thing.   

My feeling is that you can clearly define, as well as casual water, on the basis of whether a ball is below the level of the ground (unfilled divot) or whether sand is present.   I would say that that leads to a lot of abuse, but reading the USGA there are provisions for cart paths and sprinklers as well.   Given the frequency of all three events, and how people will try to game for a better lie, I don't think we would be opening Pandora's box to an era of cheating.   "Oh yes, I always stick my arms out this far on this type of shot, so it's in my way!"  :)

Here's a little more granular.   If we say that divots are part of the course, then we should outlaw sand filling them in because sand is not a reasonable expectation in the closely mowed grass.   If divots are a part of the game, then I don't think sand really is except in a bunker, waste area, etc.   So do find yourself in one is not expected, certainly outside of a reasonable amount of what bad can happen to you.  if a course uses sand filled divots then perhaps a local rule saying that you can remove in the pretense of sand?   I'm not sure that is good either.   I don't like local rules too much.

This is why there are going to be good changes to the handicap system. Generally a club will verify your handicaps, and if you have non-club friends that play regular rounds with you it can also be verified that way. Posting only your high scores is much worse. It's the same as if you did favorable lies during a tournament.

The issue I have with additional relief for things that happen during the course of a regular round is that it could lead to a lot of favorable lies used during a tournament setting because people are so used to it they just do it. For example, I mentioned a few months ago that someone moved his ball with his club, and his response was "I did?" without realizing that he did it. It was apparently an unconscious part of his usual setup and address. Possibly a habit developed from hitting at the range so often?

Not sure how to define this proposed divot rule such that it is not open to some interpretation?

 

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Just now, Lihu said:

Not sure how to define this rule such that it is not open to some interpretation.

I do agree to a point.   Most of what I read here is any divot.   What I would argue in front of the USGA is this:

1 -  ball is clearly below the surface of the ground (just like how you are supposed to look at embedded ball, I saw the decision diagram and something similar could be adopted)

2 -  where there is sand present.   And I think that does have the potential for abuse, but that is why someone you are with has to agree.   just like the embedded ball decision, any dispute is against the ball being moved.   And given the frequency we talk about, it should be rare.   but sand is not an expectation to be sitting on, on most parts of the course.  I think eyeballing sand is the same as viewing water for casual water.

If the primary reason for not trying to argue for even some subset of what can happen is that too many people will abuse it and it's too hard to police.  i.e the rule makes things worse, then that is perfectly fine.   Then people should just say that and stop calling people cheaters or that they want to roll the ball all over the place.   Plenty of room to disagree on the rule, yet still follow it and agree that in a more perfect world it shouldn't happen, and if it did there would be recourse w/o abuse.  (it happened to me three times last year and I played out of it all three times, 2 holes and 1 sand filled).

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36 minutes ago, imsys0042 said:

What else is there?   Burrowing animals are covered.   If the course equipment damages the course then they are supposed to draw a white circle around it.   I fail to see how it is more subjective than calling someone out for extending his arms so his feet touch the cart path and therefore takes a drop from a bad lie, or tries to claim that casual water is really there, when in fact it does not meet the definition.

That's not subjective with the cart path. A person needs to take there Normal stance as if they were to hit the shot. They can't contort their body and go, "AHA, my feet touch the cart path." 

19 minutes ago, imsys0042 said:

But that is exactly as subjective as the casual water rule.   People will try and claim it to get an advantage that they shouldn't.

No it isn't. Casual water is clearly defined. It is visible water before or after the player takes his stance, when not in a hazard/bunker. You either see the water or you don't see the water. It's not subjective. 

14 minutes ago, sjduffers said:

Let's try this suggestion that a sand-filled divot hole be called GUR until such time that grass starts growing out of it. And the same for divot holes that are not filled with sand (it'll take much longer for any grass to grow back out of those).

Again, how do you define if it was even a divot? If you play on bermuda type grass you might not even take much of a divot. Maybe something that is hardly noticeable. It's too subjective to make it a valid rule golf. 

14 minutes ago, imsys0042 said:

 If divots are a part of the game, then I don't think sand really is except in a bunker, waste area, etc.   So do find yourself in one is not expected, certainly outside of a reasonable amount of what bad can happen to you.  

Not really. I know some courses offer sand to fill in divots. So it really isn't unexpected you might find a divot with sand or with out sand. 

4 minutes ago, imsys0042 said:

1 -  ball is clearly below the surface of the ground (just like how you are supposed to look at embedded ball, I saw the decision diagram and something similar could be adopted)

Yet the ball is not embedded because it's not in it's own pitch mark. 

4 minutes ago, imsys0042 said:

but sand is not an expectation to be sitting on, on most parts of the course.  I think eyeballing sand is the same as viewing water for casual water.

Sure sand is to be expected. People either are given sand to fill in divots or not. It's pretty common so it should be expected. 

 

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11 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Again, how do you define if it was even a divot? If you play on bermuda type grass you might not even take much of a divot. Maybe something that is hardly noticeable. It's too subjective to make it a valid rule golf. 

It's like pornography: you know what it is when you see it! :whistle:

Joke aside, if it's not noticeable, then don't worry about it and play it down. You know the kind of divot hole we are talking about, when a chunk of the planet goes flying and leaves a hole. You've seen them, I am sure you've created your share... Come up with a physical definition if you must (eg more than 3mm or 1/8h of an inch indentation below the surface level of the areas surrounding it, or some such), I don't care. But don't tell me it can't be done.

Edited by sjduffers
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2 minutes ago, sjduffers said:

Joke aside, if it's not noticeable, then don't worry about it and play it down. You know the kind of divot hole we are talking about, when a chunk of the planet goes flying and leaves a hole. You've seen them, I am sure you've created your share... Come up with a physical definition if you must (eg more than 3mm or 1/8h of an inch indentation below the surface level of the areas surrounding it, or some such), I don't care. But don't tell me it can't be done.

There you go, that is why it can't be a rule for golf. If it is not clearly identifiable for all cases then it must be played down. That is why courses mark for GUR. Because they have to distinguish between areas they deem unplayable or outside what is normal on the golf course. 

 

 

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1 minute ago, saevel25 said:

There you go, that is why it can't be a rule for golf. If it is not clearly identifiable for all cases then it must be played down. That is why courses mark for GUR. Because they have to distinguish between areas they deem unplayable or outside what is normal on the golf course. 

No, you got what I said wrong. You can define and identify what is commonly defined as a divot hole, by its physical properties (general shape, depth minimum, etc...). If some irregularities of the ground fall outside of that description but were caused by the swing of a club, fine, dont call these divot holes: they are not (or wouldn't be) by that definition.  They are ground scuffs (similar to practice swings brushing the grass, not divot hole) or whatever you want to call them.

Note that the rule wouldn't have to cover 100% of the ground alterations made by a club swing to be effective. In the same vein, not 100% of water-logged areas are called casual water: only those where the water pools around your feet (or worse). In other words, find a physical definition and limit the relief to those. Animal holes are also limited: not all holes qualify for relief: ask Bubba why he couldn't get relief from ant holes!... :~( 

Incidentally, as far as GUR, as you say, not all areas that aren't smooth are GUR, but 100% of those areas which are GUR (by whatever means they came out to be) provide relief opportunity.  The equity here is provided by the definition, be it physical (casual water or bunker completely filled with water) or manually defined (i.e. decided by the committee).

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  • Moderator
2 minutes ago, sjduffers said:

 But don't tell me it can't be done.

I don't really care whether the situation can be defined adequately, I believe the GUR rules should not be changed to include divot holes.  In my opinion, divots and the holes from whence they came are a relatively natural part of a golf course, and their impact is generally not particularly severe.  Note I say generally, we can all agree that there are some deep nasty ones, but they're a minority.  Consequently, I would oppose a change to the rules.

In reading this, there seem to be a sizable minority (for all I know it could be a majority) of people who believe that a good shot should always have a good result, and this simply isn't the way I view golf. I don't believe this concept of "fair" was a part of the origins of the game, nor is it one of the principles behind the rules of golf. 

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4 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I don't really care whether the situation can be defined adequately, I believe the GUR rules should not be changed to include divot holes.  In my opinion, divots and the holes from whence they came are a relatively natural part of a golf course, and their impact is generally not particularly severe.  Note I say generally, we can all agree that there are some deep nasty ones, but they're a minority.  Consequently, I would oppose a change to the rules.

In reading this, there seem to be a sizable minority (for all I know it could be a majority) of people who believe that a good shot should always have a good result, and this simply isn't the way I view golf. I don't believe this concept of "fair" was a part of the origins of the game, nor is it one of the principles behind the rules of golf. 

Actually, the fact that this isn't the case makes the game more interesting and fun.

If I hit fairways and greens then 2 putt or 1 putt every single hole, it would be a pretty boring game. Not that I wouldn't want to do that. :-D

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  • iacas changed the title to Should Divots Be Considered Ground Under Repair?

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