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Should Divots Be Considered Ground Under Repair?


Foursum Golf

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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I was the forecaddy on the #10 Hole at The Masters, for several years. At the end of each round the prepare the course fo the following day’s round. Part of these preparations are to fill all fairway divots with a green colored mixture of sand, seed and fertilizer. Each hole has a USGA or PGA Tour rules official assigned to each hole. Every year I would asked my assigned official “if they repair these divots after each round, why aren’t they considered ground under repair? I never received a palpable answer. Mostly just humma, humma, answers. Typical USGA and PGA Tour answers, because we say it’s not GUR. 

JLC4Glf

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51 minutes ago, JLC4GLF said:

I was the forecaddy on the #10 Hole at The Masters, for several years. At the end of each round the prepare the course fo the following day’s round. Part of these preparations are to fill all fairway divots with a green colored mixture of sand, seed and fertilizer. Each hole has a USGA or PGA Tour rules official assigned to each hole. Every year I would asked my assigned official “if they repair these divots after each round, why aren’t they considered ground under repair? I never received a palpable answer. Mostly just humma, humma, answers. Typical USGA and PGA Tour answers, because we say it’s not GUR. 

The reasons why they're not GUR have been explained multiple times throughout this topic and many times by the USGA and R&A.

In short, if you can accurately define a "divot" @JLC4GLF (or actually, if you can accurately describe a "divot hole") in such a way that everyone understands to within a very small degree what is a divot hole and when a divot hole ceases to be "under repair" (i.e. it has healed enough that it's not a divot hole anymore), then you might have a start.

The thing is, GUR is under "abnormal ground conditions" and a divot hole is not an abnormal ground condition when found on a golf course (it may be on a baseball diamond, a soccer field, or a croquet court, but so far as I know those sports don't have a rule covering divot holes either). It's an expected condition.

And ultimately, sometimes golfers simply have to suck it up and deal with a little bit of bad luck. Just as they "deal" with a ball hitting a tree on a wayward shot and bouncing back into the fairway.

The green sand is for two reasons:

  • it looks better on TV.
  • it helps the grass grow back faster.

That's it. It's not being "repaired." It's healing. It's re-growing.

And until someone can define when it ceases to be a divot hole because it's re-grown, healed, or repaired enough… and how it's somehow an "abnormal" ground condition on a golf course… divot holes will not and should not be deemed GUR.

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On 11/8/2013 at 2:23 PM, Foursum Golf said:

I have heard people say that sand-filled divots should be considered ground under repair. Thoughts?

I answered "yes" before I read the first post.
At my local course, my league considers divot holes as GUR. That is because they are actual holes and no one really repairs them. We don't have sand on the course to fill them in, and the grounds crew clearly does not either.
Therefore, the course institutes winter rules and allows for lift, clean and place no further to the hole.

I guess if the divots were filled with sand it would be a different story.

 

Edited by Elmer
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"Should"?  meh, opinions are everywhere.   I'd "like" to be able to treat as such, but I don't get into as many as one might think, even on some of the less well maintained goat tracks around here.  it's pretty minimal impact for a 'fun' golfer.  I'd say yes if that was the question.  but it's not the question.

The question is "should it under the rules of golf?"  The answer from me is NO. Because they aren't.  "Should", and "under the rules of golf" don't really go together in the same sentence.  It makes the question a pretty closed request.  So, enjoy the challenge.  Pulling off a great shot from a crappy lie is a special feeling of accomplishment...

Edited by rehmwa
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  • 3 months later...
3 minutes ago, iacas said:

Many of those other things are changed too.

And divots, sorry, you ain’t winning that one.

I know I won't.  But someone by the name of Jack Nicklaus said that divots should be considered GUR.  I totally agree.  If someone leaves a big fat divot in the ground, why should I be penalized for having my ball roll into it?  Makes no sense. 

I'm glad the wind blowing your ball on the green won't be a penalty for you.  That was beyond ridiculous.

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8 minutes ago, Herkimer said:

I know I won't.  But someone by the name of Jack Nicklaus said that divots should be considered GUR.  I totally agree.  If someone leaves a big fat divot in the ground, why should I be penalized for having my ball roll into it?  Makes no sense. 

I'm glad the wind blowing your ball on the green won't be a penalty for you.  That was beyond ridiculous.

Amen that.Having to hit out of someone else's damage to course has never been right.The problem is sometimes its hard to tell if its a old divot or just an issue with grass growth.

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1 hour ago, Herkimer said:

I know I won't.  But someone by the name of Jack Nicklaus said that divots should be considered GUR.

And he was, IMO, soundly defeated in a very short debate with Mike Davis on that topic:

That's the biggest issue: nobody can define a "divot hole" (the divot is the thing that comes out of the ground, not the hole left behind) in such a way that everyone will agree when a divot hole ceases to be a divot hole.

Divot holes are not "abnormal ground conditions." They're quite common on the golf course, in fact. And luck is a little bit of a factor: you don't like a divot hole affecting your tee shot in the fairway, but you certainly enjoy when your ball kicks off a tree back into the fairway, don't you?

And seriously, the number of times your ball lands in a divot hole in the fairway can probably be counted on one hand in an entire year. I've paid attention and I've been in exactly one divot hole in the last two years. Two divot holes if I go back another year (three years), and that one was… in the rough.

39 minutes ago, Herkimer said:

Yep, that's part of the problem.  The governing bodies are so nervous that a golfer won't be honest and true to the sport.

It's got nothing to do with being "honest and true to the sport." Two reasonable people could disagree whether a "divot hole" has ceased to be a "divot hole." The standard can't be uniformly defined and thus can't be uniformly applied.

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Good find with the video.  I'm still siding with Jack on this.  My feeling is that if there's any doubt about it being a divot, then it's not a divot.  If I didn't fill in my divots and if you landed in the hole (kind of hole) that I created with my wedge, you'd be in big trouble with your next shot.  My point is that that wouldn't be fair at all to you.  I think it would be very fair if you could move your ball out of my divot and place it right behind the divot on normal fairway.  (I know, I know....life isn't fair....so why should golf be?)

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Just now, Herkimer said:

Good find with the video.  I'm still siding with Jack on this.  My feeling is that if there's any doubt about it being a divot, then it's not a divot.

🤦‍♂️

Then every time your opponent thought he was in a divot hole, you'd have doubt about it, and every time you were in one, your opponents would have doubt.

You can't define a divot hole in such a way that removes the doubt AND a divot hole is not an "abnormal ground condition" on a golf course.

1 minute ago, Herkimer said:

If I didn't fill in my divots and if you landed in the hole (kind of hole) that I created with my wedge, you'd be in big trouble with your next shot.

Who says? I've hit some of my best shots out of divot holes.

1 minute ago, Herkimer said:

My point is that that wouldn't be fair at all to you.

It's fair, because we all play under the same rules.

Using the other definition of "fair," it's not "fair" that a ball headed OB can hit a tree and kick out into the fairway, too, but we don't make you take stroke and distance there, either.

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1 hour ago, Herkimer said:

If someone leaves a big fat divot in the ground, why should I be penalized for having my ball roll into it?

It's not a penalty, and you're not penalized. It's golf. It may be little more difficult of a shot..but isn't that just golf? What if your ball is below or above your feet because the fairway has a natural slope to it? Is it fair you have to play a more difficult shot even though you hit the fairway? It's just a normal condition of a golf course.

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36 minutes ago, iacas said:

🤦‍♂️

Then every time your opponent thought he was in a divot hole, you'd have doubt about it, and every time you were in one, your opponents would have doubt.

You can't define a divot hole in such a way that removes the doubt AND a divot hole is not an "abnormal ground condition" on a golf course.

Who says? I've hit some of my best shots out of divot holes.

It's fair, because we all play under the same rules.

Using the other definition of "fair," it's not "fair" that a ball headed OB can hit a tree and kick out into the fairway, too, but we don't make you take stroke and distance there, either.

If there's doubt, then the ball stays.  But you're right, this is why the rule won't be changed and good shots might be penalized.  I can hit a nice shot out of a divot, too, but not all divots are created the same.  A guy hits it really fat and doesn't replace it or fill it in, it's not right. 

The "hitting into a tree" comparison doesn't make sense to me, unless some golfer went and planted a tree in the fairway in front of you.  Besides, you're not supposed to hit into a tree, but when has anyone ever said to you that you're not supposed to have your ball roll into someone's deep divot?  Are you supposed to look down the fairway and make sure you don't hit your ball into someone's divot that's 275 yards away? 

Bottom line:  This rule won't be changed.  But moving the ball out of a hole in the fairway with no penalty does make sense to me. 

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No they shouldnt. I feel they are just a byproduct of the game and the caddy should be on his/ her game letting his boss know that "hey the landing area from 235- 245 is pretty chunked up, either land short or fly them to give us the best lie up there."

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1 minute ago, Herkimer said:

If there's doubt, then the ball stays. But you're right, this is why the rule won't be changed and good shots might be penalized.

As @Vinsk said, they're not penalized.

1 minute ago, Herkimer said:

A guy hits it really fat and doesn't replace it or fill it in, it's not right. 

You can say it all you want; I'm not going to agree. It's not "wrong" either, except perhaps not the best etiquette by that guy. And sometimes I'd rather be in a divot hole than in a sand-filled divot hole, or in a divot hole where the player put back the chunks of divot that were removed.

1 minute ago, Herkimer said:

The "hitting into a tree" comparison doesn't make sense to me

I'll dumb it down: sometimes you get bad luck, and sometimes you get good luck. You can't legislate out all of the bad luck and keep the good luck.

1 minute ago, Herkimer said:

Bottom line:  This rule won't be changed.  But moving the ball out of a hole in the fairway with no penalty does make sense to me. 

Define "divot hole" so clearly that everyone can tell when a divot hole is a divot hole and when it ceases to be one, and you'll have overcome one of the two things necessary to change the rule. The second, of course, is how it's not at all an unexpected or abnormal condition to find on the golf course, like all other types of GUR or "abnormal ground conditions."

If you want to argue some more, hey, this topic is 41 pages long. Your arguments have all been made before. As have mine. 🙂

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51 minutes ago, Herkimer said:

Besides, you're not supposed to hit into a tree, 

Yes. So when a player does and his ball nails it and deflects right back into the fairway...why should he be ‘rewarded’ for a bad shot? The answer to that is your answer regarding a divot hole. Sometimes you get a break, sometimes you don’t.

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10 hours ago, Herkimer said:

The "hitting into a tree" comparison doesn't make sense to me, unless some golfer went and planted a tree in the fairway in front of you. 

I believe Arthur Hills golf courses have a tree planted in the fairway somewhere on each course ;)

10 hours ago, iacas said:

Define "divot hole" so clearly that everyone can tell when a divot hole is a divot hole and when it ceases to be one, and you'll have overcome one of the two things necessary to change the rule. The second, of course, is how it's not at all an unexpected or abnormal condition to find on the golf course, like all other types of GUR or "abnormal ground conditions."

This is the big issue here. What if you find yourself on a course that had a bad summer. Maybe the grass has died in a few places. In some cases that area looks like an area that sees a lot of play (divots).

 

 

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I think it will be fair to drop without penalty from divots.. but it will never happend so learn to hit it like it is in a crossbunker.
Like someone said before.. in the last 3 years I just faced 2 or 3 shots from a divot so it isn´t something that affect a lot your scores.

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

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