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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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(edited)
10 hours ago, HoganApexFan said:

First of all, welcome to the discussion and best of luck with the subsequent onslaught against your position. 

Just to reiterate, relief from a divot in the fairway is the #1 change LPGA players would like to see, 41.96% of responders to the poll attached to this thread would like to allow relief, 58% of a much larger poll said they would like to allow relief, and the actual reason the USGA has stated for not allowing relief in their sweeping 2018 rules-changing is that they felt it would be difficult to define what a divot is, or at what state of repair/regrowth a divot is still a divot, not that they felt getting relief from a divot is a bad idea.

Edited by Ole Duffer
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7 minutes ago, jsgolfer said:

The only way to have everyone play by the same rule would be to make the entire fairway, a lift, clean, and drop on all shots from the fairway, like we do after aeration occurs or lots of rain. That would be the only way to take out the ambiguity of what is and isn't a divot hole, but then that just doesn't seem like golf anymore.  

Ding Wells GIF by YFTpodcast


14 minutes ago, Ole Duffer said:

Just to reiterate, relief from a divot in the fairway is the #1 change LPGA players would like to see, 41.96% of responders to the poll attached to this thread would like to allow relief, 58% of a much larger poll said they would like to allow relief, and the actual reason the USGA has stated for not allowing relief in their sweeping 2018 rules-changing is that they felt it would be difficult to define what a divot is, or at what state of repair/regrowth a divot is still a divot, not that they felt getting relief from a divot is a bad idea.

Completely inaccurate, and I've stipulated at least twice that lots of people WANT it. That carries no actual weight. Stop posting the results of polls. They're irrelevant.

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2 minutes ago, Ole Duffer said:

Just to reiterate, relief from a divot in the fairway is the #1 change LPGA players would like to see a rule allowing relief, 42.2% of responders to the poll attached to this thread would like to see a rule allowing relief, 58% of a much larger poll said they would like to see a rule allowing relief, and the actual reason the USGA has stated for not allowing relief in their sweeping 2018 rules-changing is that they felt it would be difficult to define what a divot is, or at what state of repair/regrowth a divot is still a divot, not that they felt getting relief from a divot is a bad idea.

This is absolutely inaccurate, here's the release from the USGA, which has already been posted in this thread at least once:

Quote

Play the ball as it lies – In its simplest form, golf is about playing the ball from tee to green by hitting it with a golf club, and not otherwise touching the ball. A fundamental challenge of the sport is to deal with whatever position your ball comes to rest in – whether good or bad. While there are some necessary exceptions (such as obstructions and other abnormal course conditions), the essential nature of golf means these must remain exceptions rather than the norm. Therefore, the new Rules do not provide relief without penalty from situations that some golfers complain about, such as when their ball comes to rest in a divot hole on a fairway or in footprints in a poorly raked bunker. In addition to being contrary to the fundamental principle of playing the ball as it lies, providing free relief in such circumstances would make the Rules harder to apply (for example, what is the difference between an irregularity of surface and an old divot hole?) and could slow down play when there are difficult questions about what is or isn’t a divot hole.

The primary reason stated is that free relief from divot holes would be contrary to the fundamental challenge of the sport.  The impossibility of writing an effective rule is an additional factor, but not the primary reason.

This is one of the very few times we might look to other sports.  Football doesn't take a vote of NFL players to determine what rule changes should be instituted.  Not basketball, not soccer, not baseball, no other sport bases their rulemaking on a popularity poll of the players.  Golf is the same, as it should be.  Opinion polls of players, of any level, are fine, but should never be the primary basis for changing rules.  Everyone who has posted here understands that a significant percentage of players would like the rule changed. 

Providing poll results doesn't add to the discussion of WHY the rule should (or shouldn't) be changed, and HOW the change might be effectively made.

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You'll notice in this video Mike Davis is being as gentle as he can, but it still boils down to two things:

  • This would violate one of the main Principles of the Rules of Golf.
  • This is not definable in a universally applicable way.

Jack says "half the fairway is sand," and c'mon. Exaggeration is one thing, that's going a bit too far. When you exaggerate so much, it just makes you look foolish. And if you know that people all lay up there, and half the fairway is sand (or even 10%, or 5% if that makes you uncomfortable)… then don't lay up there.


New rules for this topic (because I'm effectively the USGA/R&A here):

  • If you are a "No" voter (and not just by changing your vote, but because it's what you believe), you may continue to post as normal, because there's really nothing to say.
  • If you are a "Yes" voter, and you've made more than three posts, in this topic, you must now provide a definition deemed suitable by at least three "No" type people before you may attempt to clear the second hurdle: justifying how a divot hole warrants ignoring one of the Principles of the Rules of Golf.

The only thing the "No" people will have to do now is to point out why the definitions offered by the "Yes" people are doomed to failure.

There, I've just saved us all a lot of time.

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(edited)
22 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

This is absolutely inaccurate, here's the release from the USGA, which has already been posted in this thread at least once:

The primary reason stated is that free relief from divot holes would be contrary to the fundamental challenge of the sport.  The impossibility of writing an effective rule is an additional factor, but not the primary reason.

 

Even as I posted that, I knew that I was saying it inartfully, that I should be doing an exact quote and citing the source, which I found in my research of this topic the last two days.

But, Yes, playing it as it lies was the primary reason for not allowing relief; defining a divot was secondary.

At courses with big maintenance budgets and carts armed with sand bottles, the issue gets trickier when an old divot blatantly becomes ground under repair, particularly when players can spot seeds in the mix. 

I found it, where the USGA was commenting:

“To provide relief in that situation would really challenge that principle,” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of rules.

Said Rickman: “It’s part of golf.”

Another issue is defining a divot: Is every small indentation in the fairway a divot? What if it’s filled with sand? (Jack Nicklaus was among those who said sand-filled divots should be treated as ground under repair). Or partially replaced? With players questioning every spot in the fairway they think is unfavorable, it could become a pace-of-play nightmare.  

Pagel agreed that the rule is “one we hear about a lot,” but for now there are no plans to allow free relief. 

https://www.golfchannel.com/article/golf-central-blog/no-plan-change-rule-ball-fairway-divot

 

 
 
 
Edited by Ole Duffer
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I get the whole "I hit a good shot and THIS is what I get" mentality, but as others have pointed out: fairway divots don't make it unfair; it's a bad break, and we all get them. What is fair is having clear and consistent rules by which we all abide, tough breaks and lucky bounces included.

Moreover, if the rule was changed, wouldn't that open the floodgates, as it were, to a) players trying to take advantage of the rule over every little thing that could be less than a perfect lie in the fairway and b) unduly slow play even further? 

 

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9 hours ago, HoganApexFan said:

Why should @Billy Z have to define anything?  He is advocating for a position that is supported by a multitude of professional and amateur golfers (yeah, go ahead and question that despite all of the previous posts).  Why don't YOU, @Vinsk give us a definition of what is NOT a divot???  There are so many of you that are so smug claiming that we need to convince you to change the rules; how about you trying to convince us (and a plurality of ALL golfers) on why we shouldn't change the rules!

Because the onus is on those who want a rule change to propose the new rule in question. That’s kind of how these things work. You don’t walk into an assembly floor and say I want a law changed, you guys figure out the details.

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(edited)
1 hour ago, ncates00 said:

 

Moreover, if the rule was changed, wouldn't that open the floodgates, as it were, to a) players trying to take advantage of the rule over every little thing that could be less than a perfect lie in the fairway and b) unduly slow play even further? 

 

No, I really don't think so. Cheaters will always find ways to cheat, and divots can be defined by a rule system. I gave my definition of what I thought constituted a fw divot, brief, but accurate.

Edited by Billy Z
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43 minutes ago, Billy Z said:

 I gave my definition of what I thought constituted a fw divot, brief, but accurate.

Quote

 any abnormally made by the stroke of a club that has been left unattended, filled in with sand, filled with loose, that doesn't have grass grown back on it will be considered a divot, and allow a golfer relief.

Again, this isn't adequate for a number of reasons  Here are a few.  

A player cannot know what caused the cause of the "abnormality", although I agree that we can generally make a reasonable conclusion based on the appearance.  I'm not sure we can achieve KVC (knowledge or virtual certainty).

You want relief from divot holes that have been properly repaired (could be with sand, or by replacing the divot itself), even though there is absolutely no impact on the shot faced by the golfer.  Is that right?

You haven't defined the "doesn't have grass grown back" clearly enough.  Does this mean that initial regrowth is enough to disqualify it from relief?  50% regrowth?  Unfilled divot holes re-grow from the edges, it could be months before these are completely healed, relief that entire time?  Many courses use a combination of sand and seed for divots, does the initial sprouting of the seed mean something?  

Going back, you've claimed that it would be easy to write this rule.  See if you can fix these things.  

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13 hours ago, Billy Z said:

I don't have that experience, but briefly, any abnormally made by the stroke of a club that has been left unattended, filled in with sand, filled with loose, that doesn't have grass grown back on it will be considered a divot, and allow a golfer relief.

Lets examine this then. 

This definition still doesn't give golfers guidance on differentiating between non-divot and divots. How do you know if abnormallity was made by a club? I get it is easy to tell if the ground is wet and a 1-FT long chunk of earth is taken out, but what if the ground is hard? What is the difference between that and damage cause by a maintenance person or an animal? 

What if the area is a fairway, it has been burned out or beaten up because its been rainy, and there barely any grass with in 5 yards of your ball. How do you tell if you are in a divot? If so, then were do you take a drop? Do you require them to drop on grass, or the beat up area? What if they drop and it lands in a divot, but looks less like a divot than the area they just dropped in? 

What if you are golfing in Florida and the ground has a higher amount of sand than something like Ohio were you would see less granular soils. Would they be able to tell if that was just natural occuring sandish area or actually filled in divot? 

 

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13 hours ago, Billy Z said:any abnormally made by the stroke of a club that has been left unattended, filled in with sand, filled with loose, that doesn't have grass grown back on it will be considered a divot, and allow a golfer relief.

What is an “abnormality?”

How would one know that it is made by a stroke of a club? Perhaps it was made by a practice swing or in anger or by accident, and therefore not actually a “stroke?”

What if it has some grass growing back in? Does it have to be completely grown in, under your definition? How do you make this determination? 

Does this “rule” apply only to divots in fairways? Your rule language didn’t limit it to fairways in your definition, so it would apply throughout the whole course, e.g., in a bunker, in the rough, etc. 

Why is there a requirement that the club that made the stroke need to be left unattended? Your rule language, as written, indicates that the club that caused the abnormality must be left unattended in order for the abnormality to constitute a divot because “left unattended” is modifying “club”—the next closest object. You should have used commas to signal your intentions and drafted more carefully. So what if the person that made the divot doesn’t leave their club unattended? How does the person who wants the drop know if the other person’s club is left unattended? 

There are other issues with your rule language, as well, but that will have to do for now. 

@DaveP043, @saevel25, @iacas, and others, there are lots of issues with @Billy Z’s proposed rule. 

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1 hour ago, Billy Z said:

No, I really don't think so. Cheaters will always find ways to cheat, and divots can be defined by a rule system. I gave my definition of what I thought constituted a fw divot, brief, but accurate.

Follow the rules of this topic.

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(edited)

@Billy Z, years ago I played in a Sunday morning league that allowed any and all balls that ended up in the fairway to be rolled within a club length regardless of the lie no-questions-asked. 

If I am understanding the spirit of your proposal and practicality of putting the rule in actual play as many posters have pointed out - IMO thereabouts is where your proposed rule would be headed.

Edited by GolfLug
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5 minutes ago, GolfLug said:

@Billy Z, years ago I played in a Sunday morning league that allowed any and all balls that ended up in the fairway to be rolled within a club length regardless of the lie no-questions-asked. 

If I am understanding the spirit of your proposal and practicality of putting the rule in actual play as many posters have pointed out - IMO thereabouts is where your proposed rule would be headed.

This is exactly it and why I don't think anybody need fuss over the definition of a divot (hole) ... because the advocators don't really care.  When in doubt, bump it.

They basically just want to say "lets play winter rules all the time and make it official!"

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(edited)
30 minutes ago, GolfLug said:

@Billy Z, years ago I played in a Sunday morning league that allowed any and all balls that ended up in the fairway to be rolled within a club length regardless of the lie no-questions-asked. 

 

Ah, the friendly fluffing a lie policy. "Winter rules"

We call that playing it up, fairway only, and intended to be done with the clubhead.  But, then, like most things, there are those who confuse it with LC&P, and pick the ball up, and look to find the perfect fairway tee.

😷

Rounds not played under the rules of golf should not be posted.  IMO

When I played high school golf in Iowa, it was mostly in March and April, and that policy was always in effect.

& I don't see anyone here asking to play Winter Rules all the time.

Edited by Ole Duffer
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19 minutes ago, Ole Duffer said:

 

😷

Rounds not played under the rules of golf should not be posted.  IMO

Duh.. lol.

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Thinking of consequences... If there was such a rule, every time a ball was sitting in the "fairway", some (probably a lot) of players would spend time trying to imagine that the ball was in a divot hole.  The rule would probably have to allow picking the ball up to determine such.  So that even if the determination was that there was no divot hole, there is a pretty good chance the player will improve the lie, maybe unintentional, but with cash on the line, who's to say?  I think there is a good possibility that it would be a pace of play disaster, and it really, really doesn't keep to the principals of the game.  We really should be keeping our hands off the ball while it is in play!  The little patchy clump of grass gets me more often than the divot hole, and I don't think I should get relief from that.  We are playing outside, on a prepared, and yet natural surface.  It's not billiards!  

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5 minutes ago, jlbos83 said:

players would spend time trying to imagine that the ball was in a divot hole.

Trust me... it was in a divot hole or historic relic of one.  If the course is old enough every square foot of the fairway was once a divot hole.  Except the area where Mr. DeChambeau drives his ball.

7 minutes ago, jlbos83 said:

It's not billiards! 

I've played on billiard tables that were less smooth than a fairway...

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