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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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Maybe you did newtogolf . The Rules changed w/e Jan 2010.

The rules didn't really change, there was a new decision 33-8/34 that removed the authority for a committee to make a local rule “providing relief without penalty from a divot hole or a repaired divot hole (i.e. filled with sand or seed mix)”

I wasn't playing during those times but I did watch golf and never saw a pro get relief from a divot during a tournament broadcast.  I'm not sure how many committees made such local rules so I'll defer to the rules experts here.

Joe Paradiso

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Fourputt

And he was answered.  Correctly ( and according to the rules because we are in the Rules Forum).  Logically (divots are a natural part of the game, and have been since the first one was created some 400 years ago).  Then you decided to add your two cents worth.... and it doesn't even have that much value.

You are entitled to your opinion, and we are entitled to show you how wrong you are.

If the question were "do the rules allow for relief from divots" you would be right.  Since the question was "should they be" there is nothing wrong with my opinion and I gave some reasons why.  No one bothered to address any of them, probably because they made too much sense.  Your opinion is that since the rules state otherwise and the game was created 400 yrs ago that I must be wrong.  I'm glad you decided to add your two cents worth but since you can't seem to address any of the reasons why I can see why they could be, it doesn't have that much value.

Okay, I'll take your challenge.  Where in the rules does it ever say that you are entitled to a good lie on the fairway?  Where does it even say that there is such a part of the course as a fairway?  What we call fairway the rules call through the green , which includes all of the course except hazards and the putting green and teeing ground of the hole being played (meaning rough, woods, bushes, etc.).

With one questionable exception, all rules are applied equally any ball lying through the green .  That means that divots would have to be treated equally no matter where they were encountered.  This brings a real problem with identification into play.  Can you really tell if that depression in the rough, or in a stretch of hardpan, is a divot hole?  I've even seen spots in the fairway which I couldn't have told if it was partially regrown divot hole, a scrape from something else, or just a bad patch of turf.  Not all golf courses are exquisitely manicured.  Should the rule be different for someone at a fancy private club than they are for the guy who can only afford to play the local muni?

This is why divots are not, never have been, and likely never will be legislated as a relief condition.

The ball is now in your court.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kenn

And the next time you hit a perfect shot and find yourself 2 feet from the cup and there is a nasty ballmark right between you and the cup make sure you play the course as you found it.

Why the hell would I do that when the rules clearly allow me to repair it? I'm not advocating self flagellation here, I use the rules to my advantage as much as I can but I do use the rules.

There are rules which apply to the putting green which do not apply to the through the green .  Just as there are rules which apply to water hazards which don't apply to through the green .

Quote:

Originally Posted by MiniBlueDragon

But then only "excessive" divots can be replaced properly. If a player takes a sliver of a divot there's nothing to replace but there's still a hole and a horrible lie to play off.

(playing devil's advocate by the way as I agree that many divots can be avoided by replacing the turf the player hacked up)

Whew! What's a correct vers an excessive divot? Not going there! I take your point though. Lots of courses had a local rule specifically, but only, for seeded divots to take away some of the ambiguity.

Of course, if a divot isn't "excessive", then it's not that difficult to play from either, so there is no reason to pass legislation to address it.

The game is golf.  Sometimes bad things happen to the best of shots (see Tiger's approach on the 15th at the Masters).  You learn to deal with that sort of adversity or you quit and try something else.  That all I'm saying for now.

Rick

"He who has the fastest cart will never have a bad lie."

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Quote:

Originally Posted by birlyshirly

Maybe you did newtogolf . The Rules changed w/e Jan 2010.

The rules didn't really change, there was a new decision 33-8/34 that removed the authority for a committee to make a local rule “providing relief without penalty from a divot hole or a repaired divot hole (i.e. filled with sand or seed mix)”

I wasn't playing during those times but I did watch golf and never saw a pro get relief from a divot during a tournament broadcast.  I'm not sure how many committees made such local rules so I'll defer to the rules experts here.

Correct on both counts. The availability was there via local rules. I can't speak for the rest of the world, but more scottish courses employed some such rule than did not. High level tournaments, including those such as you would see on tv, generally would not apply that kind of local rule. In large part, a course prepped for that kind of tournament did not need it to the same extent.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by birlyshirly

Maybe you did newtogolf . The Rules changed w/e Jan 2010.

The rules didn't really change, there was a new decision 33-8/34 that removed the authority for a committee to make a local rule “providing relief without penalty from a divot hole or a repaired divot hole (i.e. filled with sand or seed mix)”

I wasn't playing during those times but I did watch golf and never saw a pro get relief from a divot during a tournament broadcast.  I'm not sure how many committees made such local rules so I'll defer to the rules experts here.

Yeah, and I don't know how long that LR was allowed.  I never heard of it, and I've been involved in the rules for 25 years.  It had to be pretty obscure, and I never saw it in the rule book.

Edit:  I just went through the local rules for 2004 and 2008 and that doesn't exist in the list of authorized LR's.  I'm not sure how such a rule would have been changed in 2010, since the rules were not updated that year.  The revisions come out every 4 years, 2008, 2012, next one at 2016 (which is why the anchoring ban doesn't go into effect until then.

Rick

"He who has the fastest cart will never have a bad lie."

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This is why divots are not, never have been, and likely never will be legislated as a relief condition.

Well, that's just not true - as discussed above.

You make some reasonable points in favour of the current rule that there's no possible relief from a divot - but arguing that those same points make an open and shut case for what the rule should be is way overstating it.

I don't know what prompted the change in 2010 - but it wasn't a popular clamour that I was aware of.

Yeah, and I don't know how long that LR was allowed.  I never heard of it, and I've been involved in the rules for 25 years.  It had to be pretty obscure, and I never saw it in the rule book.

well, isn't that the wrong place to look for a local rule?

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Fourputt

This is why divots are not, never have been, and likely never will be legislated as a relief condition.

Well, that's just not true - as discussed above.

You make some reasonable points in favour of the current rule that there's no possible relief from a divot - but arguing that those same points make an open and shut case for what the rule should be is way overstating it.

I don't know what prompted the change in 2010 - but it wasn't a popular clamour that I was aware of.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fourputt

Yeah, and I don't know how long that LR was allowed.  I never heard of it, and I've been involved in the rules for 25 years.  It had to be pretty obscure, and I never saw it in the rule book.

well, isn't that the wrong place to look for a local rule?

No.  Local rules must be authorized by the governing bodies (R&A; and USGA).  Authorized local rules and specimen wording for them is in the Appendix of the Rules of Golf.  Courses are not authorized to just write anything they want and call it a local rule.  It's no different from courses which designate areas as water hazards which are not watercourses.  Such designations are not authorized because the reasons for using them are not considered as sufficient justification for modifying a rule of golf.  The same would be true of your divot relief rule.  It would never be allowed in a sanctioned tournament.

Rick

"He who has the fastest cart will never have a bad lie."

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Funny how so many posters get so heated and moralistic and spirit-of-the-game-ish. The current rule is the current rule, but it's pretty arbitrary IMO. I don't recall any great hoo-ha in the years when you could legally move your ball from a divot.

If there's a justification for the current rule, it's probably to save wear and tear on the course.

The rules didn't really change, there was a new decision 33-8/34 that removed the authority for a committee to make a local rule “providing relief without penalty from a divot hole or a repaired divot hole (i.e. filled with sand or seed mix)”

I wasn't playing during those times but I did watch golf and never saw a pro get relief from a divot during a tournament broadcast.  I'm not sure how many committees made such local rules so I'll defer to the rules experts here.

Correct on both counts. The availability was there via local rules. I can't speak for the rest of the world, but more scottish courses employed some such rule than did not. High level tournaments, including those such as you would see on tv, generally would not apply that kind of local rule. In large part, a course prepped for that kind of tournament did not need it to the same extent.

Are you saying that the Rules of Golf exhaustively specify all possible Local Rules? Or that they provide policy guidance with which local rules must comply, and then provide helpful specimens?

You're playing games with words.  The Rules of Golf never allowed a golfer to move a ball out of divot, prior to 2010 they didn't explicitly make it a illegal for a local rule to allow it.

There's a big difference between a local course implementing a local rule to move a ball from a divot and the Rules of Golf permitting it.  In 2010 they R&A; and USGA was explicit in stating such a local rule could not be made.

Most people wouldn't even know such a local rule was permitted so why would you expect there to be any "great hoo-ha" when the new decision (33-8/34) was made?

Joe Paradiso

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Are you saying that the Rules of Golf exhaustively specify all possible Local Rules? Or that they provide policy guidance with which local rules must comply, and then provide helpful specimens?

Yes they do.  They also provide a list of Decisions which deny specific rules modifications, and relief from divots is one of those.  I doubt that the relief you refer to was ever authorized, and this Decision was probably added to ensure that there is no confusion about it.

33-8/34

Relief from Divot Holes

Q.May a Committee make a Local Rule providing relief without penalty from divot holes or repaired divot holes (e.g., holes that have been filled with sand and/or seed mix)?

A.No. Such a Local Rule would modify Rule 13-1 and is not authorized.

It takes a strong reason to authorize a modification of a Rule of Golf.  There are a number of good reasons for doing so, and those are well covered in the rules.  When a course feels that they have a compelling need for something which is not covered, they should submit their request to the USGA  or R&A; for review and determination.  If they do not do so and still implement an unauthorized rule, it will not be recognized as a rule, and may even be grounds for a specific decision denying it.

One of the reasons why the rules were first unified 250 years ago was to control the proliferation of local rules which were making the game difficult to play when a player was away from his local club.  That work still continues to this day.

Rick

"He who has the fastest cart will never have a bad lie."

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You're playing games with words.  The Rules of Golf never allowed a golfer to move a ball out of divot, prior to 2010 they didn't explicitly make it a illegal for a local rule to allow it.

There's a big difference between a local course implementing a local rule to move a ball from a divot and the Rules of Golf permitting it.  In 2010 they R&A; and USGA was explicit in stating such a local rule could not be made.

Most people wouldn't even know such a local rule was permitted so why would you expect there to be any "great hoo-ha" when the new decision (33-8/34) was made?

You seriously want to argue those points, despite the fact that your interest in the game was as a TV viewer at the relevant time?

For actual players, at least in Scotland, those local rules were widespread, well-known and allowable under the Rules until 2010. Where's the wordplay in that historical fact?

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Quote:

Originally Posted by newtogolf

You're playing games with words.  The Rules of Golf never allowed a golfer to move a ball out of divot, prior to 2010 they didn't explicitly make it a illegal for a local rule to allow it.

There's a big difference between a local course implementing a local rule to move a ball from a divot and the Rules of Golf permitting it.  In 2010 they R&A; and USGA was explicit in stating such a local rule could not be made.

Most people wouldn't even know such a local rule was permitted so why would you expect there to be any "great hoo-ha" when the new decision (33-8/34) was made?

You seriously want to argue those points, despite the fact that your interest in the game was as a TV viewer at the relevant time?

For actual players, at least in Scotland, those local rules were widespread, well-known and allowable under the Rules until 2010. Where's the wordplay in that historical fact?

Allowable is not authorized.  And if they really read the rules, they wouldn't even consider it allowable.  They were bowing to the members, not going by the rules.  It makes no difference how many clubs chose to do this, they were still wrong.  Rule 13-1 is very clear and makes no exceptions for divot holes .  Playing the ball as it lies is just about as fundamental a principle of golf as there is.  Modifying that principle without a rule or authorization is, to me just about criminal.  You are very much on the wrong side of the fence on this argument.

Rick

"He who has the fastest cart will never have a bad lie."

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Quote:

Originally Posted by birlyshirly

Quote:

Originally Posted by newtogolf

You're playing games with words.  The Rules of Golf never allowed a golfer to move a ball out of divot, prior to 2010 they didn't explicitly make it a illegal for a local rule to allow it.

There's a big difference between a local course implementing a local rule to move a ball from a divot and the Rules of Golf permitting it.  In 2010 they R&A; and USGA was explicit in stating such a local rule could not be made.

Most people wouldn't even know such a local rule was permitted so why would you expect there to be any "great hoo-ha" when the new decision (33-8/34) was made?

You seriously want to argue those points, despite the fact that your interest in the game was as a TV viewer at the relevant time?

For actual players, at least in Scotland, those local rules were widespread, well-known and allowable under the Rules until 2010. Where's the wordplay in that historical fact?

Allowable is not authorized.  And if they really read the rules, they wouldn't even consider it allowable.  They were bowing to the members, not going by the rules.  It makes no difference how many clubs chose to do this, they were still wrong.  Rule 13-1 is very clear and makes no exceptions for divot holes.  Playing the ball as it lies is just about as fundamental a principle of golf as there is.  Modifying that principle without a rule or authorization is, to me just about criminal.  You are very much on the wrong side of the fence on this argument.

After accusing me of playing games with words, you say "allowable is not authorized".

Rule 13-1 doesn't explicitly mention GUR, or waterlogged fairways, or winter turf-management. It does talk about exceptions under the Rules, including Local Rules. But you think that everyone that went by a Local Rule, printed on their scorecard, and moved their ball out of a seeded divot was cheating. And "just about criminal".

There's not a fence in this argument. There's a yawing chasm, swimming with two headed crocopigs.

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Well, that's just not true - as discussed above.

I don't know what prompted the change in 2010 - but it wasn't a popular clamour that I was aware of.

well, isn't that the wrong place to look for a local rule?

The RBs have neve r said in any rule that divots qualify for relief. Therefore by default they never have. They have always taken the stance that the ball should be played as it lies.

The Decision was introduced in 2010 to confirm their stance as there had been some speculation about it and it was known that some courses were 'inventing' such a local rule

If a local rule is not specified in the Appendix or permitted under the list in Rule 33-8 then specific authorisation has to be sought from the R&A; or USGA. I have never heard of them allowing such a local rule.

If an area is badly affected they will recommend that the whole area is designated GUR

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Allowable is not authorized.  And if they really read the rules, they wouldn't even consider it allowable.  They were bowing to the members, not going by the rules.  It makes no difference how many clubs chose to do this, they were still wrong.  Rule 13-1 is very clear and makes no exceptions for divot holes.  Playing the ball as it lies is just about as fundamental a principle of golf as there is.  Modifying that principle without a rule or authorization is, to me just about criminal.  You are very much on the wrong side of the fence on this argument.

After accusing me of playing games with words, you say "allowable is not authorized".

Rule 13-1 doesn't explicitly mention GUR, or waterlogged fairways, or winter turf-management. It does talk about exceptions under the Rules, including Local Rules. But you think that everyone that went by a Local Rule, printed on their scorecard, and moved their ball out of a seeded divot was cheating. And "just about criminal".

There's not a fence in this argument. There's a yawing chasm, swimming with two headed crocopigs.

What a course or club sees as "allowable" is not always "authorized" by the governing bodies, and if that is the case, then it is not a legitimate local rule.  Whether it is printed on the scorecard or not is irrelevant.  I can print up a scorecard with anything on it that I want.  Is that good enough for you?

Waterlogged areas are covered under Rule 25 and have no bearing on this discussion.  Divots and divot holes are not abnormal ground.  This is where we seem to have a divergence here.  Taking a divot and leaving behind a divot hole is an integral part of playing the game.  Therefore, they are a normal feature for a player to encounter on a golf course.  It's too bad that some players don't see fit to make any effort to repair the holes, but that still doesn't make them abnormal, and relief has never been authorized for them.

Rick

"He who has the fastest cart will never have a bad lie."

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You seriously want to argue those points, despite the fact that your interest in the game was as a TV viewer at the relevant time?

For actual players, at least in Scotland, those local rules were widespread, well-known and allowable under the Rules until 2010. Where's the wordplay in that historical fact?

Sorry, I didn't know that courses in Scotland made local rules that allowed golfers to play golf however they like as long as the Rules of Golf didn't explicitly prohibit it, and that those local rules should be known by everyone outside those local courses.

Joe Paradiso

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For actual players, at least in Scotland, those local rules were widespread, well-known and allowable under the Rules until 2010. Where's the wordplay in that historical fact?

Any club in Scotland using such a local rule would have had a problem with their members' handicaps. All handicapping competitions would be automatically non-qualifying. As the only way to get and maintain a handicap is by playing in qualifying competitions, it seems an unlikely scenario.

All their Open comps for amateurs from all over the UK and Ireland would not have attracted anyone to play. Some clubs may have tried it on but any course that would like to think it had a reputation wouldn't think about it.

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Quote:

Allowable is not authorized.  And if they really read the rules, they wouldn't even consider it allowable.  They were bowing to the members, not going by the rules.  It makes no difference how many clubs chose to do this, they were still wrong.  Rule 13-1 is very clear and makes no exceptions for divot holes.  Playing the ball as it lies is just about as fundamental a principle of golf as there is.  Modifying that principle without a rule or authorization is, to me just about criminal.  You are very much on the wrong side of the fence on this argument.

After accusing me of playing games with words, you say "allowable is not authorized".

Rule 13-1 doesn't explicitly mention GUR, or waterlogged fairways, or winter turf-management. It does talk about exceptions under the Rules, including Local Rules. But you think that everyone that went by a Local Rule, printed on their scorecard, and moved their ball out of a seeded divot was cheating. And "just about criminal".

There's not a fence in this argument. There's a yawing chasm, swimming with two headed crocopigs.

What a course or club sees as "allowable" is not always "authorized" by the governing bodies, and if that is the case, then it is not a legitimate local rule.  Whether it is printed on the scorecard or not is irrelevant.  I can print up a scorecard with anything on it that I want.  Is that good enough for you?

Waterlogged areas are covered under Rule 25 and have no bearing on this discussion.  Divots and divot holes are not abnormal ground.  This is where we seem to have a divergence here.  Taking a divot and leaving behind a divot hole is an integral part of playing the game.  Therefore, they are a normal feature for a player to encounter on a golf course.  It's too bad that some players don't see fit to make any effort to repair the holes, but that still doesn't make them abnormal, and relief has never been authorized for them.

Well - I'm prepared to be shown where I'm wrong, but I see "allowable" and "authorized" as practically synonymous. Furthermore, I think "authorised" means consistent with the policy guidelines stated in Appendix 1 to the Rules, but I don't think the specimen rules are exhaustive of all possible local rules. I wasn't involved, but I'd guess that the rationale for divot relief local rules was either preservation of sensitive areas or protection of the course. You don't need to agree whether a divot rule is the most appropriate way to deal with those issues - but that doesn't invalidate the local rule.

You want to argue that the local rules printed on a homemade scorecard have equivalent standing to those on the card that you pick up in the pro shop? That doesn't even deserve a response.

Quote:

Originally Posted by birlyshirly

You seriously want to argue those points, despite the fact that your interest in the game was as a TV viewer at the relevant time?

For actual players, at least in Scotland, those local rules were widespread, well-known and allowable under the Rules until 2010. Where's the wordplay in that historical fact?

Sorry, I didn't know that courses in Scotland made local rules that allowed golfers to play golf however they like as long as the Rules of Golf didn't explicitly prohibit it, and that those local rules should be known by everyone outside those local courses.

Nobody said that the Local Rules on the Largs muni should be known worldwide. But it was common practice in the backyard of the R&A; - and the sky didn't fall in.

Quote:

Originally Posted by birlyshirly

For actual players, at least in Scotland, those local rules were widespread, well-known and allowable under the Rules until 2010. Where's the wordplay in that historical fact?

Any club in Scotland using such a local rule would have had a problem with their members' handicaps. All handicapping competitions would be automatically non-qualifying. As the only way to get and maintain a handicap is by playing in qualifying competitions, it seems an unlikely scenario.

All their Open comps for amateurs from all over the UK and Ireland would not have attracted anyone to play. Some clubs may have tried it on but any course that would like to think it had a reputation wouldn't think about it.

Really? So the golfers at half the courses in Scotland had invalid handicaps prior to 2010? When an argument leads to an absurd conclusion, it's reasonable (though to be fair, not conclusive) to suspect that the argument itself is absurd.

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Birly, your stock took a big hit today. If you continue your stock will be de-listed (from this thread).

You're clearly wrong. Quit while you're behind.

It has never been legal (let's say since 1900 on the off chance there's some weird rules sheet from a club in 1747 that shared its fairways with the polo club or something) to move your ball from a divot hole. Any club that had a local rule allowing it did so against the Rules of Golf. A later decision clarifying that they were doing so against the Rules of Golf does not prove that they were correct to do so beforehand.

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