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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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Quote:

Originally Posted by Rulesman

'Half the courses in Scotland'. Really? You played 290 of the 580 courses?

I have taken the opportunity to contact a CONGU committee member who says your claim is nonsense. Odd courses may have got under the radar but not many. But it may well be that some courses allowed relief in social play. I will speak to the R&A; on Monday to see what their reaction is.

Of course, the website you got your information from has no official standing. It is just a journalist saying what he thinks.

I think he's getting that from here: http://www.scottishgolfview.com/2009/12/changes-to-decisions-on-rules-of-golf.html .

I grew up playing under a local rule that allowed relief from seeded divots, hence my surprise at the heated reaction on this thread. I've not seen the same Local Rule declared in a while, though I've moved from one part of the country to another and am playing different courses. I didn't know that there had been a Decision specifically declaring such a LR to be OB. That article states that some such Local Rule was commonly applied, and that is consistent with my own experience. I'm not claiming that article is proof, but I'd suggest that it's better evidence of local practice than any of the opinions that have been voiced on this thread by people with little or no experience of the locality.

@Rulesman - would you be willing to ask your CONGU committee member friend to state formally, on behalf of CONGU and not as a personal opinion, whether pre-2010 handicaps obtained from play under such a local rule were invalid?

And if you are also speaking to the R&A;, would you be willing to ask them to state whether the 2010 Decision altered a Committee's discretion to make such a local rule?

And if the answer is "no" - would you be willing to ask them to explain why the Decision was explicitly effective from a specified date rather than retroactive?

Again, if what comes back is explicitly a representative R&A; view and not a personal view - then I think that would settle the issue for me.

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And if the answer is "no" - would you be willing to ask them to explain why the Decision was explicitly effective from a specified date rather than retroactive?

Decisions are given a date (typically January 1 of the next year, unless they're the odd mid-season variety). That doesn't change the fact that prior to that date the Local Rules were invalid. They were invalid before January 1, 2010, and after January 1, 2010, they remained invalid.

There seems to be quite literally one article citing that "half" of the clubs played that local rule, all by the same guy.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by birlyshirly

And if the answer is "no" - would you be willing to ask them to explain why the Decision was explicitly effective from a specified date rather than retroactive?

Decisions are given a date (typically January 1 of the next year, unless they're the odd mid-season variety). That doesn't change the fact that prior to that date the Local Rules were invalid. They were invalid, and on January 1, 2010, they remained invalid.

I'm willing to park that debate pending hearing back from rulesman and his contacts.

Decisions can effectively change Rules, can't they?

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I grew up playing under a local rule that allowed relief from seeded divots, hence my surprise at the heated reaction on this thread. I've not seen the same Local Rule declared in a while, though I've moved from one part of the country to another and am playing different courses. I didn't know that there had been a Decision specifically declaring such a LR to be OB. That article states that some such Local Rule was commonly applied, and that is consistent with my own experience. I'm not claiming that article is proof, but I'd suggest that it's better evidence of local practice than any of the opinions that have been voiced on this thread by people with little or no experience of the locality.

You grew up playing under a local rule that allowed relief from seeded divots, did that include tournaments or just non-tournament rounds?  Did you ever participate in a tournament where that local rule was specified?

Joe Paradiso

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I'm willing to park that debate pending hearing back from rulesman and his contacts.

There's no need to wait. You cannot demonstrate how the local rules were legitimate prior to that date because they weren't. Just because they were commonly used doesn't mean they were legit. See also courses marking trees or tall grass as laterals to speed up play.

Decisions can change rules. This one didn't. It simply confirmed the ruling and left it completely certain that clubs had been violating the rules if they had that Local Rule in place.

Just as with the lateral grass/trees example.

P.S. The only thing you may have actually contributed to this discussion is to bring to light the possible impetus for including that Decision. After all, it simply re-states something which should be obvious by the Rules alone. But one can see how the R&A; might have felt it necessary to add a specific, super-clear Decision if quite a few courses in Scotland were in the habit of implementing that as a Local Rule.

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newtogolf - I want to be clear about terminology, because this came up earlier too and I didn't address it.

If "tournament round" means a round in a club competition, like a weekly medal or matchplay competition, then yes. I am not just talking about "social play".

If tournament means an open competition (for instance, the course was used for Open qualifying back in the day) then the local rule may well have been suspended - but I could not swear either way. I did say right up front on this thread that whilst the local rule was commonly used, it was uncommon for high level competitive play.

My memory is that for the annual pro-am, the grounds staff assiduously seeded divot holes the day before - which makes no real sense the day before a competition unless relief was available. I would guess that a seeded divot is harder to play from than an unseeded one.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by birlyshirly

I'm willing to park that debate pending hearing back from rulesman and his contacts.

There's no need to wait. You cannot demonstrate how the local rules were legitimate prior to that date because they weren't. Just because they were commonly used doesn't mean they were legit. See also courses marking trees or tall grass as laterals to speed up play.

Decisions can change rules. This one didn't. It simply confirmed the ruling and left it completely certain that clubs had been violating the rules if they had that Local Rule in place.

Just as with the lateral grass/trees example.

P.S. The only thing you may have actually contributed to this discussion is to bring to light the possible impetus for including that Decision. After all, it simply re-states something which should be obvious by the Rules alone. But one can see how the R&A; might have felt it necessary to add a specific, super-clear Decision if quite a few courses in Scotland were in the habit of implementing that as a Local Rule.

It's really clear that nothing I can say on this matter is going to change your mind. So I'll save my fingers and wait to see if rulesman comes back with something useful either way.

I know the fact that certain courses enacted the local rule doesn't prove their legitimacy. In fact, if you google "seeded divot relief" you'll easily find several clubs who still offer that as a local rule in spite of the 2010 Decision! However, what I cannot find is any mention or comment or explanation anywhere to the effect that the 2010 Decision was to tackle a mischief that was deemed contrary to the existing Rules, rather than a practice that was simply considered undesirable - like, e.g. anchored putting. Nor have I found any suggestion that pre-2010 practice could invalidate handicaps obtained under the "wrong" Local Rule.

No doubt you will respond that any such comment would be too obvious to merit a mention. But in my opinion it's rather odd to have silence on the issue if the situation is indeed as clear-cut, and as drastic, as several posters have argued.

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It's really clear that nothing I can say on this matter is going to change your mind.

That's because you're under the impression that what you think is an opinion.

However, what I cannot find is any mention or comment or explanation anywhere to the effect that the 2010 Decision was to tackle a mischief that was deemed contrary to the existing Rules, rather than a practice that was simply considered undesirable.

Find a 2009 rules book. You will be unable to demonstrate how such a Local Rule is inline with the Rules of Golf.

It's that simple, especially since one of the Rules is that you cannot have Local Rules that violate or supersede the Rules of Golf.

No doubt you will respond that any such comment would be too obvious to merit a mention.

Wrong again, and keep these kinds of comments to yourself, please.

But in my opinion it's rather odd to have silence on the issue if the situation is indeed as clear-cut, and as drastic, as several posters have argued.

Who the hell is being silent about this? You call post #152 in a thread "silence"? Just because we're getting tired of pointing out the facts of the matter here doesn't mean we've gone "silent," but if you want to convince yourself that you've won because we've "gone silent," be my guest.

Goodness.

I've got a football (soccer) game to go to now. Bye bye.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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I know the fact that certain courses enacted the local rule doesn't prove their legitimacy. In fact, if you google "seeded divot relief" you'll easily find several clubs who still offer that as a local rule in spite of the 2010 Decision! However, what I cannot find is any mention or comment or explanation anywhere to the effect that the 2010 Decision was to tackle a mischief that was deemed contrary to the existing Rules, rather than a practice that was simply considered undesirable - like, e.g. anchored putting. Nor have I found any suggestion that pre-2010 practice could invalidate handicaps obtained under the "wrong" Local Rule.

No doubt you will respond that any such comment would be too obvious to merit a mention.

Yep. That's how I would respond. They are certainly not going to single out golf clubs that are using "local rules" in their decision. Putting the decision out there should be more than enough to let those clubs (and anybody else) know that the practice is wrong.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by birlyshirly

I know the fact that certain courses enacted the local rule doesn't prove their legitimacy. In fact, if you google "seeded divot relief" you'll easily find several clubs who still offer that as a local rule in spite of the 2010 Decision! However, what I cannot find is any mention or comment or explanation anywhere to the effect that the 2010 Decision was to tackle a mischief that was deemed contrary to the existing Rules, rather than a practice that was simply considered undesirable - like, e.g. anchored putting. Nor have I found any suggestion that pre-2010 practice could invalidate handicaps obtained under the "wrong" Local Rule.

No doubt you will respond that any such comment would be too obvious to merit a mention.

Yep. That's how I would respond. They are certainly not going to single out golf clubs that are using "local rules" in their decision. Putting the decision out there should be more than enough to let those clubs (and anybody else) know that the practice is wrong.

That can maybe be applied to the R&A;/USGA - but no comment from any journalist, commentator, blogger or forum member? That's the bit I find strange. I would have thought someone would have twigged and started a heated debate - something like this one.

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newtogolf - I want to be clear about terminology, because this came up earlier too and I didn't address it.

If "tournament round" means a round in a club competition, like a weekly medal or matchplay competition, then yes. I am not just talking about "social play".

If tournament means an open competition (for instance, the course was used for Open qualifying back in the day) then the local rule may well have been suspended - but I could not swear either way. I did say right up front on this thread that whilst the local rule was commonly used, it was uncommon for high level competitive play.

My memory is that for the annual pro-am, the grounds staff assiduously seeded divot holes the day before - which makes no real sense the day before a competition unless relief was available. I would guess that a seeded divot is harder to play from than an unseeded one.

Were any of these rounds you played while the local divot rule was applicable used to calculate your official handicap?

Joe Paradiso

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That can maybe be applied to the R&A;/USGA - but no comment from any journalist, commentator, blogger or forum member? That's the bit I find strange. I would have thought someone would have twigged and started a heated debate - something like this one.

Probably because most of the golfing world (evidently except Scotland) seems to have always known that if you hit the ball in a divot you play it from there. There would be no reason to debate something we all thought was already clear.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by birlyshirly

newtogolf - I want to be clear about terminology, because this came up earlier too and I didn't address it.

If "tournament round" means a round in a club competition, like a weekly medal or matchplay competition, then yes. I am not just talking about "social play".

If tournament means an open competition (for instance, the course was used for Open qualifying back in the day) then the local rule may well have been suspended - but I could not swear either way. I did say right up front on this thread that whilst the local rule was commonly used, it was uncommon for high level competitive play.

My memory is that for the annual pro-am, the grounds staff assiduously seeded divot holes the day before - which makes no real sense the day before a competition unless relief was available. I would guess that a seeded divot is harder to play from than an unseeded one.

Were any of these rounds you played while the local divot rule was applicable used to calculate your official handicap?

Yes. Pre-2010 - and that handicap lapsed after a break in club membership before I established a new handicap where I play now. Should I prepare for a visit from the authorities?

Quote:

Originally Posted by birlyshirly

That can maybe be applied to the R&A;/USGA - but no comment from any journalist, commentator, blogger or forum member? That's the bit I find strange. I would have thought someone would have twigged and started a heated debate - something like this one.

Probably because most of the golfing world (evidently except Scotland) seems to have always known that if you hit the ball in a divot you play it from there. There would be no reason to debate something we all thought was already clear.

Well, you said it. I proposed a similar explanation above though and now regret it.

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Didn't this all start as a question as to whether, in one's opinion , free relief should be granted from divot holes via the GUR Rule?  It seems to me that the responses should have been "Yes because..." or "No, because..."  Some how this evolved into a pissing match over what was going on in Scotland in 2010.

I think we all agree that as of today relief is not granted.  Does it really matter whether in 2010 or before someone in Scotland or Lithuania thought clubs could allow free relief via a local rule?  Golf historians may want to debate this point but for most of us, that discussion falls into an area that is not relevant to gofers today.

I think we all agree that clubs are not allowed to create whatever local rule they think is appropriate.  Clearly some clubs continue to create local rules that are outside the USGA/R&A; guidelines.  That is not really relevant to the question originally posed.

Brian Kuehn

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Didn't this all start as a question as to whether, in one's opinion, free relief should be granted from divot holes via the GUR Rule?  It seems to me that the responses should have been "Yes because..." or "No, because..."  Some how this evolved into a pissing match over what was going on in Scotland in 2010.

I think we all agree that as of today relief is not granted.  Does it really matter whether in 2010 or before someone in Scotland or Lithuania thought clubs could allow free relief via a local rule?  Golf historians may want to debate this point but for most of us, that discussion falls into an area that is not relevant to gofers today.

Well, you could take my earlier posts as a "yes - because it did no great harm when play under those conditions was, as a matter of fact, widespread."

Actually, I don't have a strong view on whether the rule should be changed or not. Ironically, as it turns out, I was suggesting that it was silly for the thread to get so heated when both options have been tried and seem to work OK in practice.

I think it's relevant, because it's a practical test of the other side of the debate.

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Well, you could take my earlier posts as a "yes - because it did no great harm when play under those conditions was, as a matter of fact, widespread."

Actually, I don't have a strong view on whether the rule should be changed or not. Ironically, as it turns out, I was suggesting that it was silly for the thread to get so heated when both options have been tried and seem to work OK in practice.

I think it's relevant, because it's a practical test of the other side of the debate.

Where are you getting that it was "widespread"? A couple of courses in Scotland hardly qualifies as widespread. SMH. I'm not aware of anybody that attempts to play by the rules that ever took relief from a divot.

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What is Widespread?-Seems to me the only reason anyone got heated is cuz you cant acknowledge simple truths[quote name="birlyshirly" url="/t/70984/should-divots-be-considered-ground-under-repair/144#post_922401"]Well, you could take my earlier posts as a "yes - because it did no great harm when play under those conditions was, as a matter of fact, widespread." Actually, I don't have a strong view on whether the rule should be changed or not. Ironically, as it turns out, I was suggesting that it was silly for the thread to get so heated when both options have been tried and seem to work OK in practice. [/quote] What MS256 says.-Ive been on this forum a little while and nobody pre-10 said anything about playing from divots.-How do we know it wasnt just ten clubs somewhere being stupid? Wheres the widespread hand-wringing over this "new rule" that affects hundreds of clubs and thousands of golfers?-You just have one article word for word in a few places. [quote name="MS256" url="/t/70984/should-divots-be-considered-ground-under-repair/144#post_922405"]Where are you getting that it was "widespread"? A couple of courses in Scotland hardly qualifies as widespread. SMH. I'm not aware of anybody that attempts to play by the rules that ever took relief from a divot. [/quote]

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Should divots be considered ground under repair, NO!!!

Can courses make it a local rule, NO.

Will they, IF THEY'RE DUMB.

Should they be pressured into it, NO

Just accept the rules for what they are. I can count the number of times I've had a divot lie on one hand in the past 15 years. I have played a lot of golf on some crowded courses. Its such a rare thing, it's not worth considering, or ARGUING ABOUT!!!

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

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