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Should Divots Be Considered Ground Under Repair?


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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16 minutes ago, David in FL said:

Where in the rules is the "fairway" defined, or even mentioned?

It is mentioned in 25-2. But wouldn't  mind they removing that and grant relief for embedded balls through the green! Although off topic.

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Just an FYI, mate.... I have been around this forum for quite a few years and have been involved in my fair share of debates. I have (or had) the habit of looking for controversial subjects to po

See below for an excerpt from a joint USGA and R&A report on topics not addressed in the 2019 modernization of the Rules. Apparently, the discussion on divot holes was very short, about the length

Two reasons. An embedded ball is in the same rule (16 IIRC) as “abnormal course conditions.” An embedded ball is not a “normal” course condition - it’s conditions that are softer than normal, so

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42 minutes ago, imsys0042 said:

I see this pop up from time to time.   I'm sure it's been echoed before, but it's just too difficult to determine when you get relief and when you don't.   And it will lead to arguments.

However when I am in a match play match with someone, I allow them to roll the ball out because it's just against me and not a wider field.   Why?   Because I think landing in one is bad luck and I'd prefer to win, or lose, on my own ability not bad luck.   Bad luck is part of the game, however I'd want to win based on me playing my best against someone else playing their best.  

You should both be disqualified if both of you are aware of the breach and say nothing.  That is a tacit agreement to waive a rule, which is specifically prohibited in Rule 1-3.

 

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I don't think it should be GUR. It's a part of playing golf, same as hitting a cart path and rolling forward or back 50 yards, or a sprinkler head.

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Well I wasn't aware of that specifically considering the ability to concede strokes and some of the "experienced players" I've played against I guess I will now. 

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4 minutes ago, imsys0042 said:

Well I wasn't aware of that specifically considering the ability to concede strokes and some of the "experienced players" I've played against I guess I will now. 

A note to 2-5 tells you what you may do:

Note 1: A player may disregard a breach of the Rules by his opponent provided there is no agreement by the sides to waive a Rule (Rule 1-3).

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16 minutes ago, imsys0042 said:

Well I wasn't aware of that specifically considering the ability to concede strokes and some of the "experienced players" I've played against I guess I will now. 

You could concede the stroke, but of course then you will likely lose the hole.  It's pretty rare to concede a stroke when both players are still in the fairway.

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8 hours ago, Fourputt said:

It really doesn't matter what Jack Nicklaus said.  He is not an authority on the Rules of Golf.  He was one of my favorite players, but that doesn't make his opinion on fairness in golf any more important than that of the next stranger I meet on the course.  

Golf isn't about fairness...

Of course it matters what Jack thinks and says. Not that this will change the Rules of Golf: it won't, and it hasn't in the 30 years since he first said it.  But it matters that arguably the best player in the history of the game thinks it's an unfair rule (he actually said the most unfair), in the common English sense.

Please stop repeating the same thing over and over: it's not adding anything new to the conversation and your rigid viewpoint (and expression of it) leads to circular reasoning, as I showed above.  Now, I know that this is the rule forum, and anything that is not strictly per the rules or in full support of the rules is considered anathema. But, I repeat for the umpteenth time: I know what the rule is, I know why it is so, I follow it when I play. Yet, I (like Jack) still think it's the most unfair (English sense) thing in golf, and he has a lot more credentials than me to say it.  Yet, you keep dismissing it like it's nothing.  Not cool.  Peace, out.

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3 hours ago, sjduffers said:

Of course it matters what Jack thinks and says. Not that this will change the Rules of Golf: it won't, and it hasn't in the 30 years since he first said it.  But it matters that arguably the best player in the history of the game thinks it's an unfair rule (he actually said the most unfair), in the common English sense.

Please stop repeating the same thing over and over: it's not adding anything new to the conversation and your rigid viewpoint (and expression of it) leads to circular reasoning, as I showed above.  Now, I know that this is the rule forum, and anything that is not strictly per the rules or in full support of the rules is considered anathema. But, I repeat for the umpteenth time: I know what the rule is, I know why it is so, I follow it when I play. Yet, I (like Jack) still think it's the most unfair (English sense) thing in golf, and he has a lot more credentials than me to say it.  Yet, you keep dismissing it like it's nothing.  Not cool.  Peace, out.

I can dismiss you just as readily.  I don't need to be bawled out like I was a 10 year old. And I wouldn't have to repeat myself if you brought any different argument to the discussion than what has been beaten to death for most of the 7 or 8 years I've been posting here.  You can blather about fairness all you want, and it's as meaningless as complaining about the weather.  As long as the ruling bodies consider it fair, it's fair.  G'night.

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5 hours ago, Fourputt said:

I can dismiss you just as readily.  I don't need to be bawled out like I was a 10 year old. And I wouldn't have to repeat myself if you brought any different argument to the discussion than what has been beaten to death for most of the 7 or 8 years I've been posting here.  You can blather about fairness all you want, and it's as meaningless as complaining about the weather.  As long as the ruling bodies consider it fair, it's fair.  G'night.

Rick, that's not really the way this goes.

If the sentiment you expressed there carried the day, there'd be no point whatsoever in ever discussing rules changes. And yet, rules do change, and sometimes they come from the discussions being had.

I don't think divot holes as GUR is going to change, but you can't apply the "as long as ruling bodies consider it fair, it's fair" approach to everything.

I get what @sjduffers is saying - the circular logic bit - and so should you.


For me, it goes back to the guiding principles, and those I don't think WILL change. I don't view divot holes as any more "abnormal" than other things like hardpan or whatnot. You're supposed to play the course as it lies, and as the Principles book says, the exceptions only serve to strengthen that principle.

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11 hours ago, klund said:

It is mentioned in 25-2. But wouldn't  mind they removing that and grant relief for embedded balls through the green! Although off topic.

True....  25-2 specifies "closely mown area".  It does mention that a closely mown area is one that's cut to "fairway height or less", but that's the only mention of the term and the fairway itself is never defined, nor to my knowledge, used in any other manner.

The one question that none of the rule change proponents can ever answer is simply, at what exact moment in time dies a divot no longer become a divot?  Even if the basic premise were accepted, until that can be precisely defined so as to apply to every golfer, in every situation, any proposal is nothing more than a desire to roll the ball whenever they like, in violation of the very first Principle of the game.

 

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37 minutes ago, David in FL said:

True....  25-2 specifies "closely mown area".  It does mention that a closely mown area is one that's cut to "fairway height or less", but that's the only mention of the term and the fairway itself is never defined, nor to my knowledge, used in any other manner.

The one question that none of the rule change proponents can ever answer is simply, at what exact moment in time does a divot no longer become a divot?  Even if the basic premise were accepted, until that can be precisely defined so as to apply to every golfer, in every situation, any proposal is nothing more than a desire to roll the ball whenever they like, in violation of the very first Principle of the game.

 

 

I would like to hear any of the proponents for calling the divot hole GUR answer this question.

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51 minutes ago, David in FL said:

The one question that none of the rule change proponents can ever answer is simply, at what exact moment in time dies a divot no longer become a divot?  Even if the basic premise were accepted, until that can be precisely defined so as to apply to every golfer, in every situation, any proposal is nothing more than a desire to roll the ball whenever they like, in violation of the very first Principle of the game.

 

 

14 minutes ago, 14ledo81 said:

 

I would like to hear any of the proponents for calling the divot hole GUR answer this question.

 

I'm Lihu, and I was a digger. It was so bad that random golfers on the course were even giving me lessons to shallow out my swing so my divots were not so deep. People watching from the side of the course were asking me if I was digging a trench or playing golf. It was horrible, then I saw the light. . .

This is a joke, but when people dig too deep they take out very large chunks of grass. Lucky for people behind me that I always picked up the beaver pelts and stuffed them back into the ground then liberally applied the sand from the cart. Went through 3 bottles of sand per full round back then.

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33 minutes ago, 14ledo81 said:

 

I would like to hear any of the proponents for calling the divot hole GUR answer this question.

I've answered this before:  at the point the individual's playing partner doesn't grant relief.  Golf is a game of integrity, especially at the highest levels.  If a player believes he's in a regrown divot that's not going to affect his next shot, I would expect that he would play it as it lies, why would he not?  The rule could be written to accommodate this.

It's similar to pitch marks on the green.  I play in tournaments and I'd say once every 2 or 3 rounds I come across an odd looking mark on the green that may or may not be a pitch mark.  I make sure before I repair, to check with my opponent to get his confirmation.  95% of the time, he concurs.  Divots would be similar.  Rely on the golfer's integrity.

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1 hour ago, David in FL said:

The one question that none of the rule change proponents can ever answer is simply, at what exact moment in time does a divot hole no longer become a divot hole?  

I will take the roll of devil's advocate.

There are a number of conditions in golf which do not have an exact "expiration."  For example, when is there no longer casual water? A player thinks he/she can see water collect around their shoes in taking a normal stance.  I don't see it and think the ground is just soggy/muddy without visible water welling up around his/her shoes as the player takes his/her stance.

Similarly, I am in what I think is a partially healed divot hole.  My opponent or fellow competitor disagrees.

In the two cases one might proceed in a similar fashion for stroke play: accept the decision, call a rules official or play a 2nd ball.  In match play, one can play it or take relief and let your opponent make a claim and see later what the ruling is.  

6 hours ago the "casual water" may have been indisputable.  6 hours from now the absence of casual water may be obvious.  For some period of time, there may be some question whether the ground is wet enough to qualify for relief as casual water.

 

I do not disagree with those who reject considering repaired or unrepaired divot holes as GUR.  During a round of golf, we really don't need to frequently debate whether a less than perfect lie is the result of a former divot hole. 

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4 minutes ago, Gunther said:

I've answered this before:  at the point the individual's playing partner doesn't grant relief.  

 The rule could be written to accommodate this.

 I make sure before I repair, to check with my opponent to get his confirmation.

The rules about 'playing partners' (ie fellow competitors) and 'opponents' are very different. A fellow competitor is not a referee. He cannot make decisions which may affect the rest of the field.

The recourse of an opponent who does not agree is described by bkuehn1952  above. He is only concerned with his own interests.

Can you tell us how you would write the rule?

 

13 minutes ago, Gunther said:

 at the point the individual's playing partner doesn't grant relief.    If a player believes he's in a regrown divot that's not going to affect his next shot, I would expect that he would play it as it lies, why would he not?  The rule could be written to accommodate this.

 

Would you take account of the player's skill or even the fellow competitor's assessment of the players ability to play the ball as it lies?

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4 minutes ago, Rulesman said:

The rules about 'playing partners' (ie fellow competitors) and 'opponents' are very different. A fellow competitor is not a referee. He cannot make decisions which may affect the rest of the field.

The recourse of an opponent who does not agree is described by bkuehn1952  above. He is only concerned with his own interests.

Can you tell us how you would write the rule?

 

As I said, it would be written similar to other rules where a player requires confirmation to proceed such as green pitch marks, embedded ball, where a ball crosses a hazard, etc.  It might be that the playing partner cannot confirm in which case an official would be consulted.

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53 minutes ago, bkuehn1952 said:

I will take the roll of devil's advocate.

There are a number of conditions in golf which do not have an exact "expiration."  For example, when is there no longer casual water? A player thinks he/she can see water collect around their shoes in taking a normal stance.  I don't see it and think the ground is just soggy/muddy without visible water welling up around his/her shoes as the player takes his/her stance.

Similarly, I am in what I think is a partially healed divot hole.  My opponent or fellow competitor disagrees.

In the two cases one might proceed in a similar fashion for stroke play: accept the decision, call a rules official or play a 2nd ball.  In match play, one can play it or take relief and let your opponent make a claim and see later what the ruling is.  

6 hours ago the "casual water" may have been indisputable.  6 hours from now the absence of casual water may be obvious.  For some period of time, there may be some question whether the ground is wet enough to qualify for relief as casual water.

 

I do not disagree with those who reject considering repaired or unrepaired divot holes as GUR.  During a round of golf, we really don't need to frequently debate whether a less than perfect lie is the result of a former divot hole. 

I don't see the argument about casual water.  It's either there or it isn't.  There is no room for anyone's opinion.  

The same would have to be true for your idea on divot holes but I don't see any way to be certain.  Unless I saw the divot taken, I cannot say with absolute certainty that a mark on the fairway is from a divot.  The farther the mark goes in the healing process, the less becomes the certainty.  In trying to regulate such irregularities out of the game you create a germ of indecision that really doesn't clarify anything.  

As mentioned by several posters above, actually landing in an alleged divot hole is a relatively rare occurrence.  To the one who said that in a 100 rounds he lands in 40 divots.... you must play the most poorly maintained course in the world.  That would make you the all time champ for landing in divot holes.  

One other thought which I don't believe has been brought up.  I think that a rule allowing relief from divot holes would tend to make players even less likely to replace or repair their excavations than they already are.  It's easier to blow it off when you think that it isn't going to be a problem for anyone following you.  

So, due to the relative rarity of the issue, and the difficulty of determining an end point to the condition, I don't see why it always seems to become such a big deal for some people.  It can't possibly have any effect on a player's handicap, and only very rarely even effect the outcome of a game.  It's a non-starter for me, and I daresay, for the USGA and R&R too.  I'd say that they don't address it as a problem because they don't see it as a problem any more than I do.

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33 minutes ago, Gunther said:

As I said, it would be written similar to other rules where a player requires confirmation to proceed such as green pitch marks, embedded ball, where a ball crosses a hazard, etc.  It might be that the playing partner cannot confirm in which case an official would be consulted.

 

40 minutes ago, Rulesman said:

The rules about 'playing partners' (ie fellow competitors) and 'opponents' are very different. A fellow competitor is not a referee. He cannot make decisions which may affect the rest of the field.

The recourse of an opponent who does not agree is described by bkuehn1952  above. He is only concerned with his own interests.

Can you tell us how you would write the rule?

 

Would you take account of the player's skill or even the fellow competitor's assessment of the players ability to play the ball as it lies?

I would add 2 definitions to the definition of "abnormal ground conditions" cited in 25-1.  

1 -  if any part of the ball touches the sand in a divot that has been filled by sand, then relief may be taken.

2 -  if any part of the ball touches the unfilled part of a divot, where the turf has not been replaced, then relief may be taken.

I feel those are just as subjective as causal water, or whether any part of the ball touches the putting surface, hence you can clean the ball.    Or even whether a sprinkler head interferes with your stance.   People abuse that one too.   Yes, you will get the people who try and claim a spec of sand gets a re-drop within one club length, but there are plenty of opportunities to do so already.   Additionally when looking at this, what about an embedded ball in it's own hole.   That's subjective if it's only embedded a small amount.

If there is a dispute with player partners, then play the original ball and the dropped one and discuss in the pro shop later.   Take a picture with your phone.

My only question is, where in the rules does it state that a fellow player has to approve?   I'd like to see that wording.   I looked thru 25 and didn't see it.

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

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