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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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13 minutes ago, Billy Z said:

Well, part of the issue with change is the fear of the rule change itself, in this case, whether it can be accomplished or not. If I have a say, I would say this: 2021 is the year we test out a new rule of golf, a free drop from a fairway divot. This divot is defined as any irregularity that has been caused by a previous shot in the fairway that is detectable. If it is deemed your ball is in a fairway divot, proceed as if it is a lift, clean and place situation, setting the ball 6 inches from the divot.

Now this is a rough description of the rule, but something like this would be good for the game.

Detectable?  Might as well just play LCP.  Not a fan!

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9 minutes ago, Billy Z said:

but something like this would be good for the game.

That is up for debate, and I would be in the group that disagrees.  Now, I will say that I'm not too worried about the way to define what is and what isn't a divot hole because, after all, your point is effectively that you deserve a good lie if you hit it in the fairway so it would stand to reason that if something like this were implemented, all you'd have to do if it was questionable, would be to assume it IS a divot hole.

Practically, the easy way to implement this rule is to simply say "if you are in the fairway, you get to lift clean and place it."  Because that is basically what you are saying, but it's easy to poke other holes in this premise, I believe.

First off, WHY do you deserve a good lie if you end up in the fairway?  Conversely, do you deserve a bad lie if you miss the fairway? If so, why?  If not, why not? What about a wild shot that carroms off rocks or a tree then lands in a fairway - do you deserve a good lie then?  What about a shot so bad that it lands in a divot hole in a different fairway?  Surely you don't deserve a good lie now, right?

The point is, the game is full of breaks, good and bad, deserved and undeserved, but that is what makes it fun.

Regardless of all of that, I honestly think my biggest argument for not changing the rule is simply this:  Have you ever recovered from a bad break with a great shot?  Specifically, have you ever hit a shot like Lee Westwood did Sunday at 18 out of a divot hole?  The feeling after accomplishments like that is one of the things this game is all about.

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3 hours ago, Golfingdad said:

That is up for debate, and I would be in the group that disagrees.  Now, I will say that I'm not too worried about the way to define what is and what isn't a divot hole because, after all, your point is effectively that you deserve a good lie if you hit it in the fairway so it would stand to reason that if something like this were implemented, all you'd have to do if it was questionable, would be to assume it IS a divot hole.

Practically, the easy way to implement this rule is to simply say "if you are in the fairway, you get to lift clean and place it."  Because that is basically what you are saying, but it's easy to poke other holes in this premise, I believe.

First off, WHY do you deserve a good lie if you end up in the fairway?  Conversely, do you deserve a bad lie if you miss the fairway? If so, why?  If not, why not? What about a wild shot that carroms off rocks or a tree then lands in a fairway - do you deserve a good lie then?  What about a shot so bad that it lands in a divot hole in a different fairway?  Surely you don't deserve a good lie now, right?

The point is, the game is full of breaks, good and bad, deserved and undeserved, but that is what makes it fun.

Regardless of all of that, I honestly think my biggest argument for not changing the rule is simply this:  Have you ever recovered from a bad break with a great shot?  Specifically, have you ever hit a shot like Lee Westwood did Sunday at 18 out of a divot hole?  The feeling after accomplishments like that is one of the things this game is all about.

Westwood's divot was not that bad, and I had one exponentially worst. Maybe because I ended up in a divot where the ball was 3/4 submerged in a fresh, unrepaired divot, leaning against the front vertical wall. A shotgun start on the #1 hc hole, I was the only one in the tight fairway. The divot looked like someone took a big chunk on their shot and, because they were po'd, they refused to repair it. I got the shaft, so to speak. Because of some jerk, I paid the price, and that p's me off. So I have some vested interest in these situations. I took my medicine, my opponents were amused, and chunked one up the fairway maybe 80 yards. I ended up with a double and blame it on the JA who must have used a shovel to make that ditch. I know this is a subject that has literally beaten to death, but that is because golfers have such polarized views about it.

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1 hour ago, Billy Z said:

I know this is a subject that has literally beaten to death, but that is because golfers have such polarized views about it.

Yes. Some are right. Some are wrong. 🙂

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

Yes. Some are right. Some are wrong. 🙂

I'm good with whatever position people hold, whatever it is, all people play by the same rules.

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3 hours ago, Billy Z said:

The divot looked like someone took a big chunk on their shot and, because they were po'd, they refused to repair it. I got the shaft, so to speak. Because of some jerk, I paid the price, and that p's me off.

You have no clue if that is true or not. I've seen some golfers take some nasty divots before with out being a jerk taking their anger out on the course. It sounds more you are just projecting your hatred onto something you made up in your head. 

3 hours ago, Billy Z said:

I ended up with a double and blame it on the JA who must have used a shovel to make that ditch. I know this is a subject that has literally beaten to death, but that is because golfers have such polarized views about it.

Also, you are asking for a rule change that happens to a golfer a very few number of times in their golfing career. Its been years since I had to deal with a golf ball in a divot in the fairway. 

@Golfingdad brings up some good questions around the basic premise of what constitutes a bad break or not. I do agree that just because your ball ends up in the fairway doesn't mean it got there because you made a good shot. 

I am 100% against having a free drop from a divot.

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22 hours ago, Billy Z said:

This divot is defined as any irregularity that has been caused by a previous shot in the fairway that is detectable.

That's a really bad stab at a definition. People would be disagreeing left and right, and how are you to know whether an irregularity was caused by a shot someone took two weeks ago?

22 hours ago, Billy Z said:

If it is deemed your ball is in a fairway divot, proceed as if it is a lift, clean and place situation, setting the ball 6 inches from the divot.

Why would you place it, when you drop almost all the other times?

I mean no offense by this, but this is the frustration those who are familiar with the Rules of Golf have with people who are not at all familiar with the Rules of Golf.

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4 minutes ago, iacas said:

That's a really bad stab at a definition. People would be disagreeing left and right, and how are you to know whether an irregularity was caused by a shot someone took two weeks ago?

Why would you place it, when you drop almost all the other times?

I mean no offense by this, but this is the frustration those who are familiar with the Rules of Golf have with people who are not at all familiar with the Rules of Golf.

Maybe my wording is not the most appropriate for the subject, but it was never intended to be. My main intention would be to make a couple points:

1) Many people would love to see a change, and many wouldn't.

2) That humanity is capable to change for the better, instead of caving to the fear of 'how could we ever have the intelligence to see this change through?"

I don't really care if it changes, I play the game with the same rules as everybody else, but hedge on the side of the change.

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(edited)
22 hours ago, Billy Z said:

 This divot is defined as any irregularity that has been caused by a previous shot in the fairway that is detectable. If it is deemed your ball is in a fairway divot, proceed as if it is a lift, clean and place situation, setting the ball 6 inches from the divot.

Now this is a rough description of the rule, but something like this would be good for the game.

That would be very bad for the game.

The interpretation of your suggestion would be that any lie that isn't perfect could be defined as a "divot". The "irregularity" could be a shot that interfered with the surface but didn't break through to soil - or something that a player "deems" looks like it. You're effectively saying that it should be preferred lies on the fairway all the time. You'd have situations where a player's "judgement" determines whether he gets a preferred lie or not. In other words, for some people, all the time.

The rule is fine as it is.

Edited by Shorty
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(edited)
19 minutes ago, Shorty said:

That would be very bad for the game.

The interpretation of your suggestion would be that any lie that isn't perfect could be defined as a "divot". The "irregularity" could be a shot that interfered with the surface but didn't break through to soil. - or something that looks like taht could be the case. You're effectively saying that it should be preferred lies on the fairway all the time. You'd have situations where a player's "judgement" determines whether he gets a preferred lie or not. In other words, for some people, all the time.

The rule is fine as it is.

I will agree, the rule is fine the way it is, but imo, could be better if changed. It really isn't that big of a deal, as a previous poster mentioned, the situation doesn't happen that often.

15 hours ago, saevel25 said:

You have no clue if that is true or not. I've seen some golfers take some nasty divots before with out being a jerk taking their anger out on the course. It sounds more you are just projecting your hatred onto something you made up in your head. 

Also, you are asking for a rule change that happens to a golfer a very few number of times in their golfing career. Its been years since I had to deal with a golf ball in a divot in the fairway. 

@Golfingdad brings up some good questions around the basic premise of what constitutes a bad break or not. I do agree that just because your ball ends up in the fairway doesn't mean it got there because you made a good shot. 

I am 100% against having a free drop from a divot.

Very good points!

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

1) Many people would love to see a change, and many wouldn't.

We know, but so what?

19 minutes ago, Billy Z said:

2) That humanity is capable to change for the better, instead of caving to the fear of 'how could we ever have the intelligence to see this change through?"

You're attributing this to fear, and pretending that it would be "better" to change this. I disagree with both. This isn't about fear at all.

15 minutes ago, Shorty said:

That would be very bad for the game.

Seriously.

17 minutes ago, Shorty said:

That would be very bad for the game.

Indeed. One of the core principles may as well just completely go away at that point.

17 minutes ago, Shorty said:

The interpretation of your suggestion would be that any lie that isn't perfect could be defined as a "divot". The "irregularity" could be a shot that interfered with the surface but didn't break through to soil - or something that a player "deems" looks like it. You're effectively saying that it should be preferred lies on the fairway all the time. You'd have situations where a player's "judgement" determines whether he gets a preferred lie or not. In other words, for some people, all the time.

The rule is fine as it is.

Yes to all of this.

13 minutes ago, Billy Z said:

I will agree, the rule is fine the way it is, but imo, could be better if changed.

How?

And you talked about "fairness" but yet… what could be more "unfair" than whether you get relief being so largely based on who you're playing with that they determine whether your ball is in a divot hole or not?

That's why the definition is so important, and why it's failed every time it's mentioned.

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(edited)
23 minutes ago, Billy Z said:

I will agree, the rule is fine the way it is, but imo, could be better if changed.

Please explain why it would be better if changed. Changing it would create more problems than it solves.

For the record - MY experience is that I could probably count the number of times I've been severely disadvantaged by being in a divot on one hand in decades of golf. I have also had fantastic lies in rough better than any fairway lie. Swings and roundabouts. You can't "expect" a perfect lie in the fairway. Likewise, you have the right to be pi**ed off when you're in a divot. Doesn't mean the rules need changing.

 

Edited by Shorty
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1 minute ago, Shorty said:

Please explain why it would be better if changed. Changing it would create more problems than it solves.

Particularly given how infrequently this occurs.

Remember the Rules apply to ALL situations, not just clear-cut ones like Lee Westwood's shot on the 18th at Bay Hill.

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(edited)

Off topic but honest question - why are there so many deep unfilled divots left behind?

Is it an agronomy thing? logistics of not having enough volunteers? Not all divots come out clean enough for caddies to hunt them down and replace them? Or is it just that some of the player/caddies don't bother with the etiquette? I mean, they would be run up the flag pole if they left a sand trap unraked after a shot.

 

EDIT: Sorry, if that has been answered in one of the 44 pages of the thread already..

Edited by GolfLug
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Personally I’d prefer to have a rule that says you can remove from a divot, but it’s completely impractical to come up with a definition of when you can/cannot take relief.   Better to learn how to get out of the situation with a club as it lies with the least possible damage. 
 

you can also end up with uneven lies in the fairway.  Tight lies, etc.   Blocked out by trees....  so even the fairway itself may not be ideal in some places.   
 

I think a lot of the thinking is that hitting the fairway should be a reward, yet I often get nice teed up lies in the rough.  Shouldn’t the rough be a penalty?  Sometimes it isn’t.  

8 minutes ago, GolfLug said:

Off topic but honest question - why are there so many deep unfilled divots left behind?

Is it an agronomy thing? logistics of not having enough volunteers? Not all divots come out clean enough for caddies to hunt them down and replace them? Or is it just that some of the player/caddies don't bother with the etiquette? I mean, they would be run up the flag pole if they left a sand trap unraked after a shot.

 

EDIT: Sorry, if that has been answered in one of the 44 pages of the thread already..

Number of reasons.    Numero Uno is that some people don’t replace them, plain and simple.  That said, if the course doesn’t offer sand and the divot just shatters to the point where it really can’t be filled then that can happen as well.   I play on Bermuda fairways and unless the ground is damp and you take a clean divot, most of the year the grass just shatters and you have to use sand.  If you don’t have sand, because the cart is out or you are walking, theN it stays unfilled .

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There is to many variables to make this rule work. The odds of ending up in a divot is very low. You are more likely to end up in a beat up area because you play on an average maintained course than you are to end up in a divot. 

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