Is a Flower Bed Ground Under Repair?
In my friendly Thursday night league, I hit my ball down the left side of the fairway on hole #6 and watched it trickle across the cart path and into a flower bed. I lifted my ball to take relief, as to not harm the beautiful flowers, when my fellow competitor says, “Not so fast. You may need to play it as it lies.”
Now what do we do? Well, the answer depends on if the Committee has decided to define the area as “Ground Under Repair; Play Prohibited”.
You may ask “How in the world is a flower bed ground under repair?” Fair question; let’s just step back a minute and I’ll explain.
One of the jobs of the Committee (those in charge of the competition or, if not in a competition, those in charge of the course) is to properly define the areas of the course including out of bounds, margins of water hazards and lateral water hazards, ground under repair and obstructions and integral parts of the course (Rule 33-2a).
From Appendix I of the Rules of Golf, If the Committee wishes to protect any area of the course, including turf nurseries, young plantations and other parts of the course under cultivation, it should declare it to be ground under repair and prohibit play from that area. The following Local Rule is recommended:
The _______ (defined by____) is ground under repair from which play is prohibited. If a player’s ball lies in the area, or if it interferes with the player’s stance or area of intended swing, the player must take relief under Rule 25-1.
If this Local Rule has been put into place by the Committee, it will appear either:
- On the club score card, or
- Posted at the club, the proshop or the locker rooms, or
- On the Notice to Players
Please take note that when this Local Rule is in effect, you must take relief. You have no other option. However, when this Local Rule is not in effect, you must either play the ball as it lies or proceed under the Rules (Unplayable ball, etc.).
Now where was I? I had just lifted my ball when my fellow competitor stopped me and said “not so fast.”
A quick check of the back of the score card notes “Flower Beds are to be played as Ground Under Repair from which play is prohibited. Mandatory Relief.” I find my nearest point of relief and drop the ball no nearer the hole and within one club-length of that spot and I’m back playing golf.
Remember, knowing and following the Rules of Golf can assist you in avoiding unnecessary penalties and help you to enjoy this great game of golf even more.