Guidance on Running a Competition

Ground Under Repair

“Ground under repair” includes any part of the course so marked by order of the Committee (see Definition of “Ground Under Repair”). If such an area has been marked it should be identified in the Local Rules. However, as it is hoped that such marking will be of a temporary nature, no specific references should be included on a Club’s score card but rather the Local Rule should be posted on a notice board. When a Local Rules card is produced specifically for a Championship, any areas of “ground under repair” should be referenced, for example:

“Ground Under Repair (Rule 25-1)
The re-turfed area to the left of the 8th hole defined by blue stakes is ground under repair and Rule 25-1b applies.”

Alternatively, identification of ground under repair can be more general, for example:

“Ground Under Repair (Rule 25-1)
All areas encircled by white lines are ground under repair.”

Where the Committee wishes to protect an area completely by not allowing any play whatsoever, it may declare the area to be “ground under repair; play prohibited”. Consequently, a player must take relief if he has interference from the condition. An example of the recommended wording for such a Local Rule is:

“Ground Under Repair; Play Prohibited
The turf nursery to the right of the 3rd hole defined by blue stakes is ground under repair from which play is prohibited. If a player’s ball lies in this area, or if this area interferes with the player’s stance or the area of his intended swing, the player must take relief under Rule 25-1.

Match play – Loss of hole; Stroke play – Two strokes.”

Prior to prohibiting play from an area of ground under repair, it is important that the Committee assess the relief that will be available to the player. It would be inequitable to make a player take relief from an area that would normally be reasonable for play when the player’s nearest point of relief is in bushes, trees or some other unplayable position.

When ground under repair is adjacent to an artificially-surfaced road or path (an obstruction), sometimes a player, after obtaining relief from one condition, has interference from the condition. Thus, another drop under another Rule results. This is cumbersome and could lead to complications (see Decision 1-4/8). Accordingly, it is suggested that the ground under repair is tied into the road or path with a white line and the following Local Rule adopted:

“Immovable Obstructions (Rule 24-2) White-lined areas adjoining any areas defined as immovable obstructions are to be regarded as part of the obstruction and not ground under repair. ”

under repair

If a bunker is being renovated and the Committee defines the entire bunker as ground under repair, the bunker loses its status as a hazard and is automatically classified as “through the green”. Therefore, unless a Committee specifically states otherwise, Rule 25-1b(i) applies and not Rule 25-1b(ii).

In terms of flooded bunkers, the Committee may not make a general Local Rule providing that all flooded bunkers are ground under repair through the green as such a Local Rule waives a penalty imposed by the Rules of Golf, contrary to Rule 33-8b. However, in conditions of extreme wetness, where certain specific bunkers are completely flooded prior to the competition commencing and there is no possibility of the bunkers drying up during the competition, the Committee may introduce a Local Rule providing that these bunkers are deemed to be ground under repair. This allows for relief to be taken without penalty in accordance with Rule 25-1b(i). The following wording for such a Local Rule is recommended:

“The flooded bunker on [insert location of bunker; e.g. left of 5th green] is ground under repair. If a player’s ball lies in that bunker or if that bunker interferes with the player’s stance or the area of his intended swing and the player wishes to take relief, he must take relief outside the bunker, without penalty, in accordance with Rule 25-1b(i). All other bunkers on the course, regardless of whether they contain water, maintain their status as hazards and the Rules apply accordingly.

Match play – Loss of hole; Stroke play – Two strokes.”

When heavy rains result in many areas of unusual damage to the course (such as deep ruts caused by vehicles) and it is not feasible to define them with stakes or lines, a notice to players along the following lines is suggested:

“Ground under repair may include areas of unusual damage, including areas where spectators or other traffic have combined with wet conditions to affect materially the ground surface, but only when so declared by a Committee member.”

Even without such a notice, Committee members would have authority to declare unusual damage to be ground under repair, if so authorised by the Committee. However, a notice has the advantage of advising all players that relief from unusual damage might be given.

 Chapter 3-3 Spectator Damage

Unusual damage caused by wet weather and vehicle or spectator movement may be declared ground under repair by the Committee.  

Unusual damage on the course may be created by animals or machines. Rule 25-1 gives relief from holes made by burrowing animals but not, for example, from hoof marks or from ruts made by tractor wheels. If relief from such conditions is considered equitable, it should be granted on the same terms as in Rule 25-1 and the Local Rule, with such variations as are required to meet the individual circumstances, might read:

“Hoof marks [or tractor tyre marks] are ground under repair and Rule 25-1 applies.”

If the damage, especially by machines, is restricted to specific areas, it is recommended that the application of the Local Rule be restricted to that locality. Such Local Rules should be of a temporary nature and should not be included on a Club’s score card.

If the Committee considers the relief available under Rule 25-1 to be too generous in such situations, it may deny relief from interference with the player’s stance (see Note to Rule 25-1a). For example, in hot and dry conditions, the fairways of a course may suffer due to cracks in the ground. The lie of a ball could be seriously affected if it comes to rest in such a crack, but a player’s stance may not be hindered by the condition. In these circumstances, a Committee may wish to introduce the following Local Rule:

“Cracks in Ground on Closely-Mown Areas (Rule 25-1)
Cracks in the ground on closely-mown areas are ground under repair. If a player’s ball lies in such a condition, or if such a condition interferes with the area of a player’s intended swing, the player may take relief under Rule 25-1.
Note: Relief is not available for interference to a player’s stance by such a condition.”

Another example of restricting relief under Rule 25-1 is in relation to holes, casts or runways made by a burrowing animal, reptile or bird. If these conditions are prevalent on a course, the Committee may wish to reduce the instances of relief by adopting the following Local Rule:

“Abnormal Ground Conditions (Note to Rule 25-1)
Relief will be denied for interference to stance from a hole, cast or runway made by a burrowing animal, a reptile or bird.”

Similarly, the Committee may wish to restrict relief from seams of new turf to the lie of the ball and the area of intended swing only by introducing the recommended Local Rule contained in Appendix I, Part B of the Rules of Golf.