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Interesting GUR/Abnormal Ground Conditions Question


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#1 DaveLeeNC

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 03:57 PM

I ran into an interesting question the other day. One of the courses that I play regularly converted from bent to mini-Verde grass recently. We are now well into the dormant season here in NC (WRT mini-Verde) and the club has done something interesting with cups. Each green has a front, middle, and back cup (with liner) in each green. On any given day the unused locations are covered with kind of a stiff felt lid that fits quite nicely into the cup liner.

So the question is if one of these things is in your putting line would you get relief? If this were a formal competition I would assume that this would be an issue for the committee to decide. But for general play (there is no local rule in place AFAIK) what is the proper procedure here?

To my reading of the rules this would seem to maybe match the definition of Ground Under Repair, as this is surely a 'hole made by a greenskeeper'. However it is really kind of a 'repaired hole made by a greenskeeper'.

FWIW, this is just a 'interesting rules question' issue and not a practical issue. I rolled a few balls across several of these things and there is almost no perceptible interference in the roll of the ball across one of them (keep in mind that by definition no putt will roll across one of these at very slow speed as they are well separated). And yes I suppose that this violated Rule 16 (testing the surface) and I didn't apply penalty strokes to my score. Others may disagree but to me there are limits here (and I just wanted to know how the ball rolled across one of these things without coming back after the round and I wanted to do it on more than one green).

dave

ps. I assume that these things are moved periodically. I have never run into this before. Maybe the issue is that filling old cups with the newly cut cup is ineffective when the grass is dormant.


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#2 rogolf

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 04:19 PM

View PostDaveLeeNC, on 13 January 2013 - 03:57 PM, said:

I ran into an interesting question the other day. One of the courses that I play regularly converted from bent to mini-Verde grass recently. We are now well into the dormant season here in NC (WRT mini-Verde) and the club has done something interesting with cups. Each green has a front, middle, and back cup (with liner) in each green. On any given day the unused locations are covered with kind of a stiff felt lid that fits quite nicely into the cup liner.

So the question is if one of these things is in your putting line would you get relief? If this were a formal competition I would assume that this would be an issue for the committee to decide. But for general play (there is no local rule in place AFAIK) what is the proper procedure here?

To my reading of the rules this would seem to maybe match the definition of Ground Under Repair, as this is surely a 'hole made by a greenskeeper'. However it is really kind of a 'repaired hole made by a greenskeeper'.

FWIW, this is just a 'interesting rules question' issue and not a practical issue. I rolled a few balls across several of these things and there is almost no perceptible interference in the roll of the ball across one of them (keep in mind that by definition no putt will roll across one of these at very slow speed as they are well separated). And yes I suppose that this violated Rule 16 (testing the surface) and I didn't apply penalty strokes to my score. Others may disagree but to me there are limits here (and I just wanted to know how the ball rolled across one of these things without coming back after the round and I wanted to do it on more than one green).

dave

ps. I assume that these things are moved periodically. I have never run into this before. Maybe the issue is that filling old cups with the newly cut cup is ineffective when the grass is dormant.

As you've described the covering, I would consider it to be an immovable obstruction (like a sprinkler head) and relief is available through Rule 24-2 for intervention on the line of putt (same relief as an AGC).

#3 Newby

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:18 PM

I agree with rogolf but there is an alternative view. As the cover is removable (unless a local rule says otherwise) it is a movable obstruction. However, the hole is a hole made by a greenkeeper. So relief under 25-1 is available. The process is the same as in 24-2. So it is pretty academic whichever way you look at it.

#4 lander215

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:27 PM

Seems the following decision covers it without too much ado since it is a hole created by a greenskeeper, the interesting aspect would be the definition of "plug":

16-1c/3

Old Hole Plug Sunk or Raised on Line of Putt

Q.A player's ball lies on the green. An old hole plug is sunk or raised on the player's line of putt. What relief is available to the player?
A.The player may attempt to raise or lower the plug to make it level with the surface of the putting green - Rule 16-1c. If this is impossible, he may discontinue play and request the Committee to raise or lower the plug. If the Committee cannot level the plug without unduly delaying play, the Committee should declare the plug to be ground under repair, in which case the player would be entitled to relief under Rule 25-1b(iii).

#5 Socrates

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:27 PM

If the course is going to go to this effort, one would think that they would have put in a local rule on how to proceed.   Even though remote, what happens if the ball comes to rest on one of these holes (or in the seam)?  I think I would side with rogolf on this.

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#6 Sawgrass

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:33 PM

View PostNewby, on 13 January 2013 - 05:18 PM, said:

I agree with rogolf but there is an alternative view. As the cover is removable (unless a local rule says otherwise) it is a movable obstruction. However, the hole is a hole made by a greenkeeper. So relief under 25-1 is available. The process is the same as in 24-2. So it is pretty academic whichever way you look at it.

I agree it is academic, but I'd think that after you remove the movable lid, the hole liner would be an immovable obstruction rather than the area simply being a hole made by a green keeper.  Same result though.

(I bet it's both a hole and an obstruction.)

#7 Newby

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:49 PM

View PostSocrates, on 13 January 2013 - 05:27 PM, said:

If the course is going to go to this effort, one would think that they would have put in a local rule on how to proceed.   Even though remote, what happens if the ball comes to rest on one of these holes (or in the seam)?  I think I would side with rogolf on this.

There is no need for a local rule. Rules 24 & 25 cover the situation adequately.

#8 DaveLeeNC

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:56 PM

I agree that there are two conditions here.

But I don't see a path that would ever make taking relief a smart thing to do (other than the case of being on the lid). The nearest point of relief would put the thing just barely out of your intended putting line, so no way would you leave the hole open.

So I guess this leaves another question - if you wanted relief could you put the lid back on? I would think not and I would also think that (technically) you would have to remove it (movable obstruction) before taking relief under Rule 25.

There could be a local rule in place, I guess. I didn't actually look.

dave

#9 lander215

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:58 PM

You could also look at Decision 16/7 for guidance on how to proceed, which states Rule 25 is in effect:

16/7

Two Holes on Each Green of Nine-Hole Course

Q.1. Is it permissible for a Committee to make two holes on each green of a nine-hole course, one (A) for use in play of the first nine holes and the other (B) for use in play of the second nine?
2. If so, what is the status of hole B on each green when hole A is in use, and vice versa?
A.1. Yes.
2. The hole not in use on each green is a hole made by a greenkeeper - see Definition of "Ground Under Repair" - and Rule 25-1 is applicable.

#10 kevcarter

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:59 PM

If you feel a local rule is not necessary, there should be something in the shop explaining the rules you outlined for this unusual situation, as most wouldn't know how to proceed. Just a little communication can solve a lot of problems.

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#11 kevcarter

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 06:00 PM

Excellent find Lander. Posting that decision in the shop would make the OP's experience a non issue as well.
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#12 Socrates

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 10:10 PM

View Postkevcarter, on 13 January 2013 - 05:59 PM, said:

If you feel a local rule is not necessary, there should be something in the shop explaining the rules you outlined for this unusual situation, as most wouldn't know how to proceed. Just a little communication can solve a lot of problems.
If I had thought about it for a little longer, I might have realized that a local rule needn't be made as one exists.  As stated, posting a rule would've been most helpful.  Too busy watching the birdie fest at Wailea.
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#13 Mr. Bean

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:36 AM

View Postlander215, on 13 January 2013 - 05:27 PM, said:

Seems the following decision covers it without too much ado since it is a hole created by a greenskeeper, the interesting aspect would be the definition of "plug":

16-1c/3

Old Hole Plug Sunk or Raised on Line of Putt

Q.A player's ball lies on the green. An old hole plug is sunk or raised on the player's line of putt. What relief is available to the player?
A.The player may attempt to raise or lower the plug to make it level with the surface of the putting green - Rule 16-1c. If this is impossible, he may discontinue play and request the Committee to raise or lower the plug. If the Committee cannot level the plug without unduly delaying play, the Committee should declare the plug to be ground under repair, in which case the player would be entitled to relief under Rule 25-1b(iii).

This decision is related to repairing the surface of the green and is not applicable here. An old hole plug is a plug of soil removed from the green to create a hole, it is not an obstruction as a lid over a hole is.

#14 Mr. Bean

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:41 AM

View Postkevcarter, on 13 January 2013 - 06:00 PM, said:

Excellent find Lander. Posting that decision in the shop would make the OP's experience a non issue as well.

Well, not entirely. That decision only covers holes, not lids placed over them. It still remains arguable whether those lids would be movable or immovable obstructions, and even knowing which it is an average club player would be in a real mess choosing between R25-1 and 24-1 or 2.

Personally I am against all Local Rules repeating anything already written in the Rules but in this particular case I would make a LR stating that those lids are immovable obstructions and treated as such (R24-2). That would solve the entire issue.

#15 lander215

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:47 AM

View PostMr. Bean, on 14 January 2013 - 11:36 AM, said:

View Postlander215, on 13 January 2013 - 05:27 PM, said:

Seems the following decision covers it without too much ado since it is a hole created by a greenskeeper, the interesting aspect would be the definition of "plug":

16-1c/3

Old Hole Plug Sunk or Raised on Line of Putt

Q.A player's ball lies on the green. An old hole plug is sunk or raised on the player's line of putt. What relief is available to the player?
A.The player may attempt to raise or lower the plug to make it level with the surface of the putting green - Rule 16-1c. If this is impossible, he may discontinue play and request the Committee to raise or lower the plug. If the Committee cannot level the plug without unduly delaying play, the Committee should declare the plug to be ground under repair, in which case the player would be entitled to relief under Rule 25-1b(iii).

This decision is related to repairing the surface of the green and is not applicable here. An old hole plug is a plug of soil removed from the green to create a hole, it is not an obstruction as a lid over a hole is.

Please provide a link showing where the USGA has defined "plug". Your statement attempts to carry with it a weight of fact rather than opinion. Unless shown otherwise, yours is just an opinion and I'd be interested in a statement/reference of fact from the USGA regarding "plug" as I previously mentioned regarding this situation.

Unless a statement of fact is provided, I am confident in the results I have found as being true and an accurate way to approach this situation with a proper solution for anyone involved.

Thanks.

Edited by lander215, 14 January 2013 - 11:49 AM.


#16 Newby

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:17 PM

Why would the word 'old' be used if it related to an artificial cover?

The implication here is that the turf plug has dried out and no longer fits the hole snugly. The premise is that when the greenkeeper put it in he did it correctly.

#17 Sawgrass

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:22 PM

View Postlander215, on 14 January 2013 - 11:47 AM, said:

View PostMr. Bean, on 14 January 2013 - 11:36 AM, said:

View Postlander215, on 13 January 2013 - 05:27 PM, said:

Seems the following decision covers it without too much ado since it is a hole created by a greenskeeper, the interesting aspect would be the definition of "plug":

16-1c/3

Old Hole Plug Sunk or Raised on Line of Putt

Q.A player's ball lies on the green. An old hole plug is sunk or raised on the player's line of putt. What relief is available to the player?
A.The player may attempt to raise or lower the plug to make it level with the surface of the putting green - Rule 16-1c. If this is impossible, he may discontinue play and request the Committee to raise or lower the plug. If the Committee cannot level the plug without unduly delaying play, the Committee should declare the plug to be ground under repair, in which case the player would be entitled to relief under Rule 25-1b(iii).

This decision is related to repairing the surface of the green and is not applicable here. An old hole plug is a plug of soil removed from the green to create a hole, it is not an obstruction as a lid over a hole is.

Please provide a link showing where the USGA has defined "plug". Your statement attempts to carry with it a weight of fact rather than opinion. Unless shown otherwise, yours is just an opinion and I'd be interested in a statement/reference of fact from the USGA regarding "plug" as I previously mentioned regarding this situation.

Unless a statement of fact is provided, I am confident in the results I have found as being true and an accurate way to approach this situation with a proper solution for anyone involved.

Thanks.

Though the "proper solution" doesn't seem to be debated by anyone in this thread since immovable obstructions and ground under repair have the same relief when on the green, I'll join the "definition of plug" debate on Mr. Bean's side.  IMO a "hole plug" must be made of natural materials, grass and soil, otherwise 16-1c would direct you to seek necessary relief via the obstruction rule rather than the ground under repair rule.

I'll also add that there are many things left undefined in the "definitions" section of the Rules that nevertheless have obvious definitions.  A hole plug seems to pretty obviously be one of them, and if you argue otherwise the burden should be on you to prove that hole plugs can be artificial, not the other way around.  As an example, the Rules definitions section doesn't define "divot", but I think we all accept that a divot is dirt and grass, and I wouldn't say that if you break a chunk of concrete off a curb with a club the chunk becomes a divot.

#18 lander215

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:25 PM

View PostNewby, on 14 January 2013 - 12:17 PM, said:

Why would the word 'old' be used if it related to an artificial cover?

The implication here is that the turf plug has dried out and no longer fits the hole snugly. The premise is that when the greenkeeper put it in he did it correctly.

Huh? Old as in it's not where the hole is anymore, it's been moved to a new location. Which fits the OP's scenario because they have three locations but only use one, so they cover up the other two holes, which, when not being used, are indeed "old" hole locations.

What I would like to see is a definitive answer from the USGA as to what constitutes a plug. In this case, the cover is indeed a plug. If the ball lands on it, you remove the plug and then have a hole, which becomes an obstruction that you get relief from. If it is in the line of your putt, it is a plug that you, again, get relief from.

Without a definition of a plug, then either 24 or 25 would work, but there's more evidence from Decisions that 25 would be a more proper route to go sans a definitive answer as to what constitutes a plug.

#19 Sawgrass

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:31 PM

View Postlander215, on 14 January 2013 - 12:26 PM, said:

Well, I was hoping that we could have a non-clique discussion, but that didn't happen.

Unfortunate.

If you are saying that you and KevCarter have formed a clique, and are ashamed of yourself for having done so, I want you to know that I forgive you.

#20 Mr. Bean

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:32 PM

View Postlander215, on 14 January 2013 - 11:47 AM, said:

View PostMr. Bean, on 14 January 2013 - 11:36 AM, said:

View Postlander215, on 13 January 2013 - 05:27 PM, said:

Seems the following decision covers it without too much ado since it is a hole created by a greenskeeper, the interesting aspect would be the definition of "plug":

16-1c/3

Old Hole Plug Sunk or Raised on Line of Putt

Q.A player's ball lies on the green. An old hole plug is sunk or raised on the player's line of putt. What relief is available to the player?
A.The player may attempt to raise or lower the plug to make it level with the surface of the putting green - Rule 16-1c. If this is impossible, he may discontinue play and request the Committee to raise or lower the plug. If the Committee cannot level the plug without unduly delaying play, the Committee should declare the plug to be ground under repair, in which case the player would be entitled to relief under Rule 25-1b(iii).

This decision is related to repairing the surface of the green and is not applicable here. An old hole plug is a plug of soil removed from the green to create a hole, it is not an obstruction as a lid over a hole is.

Please provide a link showing where the USGA has defined "plug". Your statement attempts to carry with it a weight of fact rather than opinion. Unless shown otherwise, yours is just an opinion and I'd be interested in a statement/reference of fact from the USGA regarding "plug" as I previously mentioned regarding this situation.

Unless a statement of fact is provided, I am confident in the results I have found as being true and an accurate way to approach this situation with a proper solution for anyone involved.

Thanks.

In addition to what Newby and Sawgrass have already said I would like to point out the fact that the Decision quoted is under Rule 16-1c. This Rule covers repairing damages on the green surface. I find it slightly difficult to envisage how one could repair a hole liner or such without professional equipment. Thus I strongly believe the phrase 'old hole plug' refers to something quite else than an obstruction (= an artificial object).

Edited by Mr. Bean, 14 January 2013 - 02:10 PM.


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#21 Newby

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:17 PM

Further 16-1c/3 clearly points to rule 25 as the relief route rather than rule 24. Plastic inserts are Obstructions and would not need a decision to determine the relief option. The decision is saying that the plug is an irregularity in the natural surface and should be deemed GUR (in a similar way to fresh turf seams elsewhere on the course being declared GUR by LR).

With a plastic insert there is still a hole (GUR) and therefore relief.
With a turf plug there is no hole so, unless there is a declaration by  the committee, there is no relief.

Edited by Newby, 14 January 2013 - 03:18 PM.


#22 kevcarter

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 04:37 PM

In my opinion, right or wrong, this is an unusual situation to most, and whether by rule or local rule the Pro Shop needs to communicate a procedure to the players for handling an issue with the added holes. Simple fix.
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#23 Newby

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 05:58 PM

A not unreasonable proposition

#24 lander215

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 06:04 PM

Agreed. Given the unusual situation it seems strange that the golfers are not given direction prior to play.

#25 rogolf

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:02 PM

View Postkevcarter, on 14 January 2013 - 04:37 PM, said:

In my opinion, right or wrong, this is an unusual situation to most, and whether by rule or local rule the Pro Shop needs to communicate a procedure to the players for handling an issue with the added holes. Simple fix.

If not the pro shop staff, then the Committee in charge of the course!  Either way, I agree.

From the movie, Cool Hand Luke, "what we have here is a failure to communicate.."

Edited by rogolf, 14 January 2013 - 07:32 PM.


#26 DaveLeeNC

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 08:44 PM

I just learned that there is a local rule written as follows.


"The black hole plugs or covers on the putting greens are to be treated as an abnormal ground condition. (See Rule 25-1b,iii) Relief will be for interference of stance, area of intended swing or on the line of putt."

I'd give the course a break here WRT publicizing this as the impact of these things is both very rare and inconsequential. However as I interpret the rules this local rule does matter (avoids having to remove the lid to get to a situation of 'a hole made by a greenskeeper').

dave

ps. A junior tournament was held on this course recently, and the existence of this local rule was made very clearly to the competitors.

Edited by DaveLeeNC, 14 January 2013 - 08:45 PM.


#27 rogolf

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:05 PM

View PostDaveLeeNC, on 14 January 2013 - 08:44 PM, said:

I just learned that there is a local rule written as follows.


"The black hole plugs or covers on the putting greens are to be treated as an abnormal ground condition. (See Rule 25-1b,iii) Relief will be for interference of stance, area of intended swing or on the line of putt."


I'd give the course a break here WRT publicizing this as the impact of these things is both very rare and inconsequential. However as I interpret the rules this local rule does matter (avoids having to remove the lid to get to a situation of 'a hole made by a greenskeeper').

dave

ps. A junior tournament was held on this course recently, and the existence of this local rule was made very clearly to the competitors.

Very well done!  :)  !

Obviously, not everyone read it.  :)

Edited by rogolf, 14 January 2013 - 09:07 PM.


#28 DaveLeeNC

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:16 PM

View PostDaveLeeNC, on 14 January 2013 - 08:44 PM, said:

I just learned that there is a local rule written as follows.


"The black hole plugs or covers on the putting greens are to be treated as an abnormal ground condition. (See Rule 25-1b,iii) Relief will be for interference of stance, area of intended swing or on the line of putt."

I'd give the course a break here WRT publicizing this as the impact of these things is both very rare and inconsequential. However as I interpret the rules this local rule does matter (avoids having to remove the lid to get to a situation of 'a hole made by a greenskeeper').

dave

ps. A junior tournament was held on this course recently, and the existence of this local rule was made very clearly to the competitors.

I guess that I should modify my statement of the situation being inconsequential. It certainly would not be if one of these things was in your stance. I had not considered that.

dave

ps. Rogolf, even with the smiley face I wasn't sure how to interpret your statement of 'not everyone read it'. It surely wasn't a competition that I was involved in - maybe 50 years ago :-)

#29 Socrates

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:32 PM

Kudos to Newby who was on the right path the whole time (post #3).
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#30 Mr. Bean

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 03:13 AM

View Postlander215, on 14 January 2013 - 10:16 PM, said:

Imagine that...rule 25 for these hole plugs.

Maybe you should ask them if you are allowed to repair them..? :cheesy:


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