Recently a member’s ball came to rest in the sand surrounding the 24th green. As the repairs to this green continue the sand has been deemed Ground Under Repair (GUR). The member sought advice on what to do when dropping the ball, especially whether the ball could in fact be dropped on the green as it was seen to be the nearest point of relief.
The rule that covers this situation is Rule 25-1 (b) and refers to the definition of Abnormal Ground Conditions. The definition reads “An abnormal ground condition is any casual water, ground under repair or hole, cast or runway on the course made by a burrowing animal, a reptile or a bird”. The GUR is “any part of the course so marked by order of the Committee or so declared by its authorised representative”. Clearly the sand around the 24th is GUR and has been properly declared as such.
In terms of relief, “except where the ball is in a water hazard or lateral water hazard, a player may take relief from interference by an abnormal ground condition as follows:
Through the Green: If the ball lies through the green the player must lift the ball and drop it, without penalty, within one club length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief. The nearest point of relief must not be in a hazard or on a putting green”.
Thus, in our example, while part of surrounds of the 24th continues to be classed as GUR and the nearest point of relief may well be on the green, the rules specifically do not allow for the drop to be taken on the green. The player must be able to take complete relief and therefore must move to a point away from the sand to drop the ball.
The rule goes on to say “when the ball is dropped within one club length of the nearest point of relief, the ball must first strike a part of the course at a spot that avoids interference by the condition and is not in a hazard or on a putting green”.