September - 2009
Although I have read quite a few definitions and the corresponding decisions on the Rules of Golf, when I started to look at some of the Definitions listed in Section II, I was surprised how much was new to me. Did you know how deep the hole must be or how low the liner must be set below the putting green surface? I didn'tů I think if you are reading this then you have some interest in understanding how the rules relate to playing golf, and can make for a much richer and more enjoyable experience.
Here are a few definitions that should help increase your insight into the game.
Abnormal Ground Conditions
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.
A "burrowing animal" is an animal (other than a worm, insect or the like) that makes a hole for habitation or shelter, such as a rabbit, mole, groundhog, gopher or salamander.
Note: A hole made by a non-burrowing animal, such as a dog, is not an abnormal ground condition unless marked or declared as ground under repair.
"Casual water" is any temporary accumulation of water on the course that is not in a water hazard and is visible before or after the player takes his stance. Snow and natural ice, other than frost, are either casual water or loose impediments, at the option of the player. Manufactured ice is an obstruction. Dew and frost are not casual water.
A ball is in casual water when it lies in or any part of it touches the casual water.
Ground Under Repair
"Ground under repair" is any part of the course so marked by order of the Committee or so declared by its authorized representative. All ground and any grass, bush, tree or other growing thing within the ground under repair are part of the ground under repair. Ground under repair includes material piled for removal and a hole made by a greenkeeper, even if not so marked. Grass cuttings and other material left on the course that have been abandoned and are not intended to be removed are not ground under repair unless so marked.
When the margin of ground under repair is defined by stakes, the stakes are inside the ground under repair, and the margin of the ground under repair is defined by the nearest outside points of the stakes at ground level. When both stakes and lines are used to indicate ground under repair, the stakes identify the ground under repair and the lines define the margin of the ground under repair. When the margin of ground under repair is defined by a line on the ground, the line itself is in the ground under repair. The margin of ground under repair extends vertically downwards but not upwards.
A ball is in ground under repair when it lies in or any part of it touches the ground under repair. Stakes used to define the margin of or identify ground under repair are obstructions.
Note: The Committee may make a Local Rule prohibiting play from ground under repair or an environmentally-sensitive area defined as ground under repair.
The "hole" must be 41/4 inches (108 mm) in diameter and at least 4 inches (101.6 mm) deep. If a lining is used, it must be sunk at least 1 inch (25.4 mm) below the putting green surface, unless the nature of the soil makes it impracticable to do so; its outer diameter must not exceed 41/4 inches (108 mm).