August - 2 - 2010

At San Clemente I've noticed that many of the Men's Club members are great at replacing and filling old divot holes. This is an area of the Rules that has always had a large vocal group pushing to make a divot hole defined as Ground Under Repair-(G.U.R.) As long as I've played golf, this rule has stayed the same. Whether you like the rule or not, it's really just best to see it as part of the challenge of the game.

An example of this comes to mind. Scott Moore, a few years back, had a great round going- he was eight under par after fifteen holes, and then bogeyed the sixteenth. After a perfect drive on seventeen, he landed in the worst possible spot-a deep divot. Scott's an extremely positive person and saw this as just part of the game. He then hit and unbelievable shot onto the green and made the putt, shooting a personal best round of 64!

Divots and divot holes are covered under Rule 13. Ball Played as It Lies. Here are a few examples to help your understanding of just how to deal with this part of the game.

13-2/5 Replacing or Removing Undetached Divot

Q. A player's ball comes to rest in front of a divot, which is folded over but not completely detached. The divot interferes with his backswing. May the player replace or remove the divot before playing?

A. No. A divot which is not completely detached is not a loose impediment. It is something fixed and therefore its removal or replacement would be a breach of Rule 13-2 as the lie and area of intended swing would be improved.

13-2/6 Replacing Divot in Divot Hole on Line of Play

Q. A player's ball comes to rest close to the putting green and he wishes to use his putter for his next stroke. However, there is a divot hole just in front of his ball on his line of play. May the player replace the divot before playing his next stroke?

A. No. Rule 13-2 prohibits a player from improving his line of play by eliminating an irregularity of surface.

13-2/7 When Divot Replaced

Q.Under Rule 13-2 a player may not remove or press down a replaced divot. When is a divot considered replaced?

A. When substantially all of it, with the roots downward, lies in a divot hole. The hole need not be the one from which the divot was extracted.

13-2/8.7 Player's Area of Intended Stance Affected by Another Player's Stroke

Q. The balls of A and B lie near each other through the green. A plays and in doing so affects B's area of intended stance (e.g., by creating a divot hole). What is the ruling?

A. B may play the ball as it lies. In addition, if the original area of intended stance could be easily restored, in equity (Rule 1-4), the area of intended stance may be restored as nearly as possible, without penalty.

If the original area of intended stance could not be easily restored, in equity (Rule 1-4), the player may place his ball, without penalty, on the nearest spot within one club-length of the original lie that provides the most similar lie and area of intended stance to the original lie and area of intended stance. This spot must not be nearer the hole and must not be in a hazard.

13-4/18 Partner's, Opponent's or Fellow-Competitor's Divot Comes to Rest Near Player's Ball in Bunker

Q. A player's partner, opponent or fellow-competitor plays a stroke from near a bunker and the divot comes to rest near the player's ball lying in the bunker. May the divot be removed?

A. A player is entitled to the lie which his stroke gave him. Accordingly, in equity (Rule 1-4), the divot may be removed without penalty. The same would apply if the player's ball was lying in a water hazard.

Derek Duesler