What Constitutes a Deep Rut, Footprint etc.?
During months when heavy rain or other weather conditions may result in many areas of unusual damage to a course (such as deep ruts caused by vehicles or deep footprints caused by golfers, green staff or spectators), and it is not feasible to define them with stakes or lines, the Committee has the authority to declare such unusual damage to be ground under repair.
These circumstances can be covered by your Committee declaring them as Ground Under Repair, and so you may take free relief from them; but, from the definition of Ground under Repair not all instances are Ground Under Repair
- Ground Under Repair/1 – Damage Caused by Committee or Maintenance Staff Is Not Always Ground Under Repair.
A hole made by maintenance staff is ground under repair even when not marked as ground under repair. However, not all damage caused by maintenance staff is ground under repair by default.
Examples of damage that is not ground under repair by default include:
- A rut made by a tractor (but the Committee is justified in declaring a deep rut to be ground under repair).
- An old hole plug that is sunk below the putting green surface, but see Rule 13.1c (Improvements Allowed on Putting Green).
Relief from a rut made by a tractor etc. may, however, be allowed provided your Committee has a Local Rule in place. See Model Local Rule F-4.
- Model Local Rule F-4: Extensive Damage Due to Heavy Rain and Traffic
Purpose. When heavy rain has resulted in many areas of unusual damage to the course (such as deep ruts caused by vehicles or deep footprints caused by spectators), and it is not feasible to define them with stakes or lines, the Committee has the authority to declare such unusual damage to be ground under repair.
Model Local Rule F-4.
“Ground under repair may include areas of unusual damage, including areas where spectators or other traffic have combined with wet conditions to alter the ground surface materially, but only when so declared by an authorized referee or member of the Committee.
Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a.”
But, then you may ask, what is considered to be a Deep Rut?
The best answer that I have for you as to what constitutes a deep rut or footprint etc., if your Committee has a Local Rule in place for relief from deep ruts, is a definition that I use myself:
DEEP RUTS MADE BY VEHICLES OR DEEP FOOTPRINTS
Deep ruts through the green if deemed to be ground under repair.
A player may take relief in accordance with Rule 16.1b.
A rut is considered deep where, if a ball is lying in it, the clubhead cannot connect with it or follow through without interference from an edge of the rut or, if the player has to stand with a foot in it, he cannot take a normal balanced stance.
This applies only to deep ruts and not to shallow indentations.