No Relief for Ball in Divot Hole

No Relief for Ball in Divot

Rather quiet for now on the Rules-front.

Inevitable in view of the fact that New Rules only 4 weeks away and no one has yet fully played to them.

However I have had a few questions put to me.

Q. I know I may not improve my lie but may I get relief for my ball that comes to rest in a divot-hole or if it has been filled with sand or the divot partially replaced may I treat it as ‘Ground Under Repair’?

A. Unfortunately there is no Free-relief from a Divot-hole, open or repaired. The R&A and USGA refer to the fundamental principles of the game of Golf

  • Play the course as you find it, and
  • Play your ball as it lies

As we all experience, there can be bad outcomes from good shots, and good outcomes from bad shots, it is part of Golf.

The governing bodies consider that “to provide relief in that situation would really challenge that principle”

The other problem is how to define a ‘divot’, would every small indentation in a fairway be a divot, how would a light divot be distinguished from an old divot, what if it is filled with sand or a divot partially replaced – would these be GUR?

There might be situations where players could question every spot in the fairway that they think is unfavourable, it could become a pace-of-play nightmare.

So, although you do not get Free-relief you may declare your ball Unplayable, under Rule 19, and play your ball, applying a 1-stroke Penalty, dropping your ball within a 2 club-length relief area.

There is more to come.

I am hoping to produce a Quick Guide to the Rules of Golf for you to download, as an easy reference for your first rounds of golf under the new Rules of Golf.

I am also working on an interactive Rules Quiz, which will have a range of questions testing your knowledge at three levels.


Enjoy your golf!





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