Rules of Golf – Tree Roots

Rules of Golf Concerning Exposed Tree-roots

A question was received recently concerning Tree-roots on a Golf Cou

A. We have several mature tree areas where we have previously, under local rule allowed free drop when the ball has stopped against a tree root and is likely to damage the club or cause injury to the player if played from its resting place.

We have felt that in line with our duty of care responsibility this rule should apply even when a ball is on a root in the rough.

Can we still apply this as a local rule?

Q. Under the old Rules of Golf, the Committee was mistaken in adopting a Local Rule for relief from Tree Roots in the Rough. The Committee was only allowed to make a local rule giving relief from Tree Roots if an abnormal condition existed. Generally, it was considered that the existence of exposed Tree roots was not an abnormal condition and the premise that you play the course as you find it and the ball as it lies prevailed. Relief would have been available only under the Unplayable Ball Rule. However, if the tree roots encroached onto the fairway/closely-mown area of the course the Committee could have been authorised to make a Local Rule providing relief under Rule 25-1 (Abnormal Ground Conditions), for exposed tree roots when a ball lies on the fairway/closely-mown area. The Committee may have restricted relief to interference for the lie of the ball and the area of the intended swing.

Under the new Rules the Committee can choose to treat exposed tree roots in the fairway as Ground Under Repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1b.

The R&A, however, now recognise that in some circumstances, where exposed tree roots can also be found in the rough close to the fairway that they can treat such roots, within a specified distance from the edge of the fairway, as ground under repair form which again free relief may be obtained under Rule 16.1b.

Reference to this, and a wording for an appropriate Model Local Rule Under Committee Procedures, Local Rules 8F-(F-9), is copied below.

8F

F-9

Relief from Tree Roots in Fairway

Purpose. In the unusual situation where exposed tree roots are found in the fairway, it may be unfair not to allow the player to take relief from the roots. The Committee can choose to treat such tree roots in the fairway as ground under repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1b.

In some circumstances where exposed tree roots are also found in short rough close to the fairway, the Committee can also choose to treat such tree roots within a specified distance from the edge of the fairway, (for example four club-lengths or in the first cut of rough) as ground under repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1b.

In doing so, the Committee can choose to limit relief to interference with the lie of ball and the area of intended swing.

Model Local Rule F-9.1

“If a player’s ball is at rest in a portion of the general area cut to fairway height or less and there is interference from exposed tree roots that are in a part of the general area cut to fairway height or less, the tree roots are treated as ground under repair. The player may take free relief under Rule 16.1b.

[But interference does not exist if the tree roots only interfere with the player’s stance.]

Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a.”

Model Local Rule F-9.2

“If a player’s ball is in the general area and there is interference from exposed tree roots that are in a part of the general area cut to fairway height or less [or in the rough within specify number of club-lengths of the edge of the ground cut to fairway height or less] [or in the first cut of the rough], the tree roots are treated as ground under repair. The player may take free relief under Rule 16.1b.

[But interference does not exist if the tree roots only interfere with the player’s stance.]

Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a.”

Enjoy your Golf,

Tony

Email: tony@my-golf.uk

Rules of Golf Blog: www.my-golf.uk

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