Here is my Rules article that will be in next month’s DBGCC Newsletter. I thought it would be good to let you read it now, especially if the brave ones are going to get out there this week and play in the mud and wind.
The Hazards of Wintertime Golf.
What are you allowed to do if your ball is in standing water, covered by leaves, covered in mud, or gets blown by the wind?
Due to the recent heavy rains there is standing water in many places on our course. What are you allowed to do when you find your ball in this water, or to make your shot your feet are in the water? Under the Rules of Golf “Casual water” (standing water) is considered an “Abnormal Ground Condition” and as such you are allowed free relief. To get this relief the water must be visible before or after you take your stance. The ground just being wet is not enough. You are allowed a one club length relief at the nearest point where the water no longer interferes, and then drop a ball making sure it is no closer to the hole. You are allowed to clean your ball before the drop, and there is no penalty.
Leaves covering your ball.
During this time of year it can be hard to find your ball, especially if it is covered by leaves. Be very careful when searching for your ball as if you accidentally move it during your search you will incur a one stroke penalty and your ball must be replaced. If you do find your ball covered in leaves you are allowed to remove them, as they are loose impediments, but be very careful. If you move your ball when removing the leaves you will get a one stroke penalty, and you must replace it, Rule 18-2.
Mud covering your ball.
When you are out on the course in the normal course of play simply remember that you are required to play the ball where is lies and in what state it lies in. We all would love to flick the mud off our ball, but as they say, it is just the “rub of the green”. If you clean your ball, unless you are allowed to under a specific Rule, you must replace it and you incur a one stroke penalty. Sadly, you have to wait until your ball is on the green to clean it.
Wind blowing your ball.
If on a windy day your ball is at rest anywhere on the course and it is moved by wind gusts there is no penalty and you must play the ball where it ends up. A player must be absolutely certain that they did not move the ball themselves, but there’s no penalty if the wind moves it.
I hope this helps you.