RULE: Ball lost in GUR??

Following on from last month’s rule discussion about “abnormal ground conditions”, what is the procedure if you think your ball is lost in the GUR?

For example if you slice your ball on hole #5 towards the overflow area on the right hand side, in front of the dam where the mowers have been unable to do their job and you cannot find your ball, what do you do?

Rule 25 raises the question of whether your ball which is unable to be found has actually been lost in the GUR or lost outside it. Usually, because of the hill between you and the green for your second shot, you are not able to see the finishing point for your ball. So, are you sure it went into the marked GUR area, or it is lost somewhere else, eg in the grass on the bank in front of the area?

In order to apply this rule it must be known, or virtually certain that the ball is in the abnormal ground condition (GUR). In the absence of such knowledge or certainty, you must proceed under Rule 27 (Lost Ball).

If you do not see your ball finish in the GUR (and none of your playing partners see it), to obtain free relief under this rule 25, you will need to present a case for the ball being there. How do you do that?

If the area around the GUR is well mown, and any ball lying outside the GUR would easily be seen, then it may be reasonable to assume that it is “virtually certain” your ball is in the only other place, the GUR. (Ball flight A)

However, if the line of flight of the ball is over the long grass through the green in front of this GUR, then maybe your ball is lost there, or maybe it did make it to the GUR. (See ball flight B). But if you do not know nor can you be certain where the ball finished, then your ball is deemed lost and Rule 27 applies (stroke and distance).

OK, you are certain your ball is lost in the GUR (and your marker concurs!), then you are able to take relief. The spot where you believe the ball last crossed the outermost limits of the abnormal ground conditions must be determined. For the purpose of applying this rule, the ball is deemed to lie at this spot. In this case (through the green), you may substitute a ball without penalty and drop this ball within one club length and not nearer the hole than this point of relief. When dropped, the ball must first strike a part of the course that avoids interference from the GUR (and is not in a hazard or on the putting green)