RULE: Plugged ball

When the course is wet, my high approach shot plugged into the ground short of the green.
Even when the course is dry, the slope in front of the watered green occasionally sees my ball plug.

Boy, this is unfair - how can I hit a plugged ball? What do the rules allow me to do?Don't despair - the Rules have recognised this problem (sort of!)

Rule 25-2 Embedded Ball says, "A ball embedded in its own pitch mark in the ground in any closely mown  area through the green may be lifted, cleaned and dropped, without penalty as near as possible to the spot where it lay but not nearer the hole. Closely mown area means any area of the course cut to fairway height or less."

The club recognises that our terrain increases the likely hood of a ball plugging, so has amended Rule 25-2 to anywhere through the green, not just closely mown areas. That means, if your ball plugs off the fairway, or the secondary rough around the green, you are entitled to the same relief - ie lift, clean and drop without penalty.

A common incidence here is plugging into the slopes or banks around greens, like #10 or #18 for example.

Have a look at this image where my ball has plugged into the bank behind #18 green (being long on 18 is better than being short!!!)

What chance do I have of dropping the ball as near as possible to 'the spot', and the ball not rolling nearer the hole, onto the green, or rolling more than the two club lengths allowable?

Well Rule 20 helps . You can take relief from this situation, dropping the ball without penalty as near as possible to the spot where it is plugged. If your ball (amongst other things) rolls onto the putting green, or rolls more than 2 club lengths from where it first struck the ground, or rolls and comes to rest nearer the hole - then you must redrop. If your second re-drop still 'offends', then you can place the ball on the spot the second re-drop strikes the ground. So in this case you will obtain relief without penalty from the ball being embedded, but you will still have to negotiate a tricky shot from the sloping bank!

For a fuller description of 'dropping the ball' click here.

PS: Don't forget to fill your embedded ball hole when you finish the shot. If another player's ball rolls into your pitch mark, there is NO free relief for that player. The rule clearly says "a ball embedded in its own pitch mark" .

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