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Rule of the Week (June 3-9)

Written by Brian Lee

Decision 13-2/10: Pitch-Mark in Dropping Area Repaired Before Ball Dropped

QUESTION:
Dave was playing golf after a day of rain. The course was wet but playable. Through the green, Dave’s ball embedded in its own pitch-mark in a closely mowed area. Dave lifted his ball under Rule 25-2 (Embedded ball) but, before dropping it, repaired the pitch-mark. Is such repair permissible?

ANSWER:
No. Dave was in breach of Rule 13-2 when he improved the area in which his ball was to be dropped by eliminating an irregularity of surface. In this case, Dave would be penalized 2 strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play. In the instance above, Dave was required to drop the ball on the pitch mark, play the stroke and then repair the pitch mark. Unfortunate for Dave, he made a mistake which is done almost every day on the golf course.

Reminder: Golf has a few fundamental principles. Hit it, find it and play it. Keep it simple and you can avoid most Rules breaches. Happy golfing and remember the rules matter.