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Rules: Preferred lies on closely mowed areas

 

Question from Jenny Brown:

There are preferred lies under the Local Rules in operation for the competition, Player A hit her ball through the green and it came up to rest up against a tree. She had no backswing but as she was still on a 'closely mowed area' she took the club length as allowed and moved away from the offending tree and had a clear chip back onto the green.

Answer:

When adverse conditions make fairways unsatisfactory throughout the course that the Committee believes ‘preferred lies’ or ‘winter rules’ would promote fair play or help protect the course the following Local Rule is recommended as per Appendix 1 Part B 4 c.

‘Preferred Lies’ and ‘Winter Rules’

A ball laying on a closely-mown area through the green may be :

  • lifted without penalty
  • and cleaned

Closely-mown area’ means any area of the course, including paths through the rough, cut to fairway height or less.

Before lifting the ball the player must mark its position and:

  • place (not drop) it on a spot within the specified area (e.g. 1 club-length)
  • not nearer the hole
  • not in a hazard or on a putting green

If the ball is not marked a penalty of one stroke is incurred.

A player may only place the ball once and if at rest it is in play:

  • Should the ball subsequently move, it must be played as it lies (provided the player did not move the ball or cause it to move).

If the ball is replaced after it moves, not as a result of the player, a penalty is incurred because the ball has been played from the wrong place. If the player caused the ball to move it must be replaced. If not replaced a penalty is incurred – ball played from Wrong Place.

Penalty for Breach of Local Rule:

  • Matchplay – Loss of Hole
  • Strokeplay – Two strokes

If Player A per the question abided by all the rules regarding ‘preferred lies’ as per above she acted within the rules even given the fact that she moved away from the offending tree, which she is entitled to do.

It is immaterial that the ball came to rest against a tree as the ball was on a ‘closely mown area’ of the course and she was entitled to place the ball within one club length of where it lay.

The rules and decisions on the rules regarding ‘Preferred Lies’ and ‘Winter Rules’ have not been changed in the latest Rules edition (2012).

 

 

 


  • Bruce

    The rule is there to protect or safeguard the grass. Surely it is not permissable to improve ones lie by moving it away from the tree. Just the same – if a player has a lie where he would need to stand in a bunker to play, but by “improving” it he thereafter does not need to stand in the bunker is unfair assistance! The lie can be improved but not the stance etc…!! Please clarify this because this has cropped up several times before.

    • Brian

      Hi Bruce,
       
      If the ball is on a “closely mown area” (i.e. cut to fairway height or less) of the course and the Preferred Lies Rule is in play the player has every right to move the ball within the allowed distance (e.g. 1 club length). The fact that the player now no longer has to stand in the bunker to play his shot is immaterial. In most cases the grass is not cut to fairway height immediately around a bunger. If it is then its the players luck. Once again,.

       one cannot have a Rule that is allowed in one instance and not in another. Whether you agree or not this is the situation.

  • Bruce

    “It is immaterial that the ball came to rest against a tree as the ball was on a ‘closely mown area’ of the course and she was entitled to place the ball within one club length of where it lay.”…..   I totally disagree with this!!

    • Brian

      Hi Bruce,

      If the ball is on a “closely mown area” (i.e. cut to fairway height or less) of the course and the Preferred Lies Rule is in play the player has every right to move the ball within the allowed distance (e.g. 1 club length).One cannot have a Rule that is allowed in one instance and not in another. Whether you agree or not this is the situation.

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