Fairway preferred lies only
Apparently some confusion remains regarding issues concerning current course play conditions with a 30cm preferred lies rule applying on closely mown fairways. Despite limited grass growth if there is doubt concerning the fairway cut alignment the player’s marker should make the final decision. All other portions of the general area, that is, areas of rough, play the ball as it lies.
If you have mud on the ball in those areas that issue is regarded as the rub of the green and the ball cannot be lifted and cleaned without incurring a one-shot penalty. Conclusion: don’t hit the ball into the rough.
First cut around the green
Green staff will generally cut a 30-40cm wide mown area surrounding the green. That grass surround mown area is just that: it is not part of the green’s putting surface but a closer cut section of the fairway, that is, closely mown fairway.
Dropping from staked bunkers
A ball finishing in bunkers marked with a white stake (based on abnormal course conditions under Rule 16) must be lifted and dropped at the nearest point of relief, no closer to the hole, into the relief area defined by one club length as outlined under Rule 16.1B. No penalty applies. A ball finishing in a non-staked bunker must be played as it lies.
See Rule 16.3 regarding embedded balls but note that such relief is not granted within the general area ‘that is not cut to fairway height or less’ therefore a ball embedded in the rough must be played as it lies unless a local rule provides relief ‘through the green’. Note an embedded ball rule does not apply if the ball is ‘sitting down in the grass’ which means no part of the ball is ‘below the level of the ground’.
Quite simple really. In wetter winter play conditions keep the ball on the fairway and avoid bunkers. If only it were that simple.
John Benn – Captain