Rules Guy: Can a ball be considered lost in a Ground Under Repair area?

March 12, 2019

The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.

A local course I often play has several permanent Ground Under Repair areas that have provoked discussion. If a ball is hit so far into one that it can’t be found, is it a lost ball, or does the GUR take precedence? —JOHN REED, VIA E-MAIL

The Rules Guy always has the answers to all your questions.
The Rules Guy always has the answers to all your questions.
Jason Raish

Has all this GUR been designated a national park? It sounds quite impressive.

As to Rules ramifications, the issue boils down to certitude. If it is known, or virtually certain, that the ball is lost within the GUR — say, 95.012 percent likelihood or above, for you statistical types — then the player is entitled to free relief.

Use the point that the ball last entered the GUR, determine the nearest point of complete relief from there, and drop within one club length, no closer to the hole. If the player thinks that maybe the ball entered GUR (or just wishes it were so), the dreaded stroke-and-distance penalty applies.

Got a rules question? Of course you do! Whatever it may be, send yours to rulesguy@golf.com and the question may be answered in an upcoming issue of GOLF. Until then, play by the Rules!