Definition of the Ground Under Repair
Ground under repair (GUR) is a term applied to an area on the golf course considered unfit for play. As its name suggests, it is a site that is a ground that is damaged and/or being repaired by the course maintenance crew. In the Rules of Golf it is treated as part of the Abnormal Course Conditions.
In general, an abnormal course condition is any area on the course that is in poor physical conditions for playing golf. Such poor conditions may not be considered a part of the challenge of golf. Then it is unreasonable to require a player to hit the ball from this specific area. In addition to GUR, abnormal course conditions also include animal holes, immovable obstructions and temporary water.
When Relief Is Allowed?
When the player is interfered with by GUR, there are always two options: to play the ball as it lies or to take relief without penalty (at the nearest point of relief in the same area of the course or a designated Dropping Zone). A player always has the option to play from GUR unless it has been marked as a No Play Zone.
Relief Is Allowed if any interference exists, i.e.:
- the player’s ball touches or is in or on GUR
- GUR physically interferes with the player’s area of intended stance or area of intended swing, or
- GUR on or off the putting green intervenes on the line of play (only when the ball is on the putting green)
Marking of the Ground under Repair
The edge of ground under repair should be defined by stakes, ropes, lines painted on the ground or physical features. There is no specific color of stakes or lines in the Rules of Golf to be used for marking areas of ground under repair. However, in practice, the blue stakes or white or blue lines are most often used. The way in which ground under repair is marked should be specified in the Local Rules.
Note that there are also some GURs that may not be marked. They constitute ground under repair even if they are not marked as such. These are:
- holes dug by a greenkeeper,
- any material piled for removal by a greenkeeper, including grass cuttings and leaves, and
- animal habitats (e.g. a bird’s nest), that could be damaged by a stroke or player’s stance
When the edge of GUR is defined by stakes, it is defined by the line between the outside points of the stakes at ground level, and the stakes are inside GUR.
When the edge of GUR is defined by a painted line on the ground, it is the outside edge of the line, and the line itself is in GUR. In such case the stakes show only where the GUR is, but they have no other meaning.
See the picture below – the boundary edge of the ground under repair is marked by black dashed line.
The edge of a ground under repair may be also defined by physical features (e.g. protecting fence) and then it is clearly described in local rules.
update: April 2021