By Alan Jeffery
QUESTION: Pat and Marcia are playing in a tournament. On the 6th hole, Pat’s second stroke lodges against a tree root. The tree is in an area that is marked as ground under repair but the root and ball lie outside the markings. Because the root is part of the tree, Pat says she entitled to take relief. Marcia says Pat should play the ball as it lies, or take relief under the unplayable ball rule. Is she correct?
ANSWER: The margin of ground under repair extends vertically downward. A growing thing within the ground under repair that extends beyond the area at or below the ground under repair is NOT ground under repair. See USGA Decisions on the Rules of Golf, 2014-2015, 25-10.7 Pat is not entitled to relief without penalty. Marcia is correct.
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