Lifting and cleaning balls

QUESTION: Michelle and Ed are playing in a tournament. On the 16th hole, “ground under repair” lines have recently been painted on the fairway. Michelle’s tee shot has run over the paint and the paint has adhered to the ball. Her ball lies in the “ground under repair” area. She lifts her ball to clean it and drops it outside the markers. Ed says she is not allowed to clean her ball. Is he correct?

ANSWER: A player may clean a ball when it has been lifted under the rules. In this case, Michelle’s ball rests in the ground under repair and she is allowed to lift and take a drop outside the ground under repair without penalty. Michelle, therefore, may clean her ball. Ed is incorrect. See USGA Decisions on the Rules of Golf, 2016-2017, 21/1.

Golf clinics continue on Saturday mornings, 10:30-12-noon. Remember, the swing’s the thing and continuous improvement is what it’s all about.

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