Areation Plugs on fairway

Rule of the Week
Week of May 29 to June 2, 2017 

Following last week's rule, we had a follow-up question.  To review, sand and soil cannot be removed for a ball lying Through the Green, except for a couple of situations.
As spring golf can be trying at times, the grass is thin and the superintendent and grounds crew has a difficult task to get everything ready for the members and golf customers.  Many Saskatchewan courses aerate the teeing grounds, fairway, rough and putting greens to ensure healthy turf and assist in growing conditions.   
  1. For a ball, not on the putting green, can a player remove the aeration plugs?
  2. What happens if my ball lies in one of the hole plugs?    
Rule 23 Loose Impediments - 23-1. Relief
Except when both the  loose impediment and the ball lie in or touch the same  hazard, any  loose impediment may be removed without penalty.
If the ball lies anywhere other than on the  putting green and the removal of a  loose impediment by the player causes the ball to  move, Rule  18-2 applies .... Which means the player is penalized 1 stroke and the ball must be replaced.
Decision 23/12 - Aeration Plugs
QUESTION: Are plugs of compacted soil produced through aeration of fairways loose impediments?
ANSWER: Yes. Loose soil is not a loose impediment. However, such plugs, since they consist of compacted soil, are loose impediments. 
>>> This means a player may remove those plugs which are detached/loose from the area where the ball is to be played.  The player must be careful not to cause the ball to move.

Handicap Committee
During spring golf time, it is advisable the Handicap Committee, Superintendent and Management of the club informs the golf patrons about changing conditions on the course.  This can be an email or letters to all members, a message posted by the computer, pro shop counter or the 1st/10th tee.   
  • The course will be aerated on the following day(s) and includes the teeing grounds, fairways and putting greens.   
  • For play until (a specific date/time) we will be playing "Preferred Lies" to ensure proper play. 
  • If a ball comes to rest in an areation hole, a player may find the Nearest Point of Relief, that is not nearer the hole and use the situation described below.
  • Procedure: A player is allowed to mark, lift, clean and place a ball within a scorecard length (handicap committee can determine the length) not nearer the hole. (and ). 
  • Where: the Handicap Committee may limit the the area such as the fairway of the hole being played only or sometimes it is Through the Green (excluding teeing ground and the putting green of the hole being played and all hazards on the course). 
  • Integrity of the Game: Inform the golf patrons this process cannot be used to get them out of a situation such as the out of trees, out of a hazard, back in play from Out of Bounds or from under/behind a tree. 
  • This procedure can only be done once before a player makes a stroke at the ball.
Important: If a player "bumps" or "rolls" the ball into a favorable position, she/he is penalized 1 stroke and the ball must be replaced.

Next week, we will discuss relief from a cart path and when a ball has to be dropped on a cart path.
Happy golfing and remember the Rules of Golf Matter
About Golf Saskatchewan
As the Provincial Sport Governing Body (PSGB), Golf Saskatchewan will provide leadership in driving participation, engagement, capacity, and excellence in our sport.

Golf Saskatchewan
510 Cynthia St
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7L 7K7
Golf Saskatchewan
(306) 975-0850

Authored by Brian Lee, Executive Director of Golf SK

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