What do you do if an old hole plug interferes with your line?

Published 21/03/2011 07:20:00

Todd's ball is on the green, and he notices that an old hole plug, on his line of putt, has been poorly replaced and is above the level of the green.

Is he allowed relief?

Yes. Todd is allowed to attempt to lower the plug to make it level with the surface of the green (or to raise the plug if it is below the green surface). If he is unable to do so, he may discontinue play and request the tournament committee to lower (or raise) the plug. If the committee can't level the plug without unduly delaying play, it should declare the plug to be ground under repair. A player gets relief from ground under repair on his line of putt if his ball is on the green, so Todd places his ball on the nearest position providing relief from the plug, but no closer to the hole.

Old hole plugs and ballmarks are the only types of damage that the player is allowed to repair on the green if it might assist him in the subsequent play of the hole (Rule 16-1c). Any other type of damage on the line of his putt, such as spike marks, must be left alone until after his stroke.

Now What If?

Prior to putting, Todd discovers that the hole is damaged by something other than a ballmark.

What is the proper procedure?

If the damage is such that the dimensions of the hole have not been changed, Todd should continue play without repairing the hole. If he touches the hole, he is penalized two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play for touching the line of putt (Rule 16-1a). If the dimensions of the hole have been changed, Todd should request that the committee have the hole repaired. If a committee member is not readily available, Todd may repair the damage without penalty. Todd is penalized if he repairs the damage himself when a committee member is readily available.


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