Wheel Marks / Local Rules

Published on 19th September 2023 in Robbo's Rules

Rules of Golf Explained

Wheel Marks/Local Rules

Are players permitted relief from wheel marks in the General Area? The answer to this question is a definite NO. Players are only permitted relief from Abnormal Ground Conditions.

Abnormal Ground Conditions are any of these four defined conditions:

  • Animal Hole,
  • Ground Under Repair
  • Immovable Obstruction, or
  • Temporary Water

Ground Under Repair is only areas of the course defined by the Committee as GUR or included under the definitions of Ground Under Repair. Wheel marks are not included in these definitions.

Could the Committee invoke a Local Rule allowing relief from wheel marks?

The R & A provide guidelines for establishing Local Rules. Model Local Rules that cover a multitude of situations are also provided, and in general the Committee should use these Model Local Rules as required. Importantly, a Local Rule must be aligned with the purpose statements in the Rules of Golf and Model Local Rules.

For example, allowing free relief from divot holes in the fairway is not aligned with the central principal of playing the course as you find it, and the ball as it lies, as established in Purpose of Rule 1.

The only Model Rule relating to wheel marks is Model Rule F-4, Extensive Damage Due to Heavy Rain and Traffic.

The Purpose of this Model Local Rule states: When heavy rain has resulted in many areas of unusual damage to the course (such as deep ruts caused by vehicles), the Committee has the authority to declare such unusual damage to be Ground Under Repair.

Otherwise, we must “play the course as we find it and play the ball as it lies”.

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