Can You Play a Ball from GUR? Understanding Ground Under Repair Rules & Free Relief Options

Colin McCarthy

Updated on:

Can You Play A Ball From GUR

Golf can be a game of intricate rules and unexpected scenarios, and one common question that often arises is whether you can play a ball from Ground Under Repair (GUR).

Navigating the rules surrounding GUR can be tricky, especially when you’re unsure about provisional balls and free relief options. Understanding these rules is crucial for maintaining the integrity of your game and avoiding unnecessary penalties.

In this article, we’ll break down the essential guidelines about playing a ball from GUR, including what constitutes a provisional ball and when free relief is applicable.

By the end, you’ll have a clear grasp of how to handle your ball in these challenging situations, ensuring you stay within the rules and keep your scorecard clean.

Demystifying Ground Under Repair (GUR) in Golf

Ground Under Repair (GUR) refers to areas on a golf course marked by the committee as needing maintenance or experiencing abnormal conditions that could interfere with play. Understanding GUR is essential for navigating the course effectively and adhering to the rules.

What Qualifies as GUR?

Ground under repair (GUR) includes any part of the course marked by the committee. This can be indicated by white lines, stakes, or signs. It’s essential to identify these areas to avoid penalties. GUR can involve various situations, such as:

  • Excavations: Holes dug by the maintenance crew, filled with soil or other materials.
  • Damage from Animals: Areas where animals have disrupted the course surface.
  • Temporary Water: Accumulations of water that are not part of a designed water hazard.
  • Course Renovations: Sections of the course being worked on or undergoing improvements.

The Key Rules Governing GUR

When dealing with GUR, several rules come into play to ensure fair play:

  1. Optional Free Relief: You may take relief from GUR without penalty unless a local rule mandates otherwise. In all cases, you must ensure complete relief for both the ball and your stance.
  2. Dropping Procedure: If the ball is in the GUR, drop it within one club length of the nearest point of complete relief. For this, use either the dropping zone or the immediate area surrounding the GUR.
  3. Ball Touching Hazard: According to Decision 26/15, a ball is in the hazard if any part touches the hazard line. This rule also applies in GUR situations intersecting with hazards.
  4. Local Rules: Always check for local rules, which might prohibit playing from GUR altogether or outline specific relief procedures.

Playing the Ball from GUR

Playing the ball from Ground Under Repair (GUR) presents strategic considerations and requires adherence to specific rules to ensure fair play. Here’s what you need to know about playing the ball from GUR:

When Is Playing from GUR Permitted?

Golfers can opt to play from Ground Under Repair (GUR) instead of taking free relief, especially if the relief area is less favorable.

According to International Golf Federation (IGF) rules, playing from GUR is permitted unless the area is designated a No Play Zone, which mandates free relief. It’s crucial to confirm the area’s GUR status by checking marked zones or consulting officials.

Playing from GUR can involve risks such as uneven ground or debris, so golfers should carefully assess the conditions before proceeding to avoid penalties or poor performance.

Consequences of Playing from GUR

Opting to play a ball from Ground Under Repair (GUR) can impact your game significantly. Successfully executing a shot from GUR can show skill and improve your standing, but it also involves risks like unstable terrain causing mishits or difficult follow-up shots.

Strict rule enforcement means non-compliance, especially in a No Play Zone within the GUR, can result in penalties. Understanding GUR regulations is crucial for mitigating risks and maintaining a strategic edge during gameplay.

Relief Options from GUR

Navigating relief options from Ground Under Repair (GUR) is essential for golfers looking to manage their game effectively and stay within the rules. Here’s a comprehensive overview of relief options from GUR:

How to Take Proper Relief?

When taking relief from Ground Under Repair (GUR), ensure you follow correct procedures to avoid penalties. First, identify the nearest point of complete relief where neither the ball nor your stance is affected by the GUR.

Mark this spot and measure one club length from it, within which you must drop your ball. Ensure your ball doesn’t roll closer to the hole after dropping. If the Committee provides a designated dropping zone, you may opt for that area.

Specific Scenarios and How to Handle Them

Different scenarios may arise when dealing with GUR.

GUR as a No Play Zone

If the GUR is marked as a No Play Zone (NPZ), you must take relief. Drop your ball outside the GUR at the nearest point of complete relief. Failing to do this incurs a two-shot penalty.

Provisional Ball in GUR

If your provisional ball lands in GUR, first take relief using the point where the original ball lay as your reference. Drop the provisional ball in the correct relief area, ensuring it’s not closer to the hole.

Animal Holes and Abnormal Course Conditions

Similar to GUR, relief is available for other abnormal course conditions like animal holes or temporary water. Locate the nearest point of relief from the condition, mark it, and drop within one club length.

GUR in Different Areas of the Golf Course

Understanding how Ground Under Repair (GUR) affects various areas of the golf course is essential for golfers to navigate these situations effectively. Here’s a breakdown of GUR in different areas:

Relief Rules for GUR in a Bunker

When a bunker is designated as Ground Under Repair (GUR), you can either play the ball as it lies or take free relief.

For relief, determine the nearest point of complete relief outside the bunker using the point where the ball last entered the GUR. Drop the ball within one club length, no closer to the hole.

If the bunker is marked as a No Play Zone, you must take free relief outside the bunker. Drop the ball at the nearest point of complete relief, avoiding the bunker confines.

Relief Rules for GUR on the Putting Green

If your ball lies on the putting green and is in a Ground Under Repair (GUR) area, you can take free relief. Identify the nearest point of complete relief, not closer to the hole, where there is no interference from the GUR, and place the ball there.

This ensures the integrity of your putt without disturbance from the GUR.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I get relief from tree roots in golf?

If tree roots interfere with your play on the fairway, you have limited options: either play the ball as it lies or declare it unplayable and take a penalty relief. There are typically no free relief options for tree roots outside the fairway.

Can you drop from GUR onto the green?

Yes, if Ground Under Repair (GUR) interferes with your lie, stance, or swing, you may take relief. Find the nearest point of relief, not closer to the hole, in the general area, and drop within one club length.

What happens if a bunker is GUR?

If a bunker is marked as GUR, you can take free relief outside the bunker. Drop the ball at the nearest point of complete relief in the general area, ensuring it is no closer to the hole and outside the bunker.

What club to use when taking relief?

Use the club you would have used for your next shot to determine the nearest point of relief. For example, if you would normally use a 7-iron for a 150-yard shot to the hole, use that to find your relief point.

Can all bunkers be GUR?

Yes, any bunker can be marked as GUR, and scores from rounds played under these conditions are acceptable for handicap purposes as specified by the Committee.


Mastering the rules around Ground Under Repair (GUR) can greatly enhance your golfing experience. By understanding the specific relief options and procedures, you can make informed decisions that keep your game within the rules and avoid unnecessary penalties.

Whether you’re dealing with GUR in bunkers or on the putting green, knowing how to identify the nearest point of complete relief and properly execute a drop is essential.

This knowledge not only helps you navigate tricky situations but also gives you a strategic advantage on the course. Keep these guidelines in mind, and you’ll be better prepared to handle any GUR scenarios that come your way.

Consult the official rulebook or a certified golf instructor for any updates or specific situations you may encounter. Staying informed ensures you’re always playing by the rules and enjoying the game to its fullest.

Photo of author

Colin McCarthy

Golf is about mastering your misses and learning from them. I seek answers on the how and why of the golf swing, gaining experience even when answers elude me. With over 11,000 hours of teaching and a hunger for learning, I welcome any questions. My goal is to introduce golf to as many as possible, simplifying the game for all to enjoy. Passionate, eager, and ambitious, I'm here to teach, listen, and learn. LinkedIn

Leave a Comment