International Leaf Rule Now in Effect

P1090578All the big tournaments are over now. The club championship has been decided. The kids who worked in the golf shop all summer are back at school. Our Enemy Club has been defeated. The deer eating acorns between the fifth and sixth holes have grown so used to us that they scarcely look up when we play through. The International Leaf Rule is in effect. 
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I know people who live in places where golf can be played in shorts year-round. To them, the cycle of the seasons is a kind of poverty. But I think they are the ones who are deprived. For them, golf has no beginning and no end. They don’t get to savor a year’s two most consequential rounds: its first and its last. One season blends into the next, and they never reach a point from which they are forced to assess their golf game’s progress or decline.

P1090609Hacker (real name) and I had the course to ourselves for our first nine holes on Tuesday afternoon. Barney, who didn’t have to pick up his daughter until four-fifteen, joined us at the turn. We waved to an older member who used to play by himself but now is always accompanied by his son. He uses something called Martini Tees, and when he misplaced one the other day he had his son call the golf shop to report it missing. His son acts as his caddie and navigator, guiding him from hole to hole. Golf is almost over, but not yet.

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4 thoughts on “International Leaf Rule Now in Effect

  1. I occasionally play with a Scottish friend who, like the guy with the Martini tees, doesn’t like to lose any golfing equipment either. In fact, to prove that a tee that we both went to pick up was indeed his, he sent me evidence of the serial number identification as seen below. Obviously you can never be too careful…………………..

    • Here’s how Ron Kaspriske answered that question in Golf Digest a few years ago:

      If a course has a local rule allowing the natural accumulation of leaves to be treated as ground under repair, and it’s known or virtually certain that your ball is lost under leaves, you may find the nearest point of relief from the spot where the ball last crossed the outermost limit of the leaves, and take a drop, without penalty, within one club-length of that point, no closer to the hole (Rule 25-1, Decision 33-8/31).

      Without a local rule, leaves are loose impediments. You can’t move your ball when removing leaves or it’s a one-stroke penalty, and the ball must be replaced. The same is true if you’re searching through leaves and the ball moves. But if your ball is covered by leaves in a bunker or a water hazard, there’s no penalty if the ball moves during a search. Just replace the ball and cover it with leaves, if necessary, so only part of the ball is visible (Rule 18-2, 12-1). If you find your ball in leaves piled for removal, you can drop it, without penalty, within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, no closer to the hole (Rule 25-1b).

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