Taking Relief From A Divot

The rules of golf do not allow for relief from a divot in the fairway. It is the most annoying non-rule in golf! I rarely hit my ball into a divot, but when it happens I find it very disturbing, frustrating, and downright unfair! As a matter of fact, I think all golfers should band together and lobby golf’s governing bodies to change the rules to include relief from a divot.

Caddie, hand me my foot wedge!

As you can see, I will be hitting my ball with half the ball buried. After a great drive into the fairway, I belief I was disadvantaged by someone not fixing their divot. As it turns out, I did miss hit this ball and finished with a double bogey. My ball squibbed out about 25 yards leaving about 175 yards to the green. I tried punching down on the ball with a 5 iron and it did not work out as planned. Part of my challenge was that I did not mentally get over hitting out a divot….did I mention I found it very frustrating.

I remember being in a divot that was opposite direction to the fairway. Someone was taking practice swings, took a divot and I was left hitting out of a trench. I decided to take free relief and carry on with my round. Long before this incident I felt that having to hit out a divot was unfair and this thought has not changed. As I stated earlier, I belief free relief for finishing in a divot is a must for future rounds and perhaps for all of golf. What do you think?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!


10 thoughts on “Taking Relief From A Divot

  1. I have mixed feelings on this one. On one hand, people that do not fix their divots are inconsiderate and a case can be made that a divot is ground under repair. The other part of me (the historian) appreciates that golf is a game played outdoors under varying conditions. We seem to feel that we are entitled to a perfect lie, we aren’t of course. Players in the past did not have the benefit of our modern mowers and equipment and even fairways were not a given.

    So with that in mind, I don’t think they should change the rule. I still reserve the right to curse the idiots that don’t make an effort to replace/repair their divots. Although I appreciate a well designed and well cared for course, I don’t believe that I am entitled to perfect conditions, even on the fairway.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think this rule will be changed. As a Rules Official, I have discussed with USGA and they said it is too difficult to properly define “divot”. Players would be taking relief from any imperfection on the fairway and calling it a divot. You might as well play Model Local Rule E-3 (preferred lies) all the time. You know, the rules don’t guarantee a perfect lie in the fairway nor do you always get a bad lie in the rough. Just “play the ball as it lies and play the course as you find it” The most basic concepts in golf.

    Liked by 1 person

    • David,

      Your points are valid. Others have commented about some players taking advantage or stretching the rules. I would suggest that they do that anyway. The preferred lie local rules is definitely solution and many courses in the north have extended times for this local rule. Mostly it is protect the course when it is trying to grow in after a long winters nap. I am uplifted with the fact that this topic was discussed at the USGA level, it shows to me that the governing bodies are paying attention.

      Cheers Jim


    • Ahhhhh, you went and made sense. Have to admit, I’d much rather you hadn’t, but now that you have, I guess I’ll have to stop my bellyaching. Well done, and well said sir.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. While it’s unfortunate to land in a divot, there are a couple of reasons not to give relief. 1) If there were relief from divots, nobody would bother repairing their divots! 2) Sometimes life throws you lemons and how you deal with adversity both on and off the course is a mental strength. 3) It’s also a bit of a skill to hit out of a divot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean,

      I agree with the last two points, but the first one is already happening. It seems that there is a lack of understanding and knowledge by younger golfers on the importance of looking after the golf course. Between divots and ball marks on the green, the maintenance staff has their hands full.

      Cheers Jim


  4. Yeah, I’m with you and that one. I found myself in one today on of course #13. It was a killer. My ball was in the back of it and I had no way to get club on ball. Had to try and chunk and run it to the green and of course didn’t make it. I managed to get up and down, but I needed a bird there. The last hole I’d doubled thanks to a terrible driver mistake and in the end, that double cost me an under 80 round. Worse, it could easily have caused damage to my wrist had the ground been harder.

    Today we played a course where I was lucky enough to once follow Brittany Lincicome and her long driver boyfriend at the time, Dewald Gouws. It was a best ball tourny to benefit the 1st Tee Program. Anyway, I was pointing out to the guys where his ball landed on some of the longer, wider holes where he’ld attacked. Makes you feel insignificant against your own best drives.

    I used my 4 wood instead for all but the longest par 4’s. On the par 5’s where Gouws had let loose, I’d guess his drive was just about if not just more than the equal of me hitting 4 wood, 4 wood. I didn’t let it get me down of course. That was years ago and I know I’m shorter than I used to be. And more important, I was winning. So no little detail like that was going to ruin my fun. It would have been nice to break 80, but gotta look on the bright side. 😎

    You’ll love this. Last night I texted the guys to tell them I’d be there without my driver because it wasn’t ready. They texted back offers to use theirs and I replied “no, thanks. I’ll beat ya with what I got”. Of course that had them rolling and then sending me disparaging comments all evening. When we started the round they didn’t notice I had a driver in the bag and I used the 4 wood for both the par 4 1st and the par 5 2nd (two there in fact), got birdies on both and didn’t pull the driver out until the longer par4 4th. They both must have planned it because they stood together and stared at me. I stopped and looked up at them for that and one said, “so you aren’t beating us enough yet?”. My answer..provided with as straight a face as I could manage..”Of course not”. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin,

      Your banter with your friends is always fun! The entertainment of laying down the gauntlet provides that extra bit of zest to any round. It sounds like your friends took it all in stride and that is always a good thing. As far as long drives like Gouws, that is ancient history for me; I always look at the final score to see if it made any real difference and most of the time, like you, I am in the winners circle.

      Cheers Jim


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