August 3, 2020
Rule of the Month: Fairways and Rough
Most of your shots during a round will be made from the fairway or rough, which are part of an area of the golf course called the “general area.” This area includes everywhere on the course except bunkers, penalty areas, and the teeing area and putting green of the hole you are playing. In the general area, you will normally play your ball as it lies, but you get free relief for an embedded ball or interference by an abnormal course condition (including artificial structures, temporary water, and ground under repair). Click here to learn how to take free relief from abnormal course conditions.
If you can’t play your ball as it lies in the general area, you can always take unplayable ball relief. Under this Rule, you can choose between three different relief options that allow you to drop your original ball or another ball out of your original lie for one penalty stroke. The three options are: stroke and distance, back-on-the-line between your ball and the hole, or lateral relief within two club-lengths of your ball. Click here for a short video that will show you how these three relief options work.
You have three minutes to find your ball. If it is not found, it is lost and you must go back to play under stroke and distance.
Remember, if you have any Rules questions or feel stumped, you can Ask the NCGA Expert