So you have just smashed your drive somewhere down the left side of the fairway and the ball has nestled into the first cut of rough. You get up there looking for your ball, but there is absolutely no sign of it in among the leaves.
"FFS, leaf it out," you might be heard saying as you stand there with hands on hips.
Losing a golf ball in the leaves will prove a common issue for golfers up and down the land this autumn, especially when you throw in some early morning sun and dew on the ground.
If you still cannot find your golf ball after spending your maximum three minutes looking for it, there is one particular rule that you can use in your favour.
But only if a local rule is in play from your tournament committee or golf course staff.
So what is the golf rule I can use when my ball is lost in the leaves?
The rule is known as Model Local Rule F-14.
"At certain times of the year, piles of loose impediments such as leaves, seeds or acorns may make it difficult for a player to find or play his or her ball.
"A Committee can choose to treat such piles of loose impediments in the general area or in a bunker as ground under repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1."
The Committee at your golf club may choose to make a temporary Local Rule that declares accumulation of leaves at certain holes to be ground under repair (GUR), and thus "Abnormal Ground Conditions" will apply and the player is permitted to take swing relief and one club length no nearer the hole without any penalty.
The Local Rule should be restricted to the hole(s) at which the accumulation of leaves occurs, and it should be withdrawn as soon as conditions pemit.
However, should you hit your ball into an area of leaves - and there is no Local Rule in question on that particular hole - unfortunately it will be a stroke and distance penalty (meaning it's back to play from the original spot and a one-stroke penalty) as the ball is declared lost.
So the next time you find yourself lost in the leaves, it could be either good or bad news for you.
Just make sure you check in with your tournament committee ahead of your next round and ask nicely for a bit of F-14.