What's the golf rule if I lose my ball in the leaves? Find out...

Losing a golf ball in the leaves will prove a common issue for golfers up and down the land this autumn.

Andy Roberts's picture
Fri, 19 Oct 2018
What's the golf rule if I lose my ball in the leaves? Find out...

 

So you've just smashed your ball somewhere down the left side of the fairway and it's bounced into the rough. You get up there to look for your ball but there's no sign of it in amongst the leaves. "FFS, leaf it out," you might say. So what's the ruling?


 

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, but there is one particular rule should this happen to you - if a Local Rule is made by the golf club in question.

The Committee may choose to make a temporary Local Rule that declares accumulation of leaves at certain holes to be ground under repair (GUR), and thus Rule 25-1 (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. 

RULES: ARE PROVISIONALS GOING OUT THE GAME FOR GOOD?! 

The Local Rule should be restricted to the hole(s) at which the accumulation of leaves occurs, and it should be withdrawn as soon as conditions pemit.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 (Rule 27-1). 

You currently have up to five minutes to look for your golf ball, but that will soon become three minutes as of January 1, 2019, when golf's modernised rules come into play. 

NEXT PAGE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE 'NEW DROP RULE' IN 2019