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Ask the Rules Guy: Boxed In

Ask the Rules Guy
Ask the Rules Guy

BOXED IN
Rules Guy,
I was playing with my wife when I took a particularly bad swing from the tee. I sliced my ball so badly that it ended up bouncing off a nearby tree, straight back into the ladies' tee box. Unfortunately, the red tee box on this course was not very well maintained, and when I walked up to myball I found a large weed growing directly behind it. My wife insisted that, since it was no longer in my own tee box, I had to play the ball as it was, but I decided to take matters into my own hands and pull out the weed. Did I do anything wrong?

 

Typically you should leave the groundskeeping to the local staff, but this time you were actually well within your rights. According to Decision 3-2/3, there is nothing prohibiting a player from eliminating "irregularities" from the surface of the teeing ground (as allowed under Rules 13-2). This includes breaking off or pulling out grass that is growing behind your ball, so long as you do not move the ball itself. The fact that you were playing from the ladies' tee (and that you were playing your second shot) is not a factor-a teeing ground is a teeing ground. You can tell your wife that (for once) you were right, but I wouldn't expect the course to give you a day's pay for your amateur greenskeeping.

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