Did you know that we have a Local Rule at NOGC so you can lift your ball, clean it and drop it without penalty if it is plugged in its own pitch mark?
For practical purposes, we can think of the Rules of Golf applying differently to balls on the fairway and in the rough, though terms like “fairway” and “rough” are not defined in the Rules of Golf. Instead the Rules speak of “closely mown areas” (fairways, cut paths, fringes, and so on) and “through the green” (everywhere on the course except the teeing ground and putting green of the hole you are playing and except hazards).
We have an NOGC Local Rule during conditions of “Preferred Lies” (which most of us call “Winter Rules”). If your ball comes to rest in a “closely mown area”, then you can mark it, lift it, clean it and replace it without penalty within six inches and not nearer the hole.
We also have a Local Rule that applies under any course conditions to balls that are embedded in their own pitch mark – ie plugged – “through the green”. You can mark your ball if it is plugged, lift it, clean it and drop it without penalty as near as possible and no nearer the hole.
You can read more about these and other NOGC Local Rules here
For practical purposes, think of it as:
- under winter rules – mark, lift, clean and place your ball if it comes to rest on the fairway
- any time of year – mark, lift, clean and drop your ball if it is plugged in its own pitch mark and is not in a hazard