What Is 'Ground Under Repair' on a Golf Course?

GUR in the Rules: How to Recognize It and What to Do About It

Ground under repair staked off in fairway on golf course
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"Ground under repair" is a term used in the Rules of Golf and applying to conditions on a golf course. Ground under repair -- golfers often spell it or say it as "GUR" -- falls under the heading of abnormal ground condition and is exactly what its name implies: ground that is being repaired by the course superintendent or maintenance crew.

Official Definition of Ground Under Repair in the Rules

The is the definition of "ground under repair" as written by the USGA and R&A, and as it appears in the Official Rules of Golf:

" 'Ground under repair' is any part of the course so marked by order of the Committee or so declared by its authorized representative. All ground and any grass, bush, tree or other growing thing within the ground under repair are part of the ground under repair. Ground under repair includes material piled for removal and a hole made by a greenkeeper, even if not so marked. Grass cuttings and other material left on the course that have been abandoned and are not intended to be removed are not ground under repair unless so marked.

"When the margin of ground under repair is defined by stakes, the stakes are inside the ground under repair, and the margin of the ground under repair is defined by the nearest outside points of the stakes at ground level. When both stakes and lines are used to indicate ground under repair, the stakes identify the ground under repair and the lines define the margin of the ground under repair.

"When the margin of ground under repair is defined by a line on the ground, the line itself is in the ground under repair. The margin of ground under repair extends vertically downwards but not upwards.

"A ball is in ground under repair when it lies in or any part of it touches the ground under repair.

"Stakes used to define the margin of or identify ground under repair are obstructions.

"Note: The Committee may make a Local Rule prohibiting play from ground under repair or an environmentally-sensitive area defined as ground under repair."

Summarizing GUR

Ground under repair should be designated as such by the course, either by staking, roping or otherwise marking the area affected (such as with lines painted on the ground around the area -- if lines are used, they should be white in color.)

Free relief is given to any golfer whose ball comes to rest in the area or touching it -- so long as the area is marked as ground under repair by the course. The only exceptions to that are any hole dug by a greenkeeper, and any material piled for removal by a greenkeeper. Those constitute ground under repair even if they are not marked as such.

Grass cuttings left on the course are not considered ground under repair unless they are marked as such.

Ground under repair is covered in the rulebook in Rule 25, which focuses on abnormal ground conditions. Check that rule for more details about ground under repair and the proper procedures.