Miami Valley Golf

Local Rules for Handling Aeration Holes
A common misconception is that an aeration hole is ground under repair because it is a hole made by a greenkeeper. This is incorrect and this is clarified by Decision 25/15 which reads:
Q. Is an Aeration hole a hole made by a greenkeeper within the meaning of that term in the Definition of “Ground Under Repair”?
A. No
The only way a player would be entitled to relief from an aeration hole would be if the Committee enacts the Local Rule provided in Appendix I of the Rules of Golf. A sample of the Local Rule may be viewed by clicking here.
It is also important to note that, unlike ground under repair, the relief is provided for the lie of the ball only. In addition, when the ball lies on the putting green and a player is entitled to relief from the aeration hole, the player is permitted to place the ball, no nearer the hole, at the nearest point or relief (this may be off the putting green).
When the ball is on a putting green a player is permitted to mark and lift. After lifting, it is discovered the ball lies in an aeration hole. With the Local Rule in effect, the player is permitted to place the ball, no nearer the hole where the ball no longer lies in the hole.
If the ball lies through the green, the player is permitted to drop the ball as near as possible but no closer to the hole.
When the ball lies through the green a player is not permitted to lift the ball unless the Rules allow. See below why you should follow a specific procedure before simply marking and lifting your ball when it lies through the green. After lifting, it is discovered the ball lies in an aeration hole. With the Local Rule in effect, the player is permitted to drop the ball, as near as possible, no nearer the hole than where the ball originally came to rest.
Another common misconception is that when taking relief, all holes are part of the same condition. This is incorrect. Each aeration hole is a separate condition. Thus, if a player decides to take relief from an aeration hole and the ball is dropped or re-dropped and comes to rest in a different aeration hole, the player can choose to play the ball where it came to rest or chose to take relief under the Local Rule again.
If when the ball is dropped it comes to rest in the same aeration hole, the player must re-drop per Rule 20-2c. If the ball comes to rest again in the same aeration hole the player must then place the ball where it first struck a part of the course on the re-drop as required by Rule 20-2c.
When the ball lies on the putting green, Rule 16-1b allows the ball to be lifted. Elsewhere, a player is not entitled to lift the ball unless an applicable Rule allows. The complication with aeration holes through the green is that is can be very difficult to tell if a ball has come to rest in an aeration hole without first lifting the ball. It is recommended that you follow a very specific procedure if you believe the ball may have come to rest in an aeration hole when your ball does not lie on the putting green (further detail can be found in Decision 20-1/0.7).
1. Announce your intention to lift the ball to a fellow-competitor in stroke play or an opponent in match play.
2. Mark the ball and give your fellow-competitor or opponent an opportunity to observe the lifting.
3.  Lift the ball but be careful not to clean it.
 - If the ball came to rest in an aeration hole, you may either replace the ball or take relief as detailed above – if you take relief you are now permitted to clean the ball.
 - If the ball did not come to rest in an aeration hole, you must replace the ball without cleaning it and allow the fellow-competitor or opponent the opportunity to observe the replacement.
If you believe the ball has came to rest in an aeration hole through the green and, do not follow the above procedure, you risk incurring a one-stroke penalty. If, after you lift the ball, you discover it was not in an aeration hole, you must replace the ball and add the one stroke penalty for a breach of Rule 18-2a. If the ball is in an aeration hole, no penalty is incurred only if you continue to take relief under the Local Rule detailed above.
Thank you for your interest in the Rules of Golf!

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