A short story from the Cornwall Open yesterday.

At the Cornwall Golf and Country Club, the 17th hole is a dogleg right of medium length (about 370 yards) with trees left and right and a good size pond guarding the front right of the green and hedges protecting the back. BTW, yesterday the pin was located far right behind the pond.

I hit a 3W to approx. 100 yards from the green. The ball hit a soft spot in casual water and picked up several thick clumps of mud. I knew that I was entitled to relief from the abnormal gound conditions under 25-1b (nearest point of relief, free drop etc...) but could not remember if the ball could be cleaned before being dropped. Not wanting to breach the rules, I dropped the ball with its clumps. The biggest clump ended up right at the contact area between the ball and club.

I guess you can figure the rest (sand wedge into the pond - it was like hitting soft caramel), drop, lob wedge to green, 2 putts for a double bogey (and a round of 76).

Afterwards I remembered that under rule 25-1b (confirmed by the copy of the rules book in my car), you can clean the ball after it is lifted.

So, the moral of the story?

1) When you qualify for relief under abnormal ground conditions, you can clean the ball before dropping at nearest point of relief.
2) The rule book does no damn good in your car as opposed to carrying it in your golf bag (which is where mine will be staying permanently!!!)