Relief From Immovable Obstruction
A right-handed player’s ball comes to rest on the green-side of a rustic fence bordering a teeing area. Points A, B and C are the three nearest points where the player can make a stroke without the fence interfering, that are not nearer the hole. They are equidistant from the hole. May the player choose at which of the three points they drop their ball?
No, the nearest point of relief is the point nearest to where the ball lies where there is no interference from the fence. In this photograph it is point C. The distance from the hole is not relevant and nor is the fact that the fence would be on the line of play.
Having determined the nearest point of relief does the player drop…
a) … at that point?
b) … within one club-length of that point?
c) … within two club-lengths of that point?
b) … within one club-length of that point. Rule 24-1b(i).
Point C is in the rough. If that is the nearest point of relief from the fence does the player have to drop their ball in the rough when taking free relief?
Note: The player may drop anywhere within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, not nearer the hole. In the photo it means that the ball may be dropped on the closely mown tee area, but in other cases it could mean dropping it in a worse position than where it lies.
A right-handed player’s ball is lying under a bush and there is no reasonable stroke that they can play. However, they claim that if they were to play away from the hole a brick wall (an immovable obstruction) would interfere with their stroke, so they claim relief. What is the ruling?
The player is not entitled to relief in this situation.
Exception to Rule 24-2b states;
A player may not take relief under this Rule if (a) it is clearly unreasonable for him to make a stroke because of interference by anything other than an immovable obstruction or (b) interference by an immovable obstruction would occur only through use of an unnecessarily abnormal stance, swing or direction of play.