No.42 Ball on Steps to Teeing Ground
Question 1:
A right-handed player's ball comes to rest on artificial grass steps leading to a teeing ground, as in the photo above.
a) In the Rules, are artificial steps, i) integral to the course, ii) immovable obstructions, iii) abnormal ground conditions?
b) May the player choose to play their ball from where it lies?
c) If the nearest point of relief is on the teeing area may the player take relief, without penalty, by dropping their ball within one club-length of that point, not nearer the hole?
d) May a player play their ball as it lies when it comes to rest on a teeing area?

Answer 1:
a) ii), artificial steps are immovable obstructions.
b) Yes, a player does not have to take relief from an immovable obstruction; they may choose to play their balls as it lies.
c) Yes.
d) Yes, unless there is a Local Rule specifying otherwise.

Note: Rule 24-2 deals with interference and relief from immovable obstructions.

Question 2:
A right-handed player's ball comes to rest on a teeing area close to artificial steps, with a leaf lying in front of it, as in the photo above.
a) May the player take relief without penalty?
b) May the player claim mental interference from an immovable obstruction in order to obtain relief?
c) May the player remove the leaf before playing their stroke?

Answer 2:
a) No, the artificial steps do not interfere with the player's stance or their area of intended swing.
b) No, there is no relief for mental interference from an obstruction.
c) Yes, the leaf is a loose impediment and may be removed.

Note: If the player causes their ball to move while moving the loose impediment they incur a one stroke penalty under Rule 18-2a and the ball must be replaced.

Another 'Rhodes Rules School' Q&A will follow next week,
Good golfing,
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