No.68 Relief from Trees

Question 1:
A player's ball lies against the stump of a tree that had been sawn down by the course maintenance staff several weeks previously. May the player take relief without penalty?

Question 2:
In the absence of any Local Rule may a player take relief from...
a) ... a young sapling that is supported by a wooden stake?
b) ... a wooden stake that is supporting a young sapling?

Answer 1:
Not unless the area has been marked as ground under repair.

Note: A tree stump that the Committee intends to remove, but which is not in the process of being removed, is not automatically ground under repair. Decision 25/8.

Answer 2:

a) No. The Rules do not provide relief from young trees, but often Committees do introduce Local Rules for their protection.
b) Unless there is a Local Rule stating otherwise, the player does get relief from the wooden stake, which is artificially made and is therefore an immovable obstruction.

Question 3:
May a player probe the area around their ball with a tee to see if there are tree roots just below the surface of the ground that may affect their stroke.

Answer 3:
Yes, providing the lie of the ball, the area of intended stance or swing, or the line of play is not improved. Decision 13-2/27.


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