No.80 Nearest Point of Relief (2)

In the diagram (which is not drawn to scale) there are two balls lying in the middle of an artificial path.

Question 1:
Is point A, B or C the nearest point of relief for ball 1 ...
a) ... for a right-handed player?
b) ... for a left-handed player?

Question 2:

Is point D, E or F the nearest point of relief for ball 2 ...
a) ... for a right-handed player?
b) ... for a left-handed player?

a) Point A, even though the player would not be able to take their normal stance because of the out of bounds wall. Point B would mean the player taking their stance on the path. Point C is farther away than point A.
b) Point B.

a) Point D.
b) Point E, even though the player would not be able to drop their ball at this point because it is in the middle of a tree trunk.

Note: A player may not always be able to determine the nearest point of relief (e.g. because they cannot take their stance due to an out of bounds wall, or because the point is in the middle of a tree trunk). In these cases they must estimate the nearest point of relief and then drop a ball within one club-length of that point, not nearer the hole. Decision 24-2b/3.5.

Note: In situations where it is not mandatory to take relief a player should always determine where the nearest point of relief is before lifting their ball, as the relief available may mean a more difficult stroke than from where their ball is lying.

__________

A right-handed player mishits their tee shot and it comes to rest against a hedge that is immediately in front of a protective fence.

Question 3:
Can the player claim relief from the fence, an immovable obstruction?

No.

Note: Although the fence would interfere with the player's stance and swing if the bush was not there the Exception to Rule 24-2 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.

Question 4:
What are the player's options in the above situation?

The player has several options;
a) Play the ball as it lies in the direction of the hole using a left-handed stroke with the clubhead reversed.
b) Play the ball as it lies in the wrong direction of play (unlikely choice in this situation).
c) Play the ball from the teeing ground under penalty of stroke and distance. Note that the ball may be re-teed anywhere in the teeing ground.
d) Deem the ball unplayable and drop a ball within two club-lengths of the spot where the ball lay, not nearer the hole, for a penalty of one stroke, Rule 28c. Note that option 28b is not practicable in this particular situation, as it would mean dropping the ball behind the fence or outside the boundary of the course.

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

Good golfing,

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