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Rule of the Week (July 1 to 7)

Written by Brian Lee

Question:

Dave’s ball lied on a cart path (immovable obstruction) near a boundary fence on the right-hand side of the hole being played (Point A). Dave wishes to take relief from the cart path however there is only a small grass area to drop his ball (Two feet in width). When he drops the ball, it rolls out of bounds (OB). Does Dave re-drop the ball? Is he now penalized for an OB? What happens now?

Answer:

Dave could play the ball as it lies on the Immovable Obstruction (at Point A) or, Decision 24-2b/6 provides some clarity.

As Dave’s ball is in such a position the boundary fence side is his nearest point of relief, he is entitled to drop at this spot (B2). When he takes this action, the ball rolls out of bounds. Under the rules, Dave is required to re-drop without penalty (Rule 20-2c). As Dave is right handed, this drop does not provide him full and complete relief for the cart path when Dave takes his stance as his feet are still on the path.  Dave is required to take full relief otherwise he is penalized two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play should he play it from this position. Dave is now entitled to drop the ball on the other side of the path (Point B1) and therefore he incidentally gets full relief from the boundary fence. This is reasonable and under the rules of golf as he is trying to get relief from an Immovable Obstruction under Rule 24-2. Dave therefore gets to drop on the course side of the path and not the nearest point against the boundary fence. Even though this rule and decision takes two steps, Dave has proceeded correctly.

Remember to review when to re-drop a ball under Rule 20-2c and … the Rules Matter!