Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ask Linda #188-Relief from cart path

Hi Linda,

On a par 3 I hit my ball left of the green, bounced left, rolled down and ended up on the cart path. Since my ball is sitting on the right center of the cart path, I took my relief on the right side but at an angle away from the hole. My buddy told me that I cannot take relief from there because that side is closer to the hole. He said that I should've taken my relief on the other side instead, which is left side of the path but that would put my ball further away from the hole. From what I understand, and I've been doing this whenever my ball is on the cart path, my nearest point of relief is the side where my ball is closer to the ground, in this case right side of the cart path

Did I do the right way to take relief or was he right about taking it instead on the other side of the cart path?


Lou Lou

Dear Lou Lou,

As I’m picturing this, you are looking at your ball lying on the cart path, eyeballing the distance from your ball to the edge of the cart path, and then taking relief on the side that is closest to your ball. This is not the correct procedure, Lou.

Rule 24-2b requires you to find the nearest point of relief that is no closer to the hole than where your ball lies on the cart path. That point is found by taking your stance off the cart path, noting where your club would touch the ground, and then allowing yourself an additional club-length from that spot to find the area in which to drop your ball. Nine times out of ten, the nearest point of relief for a right-handed golfer will be on the left-hand side of the cart path, and a southpaw will end up on the right side.

I wrote a very detailed response to a similar question in November of 2009. In that column you will find a full explanation of how to correctly find the nearest point of relief, as well as a reference to diagrams in the Decisions book that will help clarify the procedure for you. Please read that column, and then let me know if you need any further explanation.

To access the column, copy and paste the following link into your web browser:

If that doesn’t work, visit my blog (, click on the arrowhead to the left of 2009, click on the arrowhead to the left of November, and then click on #172.


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