Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ask Linda #231-Relief from cart path next to OB wall?


We have a stone wall behind the green which serves as an out-of-bounds fence on that hole.

There is a cart path running alongside the wall.

A person's ball was within inches of the wall, leaving him no opportunity to do much more than hit it sideways which would not put the ball any closer to the hole. But, to hit the ball, the person's feet would be on the cart path.

Does the person get a free lift because of the path or does he lose that opportunity because he had virtually no shot?

Thank you, Lou Lou

Dear Lou Lou,

A player is not entitled to free relief if an out-of-bounds wall interferes with his stance or swing. That is because objects such as walls, fences, etc., that define out of bounds are not obstructions [Definition of Obstructions].

The Exception to Rule 24-2b states unequivocally that a player is not entitled to relief from an immovable obstruction such as a cart path if “it is clearly unreasonable for him to make a stroke because of interference by anything other than an immovable obstruction….”

In the situation you describe, the stone boundary wall, not the cart path, is interfering with the player’s normal swing towards the hole. The ball is clearly unplayable due to its proximity to the wall. Think of it this way: If the cart path were not there, would the player have a possible shot to the green? With the wall inches from his backswing? The answer here is “no.” It is the wall that is interfering with his swing, and since there is no free relief from an out-of-bounds wall, the player would have to proceed under the relief options for an unplayable ball if he decides that he cannot hit the ball [Rule 28]. He is not entitled to free relief from the cart path (immovable obstruction), since it is the wall (defining out of bounds–no free relief) that is the true culprit.


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