Monday, September 13, 2010

Ask Linda #238-Cart path relief-right side or left?

Dear Linda: (First, thank you for such a delightful, and informative web site)

A golf colleague and I (both of whom read your advice regularly) still have a difference of opinion regarding a ball that lies along the extreme right side of a cart path in the direction of the hole. As a result, I provided the attached drawing to him to argue my point that the left side of the cart path will most often provide the nearest point of relief. As the Chief Justice of Golf Rule Interpretation, can you kindly tell me if there are any errors in the drawing (although I have not taken the time to laboriously draw it to scale)? Many thanks in advance,

Lou Lou

Dear Lou Lou,

You are, of course, talking about a right-handed golfer in this question. (Lefties, just reverse everything–I'm guessing you're used to that.)

Generally, the left-hand side of the cart path will provide the nearest point of relief for a right-handed golfer. However, if the cart path is exceptionally wide, the nearest relief may turn out to be on the right side. If it is not obvious which side will provide the nearest relief, you should establish the nearest point of relief on both sides of the path, measure from where the ball lies on the cart path to each nearest point, and then choose the side where your relief point is closest to the ball.

For a ball lying between the left side of the path and the middle, you can bypass the two-sided measuring procedure. The nearest point of relief for such a ball will always be on the left side for a right-handed player.

Don't forget that "nearest point of relief" means exactly that. If the ground to the right side of the cart path is fairway, and the ground to the left is covered in fescue, and your nearest relief is on the left side, then you must drop in the fescue. This is why I always advise readers to assess their relief options before lifting their ball – the best shot you have may be to hit the ball right off the cart path.


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