Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ask Linda #315-Embedded ball near cart path

Dear Linda,

I would appreciate your advice on the correct or appropriate relief procedure for this scenario, which occurred during a monthly tournament.
On the right hand side of the closely mown area of a par 4 hole, there is a narrow strip (about 2 feet) of rough. On the right of the rough, there is a cart path. In other words, between the cart track and the closely mown area, there is a narrow strip of rough.
During the tournament, my fellow competitor's ball from the tee-box was embedded in the rough, very close to the cart path. He is entitled for relief from (a) an embedded ball, as it was extended through the green and/or (b) the cart path, as it is an immovable obstruction and it interfered with his swing.
If he takes relief from the embedded ball, the dropped ball would likely remain in the rough and there would be no interference from the cart path. This would not be a favourable position.
If he takes relief from the cart path, with the one club-length dropping area from the nearest point of relief (for a right handed player), the ball could be dropped on the closely mown area, which is a more favourable position.
My fellow competitor took relief from the cart path directly. I am wondering whether he should take relief from the embedded ball first, and if there is subsequent interference from the cart path, he can then take relief from it. I would appreciate your comments on what is the correct or appropriate procedure for this scenario.
Meanwhile, if the ball was not embedded, I acknowledge that he is entitled for relief from the cart path, as it is an immovable obstruction.

Thank you and best regards,
Lou Lou

Dear Lou Lou,

The rule explaining relief for an embedded ball states that the ball may be lifted, cleaned, and dropped. It does not require that the ball be lifted. Accordingly, if an immovable obstruction, such as a cart path, interferes with a player’s stance or the area of his intended swing, he is entitled to relief from the cart path. He does not have to first take relief from the embedded lie. Your fellow competitor proceeded correctly.

As long as we’re talking about an embedded ball, I would like to remind readers of the following:

1. The Rules permit relief for an embedded ball in any closely mown area through the green. This means fairways, dew paths, the apron around the green, and paths mowed through the rough at fairway height. In order to take free relief for a ball embedded in the rough, the Local Rules of the competition must state that the embedded ball rule is in effect “through the green.” (Just a reminder: “Through the green” means everywhere except the teeing ground and the putting green of the hole you are playing, plus all hazards.) This Local Rule will allow free relief for a ball embedded in its own pitch mark in the rough.

2. Relief for an embedded ball is not the same as relief from abnormal ground conditions and immovable obstructions. The player is entitled to lift and clean his embedded ball, but he must then drop it as near as possible to where it lay, no closer to the hole. Unlike those other situations, the player is not entitled to stance plus one club-length.

Copyright © 2011 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.