Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ask Linda #326a

Ask Linda #326a–Nearest relief from cart path is unplayable

Linda, regarding #326-OB fence relief on cart path, if after placing the ball on the cart path, the nearest point of relief once again brought interference from the out of bounds fence back into play, does the player have any other option?

Thank you,

Dear Lulu,

There is a very interesting and informative Decision that you should read that discusses what to do if the nearest point of relief from a cart path is in casual water, and the nearest relief from the casual water is back on the cart path [Decision 1-4/8]. The bottom line in this Decision is that after dropping in the casual water and then dropping back on the cart path, he would be entitled to take his next drop at a spot that avoids interference from both problems. This Decision does not answer your question, as relief from both the cart path and the casual water is free, but it is a related problem and a good read.

The situation you describe is different, in that relief from the out-of-bounds fence is not free and you have more than one relief option. You are taking relief under Rule 28 for an unplayable ball. In this case, dropping within two club-lengths was not the only option. A player may choose, instead, to return to where he hit his previous shot.

If you have been reading my blog, you may have seen my warning: always assess all your relief options before lifting your ball. That advice is appropriate here.

A player who lifts his ball under Rule 28 and drops within two club-lengths is assessed a one-stroke penalty for the privilege. After dropping his ball twice on the cart path and then placing it because it rolled closer to the hole each time, he now has to decide whether to hit the ball from the cart path (a viable option) or drop near the fence where his ball will once again be unplayable. If he drops again into an unplayable position, he will incur another penalty stroke when he takes relief.

From my perspective, this player should have checked his options before dropping his ball on the cart path and made the smarter choice to return to where he hit his previous shot. Since he did not, and he must now choose between hitting a ball lying on the cart path or incurring a second penalty shot when his ball is once again unplayable next to the fence, his best option might be to hit the ball on the cart path.

Copyright © 2011 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.