Friday, July 26, 2013

Ask Linda #696-Free drop

Hi Linda,

Two burning questions that our group does not seem to answer clearly!

1 - If your ball comes to rest on or off the fairway in a drainage gully is it a free drop?

2 - If your ball comes to rest off of the fairway in bushes that has rabbit droppings or rabbit holes (that you may not be able to get a free stance) can you take a free drop?

Many thanks
Lou from the UK

Dear Lou,

1. A drainage ditch is a water hazard [Definition of Water Hazard]. If you decide to seek relief, you may choose any of the options in Rule 26-1 and you will incur a one-stroke penalty.

2. There is no free drop from rabbit droppings. However, they are loose impediments, and you may brush them out of the way.
    A rabbit is a burrowing animal. If your ball is in a rabbit hole, or the hole interferes with your stance or the area of your intended swing, you are entitled to free relief for interference by an “abnormal ground condition" [Rule 25-1].
   However, it must be absolutely clear that the rabbit hole is responsible for interfering with your stance. In the case of a rabbit hole located under a bush, it would seem likely that the bush is the culprit. You are not permitted free relief if something other than the abnormal ground condition (e.g., a rabbit hole) interferes with your shot [Exception under Rule 25-1].

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