Monday, November 17, 2014
Ask Linda #950-Trees serve as distance markers
At my local club, the yardage markers used to be white stakes with the tops painted for 100, 150, 200 yards etc., which could easily be removed under Rule 24-1 Movable Obstruction if they caused interference. The club has now planted casuarina trees next to the stakes, which are clearly intended to be yardage markers. Consequently, there are those players in the club that believe, in view of the purpose of the trees, they should be entitled to free relief! I don't believe this to be correct but would be interested in your answer to this question.
Lou from Bermuda
Trees are not obstructions. Obstructions are defined as anything artificial. “Artificial” means “man-made.” Players are entitled to free relief from man-made obstructions under Rule 24.
Unless the trees are made of plastic or some other man-made material, they are natural objects typically found on golf courses. There is no free relief from trees, whether they be tall, short, stumps, or planted to serve as distance markers. If a tree interferes with a player’s shot, he has the option to declare his ball unplayable. The relief options for an unplayable ball all include a one-stroke penalty [Rule 28].
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