Monday, February 2, 2015
Ask Linda #990-Casual water interferes with abnormal stroke
I had a situation recently where my ball was lying up against the roots of a tree. My playing partner suggested that I play my next stroke left-handed which would have meant that I would be standing in casual water and I could claim relief. Is this permitted?
As a follow on to this, if my ball was unplayable in the roots could I claim the same relief?
Lou from Dublin, Ireland
A player is entitled to relief from casual water that interferes with an abnormal stroke (e.g., a left-handed stroke for a right-handed player) when the abnormal stroke is reasonable under the circumstances [Rule 24-2b/17].
Let’s apply this statement to your two questions.
In the first, your ball is lying amongst tree roots in a position where it is unplayable for a right-handed stroke but playable for a left-handed stroke. The abnormal, left-handed stroke is reasonable in this situation. When you take your stance for the left-handed stroke, if you now have interference from an abnormal ground condition (such as casual water), or an immovable obstruction (such as a cart path), you are entitled to free relief. After your drop, if you are now able to turn around and hit right-handed, that is perfectly permissible.
In the second question, your ball is unplayable amongst the roots regardless of whether you try to hit it right- or left-handed. In this case you are not entitled to turn around for a left-handed shot and claim free relief from the casual water, since the casual water is not the culprit. The roots are interfering with your ability to hit the ball.
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