Monday, February 16, 2015

Ask Linda #998-Relief from hazard stake

Hi Linda,

Can you resolve a heated discussion in the clubhouse pleeeease! 
If a player has a shot to the green outside a hazard, but there is a hazard stake interfering with his swing, is he allowed to remove this stake or has the stake got to stay there and take a drop from an immovable obstruction???

Kind regards,
Lou from Scotland

Dear Lou,

Stakes defining or identifying a water hazard are obstructions [Definition of “Water Hazard”]. If they can easily be moved, they are movable obstructions, and they may be removed regardless of whether your ball lies in or out of the hazard [Rule 24-1].

The story changes if the stakes are immovable. If stakes cannot be removed with reasonable effort, or removing them might damage the course, they are immovable obstructions. If a player’s ball does not lie in a hazard, he is entitled to free relief from an immovable water hazard stake under Rule 24-2b. However, if his ball lies in the hazard, there is no free relief [Rule 24-2, Note 1]. A player whose ball lies in a hazard who is unable to hit the ball due to interference from an immovable hazard stake must take relief under Rule 26-1 (Relief for Ball in Water Hazard). All of the relief options in 26-1 include a one-stroke penalty

Be aware that Committees are permitted to label all water hazard stakes as “immovable obstructions” [Definition of “Obstruction,” Note). In that case, players would be prohibited from removing any water hazard stake on the course. Players outside the hazard would be entitled to a free drop within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, no closer to the hole; players inside the hazard would have no free relief option.

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