Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ask Linda #1061-NPR from cart path puts stance in hazard

Hello Linda,
I have a rules enquiry. The situation is: The ball comes to rest on a cart path and the nearest point of relief is towards a hazard. The distance between the path and the hazard is such that it is impossible to drop the ball in play without having to stand in the hazard to play your shot. My question is: Do you have to drop the ball and then play your shot while standing in the hazard, or are you entitled to take relief from the other side of the cart path no nearer the hole, thus taking relief from both the path and the hazard? There seems to be some confusion on this point and your opinion would be appreciated.
Thank you in anticipation, 
Lou from Nambucca Heads, NSW, Australia

Dear Lou,

The Rules give you free relief from the cart path, but they do not guarantee a good lie or a comfortable stance. If you have properly dropped your ball within one club-length of the nearest point of relief that is no closer to the hole, and your stance is now in a hazard, you will have to stand in the hazard to take your shot. A hazard is not an immovable obstruction; you are not entitled to free relief from a stance in a hazard.

As I have mentioned several times before, free relief must be at the nearest point of relief. Unless two points are equidistant from your ball, there is no choice about where to drop. Always assess your relief option before you lift your ball. If it looks like you will have an uncomfortable stance in a hazard, you might prefer to hit it as it lies on the cart path.

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