Friday, June 12, 2015

Ask Linda #1082-Ball on bridge over hazard

Hey Linda,

If a player hits a ball and it rolls towards a hazard and then rolls along the bridge that goes over the hazard and stops, what are the player’s options? The stakes were red and green on top indicating an environmental hazard, not a typical red stake hazard. The ball rolled about 20 feet along the bridge before it finally stopped. So it stopped above the hazard but safely on top of the bridge. Is it a free drop at the nearest point of relief because it is a cart path, or is it a drop with a one-stroke penalty because it stopped directly above a hazard? I asked a bunch of people and have gotten all kinds of responses. 

Thank you,
Lou from Monroe, New York

Dear Lou,

If the hazard has been officially labeled an environmentally sensitive area (ESA), the player is not permitted to play from the bridge. No play is permitted within the margins of an ESA. The player must take relief under Rule 26-1.

The Rule changes if the hazard is not environmentally protected. In a regular water hazard, the section of bridge that is within the margins of the hazard is in the hazard, since the margin of a water hazard extends upwards [Definition of “Water Hazard”]. Thus, a ball on a bridge over a hazard is in the hazard. If you decide not to hit the ball as it lies on the bridge, your relief is the same as for any ball in a water hazard [See Rule 26].

Should you decide to play the ball, you may ground your club on the bridge. A bridge in a hazard is an obstruction, and a player is permitted to touch an obstruction in a hazard [Note to Rule 13-4 and Decision 13-4/30].


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