Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ask Linda #1105-Sprinkler head near green 7.15.15

Hi Linda,

I was recently told about your website and then my brother had a rules query the next day. He was playing a mixed foursomes match and his ball was off the green but he had a sprinkler head interfering with his line. I always thought that if the ball was within 2 club lengths of the sprinkler head then he could have relief; he thought the rule was within 1 club length. He didn't take a drop anyway. I can't find the rule in the rulebook under Rule 24 obstructions. There is a rule if the ball is on the green. But in this case the ball was off the green.

Please could you clarify this for me.

Kind regards,
Lulu from Sheffield, UK

Dear Lulu,

Relief from immovable obstructions such as sprinkler heads that intervene on your line of play (but do not interfere with your stance or the area of your intended swing) is only available through the adoption of Local Rule #6 [Appendix I, Part B].

Sometimes the apron surrounding the green is cut so short that some players may wish to putt from off the green. If there is a sprinkler head within two club-lengths of the green and two club-lengths of the ball, and it intervenes on the player’s line of play to the hole, the Committee may adopt a Local Rule that permits the player to drop his ball at the nearest point that is not nearer the hole, avoids the intervention, and is not in a hazard or on the putting green. If this Local Rule has not been adopted, players are not entitled to free relief.

Players are always entitled to free relief from a sprinkler head when the ball lies on the sprinkler head or it interferes with their stance or the area of their intended swing [Rule 24-2b].

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