Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ask Linda #1160-Mistaken relief for ball embedded in hazard

Dear Linda,

Thank you for the continuous untiring effort in giving ruling advice to many avid golfers. I would like to seek your ruling opinion for the following situation.

Player's ball entered and embedded in the narrow strip of the dry land between water hazard margin and the water in the lateral water hazard. Local rules provide relief for embedded ball through the green. Due to ignorance of rule, player lifted and cleaned the ball and proceeded to drop the ball, purportedly proceeding under the embedded ball rule.

Fellow competitors advise the player that she is that not entitled to embedded ball relief for ball in the water hazard. She picked up the ball and replaced it back to the original position in the ball mark and played the ball accordingly.  

What is the ruling?

I have visited Decision 25-1b/26. Under this ruling, the player was not aware that the ball is in the water hazard and proceeded under an inapplicable rule. 

1) Does it make any difference if the player knew that the ball was in the water hazard as per mentioned by my case? 
2) As mentioned in my case, the player is aware that the ball is in the water hazard and proceeds under an inapplicable rule due to ignorance of rule. Is she penalized for touching the ground in the hazard?

Hope to hear from you soon.

Kind Regards,
Lou from Malaysia

Dear Lou,

There is no free relief for a ball embedded in a water hazard. If the Local Rule providing relief for an embedded ball through the green has been adopted, there is still no relief in a hazard – “through the green” excludes all hazards.

It doesn’t matter whether the player knew her ball was in a hazard. The point is that it was in a hazard, and she was not entitled to relief. She has two choices:

1. Replace the ball where it was embedded, one-stroke penalty. (This is not the best choice. Successfully hitting an embedded ball out of a hazard is a very difficult proposition.)

2. Proceed under any of the relief options in Rule 26-1 for a ball in a water hazard, one-stroke penalty. No additional penalty is incurred for anything else she did.

The Decision you found, 25-1b/6, was the applicable Decision for this question. Good job, Sherlock!

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