Thursday, October 15, 2015

Ask Linda #1170-Relief from distance markers; Ball touches hazard stakes

Hi Linda,
A golfing friend asked me this question a couple if days back. It is related to distance markers. Some clubs have fixed distance markers and some have removable ones. In the case of fixed markers, golfers whose swing or stance is affected by these markers are entitled to a free drop. What about removable markers? Do they have the option of dropping within one club length, or is it mandatory for them to remove the removable markers and play the ball as it lies. The answer I gave him is, they have to remove the removable markers and play the ball as it lies but I could be wrong.

The other question is about a ball that is leaning against a hazard marker. It is "legally" in a hazard. Under the said situation, is the golfer allowed to remove the hazard marker? If the answer is yes, what is the penalty if the ball moves while the hazard marker is being moved?

Hope you can shed some light on these issues.

Lou from Johore, Malaysia

Dear Lou,

Your answer regarding distance markers was correct. If they are immovable, the player is entitled to free relief. If they are movable, the player may remove them; the ball must be played as it lies.  Well done! 

As you stated, a ball leaning against a hazard stake that defines the hazard is in the hazard.
• If the stakes are immovable, the player may attempt to hit the ball as it lies or add one penalty stroke to his score and choose one of the relief options in Rule 26-1 [Rule 24-2, Note 1]. There is no free relief from an immovable obstruction in a water hazard when the ball lies in the hazard.
• If the stakes are movable, the player may remove the stake. If his ball moves, it must be replaced. There is no penalty [Rule 24-1].

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