Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Ask Linda #1207-Relief from yardage post attached to tree

Dear Linda,
The local rule says: Yardage posts are immovable obstructions.
Post “251 yards” is to tell the player "end of fairway" (for a dog leg right to left), and it is fixed to the tree next to the fairway. [The reader enclosed a photo of a vertical board, the same width as the tree, affixed to the trunk.]
If the swing is interfered with by post 251, do we get a free drop? In this case, if no 251 sign, the player is still interfered with by the tree…

Lou from Thailand

Dear Lou,

No free drop.

The Exception to Rule 24-2b (Relief from Immovable Obstructions) states that "a player may not take relief under this Rule if interference by anything other than an immovable obstruction makes the stroke clearly impracticable…." This Exception clearly applies to your situation. It is not the distance marker that impedes the player’s swing; it is the tree. If the marker were pried off the tree, the player would still have the identical problem. There is no free relief for a backswing impeded by a tree.

The purpose of the Exception is clearly explained in the answer to Decision 24-2b/19, which includes the following statement: “The purpose of the Exception…is to prevent the player from fortuitously obtaining free relief when it is clearly impracticable for him to make a stroke because of interference by something from which free relief is not available." In the situation you describe, where the yardage marker is attached to the tree, the tree is clearly the problem.

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