Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Rules Nugget: Objects that define out-of-bounds
Objects that define out of bounds (e.g., stakes, walls, fences) are not obstructions. They are deemed to be “fixed.” There is no free relief if an object that defines out of bounds interferes with your shot. If you cannot play your ball, you must choose one of the relief options available in Rule 28: Unplayable Ball (stroke and distance, flagline, two club-lengths). All of these relief options include a one-stroke penalty.
If the boundary is marked by stakes, you may not remove them. Again, they are not obstructions. If the boundary is indicated by both lines and stakes, the lines define out of bounds and the stakes identify it. These identifying stakes are still deemed to be fixed. They are not obstructions – no free relief. (A Committee may adopt a Local Rule labeling identifying stakes as obstructions, but this is uncommon. If you have not read a notice that the identifying stakes are obstructions, they are fixed – no free relief.)
All of this information can be found in the Definition of “Out of Bounds” in the front of your rulebook.