Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Ask Linda #1434-Ball lodges out of reach in immovable obstruction

Hi Linda
I may have missed this, but I couldn’t find the situation covered in any of your answers.

On our course we have protective fences beside several tees. We get free relief from the fences as immovable obstructions.

Recently I hit my tee shot into one fence, and it stuck there, too high to be safely retrieved. The ball could be clearly identified as mine (because of brand and the distinctive marks I put on it).

It seems that there are three possible courses of action:

1. Treat it as unplayable, but use another ball, and take stroke and drop/distance.
2. Treat it as lost, even though it can be seen, and return to the tee.
3. Take free relief from the obstruction, but use another ball. 

After discussion with my fellow competitors I went with #1, but I’m not sure whether that’s correct.

I also wonder what would have been the correct course of action had I been able (or foolish enough) to retrieve the ball.

Lou from Melbourne, Australia

Dear Lou,

Relief from immovable obstructions is covered in Rule 24-2b. If you look at Note 2 at the end of that Rule you will see that you are permitted to substitute another ball if you are unable to retrieve your ball. Accordingly, your #3 option (free relief, dropping a different ball) is the correct procedure.

Incidentally, if you are able to identify your ball it is not “lost.” There is no requirement to retrieve it. This is another situation that demonstrates the importance of putting a personal identification mark on your ball.

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