Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Ask Linda #1521-Relief from GUR adjacent to cart path
Today during a competition there was a situation that nobody definitively could answer; hence I’m calling on the master herself.
The situation was that the four of us drove off and our balls ended up in different places. The hole was a par 4 and there was a concrete cart path running down the right-hand side of the hole, running from tee to green in a straight line. One guy’s ball landed on the right-hand side of the cart path and ended up in ground marked GUR. The area of GUR was approximately 5 metres long and 3 metres wide and the left edge of the GUR bordered the right-hand edge of the cart path. The guy’s ball was approximately 1 metre in from the left side of the GUR.
Upon approaching his ball he stated: “GUR, I’ll take a drop.” It was said to him that the Nearest Point of Relief (NPR) was to drop to the right-hand side of the GUR, taking the guy further off line from the hole he was playing. The player said ‘NO, I drop on the cart path and then re-drop,” taking him to the left side of the GUR and then the left side of the cart path
For reference, if the guy took this option the ball would not have stayed within 1 club length of landing on the path so it would have resulted in him placing the ball on the path at the point where it first touched down. With this in mind, he would then have engineered the drop spot, placed the ball on that spot and then taken relief from the path to the left side, because the left side would have been the NPR. If this process were followed, then relief would have resulted in a 7 metre drop rather than a 2 metre drop if he had have dropped to the right of the GUR.
Can you drop and then drop again, knowing in advance you will be dropping twice?
What was the correct ruling for this situation?
Lou from Sunshine Coast, Australia
In seeking free relief for a ball that lies in ground under repair (GUR) through the green, the player must drop within one club-length of the nearest point of relief that is no closer to the hole [Rule 25-1b (i)]. The player may not drop in a hazard or on a putting green, but he most certainly may (and must) drop on the cart path if that is the nearest point of relief.
The correct procedure is to drop the ball on the cart path. Assuming the ball does not roll into a position that would require a re-drop (please read Rule 20-2c), and the dropped ball remains on the cart path, the player now faces a new situation (and a new reference point for taking relief). Since he is entitled to free relief from the cart path, he may now drop the ball within one club-length of the nearest point of relief from where his ball lies on the cart path, no closer to the hole.
The player in your narrative would not drop on the right side of the GUR unless the nearest point of relief for his stance and swing were on that side. Assuming a right-handed golfer and the ball lying a third of the way into the GUR, the nearest point of relief will be to his left, on the cart path.
I would like to clear up two misunderstandings for you. You wrote: “For reference, if the guy took this option the ball would not have stayed within 1 club length of landing on the path so it would have resulted in him placing the ball on the path at the point where it first touched down.” When a player is required to drop a ball within one club-length of a specific spot, the ball, when dropped, may roll up to two club-lengths from the spot where it first hit the ground [Rule 20-2c (vi)]. It does not have to remain in that one-club-length area. It is entirely possible for the ball to hit the cart path, roll two club-lengths, and settle off the cart path on a spot where there is no interference for the player’s next shot. It is also possible for the ball to settle on the left side of the cart path, and for the player to end up hitting his next shot (after his drop from the GUR and his subsequent drop from the cart path) a significant distance from where his ball originally lay in the GUR [Decision 20-2c/1].
Also, please be aware that a drop from GUR that settles on a cart path does not require a re-drop. If the drop gives the player complete relief from the GUR, the drop is good. The player has a new situation when his ball lies on the cart path (interference by an immovable obstruction). He must now decide whether to take free relief from this new situation. His drop from the cart path is not a re-drop, but rather his first drop under a different Rule (24-2b (i)].
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