Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Ask Linda #1526-NPR is out of bounds

Dear Linda,
Our club has a Par 3 with a concrete path along the right side. There is a narrow band of ground between the right side of the path and the out of bounds fence to the right. A player’s ball landed on that narrow band, he sought free relief because the path interfered with his stance. He chose to drop some six yards back where the strip of ground between the path and the out of bounds was much wider, in his view the nearest point of relief that would allow him to drop without interference from the path. My view was that his nearest point of relief would be estimated to be on a spot out of bounds. My view was that the Rule provided for relief from the path but was not there to provide relief from out of bounds. His options would therefore be to play the ball as it lies or on penalty of one stroke replay the shot from the previous spot.
The debate, friendly, goes on. Please advise.
Lou from Ireland

Dear Lou,

The nearest point of relief (NPR) must be on the golf course. The Rules will never require the player to drop a ball off the course. In seeking relief from the cart path, the player must find the point on the course, nearest to where his ball lies, that is not closer to the hole and provides complete relief for his stance and the area of his intended swing [Definition of “Nearest Point of Relief”; Rule 24-2].

Note that the player in your narrative must find the nearest relief. While that point may very well be six yards back where the strip widens, I suspect that it is more likely to be on the other side of the cart path (unless your course has built an exceptionally wide path).

The NPR may require the player to drop in a virtually unplayable lie (shrubs, thick rough, tall fescue), or may allow the player to drop from a difficult lie onto the fairway – “nearest” means nearest. However, the nearest point must always be a point on the golf course.

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