Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Ask Linda #1541-Relief from out-of-bounds fence
Hi Linda – hope all is well – Lou here in Wales
Today – 18th hole with a perimeter wooden fence which marks boundary to car park – every other fence post has small bit of white paint about a foot tall on three foot post to mark out of bounds line plus a large separate white post to the right of fence where it ends.
My fellow player is in bounds by one foot but cannot play ball because the same fence (man-made) prevents address/swing.
Invoking the process “if you cannot do what is right do what is fair,” I advised him to take a free drop no nearer hole to alleviate swing issue. (He was prepared to give me the match at this stage.)
I thought I was 99% right anyway. Did I make the right decision (the 18th hole was critical and this could have ultimately cost me the match as I was one up and if he had tied 18th a playoff would have ensued – but I won on 18th anyway).
Lou from Wales
No, Lou. I’m afraid your decision was 100% wrong. Objects that define out of bounds (e.g., fences, walls, stakes) are not obstructions [Definitions of “Obstructions” and “Out of Bounds”]. A player is not entitled to free relief from an out-of-bounds fence. If he cannot play the ball as it lies, he must declare it unplayable, add one penalty stroke to his score, and choose one of the relief options available for an unplayable ball in Rule 28 (stroke and distance, flagline, or two club-lengths).
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