Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Ask Linda #1542-Ball in rabbit scrape under bush
While playing in a club match my opponent hit his ball into bushes. We found the ball in about 2 feet from the rough but in a rabbit scrape. He asked me if he was entitled to relief, and I confirmed he was, but that he was not entitled to improve his position, i.e., he could not get relief from the bushes. He dropped the ball over the rabbit scrape but each time he did, the ball touched off the bushes and landed where he had a clear shot. This happened 3 times and eventually we decided it was in play. What was the correct ruling please?
Lou from Ireland
If the rabbit scrape weren’t there, would the ball be unplayable under the bush? Please let me know exactly where the ball lay in relation to the scrape and to the bush or bushes.
Yes, the ball would be unplayable even if it were not in the rabbit scrape. It was in under the bushes where it would have been impossible to swing at it!
You are not entitled to free relief from an abnormal ground condition (a rabbit scrape, in this instance) if something else clearly interferes with your stroke [Rule 25-1b, Exception]. In your situation, the ball lay unplayable under a bush. If the rabbit scrape were not there, your ball would still be unplayable. Since you cannot play your ball, you must add one stroke to your score and choose one of the relief options in Rule 28 for an unplayable ball.
In situations where you are entitled to relief, there is no requirement to drop the ball in the same condition. For example, if your ball lies in casual water in the rough, and the nearest point of relief plus one club-length moves you onto the fairway, you are entitled to drop on the fairway.
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