Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Ask Linda #1606-Stone on bridge over hazard interferes with swing

Hi Linda,
Again playing golf with my wife, her ball came to a stop on a bridge spanning a water hazard. The bridge is not defined as an integral part of the course. I believe that the bridge is an immovable obstruction in a water hazard. If I read the rules right you can ground you club but you can’t take free relief from it. (Is this right?)

But! a stone was near her ball, close enough that she could not hit her ball without striking the stone. Are you entitled to remove this stone, as the stone was on the bridge? Or would this be moving something in a hazard?
Lou from Gravesend, Kent, England

Dear Lou,

Your understanding regarding your rights on a bridge over a hazard is correct, Pete. Any part of a bridge that is within the margins of a water hazard is in the water hazard. Since you are permitted to touch an obstruction in a water hazard, you may ground your club on the bridge [Rule 13-4, Note]. You may not take free relief from the bridge; a player is not entitled to free relief from an immovable obstruction in a water hazard [Rule 24-2b].

The stone on the bridge is a loose impediment in a water hazard. Players are not permitted to touch or move loose impediments in a hazard [Rule 13-4c]. If your wife had moved the stone, she would incur a two-stroke penalty (loss of hole in match play).

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