Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Ask Linda #1631-Ball in animal hole under bush
Yesterday I had a friendly argument with a Marshal. It was about a theoretical situation that may occur.
The situation we discussed is when a ball is under a bush inside a hole (made by a mole or a rabbit). My opinion was that I have the opportunity to take free relief from the hole; as a side effect I have the ball out of the bush.
The Marshal replied that the bush has the priority, so the only possibility for me is to declare the ball unplayable. He said that there is a Decision about this.
What is your opinion about this?
Thanks in advance.
Lou, an Italian living in the Czech Republic
I don’t have an “opinion,” Lou, but I do have an answer. The marshal is correct. The Decision he was referring to is 25-1b/19, which describes this exact situation.
The Exception to Rule 25-1b states that a player is not entitled to free relief from an abnormal ground condition if interference by something other than the abnormal condition makes the stroke clearly impracticable.
Therefore, if a player’s ball lies unplayable in a bush, he is not entitled to free relief from a burrowing animal hole. Similarly, if a ball lies unplayable in the roots of a tree, the player is not entitled to free relief if his stance is in casual water.
Ask yourself: If the abnormal ground condition weren’t there, would you be able to play the shot? If the answer is “no,” you are not entitled to free relief.
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