Monday, November 6, 2017

Ask Linda #1639-Ball in hazard, stance on cart path

Thanks for the great information you provide on a weekly basis. I had a unique situation come up last weekend at my home course.

Par 5 with a cart path left of the fairway. To the left of the cart path is a one-foot wide patch of grass that is mowed. To the left of the 1-foot path of grass is a red line indicating the start of the left lateral hazard. I hit a drive that hooked through the fairway and trickled across the cart path on the left. My ball came to rest 1/2 on the red line and 1/2 on the mowed grass. I had a shot but my stance had my left foot on the cart path. Is there free relief, given that my stance is impeded by the cart path? With the ball 1/2 on the line and 1/2 on the grass (essentially in play), am I “in the hazard?” If I was entitled to free relief it would have been extremely advantageous, as it would have put me in a position to go for the green in two.
Lou from Scottsdale, Arizona

Dear Lou,

A ball that touches the line defining a lateral water hazard is in the hazard [Definition of “Lateral Water Hazard”]. When a ball lies in a lateral water hazard (or a water hazard), a player is not entitled to free relief from an immovable obstruction, such as a cart path [Rule 24-2b]. Your only choices would be to play the ball as it lies in the hazard (with your foot on the cart path), or choose one of the relief options available in Rule 26-1 (all of which will add one penalty stroke to your score).

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