Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Ask Linda #1678-Relief from immovable obstruction

Hello Linda,

Last week a player hit her ball right of the fairway to behind a large concrete block supporting a light tower. She could not make a forward shot without hitting the concrete on the follow-through. 

I mentioned she could, however, make a clean shot perpendicular to her desired line of play onto the fairway with no trouble. She thought she was “entitled” to a shot towards the green if given free relief.

I offered no real disagreement to the free relief. But then I saw that in fact the NPR might be straight back away from the concrete about one foot She wanted relief far to the right of the concrete, at what she saw as the NPR, which gave her a shot towards the green.

So, two Questions noticed: Is player entitled to a shot towards the target if granted relief from Immovable Obstructions? And if NPR gives her a clean swing but the concrete and light tower remain in her ball flight path, is she given relief from those as well?

I have searched for salient answers but nothing found which contains all features of this Question.

Thanks for your consideration.
Lou from Chiang Mai, Thailand

Dear Lou,

The answers to both of your questions lie in Rule 24-2a and the Definition of “Nearest Point of Relief.” 24-2a explains that the player has interference from an immovable obstruction when the ball lies in or on the obstruction, or the obstruction interferes with the player’s stance or area of intended swing. Your player’s intended swing was towards the green, so she is entitled to relief from the obstruction (but not line-of-play relief, as I will explain shortly).

In seeking relief, the player must first find the nearest point of relief. Looking at the Definition of “Nearest Point of Relief,” you will learn that it is the point nearest to where the ball lies (but not closer to the hole) where the player would have no interference to her stance or swing from the obstruction if the obstruction were not there.

However, this relief is for stance and swing only, not from line of play. Rule 24-2a clearly states that the player is not entitled to relief from intervention by an immovable obstruction on the line of play, except on the putting green.

If the obstruction intervenes on the player’s line of play to the green after she drops within one club-length of the correct NPR, she will have to aim her next shot in some other direction.

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