Friday, January 19, 2018

Ask Linda #1681-Club to measure nearest point of relief

Hi Linda,
Just a quickie…

There was a dispute today during a pennant match about establishing points of reference for dropping from a drain grate. Nearest point of relief and one club-length were not issues.

The understanding was the same for both that when taking your stance with full relief being taken by feet, etc., you then have "a" club in hand as though you were to be taking the shot to establish first point of reference before taking your driver and laying it out to establish second point of reference, i.e., the one club-length distance.

The disagreement came when you first take your stance with a club in hand to establish first point of reference. Must it be the club of choice that you would use for that shot, or can it be your driver simply because it's your longest club? I said it was to be the club you would intend to take for your next shot and then you measure one driver from the nearest point of relief.

Thanks in advance
Lou, Sunshine Coast, Australia

Dear Lou,

Please turn to Section II–Definitions in the front of your rulebook, and look up Nearest Point of Relief (NPR). The Note at the end of that Definition answers your question:

In order to determine the nearest point of relief accurately, the player should use the club with which he would have made his next stroke if the condition were not there to simulate the address position, direction of play and swing for such a stroke.

As you can see, the NPR is the point where the player would have no interference from the condition for the stroke he would make if the condition weren’t there. If your ball lay in casual water 130 yards from the green, would you pull out a driver for your next shot? Not likely. Using a driver to establish the NPR would take you beyond the correct NPR, possibly resulting in a drop in a “wrong place,” which can lead to more confusion and an unwelcome penalty.

Your opinion was correct. Select the club you would use to hit the next shot to find the NPR; use any club thereafter to establish the one-club-length area in which you must drop the ball. After the drop, if there is a need to assess whether the ball rolled more than two club-lengths from the spot where it hit the ground, you must use the same club that you used to measure the one club-length drop area.

Please note that this procedure is recommended, not required. If the player uses the wrong club for his measurements, but manages nevertheless to drop the ball in the correct area, there is no penalty. He may also skip the measurements and simply eyeball the correct area for his drop. I would recommend the visual estimation for casual play, and the club-measurement method for tournament play.

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