Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Ask Linda #1820-Ball in hazard near dangerous snake

Hi Linda,
In Australia we have many venomous snakes. Recently a player’s ball was found in a lateral water hazard next to a dangerous snake. It was decided that he would drop another ball in the hazard, no nearer the hole, a safe distance from the snake. I have two questions:
1. Was this the correct procedure?
2. Safe distance from a dangerous snake could vary greatly for different players. Is there a rule covering this?
Lou from Ballina, New South Wales, Australia

Dear Lou,

Yes, the procedure was correct.

When a player’s ball lies in a hazard near a poisonous snake, he is entitled to free relief in the hazard. He must find the nearest spot where he feels safe, no closer to the hole, and drop a ball within one club-length of that spot. If there is no spot in the hazard that would be safe, he is permitted to drop in a similar hazard nearby, if one exists, provided he does not drop closer to the hole. If there is no place to drop in the hazard where the player would feel safe, and no option to drop in a nearby hazard, he may drop outside the hazard under penalty of one stroke [Decision 1-4/10].

I wouldn’t quibble about how far away from the dangerous situation the player will drop his ball. It should be at the nearest spot where he feels completely safe.

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