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sacm3bill

Artificial drainage ditch?

24 posts in this topic

Is there such a thing? I played a course the other day where there was a drainage ditch that was clearly man-made (i.e. dug out, not naturally occurring),  about 10 yards to the side of the green in a weeded area. My wife's stance was interfered with by the ditch. The area was not marked by any stakes. I wasn't sure whether she got relief or not. In checking the rules I find this:

Water Hazard
A " water hazard " is any sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface drainage ditch or other open water course (whether or not containing water) and anything of a similar nature on the course . All ground and water within the margin of a water hazard are part of the water hazard.

Obstructions — Anything artificial, including artificial road surfaces, except:

a) Objects defining out of bounds;

b) Any part of an immovable artificial object which is out of bounds; and

c) Any construction declared to be an integral part of the course. [The ditch was not declared as such.]

I'm inclined to say that even though the area wasn't marked, the ditch was a water hazard by definition - but could it also be artificial? Decision 26/4 states that a man-made reservoir is considered a water hazard, so I'm guessing that would imply a man-made ditch is as well, but it's not clear to me.

In general, which definition takes precedence, that of a hazard or that of an obstruction? I.e., if there's an immovable artificial obstruction within a hazard (a fence, perhaps), do you get relief from it? (I can find no rule that states otherwise.)

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A drainage ditch is always a water hazard.  Nothing complicated there except maybe determining the extents if they're not marked, but that rule is pretty clear.

Whether an object in the water hazard is an obstruction is a separate question.  The ditch itself cannot be an obstruction because a ditch is not really an object, as such.  A paved surface (e.g., concrete) of a ditch would be an immovable obstruction.  However, you would not be entitled to relief because there is no relief from an immovable obstruction in a water hazard.

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Originally Posted by zeg

The ditch itself cannot be an obstruction because a ditch is not really an object, as such.  A paved surface (e.g., concrete) of a ditch would be an immovable obstruction.

So you're saying the course can dig a ditch and it's not an obstruction, but once it's paved it is? Are you saying it's only the addition of artificial material that makes it an obstruction?  I could swear I've heard of examples of dirt (unpaved) cart paths that were defined as obstructions.

[Edit: Ah, disregard the above - I see that road surfaces are specifically called out in the definition of obstructions.]

Originally Posted by zeg

However, you would not be entitled to relief because there is no relief from an immovable obstruction in a water hazard.


I couldn't find the rule on that - can you tell me which one it is?

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Originally Posted by sacm3bill

So you're saying the course can dig a ditch and it's not an obstruction, but once it's paved it is? Are you saying it's only the addition of artificial material that makes it an obstruction?  I could swear I've heard of examples of dirt (unpaved) cart paths that were defined as obstructions.

[Edit: Ah, disregard the above - I see that road surfaces are specifically called out in the definition of obstructions.]

Yes, the road surface is specifically called out.  Like the ditch, the road itself is not the obstruction, it's the artificial turf.  As a result, e.g., by the rules alone an unpaved cart path is not an obstruction.  However many local rules amend this definition to include unpaved cart paths.

I couldn't find the rule on that - can you tell me which one it is?


See rule 24-2 regarding immovable obstructions and note that the relief is qualified to be applicable only outside a water hazard.  If your'e in a hazard, Note 1 specifies:  If a ball is in a water hazard (including a lateral water hazard ), the player may not take relief from interference by an immovable obstruction . The player must play the ball as it lies or proceed under Rule 26-1 .

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Thanks zeg - I was looking in the hazard rule section, shoulda been looking in the obstruction section.

I find it interesting that in a hazard, you can move an movable obstruction but cannot take relief from an immovable one... I guess the rule against taking a drop in a hazard trumps everything else.

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Originally Posted by zeg

Yes, the road surface is specifically called out.  Like the ditch, the road itself is not the obstruction, it's the artificial turf.  As a result, e.g., by the rules alone an unpaved cart path is not an obstruction.  However many local rules amend this definition to include unpaved cart paths.


This depends whether the cart path has been constructed or has it evolved by wear and tear. A constructed cart path is an obstruction by definition even though it might seem it does not have any separate 'artificial surface'. The situation would be quite silly if a cart path under construction would not be an obstruction until it has been covered with asphalt or concrete.

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Originally Posted by Ignorant

This depends whether the cart path has been constructed or has it evolved by wear and tear. A constructed cart path is an obstruction by definition even though it might seem it does not have any separate 'artificial surface'. The situation would be quite silly if a cart path under construction would not be an obstruction until it has been covered with asphalt or concrete.



In such a case it should be designated as ground under repair until it is paved and open for use.  Then it becomes an obstruction.  An unpaved path, whether for cart or pedestrian use, is not an obstruction.  It cannot be an obstruction unless it meets the definition under the rules.  If relief is to be allowed, then such a damaged area should be marked as ground under repair.  A blanket designation of such areas as obstructions would not be allowed under the rules, not even as a local rule.  In the definition, "artificial" means paved surfaces or curbs (concrete, asphalt, gravel or the like), not just dug up.  We have one such "road" on my home course which caused a lot of controversy until it was posted as simply being part of the course, not an obstruction, and no relief allowed.  Just because a path has been deliberately cut through the grass, that doesn't make it an obstruction.

Obstructions

An "obstruction" is anything artificial, including the artificial surfaces and sides of roads and paths and manufactured

ice, except:

a. Objects defining out of bounds, such as walls, fences, stakes and railings;

b. Any part of an immovable artificial object that is out of bounds; and

c. Any construction declared by the Committee to be an integral part of the course.

An obstruction is a movable obstruction if it may be moved without unreasonable effort, without unduly delaying play and without causing damage. Otherwise, it is an immovable obstruction.

Note: The Committee may make a Local Rule declaring a movable obstruction to be an immovable obstruction.

24/9  Artificially-Surfaced Road or Path

Q. An artificially-surfaced road or path is an obstruction. What constitutes artificial surfacing?

A. A road or path to which any foreign material, e.g., concrete, tar, gravel, wood chips, etc., has been applied is artificially-surfaced and thus an obstruction.

x

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Quote:
A blanket designation of such areas as obstructions would not be allowed under the rules, not even as a local rule.

I've seen at least one case where a local rule offered relief from any cart path, whether paved or not.  This is slightly different from what I stated above, but the result with respect to relief in this situation is the same.

Do you think such a local rule is legitimate?  It strikes me that it's useful to allow, particularly on courses with gravel or wood-chip surfaces on their paths.  If maintenance is poor, the surfacing can wear away, creating a situation where it's hard to decide whether a section of the path is still paved.

With respect to Ignorant's points, yes, it is in some ways odd that an unpaved path or road is different.  However, considering that in some sense every element of a golf course is artificial (unless fairways and greens grow naturally in your part of the world), I don't think the distinction is out of place.  Mowing the grass or digging a hole doesn't constitute "artificial."

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

In such a case it should be designated as ground under repair until it is paved and open for use.  Then it becomes an obstruction.  An unpaved path, whether for cart or pedestrian use, is not an obstruction.  It cannot be an obstruction unless it meets the definition under the rules.  If relief is to be allowed, then such a damaged area should be marked as ground under repair.  A blanket designation of such areas as obstructions would not be allowed under the rules, not even as a local rule.  In the definition, "artificial" means paved surfaces or curbs (concrete, asphalt, gravel or the like), not just dug up.  We have one such "road" on my home course which caused a lot of controversy until it was posted as simply being part of the course, not an obstruction, and no relief allowed.  Just because a path has been deliberately cut through the grass, that doesn't make it an obstruction.

x


Precisely, and that is what I alrfeady described..

According to the Rules anything artificial is an obstruction. Thus any cart path or road that is constructed is an obstruction whether there is a separate surface of different material or not. A path made of mere sand is an obstruction, even though the base and surface is of same material. The point is that it is constructed . It does not have to be separately paved.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

An unpaved path, whether for cart or pedestrian use, is not an obstruction.

Originally Posted by Ignorant

Thus any cart path or road that is constructed is an obstruction whether there is a separate surface of different material or not. A path made of mere sand is an obstruction, even though the base and surface is of same material. The point is that it is constructed. It does not have to be separately paved.


Seems like you guys are saying the opposite thing, so I'm still confused as to whether an unpaved cart path is an obstruction or not.

Edit: I think Zeg's post below clears it up - it is not an obstruction.

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Originally Posted by Ignorant

Precisely, and that is what I alrfeady described..

According to the Rules anything artificial is an obstruction. Thus any cart path or road that is constructed is an obstruction whether there is a separate surface of different material or not. A path made of mere sand is an obstruction, even though the base and surface is of same material. The point is that it is constructed. It does not have to be separately paved.

I don't think that agrees with what you're saying, and I think trying to introduce this concept of "constructed" adds more confusion because it's not a term that is defined or used in the definition of an obstruction.  If a course "constructs" a road by removing the grass and packing down the earth, that road is *not* an obstruction.

If they do the same, then apply sand as a surface for the road (which is not something I've ever seen), then it would be an obstruction.  The point is, is there something other than earth applied to the surface of the path?  If so, it is an obstruction.  If not, regardless of how much conscious effort went into making the path, it is not an obstruction.

Relevant decisions:

24/9  Artificially-Surfaced Road or Path

Q. An artificially-surfaced road or path is an obstruction. What constitutes artificial surfacing?

A. A road or path to which any foreign material, e.g., concrete, tar, gravel, wood chips, etc., has been applied is artificially-surfaced and thus an obstruction.

Decision 24/9 reinforces the importance of the artificial surface.  A road or path that does not have an artificial surface is not an obstruction.

24/12  Wooden or Earthen Steps

Wooden steps which have been constructed on a steep bank are obstructions — see Decision 23/1.

Steps which have been cut into a steep bank but which have not been covered with any artificial material such as wooden planks are not obstructions.

One cannot reasonably argue that earthen steps are not constructed, yet they are not obstructions.

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Originally Posted by zeg

I don't think that agrees with what you're saying, and I think trying to introduce this concept of "constructed" adds more confusion because it's not a term that is defined or used in the definition of an obstruction.  If a course "constructs" a road by removing the grass and packing down the earth, that road is *not* an obstruction.

If they do the same, then apply sand as a surface for the road (which is not something I've ever seen), then it would be an obstruction.  The point is, is there something other than earth applied to the surface of the path?  If so, it is an obstruction.  If not, regardless of how much conscious effort went into making the path, it is not an obstruction.

Relevant decisions:

Decision 24/9 reinforces the importance of the artificial surface.  A road or path that does not have an artificial surface is not an obstruction.

One cannot reasonably argue that earthen steps are not constructed, yet they are not obstructions.



Also, as mentioned above, a green is a very complex construction, but it isn't an obstruction.  A path must meet the definition of being artificially paved in order to become an obstruction.

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Back to the original question about the drainage ditch.  It's been covered well in general above, but it's also worth checking the local rules on the score card.  I've played several places with drainage ditches dug through the fairway that weren't intended to cut the fairway into two sections or anything and local rules designate them as obstructions from which you get free relief except where marked by red stakes.  There are many sections of these ditches off the fairway that are not marked with red stakes, and thus you can get free relief even in the rough sometimes.

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Originally Posted by mdl

Back to the original question about the drainage ditch.  It's been covered well in general above, but it's also worth checking the local rules on the score card.  I've played several places with drainage ditches dug through the fairway that weren't intended to cut the fairway into two sections or anything and local rules designate them as obstructions from which you get free relief except where marked by red stakes.  There are many sections of these ditches off the fairway that are not marked with red stakes, and thus you can get free relief even in the rough sometimes.


Unless those ditches have some sort of concrete or other lining, the rules do not allow the course to call them anything but water hazards.  Courses do not have unlimited power to modify the Rules of Golf.  The only designation they might be able to get away with is to call them ground under repair, but if there is no damage or construction under way, then such loose interpretation is also frowned upon.  I'm aware that some golf courses try to play fast and loose with some rules, but when push comes to shove, they lose the battle if they want any legitimate recognition in the game.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

Also, as mentioned above, a green is a very complex construction, but it isn't an obstruction.  A path must meet the definition of being artificially paved in order to become an obstruction.


Your example of a green does not match your intellectual standards. Any course is also a construction, a big one....


Would you care to explain what is an 'artificial surface'? Because this is what it's all about.

If you dig a hole (as in that dec about steps) it is not constructed. But if you put sand or gravel on those steps in order to make them more usable/sustainable/etc. THEN the steps have been constructed as well as arfiticially surfaced. If you make a road that is surfaced with sand it is an obstruction. The main point is that material has been brought from elsewhere and piled onto that road.

It is not that hard, is it?

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Originally Posted by Ignorant

Your example of a green does not match your intellectual standards. Any course is also a construction, a big one....

Yes, I believe that was his point. That you can't call something artificial just because it was constructed.

Originally Posted by Ignorant

Would you care to explain what is an 'artificial surface'? Because this is what it's all about.

As has been explained, anything other than dirt/grass (such as chips, gravel, concrete, wood planks, etc.)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ignorant

If you dig a hole (as in that dec about steps) it is not constructed. But if you put sand or gravel on those steps in order to make them more usable/sustainable/etc. THEN the steps have been constructed as well as arfiticially surfaced. If you make a road that is surfaced with sand it is an obstruction. The main point is that material has been brought from elsewhere and piled onto that road.

It is not that hard, is it?

No, it is not. I think we are all in violent agreement here - other than you may be equating "constructed" with "artificial":

Originally Posted by Ignorant

According to the Rules anything artificial is an obstruction. Thus any cart path or road that is constructed is an obstruction whether there is a separate surface of different material or not.


...which doesn't appear to be correct.


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Originally Posted by Ignorant

Your example of a green does not match your intellectual standards. Any course is also a construction, a big one....

Would you care to explain what is an 'artificial surface'? Because this is what it's all about.

If you dig a hole (as in that dec about steps) it is not constructed. But if you put sand or gravel on those steps in order to make them more usable/sustainable/etc. THEN the steps have been constructed as well as arfiticially surfaced. If you make a road that is surfaced with sand it is an obstruction. The main point is that material has been brought from elsewhere and piled onto that road.

It is not that hard, is it?


All you have to do is read the definition and the clarifying decision I quoted above.  Something artificial must be applied to the surface to make it an obstruction.  If no such improvement is done, then it is not an obstruction.

It certainly doesn't seem to be that hard for me....

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Originally Posted by Ignorant

If you dig a hole (as in that dec about steps) it is not constructed.


Forget "constructed."  It is an irrelevant term and there's no need to get into what constitutes construction.

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