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krupa

Couple new golfer questions about immovable obstructions and abnormal ground conditions

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1) Many of the cart paths at my local course are hard-packed dirt paths with some gravel/stones.  Is this considered an immovable obstruction or should I play the ball as it lies?

2) I assume that a rain puddle in a depression on one of these paths would be considered abnormal ground conditions.  Is that correct?


Thanks

-matthew

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Originally Posted by krupa

1) Many of the cart paths at my local course are hard-packed dirt paths with some gravel/stones.  Is this considered an immovable obstruction or should I play the ball as it lies?

2) I assume that a rain puddle in a depression on one of these paths would be considered abnormal ground conditions.  Is that correct?

Thanks

-matthew

It can be a hard to say.  Properly speaking, the rules say that it must be "artificially surfaced" to qualify as an immovable 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.

I believe that unsurfaced roads as you describe could be designated as ground under repair, but that is up to the competition or course committee.  My home course has a couple of unsurfaced tracks which are used by the maintenance crews, and the men's club tournament committee has declared them as an integral part of the course, meaning that no relief is allowed.  I've played a lot of shots from them over the years with no problems.

For part 2 yes, that would be casual water.

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Originally Posted by krupa

1) Many of the cart paths at my local course are hard-packed dirt paths with some gravel/stones.  Is this considered an immovable obstruction or should I play the ball as it lies?

2) I assume that a rain puddle in a depression on one of these paths would be considered abnormal ground conditions.  Is that correct?

Thanks

-matthew

1.  It depends.  If it's simply hard-packed dirt that happens to have some stones/gravel laying around on it, then no.  Those stones are considered loose impediments however and may be removed.  If the gravel was intentionally placed there specifically as surface material for the path, then it is considered an obstruction and you're entitled to relief.  Decision 24/9 applies.

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.

2.  Correct.

Edited to add that Fourputt beat me to it and added an important note.... that even if it's not specifically artificially surfaced, I've also seen instances where local rule designates it as ground under repair and allows for relief but is under no obligation to do so.

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Thanks for the replies.  I'll ask about the cart paths next time I play.

Usually I don't keep score but last night decided to see how high I could go and on one hole went from the cart path on one side of the green to a puddle in another cart path on the other side of the green.  I dropped in both instances but wasn't sure how to score them.

-matt

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Originally Posted by krupa

Thanks for the replies.  I'll ask about the cart paths next time I play.

Usually I don't keep score but last night decided to see how high I could go and on one hole went from the cart path on one side of the green to a puddle in another cart path on the other side of the green.  I dropped in both instances but wasn't sure how to score them.

-matt

It's worth the reminder too.......just because you may be allowed relief, doesn't mean you have to take that relief.  Sometimes the option for relief could put you in a worse predicament than that which you're trying to escape.  Relief doesn't always mean better!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by krupa View Post

Thanks for the replies.  I'll ask about the cart paths next time I play.

Usually I don't keep score but last night decided to see how high I could go and on one hole went from the cart path on one side of the green to a puddle in another cart path on the other side of the green.  I dropped in both instances but wasn't sure how to score them.

-matt

It's worth the reminder too.......just because you may be allowed relief, doesn't mean you have to take that relief.  Sometimes the option for relief could put you in a worse predicament than that which you're trying to escape.  Relief doesn't always mean better!

This is fact.  There is usually only one place which qualifies as the "nearest point of relief" under Rules 24 and 25.  Here are a couple of decisions with diagrams illustrating how one finds the relief point.  It takes some studying, but they do show it fairly well.  I could do it more clearly if I could take you outside and just set up a few simple problems and it would be clear in a few minutes, but you'd have to meet me when I'm in Colorado in 3 weeks.

Quote:

25-1b/2

Diagrams Illustrating Nearest Point of Relief

The diagrams illustrate the term "nearest point of relief" in Rule 25-1b(i) in the case of both a right-handed and left-handed player.

The "nearest point of relief" must be strictly interpreted. A player is not permitted to choose on which side of the ground under repair he will drop the ball, unless there are two equidistant "nearest points of relief." Even if one side of the ground under repair is fairway and the other is bushes, if the "nearest point of relief" is in the bushes then the player, if taking relief, must drop the ball within one club-length of that point, even though he may have to drop the ball in a virtually unplayable lie.

The same procedure applies under Rule 24-2b dealing with immovable obstructions.

24-2b/3.7

Diagram Illustrating Player Unable to Determine Nearest Point of Relief

The diagram illustrates the point raised in Decision 24-2b/3.5 where a player may be unable to determine the nearest point of relief from an immovable obstruction and will need to estimate this point under Rule 24-2b .

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So in the last diagram you just find a spot not closer to the hole where you're not standing on stakes or walls or up a tree?

-matthew

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Originally Posted by krupa

So in the last diagram you just find a spot not closer to the hole where you're not standing on stakes or walls or up a tree?

-matthew

No it means that sometimes you can't take your stance because of those items, but that doesn't change the location of the nearest point of relief.  In a case where you can't take a stance because of interference from one of those objects other than the obstruction you are taking relief from, you have to estimate it as best you can.  You don't get better relief just because you would have to stand in a tree to take your stance.  The only thing you are getting relief from is the obstruction.  If something else is in the way, that's just too bad.  I've played shots from a concrete cart path when the dropping point would have put me into virtually unplayable rough or in the middle of a bush.

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Originally Posted by krupa

So in the last diagram you just find a spot not closer to the hole where you're not standing on stakes or walls or up a tree?

-matthew

No, it's telling you your NPR may be someplace where you might not like it.  P1 and P2 ARE the NPR's.  If you elect to take relief, you will have the stakes or wall in the way.  That's why fourputt said to make sure you know where your NPR is before you lift your ball.  You may not like it.

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Originally Posted by krupa

So in the last diagram you just find a spot not closer to the hole where you're not standing on stakes or walls or up a tree?

-matthew

Keep in mind that in the situation where your drop puts you standing on the fence or wall that there could be a little more to it.  Check out this very relevant thread I started several weeks ago: vhttp://thesandtrap.com/t/68147/relief-near-boundary-fence/0_30

AFTER dropping (assuming you chose to do so) if you decided that your only option was to play left handed (or backwards) and that option put your feet on the cart path .. well, now you get to take relief from that situation.  If you're interested or confused, read that thread. ;)

Originally Posted by Fourputt

No it means that sometimes you can't take your stance because of those items, but that doesn't change the location of the nearest point of relief.  In a case where you can't take a stance because of interference from one of those objects other than the obstruction you are taking relief from, you have to estimate it as best you can.  You don't get better relief just because you would have to stand in a tree to take your stance.  The only thing you are getting relief from is the obstruction.  If something else is in the way, that's just too bad.  I've played shots from a concrete cart path when the dropping point would have put me into virtually unplayable rough or in the middle of a bush.

OK, so in the "tree" scenario in that last photo, the nearest point of relief is, quite literally, inaccessible, right?  Unless, I guess, you were to climb to the top of the tree.  SO, in that situation, is there a provision where you drop as near as possible to said point (not sure why you'd want to since you're probably dropping right at the base of a tree trunk) or are you just out of luck and have to play from the path?

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fourputt

No it means that sometimes you can't take your stance because of those items, but that doesn't change the location of the nearest point of relief.  In a case where you can't take a stance because of interference from one of those objects other than the obstruction you are taking relief from, you have to estimate it as best you can.  You don't get better relief just because you would have to stand in a tree to take your stance.  The only thing you are getting relief from is the obstruction.  If something else is in the way, that's just too bad.  I've played shots from a concrete cart path when the dropping point would have put me into virtually unplayable rough or in the middle of a bush.

OK, so in the "tree" scenario in that last photo, the nearest point of relief is, quite literally, inaccessible, right?  Unless, I guess, you were to climb to the top of the tree.  SO, in that situation, is there a provision where you drop as near as possible to said point (not sure why you'd want to since you're probably dropping right at the base of a tree trunk) or are you just out of luck and have to play from the path?

Remember that you still get one clublength from the NPR, so unless the tree is nearly 6 feet in diameter, you will still probably find some ground to drop on.  But that still doesn't mean that the relief will be in a playable location.  That is why I said that I have taken shots from cart paths when the relief was worse than the current lie.

You also still have the less desirable option of declaring the ball unplayable and proceeding under Rule 28.  With 2 clublengths from where the ball lies, you might got off the cart path and on the side of the path clear of other trouble, although it will cost you a stroke for that privilege.  If it's me, I can usually do better just taking the shot as it lies, even if it's just punching back into play.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

Remember that you still get one clublength from the NPR, so unless the tree is nearly 6 feet in diameter, you will still probably find some ground to drop on.  But that still doesn't mean that the relief will be in a playable location.  That is why I said that I have taken shots from cart paths when the relief was worse than the current lie.

Whoops.  Oh yeah, duh. ;)

Originally Posted by Fourputt

If it's me, I can usually do better just taking the shot as it lies, even if it's just punching back into play.

Yeah, more often than not, I would imagine that playing it off the cart path (especially with spikeless shoes now - old school metal spikes are a totally different story ;)) would frequently be the best option in these scenarios.

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