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Must You Succeed in Relief from Immovable Obstruction?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Was playing a tournament last weekend (2-man best ball, super fun!).  On a par 5 I pulled my drive a few yards and it kicked left off a knob in the fairway and ended up just left of the fairway and just a few inches right of a concrete drainage ditch.  I get a drop cause the ditch interfered with my stance, and luckily the nearest point of relief was away from the ditch back into the fairway.  So I drop and it rolls a bit back towards the ditch but not all the way back, and standing over the ball I'm pretty sure the ditch won't interfere with my stance anymore, so I accept it as my drop, pick up my tees marking where the ball was and my one club length from there.  I'd been planning on going for the green with my 3i, but I notice as I start to set up for my shot that the winds a little stronger in my face than I thought and I might be risking not clearing the front trap.  So I change out for my 2h.

 

Now standing over the ball with my 2h, my right foot is largely in the drainage ditch.  I'd probably misestimated where it would have been even with my 3i, and with the 2h now it's definitely interfering with my stance again.  At this point the tourney's moving slow and I'd taken all the time to do the whole by the book drop routine with the tees and laying a club down, and it's not a really horrible stance this way (originally I would have had a much more precarious stance).  So I just drop my back foot an inch or two to be flat on the concrete and proceed to hit a perfect shot right at the flag about 20' short.  2-putted for birdie.

 

Here's my question.  I took a drop for stance interference from an immovable obstruction.  I know if the ball rolls to where I haven't gotten relief, I can drop again and then place if it fails again.  But is it illegal to accept the drop when in the end I didn't get the relief that motivated the drop in the first place?  Should I have been penalized for just hitting the shot with my foot still in the drainage ditch?

post #2 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdl View Post
 

Was playing a tournament last weekend (2-man best ball, super fun!).  On a par 5 I pulled my drive a few yards and it kicked left off a knob in the fairway and ended up just left of the fairway and just a few inches right of a concrete drainage ditch.  I get a drop cause the ditch interfered with my stance, and luckily the nearest point of relief was away from the ditch back into the fairway.  So I drop and it rolls a bit back towards the ditch but not all the way back, and standing over the ball I'm pretty sure the ditch won't interfere with my stance anymore, so I accept it as my drop, pick up my tees marking where the ball was and my one club length from there.  I'd been planning on going for the green with my 3i, but I notice as I start to set up for my shot that the winds a little stronger in my face than I thought and I might be risking not clearing the front trap.  So I change out for my 2h.

 

Now standing over the ball with my 2h, my right foot is largely in the drainage ditch.  I'd probably misestimated where it would have been even with my 3i, and with the 2h now it's definitely interfering with my stance again.  At this point the tourney's moving slow and I'd taken all the time to do the whole by the book drop routine with the tees and laying a club down, and it's not a really horrible stance this way (originally I would have had a much more precarious stance).  So I just drop my back foot an inch or two to be flat on the concrete and proceed to hit a perfect shot right at the flag about 20' short.  2-putted for birdie.

 

Here's my question.  I took a drop for stance interference from an immovable obstruction.  I know if the ball rolls to where I haven't gotten relief, I can drop again and then place if it fails again.  But is it illegal to accept the drop when in the end I didn't get the relief that motivated the drop in the first place?  Should I have been penalized for just hitting the shot with my foot still in the drainage ditch?

If you are talking about relief from an immovable obstruction, then yes you would be penalised.  You might find that Rory McIlroy would sympathise with you as he was penalised recently for exactly that.

 

However, if we are talking about a drainage ditch we are surely talking about a water hazard in which case you weren't entitled to any relief.

post #3 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdl View Post

Was playing a tournament last weekend (2-man best ball, super fun!).  On a par 5 I pulled my drive a few yards and it kicked left off a knob in the fairway and ended up just left of the fairway and just a few inches right of a concrete drainage ditch.  I get a drop cause the ditch interfered with my stance, and luckily the nearest point of relief was away from the ditch back into the fairway.  So I drop and it rolls a bit back towards the ditch but not all the way back, and standing over the ball I'm pretty sure the ditch won't interfere with my stance anymore, so I accept it as my drop, pick up my tees marking where the ball was and my one club length from there.  I'd been planning on going for the green with my 3i, but I notice as I start to set up for my shot that the winds a little stronger in my face than I thought and I might be risking not clearing the front trap.  So I change out for my 2h.

Now standing over the ball with my 2h, my right foot is largely in the drainage ditch.  I'd probably misestimated where it would have been even with my 3i, and with the 2h now it's definitely interfering with my stance again.  At this point the tourney's moving slow and I'd taken all the time to do the whole by the book drop routine with the tees and laying a club down, and it's not a really horrible stance this way (originally I would have had a much more precarious stance).  So I just drop my back foot an inch or two to be flat on the concrete and proceed to hit a perfect shot right at the flag about 20' short.  2-putted for birdie.

Here's my question.  I took a drop for stance interference from an immovable obstruction.  I know if the ball rolls to where I haven't gotten relief, I can drop again and then place if it fails again.  But is it illegal to accept the drop when in the end I didn't get the relief that motivated the drop in the first place?  Should I have been penalized for just hitting the shot with my foot still in the drainage ditch?

There's one unanswered question - did the spot where the ball ended up after your drop provide complete relief for your originally planned stroke with a 3 iron? If yes, then you're fine (Decision 24-2b/4) and would have been entitled to further relief for your 2h (Decision 20-2c/0.8).
If no, then you incurred a penalty of two strokes for a playing from a wrong place (Rules 20-7 and 24-2) after failing to take complete relief.

If you pick up your ball to take relief, you must ensure that you take complete relief, otherwise why did you pick up your ball?
post #4 of 29

@Rogolf.  Do you agree there is an earlier unanswered question: why is this drainage ditch not a water hazard?

post #5 of 29

Just to add to Colin's last comment when dealing with hazards, whether or not relief is granted from an immovable obstruction is  based on where the ball is, not the obstruction.

 

If a ball is not in the hazard, relief is available regardless if the immovable obstruction is in the hazard or not.  Conversely, if the ball is in the hazard, relief is not available from the immovable obstruction, regardless if the obstruction is in the hazard or not.

 

 I've seen this come up with concrete drainage head walls at the beginning or the end of a hazard..

 

Edit:

 

As to the OP's question, it's hard to tell what the boundaries of the hazard were, or if it really was without seeing it, however a ball a few inches from a concrete drainage ditch is probably in a hazard.

post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
 

@Rogolf.  Do you agree there is an earlier unanswered question: why is this drainage ditch not a water hazard?

 

Cause we're in SoCal and there is never water in it :)  Seriously, it's marked on the card as an immovable obstruction through most of the fairway up until near the grate it drains into where it widens into an actual ditch that's sometimes soggy and is marked with red stakes.

post #7 of 29

If the ditch is a water hazard, then no relief without penalty.  If it is not a water hazard then this Decision applies:

 

 

Quote:

20-2c/0.8

Player Takes Relief from an Area of Ground Under Repair; Whether Re-Drop Required if Condition Interferes for Stroke with Club Not Used to Determine "Nearest Point of Relief"

Q.A player finds his ball in heavy rough approximately 230 yards from the green. He selects a wedge to play his next shot and finds that his stance touches a line defining an area of ground under repair. He determines the nearest point of relief and drops the ball within one club-length of this point. The ball rolls into a good lie from where he believes he can play a 3-wood for his next stroke. If the player used a wedge for his next stroke he would not have interference from the ground under repair, but adopting a normal stance with the 3-wood, he again touches the ground under repair with his foot. Must the player re-drop his ball under Rule 20-2c?

A.No. The player proceeded in accordance with Rule 25-1b by determining his nearest point of relief using the club with which he expected to play his next stroke and he would only be required to re-drop the ball under Rule 20-2c if interference still existed for a stroke with this club – see analogous Decision20-2c/0.7.

As it was expedient for the player to play his next stroke with another club, which resulted in interference from the condition, he would have the option of playing the ball as it lies or proceeding again under Rule 25-1b.

 

post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColinL View Post

@Rogolf.  Do you agree there is an earlier unanswered question: why is this drainage ditch not a water hazard?

Perhaps, but that's a digression from what I considered the as the original question.
There are many courses (particularly in Japan and other far Eastern countries) that have U shaped concrete drainage channels located beside or connected to cart paths. These are meant to contain and drain water from heavy rainfalls. They are deemed to be obstructions and not water hazards, with the approval of the R&A.
post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the rulings and pointers to the rules.  To answer @rogolf I took relief cause I would have had the far edge of the concrete going under both feet and it would have been a very precarious stance.  Once I realized I actually needed to have my right foot in the ditch after the drop, it turned out I needed to have it mostly on the concrete in a flat part where the edge onto the grass was pretty even, so I ended up with a reasonable footing and just decided to go for it instead of taking even more time to reset up a proper drop.  Fortunately (?) while my teammate and I actually did decently, we didn't end up placing and winning any scrip based on my incorrect score, so no harm.

post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 

Oooh.  Thanks @Fourputt!  Of course, I didn't end up actually setting up the stroke with the 3i, so it's possible I would've been required to take relief for that stroke too.

post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by rogolf View Post


Perhaps, but that's a digression from what I considered the as the original question.
There are many courses (particularly in Japan and other far Eastern countries) that have U shaped concrete drainage channels located beside or connected to cart paths. These are meant to contain and drain water from heavy rainfalls. They are deemed to be obstructions and not water hazards, with the approval of the R&A.

Thanks - that's another bit of knowledge stored away!

post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdl View Post
 

Of course, I didn't end up actually setting up the stroke with the 3i, so it's possible I would've been required to take relief for that stroke too.

But that is a really important distinction.  The 3 iron stance and swing was your original intention, so you are required to take full relief for that shot.  If your ball ended in a good lie that had you still standing in the ditch with your 3 iron, you would have to re-drop or incur the aforementioned "Rory penalty."  The relevant line in @Fourputt's decision is:

 

"If the player used a wedge for his next stroke he would not have interference from the ground under repair"

 

Only if it was a legal drop for the 3 iron would you then have been able to play it where it was with the 2 hybrid without re-dropping.

 

At least, that is how I understand it.

 

This is somewhat similar to what I learned in a thread last year in regards to relief near an OB fence.  (Be careful, it seems confusing) ;)

post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColinL View Post

Thanks - that's another bit of knowledge stored away!
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdl View Post

Oooh.  Thanks @Fourputt!  Of course, I didn't end up actually setting up the stroke with the 3i, so it's possible I would've been required to take relief for that stroke too.

Further - nearly all of these drains have grating over the top of them for safey. Perhaps they are not considered an "open water course".
post #14 of 29

Thanks again.  That makes it easier to understand in terms of  the Definition of a water hazard.  

post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

But that is a really important distinction.  The 3 iron stance and swing was your original intention, so you are required to take full relief for that shot.  If your ball ended in a good lie that had you still standing in the ditch with your 3 iron, you would have to re-drop or incur the aforementioned "Rory penalty."  The relevant line in @Fourputt's decision is:

 

"If the player used a wedge for his next stroke he would not have interference from the ground under repair"

 

Only if it was a legal drop for the 3 iron would you then have been able to play it where it was with the 2 hybrid without re-dropping.

 

Yeah that's what I meant pointing out that I didn't actually check to see if it was a legal drop for the 3i, so it's possible I played within the rules but also not.  I was just glad that @Fourputt pointed out it's at least possible I played within the rules.

 

Side question: have I been wrong all these years thinking you could define one club length as the length of any club in your bag, rather than the length of the club you intend to take a stroke with?  I thought I'd heard that in relationship to the broomstick putters and people complaining it gave an unfair advantage to players who had a 50+" club.  I'd assumed that meant you could use any club in your bag cause rarely are you taking a drop from somewhere and planning on using your broomstick putter for the next stroke.  But I've just started playing tournaments where I feel it's important to be super exacting about these things, to within an inch or three, so I've never double checked.  And in this case I ended up dropping the ball so it hit the ground where it would've been within one club length using my 60˚, so it didn't matter for that part of the rule.  Just wondering.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rogolf View Post

Further - nearly all of these drains have grating over the top of them for safey. Perhaps they are not considered an "open water course".

 

The open concrete drainage ditches classified as immovable obstructions and not water hazards are pretty common where I play.  They're basically very shallow uncovered concrete Vs running at the bottom of natural Vs in the ground that are dry 99.9% of the time.  This one's along the side of the fairway.  The course has a couple others some along the fairways and others crossing them.  

 

Maybe it's a SoCal or southwest thing where it's very dry most of the year but sometimes there's sudden fairly intense rainstorms.  So rather than digging manmade creeks that will be dry almost 100% of the time and classifying them as a hazard they just have these emergency flash drainage ditches to protect from the occasional storms and then let you take free relief?

post #16 of 29

As far as measuring the 1 club length to determine your dropping area, you can use any club in your bag.  It does not have to be the club you used to determine your NPR.

post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdl View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

But that is a really important distinction.  The 3 iron stance and swing was your original intention, so you are required to take full relief for that shot.  If your ball ended in a good lie that had you still standing in the ditch with your 3 iron, you would have to re-drop or incur the aforementioned "Rory penalty."  The relevant line in @Fourputt's decision is:

 

"If the player used a wedge for his next stroke he would not have interference from the ground under repair"

 

Only if it was a legal drop for the 3 iron would you then have been able to play it where it was with the 2 hybrid without re-dropping.

 

Yeah that's what I meant pointing out that I didn't actually check to see if it was a legal drop for the 3i, so it's possible I played within the rules but also not.  I was just glad that @Fourputt pointed out it's at least possible I played within the rules.

 

Side question: have I been wrong all these years thinking you could define one club length as the length of any club in your bag, rather than the length of the club you intend to take a stroke with?  I thought I'd heard that in relationship to the broomstick putters and people complaining it gave an unfair advantage to players who had a 50+" club.  I'd assumed that meant you could use any club in your bag cause rarely are you taking a drop from somewhere and planning on using your broomstick putter for the next stroke.  But I've just started playing tournaments where I feel it's important to be super exacting about these things, to within an inch or three, so I've never double checked.  And in this case I ended up dropping the ball so it hit the ground where it would've been within one club length using my 60˚, so it didn't matter for that part of the rule.  Just wondering.

 

 

 

The nearest point of relief must be determined by taking your stance with the club you would have used for the shot if the obstruction was not there and you were playing the ball as it lies.  Once that point is established, then you can measure the one clublength with any club in your bag, but the ball must still come to rest on a spot which still leaves complete relief with the original club.  Only then can you reassess the shot and make a different choice of club if indicated and proceed as if the previous drop had never occurred.  

 

Once you have correctly dropped under a rule, and the ball is once again in play, you can then make any decision which is necessary regarding your next stroke.

post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by rogolf View Post



Further - nearly all of these drains have grating over the top of them for safey. Perhaps they are not considered an "open water course".

 

Are those the things sometimes called 'french drains' ? At least very much sounds like them. Certainly obstructions and not water hazards.

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