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Relief From Fairway Distance Marker


Zippo
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One of the courses I play regularly has small, short, sparsely limbed, evergreen distance markers (maybe 2 feet in diameter) along the fairway. 150 yard markers, for example. One of the fellows I play with insists that free relief is allowed if your ball lands under such a marker or near enough that your stance would be in or on the marker. I've checked the rules, but the closest I can come to this is 16.1.f.1 :

"

f. Relief Must Be Taken from Interference by No Play Zone in Abnormal Course Condition

In each of these situations, the ball must not be played as it lies:

(1) When Ball Is in No Play Zone. If the player’s ball is in a no play zone in or on an abnormal course condition in the general area, in a bunker or on the putting green:

  • No Play Zone in General Area. The player must take free relief under Rule 16.1b.

Is he correct? Would the distance markers be considered a "no play zone"? 

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40 minutes ago, Zippo said:

One of the courses I play regularly has small, short, sparsely limbed, evergreen distance markers (maybe 2 feet in diameter) along the fairway. 150 yard markers, for example.

evergreen as in the tree? If so, then there should not be relief from a tree. 

If it is a manmade object (like a sprinkler head, yardage placard, post, pole) then relief can be taken. Though there are some items that are considered integral to the course, like a brick or stone wall or maybe railroad ties, that you do not get a drop from. 

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As others have said, you get relief from Obstructions, but Obstructions are "artificial", a tree doesn't qualify.  The course does have the authority to define these as GUR, which would allow relief if they interfere with your stance or swing.  I know they're not under repair, but the definition of GUR doesn't limit what may be defined as GUR.   A No Play Zone is an area from which you are forbidden to play, either as part of an Abnormal Course Condition, or within a Penalty Area.  The Committee certainly can define these bushes as NPZ.

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8 hours ago, Zippo said:

One of the fellows I play with insists that free relief is allowed if your ball lands under such a marker or near enough that your stance would be in or on the marker.

Your buddy gets an A for effort. 

But tell him the root of the problem is there's no re-leaf from trees. If he is still stumped you could talk to the pro at the course. That will probably sap the life right out of his story. If that doesn't work you could always branch out and try logging onto a rules page. Unless he continues to bark at you, you should have it made in the shade. If none of that works, you could always axe him to play with somebody else.

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That would be really annoying if the course didn't define them as GUR or NPZ. Otherwise you could split the fairway and be screwed by a distance marker, on any hole? Extremely lame. 

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23 minutes ago, drmevo said:

That would be really annoying if the course didn't define them as GUR or NPZ. Otherwise you could split the fairway and be screwed by a distance marker, on any hole? Extremely lame. 

They aren't in the fairway. They are off to the side, in the rough. 

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20 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

They aren't in the fairway. They are off to the side, in the rough. 

Oh, he said along the fairway so I guess I thought that's where they were. 

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27 minutes ago, drmevo said:

Oh, he said along the fairway so I guess I thought that's where they were. 

You may be too young to remember this. But back in the day before everyone had a range finder or a GPS, many courses just planted a small evergreen tree on either side of the fairway 150 yards out from the center of the green. On some courses, generally low-dough munis, that might have been all the distance markings you were going to get. 

Edited by ChetlovesMer
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1 hour ago, ChetlovesMer said:

You may be too young to remember this. But back in the day before everyone had a range finder or a GPS, many courses just planted a small evergreen tree on either side of the fairway 150 yards out from the center of the green. On some courses, generally low-dough munis, that might have been all the distance markings you were going to get. 

Interesting how we take somethings for granted. I imagine that at some time in the past, being able to visually estimate your distance was considered part of the skill of playing. 

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Thanks for the help, folks. I’ll let him know that he’s mistaken. Just to note, these shrubs are indeed right next to the short grass on each side of the fairway and a a dwarf species of evergreen. 
 

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20 minutes ago, Zippo said:

Thanks for the help, folks. I’ll let him know that he’s mistaken. Just to note, these shrubs are indeed right next to the short grass on each side of the fairway and a a dwarf species of evergreen. 
 

Yea, unless it is marked on the scorecard, even then not sure that is official by USGA rules, some things can be marked as manmade objects or integral to the course. 

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1 hour ago, Zippo said:

Thanks for the help, folks. I’ll let him know that he’s mistaken. Just to note, these shrubs are indeed right next to the short grass on each side of the fairway and a a dwarf species of evergreen. 
 

Oh I remember well stepping off yardages to the 150 shrubs. 

 

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57 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Yea, unless it is marked on the scorecard, even then not sure that is official by USGA rules, some things can be marked as manmade objects or integral to the course. 

Yeah, a bush is in no way an Obstruction, the definition of which begins "Any artificial object....".  A Committee can define those bushes as GUR, and can do it using a note in the scorecard.  There's no way within the rules to allow relief for line of play.

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11 hours ago, ChetlovesMer said:

Your buddy gets an A for effort. 

But tell him the root of the problem is there's no re-leaf from trees. If he is still stumped you could talk to the pro at the course. That will probably sap the life right out of his story. If that doesn't work you could always branch out and try logging onto a rules page. Unless he continues to bark at you, you should have it made in the shade. If none of that works, you could always axe him to play with somebody else.

Reading your reply reminded me on the song “Wet Dream” by Kip Addotta. Hilarious.

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12 hours ago, Carl3 said:

Reading your reply reminded me on the song “Wet Dream” by Kip Addotta. Hilarious.

I remember that song. I heard it on the Dr Demento show way back in the mid-80's -ish. Best part: "He said I'd blown a seal... I said fix the damned thing and leave my private life out of it, okay pal." 

In order to stay on topic. One of the very fist courses I started playing was a 9 hole muni in which literally the only markings on the course were the little dwarf ever greens on either side of the fairway at 150 out. No GPS back then, no range finders, this course didn't even mark the sprinkler heads. I don't ever remember those little evergreens getting in the way. I'm sure they must have for somebody. I'm sure we would never have even considered taking relief from one. 

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2 hours ago, ChetlovesMer said:

I remember that song. I heard it on the Dr Demento show way back in the mid-80's -ish. Best part: "He said I'd blown a seal... I said fix the damned thing and leave my private life out of it, okay pal." 

In order to stay on topic. One of the very fist courses I started playing was a 9 hole muni in which literally the only markings on the course were the little dwarf ever greens on either side of the fairway at 150 out. No GPS back then, no range finders, this course didn't even mark the sprinkler heads. I don't ever remember those little evergreens getting in the way. I'm sure they must have for somebody. I'm sure we would never have even considered taking relief from one. 

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I often consider, and many times, do take relief but the fairway markers are too small to conceal my mighty wood. I find myself branching off from the group as I head to the trees where I do my best to fill the canopy. Relieved, I head back to the fairway marker where I chop it into sawdust in a vain attempt to save a stroke. I do hope you're knot board now that you know my story.

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There is a Model Local Rule that can be used for such a situation. E10. But is is not intended for mature trees.

E-10 Protection of Young Trees

Purpose. To prevent damage to young trees when a player makes a stroke, a Committee can choose to designate them as a no play zone so that:

  • If a player has any type of interference as defined in Rule 16.1 from such a tree designated as a no play zone, he or she must take relief under Rule 16.1f.

  • If the player’s ball lies in a penalty area, he or she must either take free relief under the Local Rule within the penalty area or proceed with penalty under Rule 17.1.

Such trees should be identified by stakes, ribbons or in some other clear way.

When the tree has matured and no longer needs this protection, the Committee should withdraw the Local Rule and/or remove the identifying stake or ribbon from the tree.

Model Local Rule E-10

“The young trees identified by [identify markings] are no play zones:

  • If a player’s ball lies anywhere on the course other than in a penalty area and it lies on or touches such a tree or such a tree interferes with the player’s stance or area of intended swing, the player must take relief under Rule 16.1f.

  • If the ball lies in a penalty area, and interference to the player’s stance or area of intended swing exists from such a tree, the player must take relief either with penalty under Rule 17.1e or with free relief under Rule 17.1e(2).

Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a.”

 

 

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