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# Rules Question: Relief from cart path

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Yesterday I hit a drive and it came to rest 3" from the base of a tree, but if I addressed the ball, I was standing on the cart path.

I will try to show a diagram of how it looked:

<----------Direction of green

------------------

------------------

------TREE----

------------------

O  - Ball

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cart Path

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

<-----------Direction of green

The guy I was playing with said the rule is to get relief from the cart path would result in me standing where the ball is and placing the ball behind the tree, thus making it a much worst postition to be in. I opted to take the shot as it layed, but it did not go well given how close the ball was to the tree and the angle I need to hit it.

Thoughts on this?  Was my friend right?

Thanks!

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Im going to go out on a limb and say you were not entitled to any relief since the ball was not actually on the cartpath.

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Nice drawing....you'd get relief from the cartpath since it appears that your stance would be affected by it.  You could've dropped on the other side of the cart path as long as it's no nearer to the hole.

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Originally Posted by bmartin461

Yesterday I hit a drive and it came to rest 3" from the base of a tree, but if I addressed the ball, I was standing on the cart path.

I will try to show a diagram of how it looked:

<----------Direction of green

------------------

------------------

------TREE----

------------------

O  - Ball

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cart Path

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

<-----------Direction of green

The guy I was playing with said the rule is to get relief from the cart path would result in me standing where the ball is and placing the ball behind the tree, thus making it a much worst postition to be in. I opted to take the shot as it layed, but it did not go well given how close the ball was to the tree and the angle I need to hit it.

Thoughts on this?  Was my friend right?

Thanks!

Assume you were entitled to relief, I think your friend was right(ish).

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I'm stabbing at that your friend was indeed correct.  You do get relief as your stance was on a cart path.  However, your relief is on the same side of the cart path as the ball lies, so you could have 1 club length from the point of the edge of the cart path not closer to the hole.  The 1 club length might have you hitting from the other side of the tree,depends on the size of the tree.  In this case your stance is no longer on the cart path, but the tree might be in your follow thru.  Your choice : 1- stand on cart path or 2- take free drop but tree maybe in the follow through.

I;m guessing that IF you are still standing on the cart path after you drop, you can get further relief.  So maybe....the tree becomes a non-factor?

dropped ball                                 o

iiiiiiiiiii

tree

iiiiiiiiiii

original lie                      o

cart path             -----------------------------

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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

24-2. Immovable Obstruction

a. Interference

Interference by an immovable obstruction occurs when a ball lies in or on the obstruction, or when the obstruction interferes with the player's stance or the area of his intended swing. If the player's ball lies on the putting green, interference also occurs if an immovable obstruction on the putting green intervenes on his line of putt. Otherwise, intervention on the line of play is not, of itself, interference under this Rule.

b. Relief

Except when the ball is in a water hazard or a lateral water hazard, a player may take relief from interference by an immovable obstruction as follows:

(i)Through the Green:If the ball lies through the green, the player must lift the ball and drop it, without penalty, within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief. The nearest point of relief must not be in a hazard or on a putting green. When the ball is dropped within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, the ball must first strike a part of the course at a spot that avoids interference by the immovable obstruction and is not in a hazard and not on a putting green.

The ball may be cleaned when lifted under this Rule.

(Ball rolling to a position where there is interference by the condition from which relief was taken - see Rule 20-2c(v).)

Exception: A player may not take relief under this Rule if (a) it is clearly unreasonable for him to make a stroke because of interference by anything other than an immovable obstruction or (b) interference by an immovable obstruction would occur only through use of an unnecessarily abnormal stance, swing or direction of play.

If the local rules doesn't mention roads, being gravel, asphalt, concrete etc., you get relief. If the local rules deem all roads to be an integral part of the course, you get no relief. You always have the option of playing the ball as it lies as long as it's not in GUR or something else deemed by the offical or local rules not to be played on. If the drop anywhere inside one club length gave you a worse position, it's pretty much tough luck. Hitting the ball standing on a cart path is not that hard, just gotta make sure your feet don't slip, like in a bunker.

There may be some fancy use of the rules where you drop it on the cart path, I have seen players drop the ball on the cart path, knowing it will roll away and stay on the path. Don't know why and what they gained though.

20-2. Dropping and Re-Dropping

c. When to Re-Drop

A dropped ball must be re-dropped, without penalty, if it:

(v) rolls to and comes to rest in a position where there is interference by the condition from which relief was taken under Rule 24-2b (immovable obstruction), Rule 25-1 (abnormal ground conditions), Rule 25-3 (wrong putting green) or a Local Rule (Rule 33-8a), or rolls back into the pitch-mark from which it was lifted under Rule 25-2 (embedded ball);

What happens if you cannot drop inside one clublength and avoid the path?

20-2c/1 Dropped Ball Rolling Out of Prescribed Dropping Area

Q. A player taking relief under the Rules sometimes appears to obtain more relief than he is entitled to because the relevant Rule allows him some latitude within which to drop and the dropped ball then rolls some distance from the place where it was dropped. When a Rule prescribes an area within which a ball must be dropped, e.g., within one or two club-lengths of a particular point, should it be re-dropped if it rolls outside the area so prescribed?

A. No, not necessarily. Provided the ball has been correctly dropped (Rule 20-2a) and does not roll into any of the positions listed in Rule 20-2c, it is in play and must not be re-dropped. In particular, under Rule 20-2c(vi), the ball may roll up to two club-lengths from the point where it first struck a part of the course when dropped, and this may result in its coming to rest an appreciable distance farther from the condition from which relief is being taken. For example:

(a) a ball dropped within two club-lengths of the margin of a lateral water hazard may come to rest almost four club-lengths from the hazard margin without the player being required to re-drop it under Rule 20-2c; and

(b) a ball dropped away from an immovable obstruction within one club-length of the nearest point of relief may come to rest almost three club-lengths from the nearest point of relief without the player being required to re-drop it under Rule 20-2c.

So, if you drop the ball on the path and know it will roll off to a postition where you can strike it, stand on grass and the ball rolled three club-lengths from the nearest point of relief, you are OK. Don't understand why they write "almost three club-lengths" though, seems a bit weird.

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I concur that your friend was correct.    Rule 24 entitles one to relief from obstructions, but does not guarantee that relief will actually be in a better spot.    This is why it is important to NOT touch the ball right away and then go seeking relief, but instead first determine where your point of relief is and then assess whether you're better leaving it as is.

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You usually get relief from a cart path under the above quoted rules, but only if it's either artificially surfaced (paved, covered with gravel, etc) or if there's a local rule specifying that un-surfaced cart paths also entitle you to relief.  In that case, you are correct that you get relief if your stance is interfered with.

Your relief is at the nearest point of complete relief from the single obstruction from which you are taking relief.  In this case, that is the cart path, so you must identify the nearest point that offers you relief from the cart path.  When identifying that point, you do not consider any other obstructions or interference, except for hazards or the putting green (neither of which you can drop onto).  If you are affected by multiple obstructions, you treat them one at a time (actually there's a special procedure for the rare case that you get stuck in a loop taking relief back and forth between multiple obstructions, but that's rare).

So in this case, your friend is right (assuming your diagram is roughly to scale).  Your nearest point of relief will be the nearest point to the ball where your stance is no longer on the cart path, which is on the wrong side of that tree.  You don't get to choose the most desirable nearby point, you must identify the (almost always) single point that fits the definition and drop within a club length from there.  Your drop must give you complete relief from the original obstruction.

In this case, you probably did the right thing---sometimes standing on the cart path (or even playing from it) is the best option.

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Yes, asuming it was a normal cart path and there are no local rules to the contrary you get relief when your stance is on a cartpath. What folks often don't understand is you first find the nearest point of relief no nearer the hole (which is not necessarily the same side of the cart path), then you get up to a club length from that point (i.e. it's *not* one club length from the cart path). That may or may not get you to the other side of tree, I don't know from your diagram.

The reason it's not necessarily on the same side of the cart path is, the nearest relief on the side the ball is on is the point at which the ball would be while addressing it with your club and your feet are no longer on the path. The point on the other side of the path would be right next to the path. Depending on the width of the path, the point on the other side might be closer to the initial position of the ball.

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your friend was correct.  Many times I do not take an entitled free relief from a cart path b/c #1 my drop will put me behind a tree such as in your case or #2 my ball is sitting up pretty well and I don't want to drop and risk it falling deep into long grass.

just because you are on a cart path does not mean you can drop on either side.  you can only drop at a spot which is your nearest point of relief and one club length. what you are getting relief from is standing on the path. where if the nearest spot you can stand and not be on the path...that's your spot then your club length.  a lefty and a righty will have two completely different spots to drop when it comes to a cart path. their nearest point of relief will be different. if a righty and lefty both hit their balls and they comes to rest on the same spot on the path, one will be dropping on the left side of the path and the other will be dropping on the right side.

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Originally Posted by johnny2balls

...if a righty and lefty both hit their balls and they comes to rest on the same spot on the path, one will be dropping on the left side of the path and the other will be dropping on the right side.

Again, not necessarily. See my post above.

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Originally Posted by Zeph

There may be some fancy use of the rules where you drop it on the cart path, I have seen players drop the ball on the cart path, knowing it will roll away and stay on the path. Don't know why and what they gained though.

You can't drop it on the path if you are taking relief from the path. So if someone does what you describe they'd have to be taking relief from another object. There may be some scenario where dropping on the path might allow it to roll to a more advantageous spot.

Originally Posted by Zeph

What happens if you cannot drop inside one clublength and avoid the path?

This is where I mentioned there is some confusion: The nearest point of relief does not have to be within one clublength.

Originally Posted by Zeph

So, if you drop the ball on the path and know it will roll off to a postition where you can strike it, stand on grass and the ball rolled three club-lengths from the nearest point of relief, you are OK. Don't understand why they write "almost three club-lengths" though, seems a bit weird.

See above - you can't drop on the path if that's what you're taking relief from - hence the wording "the ball must first strike a part of the course at a spot that avoids interference by the immovable obstruction." As for the "almost 3 club lengths", that's because you get to drop one club length from the point of relief, and it can roll up to another 2 clublengths from that point. So you could conceivably be up to 3 club lengths from the point of relief.

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Thanks sacm3bill. I sometimes run into situations where I wonder where to start the initial point of relief. Knowing that the nearest point if relief can be far away from the ball is useful to know. Like if your swingpath is obstructed by some immovable object. First you find the nearest point where you can swing freely without the object being in the way, mark that position, then drop the ball within one club length from there. After that it can also roll another two clublengths away.

When marking the nearest point of relief, you just find the spot where you can make a stance and not have the ball lie on the path, then mark the point where the ball will be, and drop within one club-length from there.

Found a GD article with a good image: http://www.golfdigest.com/magazine/2010-09/rules-cartpath-drop

Same rules apply to any immovable obstruction interfering with your swingpath, stance or ball.

Nearest Point of Relief

The "nearest point of relief" is the reference point for taking relief without penalty from interference by an immovable obstruction (Rule 24-2), an abnormal ground condition (Rule 25-1) or a wrong putting green (Rule 25-3).

It is the point on the course nearest to where the ball lies:

(i) that is not nearer the hole, and

(ii) where, if the ball were so positioned, no interference by the condition from which relief is sought would exist for the stroke the player would have made from the original position if the condition were not there.

Note: In order to determine the nearest point of relief accurately, the player should use the club with which he would have made his next stroke if the condition were not there to simulate the address position, direction of play and swing for such a stroke.

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Good find Zeph!  That helps illustrate why a righty and a lefty might be taking relief on the same side of the path.

Btw, one interesting side note...

"Note: In order to determine the nearest point of relief accurately, the player should use the club with which he would have made his next stroke if the condition were not there to simulate the address position, direction of play and swing for such a stroke."

...Once the club that *would've* been used for the next stroke has been used to determine the point of relief, the player is not required to then use that club. (It's possible that after taking relief the shot calls for a different club.)

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Originally Posted by bmartin461

Yesterday I hit a drive and it came to rest 3" from the base of a tree, but if I addressed the ball, I was standing on the cart path.

I will try to show a diagram of how it looked:

<----------Direction of green

------------------

------------------

------TREE----

------------------

O  - Ball

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cart Path

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

<-----------Direction of green

The guy I was playing with said the rule is to get relief from the cart path would result in me standing where the ball is and placing the ball behind the tree, thus making it a much worst postition to be in. I opted to take the shot as it layed, but it did not go well given how close the ball was to the tree and the angle I need to hit it.

Thoughts on this?  Was my friend right?

Thanks!

Judging by this diagram the nearest point of relief would be on the same side of the cart path as where the ball currently lies.  Once that point is established, you get to measure one clublength, not closer to the hole, from the NPR to drop the ball.  If that puts you behind the tree, then that's what you get.  The ball is allowed to roll up to 2 clublengths from where it hits the ground (but not closer to the hole).  Sometimes a careful drop can take advantage of that additional distance (if the dropped ball bounces of a tree root, or catches a bit of slope in the direction you want it to roll.  You can't take any action to affect the drop (i.e. you can't spin the ball or something like that).

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You can take relief on the side of the path up to 1 club length so I'd you made the right call by playing it. If your stance is on the cart path it's not a big deal with soft spikes but does anyone remember how bad footing was on a cart path with metal spikes. I used to love the sound metal spikes made when you walked on a paved or concrete surface.

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I would just drop near the tree and then find a tiny sprinkler head in the tree and then walk around for 20 minutes until I find a spot that I would like to drop the ball.

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Originally Posted by 2bGood

I would just drop near the tree and then find a tiny sprinkler head in the tree and then walk around for 20 minutes until I find a spot that I would like to drop the ball.

LOL! Post of the week.

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