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Free relief?


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Upon playing my round the other day I found my golf ball down in a gopher hole in the rough.  First off, what is the ruling about a ball ending up down a gopher hole and secondly the hole was also within a foot of a fence and had the ball not been in the hole I would have gotten free relief from the fence anyway.  So, the question is...Since the ball was in a gopher hole do I still get free relief or do I have to take an unplayable lie and take a stroke.  I only asked because after googling for the answer I got two different responses.  Thank you!

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Originally Posted by fireman1153

and secondly the hole was also within a foot of a fence and had the ball not been in the hole I would have gotten free relief from the fence anyway.

Don't assume you get free relief from a fence.

If it marks a course boundary you are not entitled to relief.

As far as the gopher hole, that would qualify as a "burrowing animal" and you do get relief.

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you get free relief from burrowing animal holes..this included stance and/or lie.

On a sidenote..if a fence is a course boundary, then you don't get relief from it as its considered the same as OB stakes.

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How long has the manmade fence not given free relief?  The fence in question does mark the course boundary but I have always known to be able to take free relief from a fence.  However, this was when I played high school golf back in 2000-2004 so maybe some rules have changed.  Please help me to understand when and why this rule may have changed.

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Originally Posted by fireman1153

How long has the manmade fence not given free relief?  The fence in question does mark the course boundary but I have always known to be able to take free relief from a fence.  However, this was when I played high school golf back in 2000-2004 so maybe some rules have changed.  Please help me to understand when and why this rule may have changed.

There has been no rule change. It has always been the case. If you want relief, you take a penalty drop. You have been under a misapprehension.

http://thesandtrap.com/t/54152/out-of-bounds-fencing-question

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Thank you for clearing it up.  The rules officials at my high school regional golf tournament must have been under a misapprehension as well.  So, now the question is...Since it was in the gopher hole (which I get free relief from) but close to the fence (which I don't get free relief from) how is the shot then played?  Can the free relief from the gopher hole give me a club length and allow the ball to be further from the fence but no closer to the hole or would it have to remain the same distance from the fence?

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Originally Posted by fireman1153

Thank you for clearing it up.  The rules officials at my high school regional golf tournament must have been under a misapprehension as well.  So, now the question is...Since it was in the gopher hole (which I get free relief from) but close to the fence (which I don't get free relief from) how is the shot then played?  Can the free relief from the gopher hole give me a club length and allow the ball to be further from the fence but no closer to the hole or would it have to remain the same distance from the fence?


The fence is irrelevant for the purposes of taking relief from the gopher hole.  So yes, can take a drop, no nearer to the pin, up to one club length from the nearest point of relief from the gopher hole (note that I did not say one club length from the hole itself - you may want to look into the definition of "nearest point of relief" if that's unclear.)

Certainly though you could try to take relief in such a way that the fence would not interfere with your shot, if possible.

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With the angle I had left to the hole I would have only needed 8 inches to a foot to be able to clear the fence so it sounds to me like I can remove a stroke from my scorecard as I did take a stroke with the drop to be on the safe side since I did not know the correct ruling.  Thank you for the clarification!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireman1153 View Post

With the angle I had left to the hole I would have only needed 8 inches to a foot to be able to clear the fence so it sounds to me like I can remove a stroke from my scorecard as I did take a stroke with the drop to be on the safe side since I did not know the correct ruling.  Thank you for the clarification!

For your future reference:

From the "Definitions" section of the Rules of Golf:

Quote:

Out of Bounds

Out of bounds ’’ is beyond the boundaries of the course or any part of the course so marked by the Committee .

When out of bounds is defined by reference to stakes or a fence or as being beyond stakes or a fence, the out of bounds line is determined by the nearest inside points at ground level of the stakes or fence posts (excluding angled supports). When both stakes and lines are used to indicate out of bounds , the stakes identify out of bounds and the lines define out of bounds . When out of bounds is defined by a line on the ground, the line itself is out of bounds . The out of bounds line extends vertically upwards and downwards.

A ball is out of bounds when all of it lies out of bounds . A player may stand out of bounds to play a ball lying within bounds.

Objects defining out of bounds such as walls, fences, stakes and railings are not obstructions and are deemed to be fixed. Stakes identifying out of bounds are not obstructions and are deemed to be fixed.

x

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Originally Posted by sacm3bill

The fence is irrelevant for the purposes of taking relief from the gopher hole.  So yes, can take a drop, no nearer to the pin, up to one club length from the nearest point of relief from the gopher hole (note that I did not say one club length from the hole itself - you may want to look into the definition of "nearest point of relief" if that's unclear.)

Certainly though you could try to take relief in such a way that the fence would not interfere with your shot, if possible.

This is incorrect.  The exception to Rule 25-1b states:

Exception: A player may not take relief under this Rule if (a) interference by anything other than an abnormal ground condition makes the stroke clearly impracticable or (b) interference by an abnormal ground condition would occur only through use of a clearly unreasonable stroke or an unnecessarily abnormal stance, swing or direction of play.

The player does not get relief without penalty from the gopher hole if it was impractical for him to make a swing because of the Out of
Bounds fence.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

This is incorrect.  The exception to Rule 25-1b states:

The player does not get relief without penalty from the gopher hole if it was impractical for him to make a swing because of the Out of

Bounds fence.

What does clearly impractical mean? If he is one foot from the fence, does lack of a full swing toward the target make a swing "clearly impractical?" I could see if the hole was just inside the fence -- such as nearly under the fence. If the ball was not in the hole, he could have hit it, albeit not well and not toward the target. Isn't the fact that it ended up in a hole just a good break?

I'm not challenging you. I am trying to know what would be correct.

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Originally Posted by rustyredcab

What does clearly impractical mean? If he is one foot from the fence, does lack of a full swing toward the target make a swing "clearly impractical?" I could see if the hole was just inside the fence -- such as nearly under the fence. If the ball was not in the hole, he could have hit it, albeit not well and not toward the target. Isn't the fact that it ended up in a hole just a good break?

I'm not challenging you. I am trying to know what would be correct.

Depends on the situation.  Where the ball is in relation to the fence, what the reasonable direction of play is, how long a stroke would be required for the shot.  There are lots of variables and each case may be different.  The point is that you don't get relief automatically just because of the abnormal ground if there are other conditions present.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

Quote:

Originally Posted by sacm3bill

The fence is irrelevant for the purposes of taking relief from the gopher hole.  So yes, can take a drop, no nearer to the pin, up to one club length from the nearest point of relief from the gopher hole (note that I did not say one club length from the hole itself - you may want to look into the definition of "nearest point of relief" if that's unclear.)

Certainly though you could try to take relief in such a way that the fence would not interfere with your shot, if possible.

This is incorrect...

Sorry, you're right. Just to clarify for the OP though, only the part I bolded is incorrect. Everything I wrote after that would be correct *if* the fence was not interfering with the stroke. That was the assumption I was making, which I agree may not necessarily have been the case.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

Depends on the situation.  Where the ball is in relation to the fence, what the reasonable direction of play is, how long a stroke would be required for the shot.  There are lots of variables and each case may be different.  The point is that you don't get relief automatically just because of the abnormal ground if there are other conditions present.

But the threshold is that "making a stroke" is "clearly impractical" if the ball was not in the hole (abnormal ground). Am I correct that the threshold is pretty low? Most any little stab stroke would be enough to get the free drop? And once you get that free relief, you get one club from nearest point of relief plus up to two clubs rollout, right?

What example would be so "clearly impractical" as to not allow the drop?

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Originally Posted by rustyredcab

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fourputt

Depends on the situation.  Where the ball is in relation to the fence, what the reasonable direction of play is, how long a stroke would be required for the shot.  There are lots of variables and each case may be different.  The point is that you don't get relief automatically just because of the abnormal ground if there are other conditions present.

But the threshold is that "making a stroke" is "clearly impractical" if the ball was not in the hole (abnormal ground). Am I correct that the threshold is pretty low? Most any little stab stroke would be enough to get the free drop? And once you get that free relief, you get one club from nearest point of relief plus up to two clubs rollout, right?

What example would be so "clearly impractical" as to not allow the drop?

Edit: Disregard this post - I had written something here but then realized I misunderstood your question.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

This is incorrect.  The exception to Rule 25-1b states:

The player does not get relief without penalty from the gopher hole if it was impractical for him to make a swing because of the Out of

Bounds fence.

I agree, but I have to say in practice I've seen quite a bit of leeway with fence situations similar to the OP's question.  A month or two ago I was watching a PGA tournament and Mickelson hit his drive next to a wrought iron fence.  The ball landed on some sort of burrowing animal hole.  I thought no way is he getting relief, the ball was almost under the fence, however the official gave him relief.  If the the AGC were not there he would have only had a half swing punch shot.....if that....and his club would have probably hit the fence.

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Originally Posted by Dormie1360

I agree, but I have to say in practice I've seen quite a bit of leeway with fence situations similar to the OP's question.  A month or two ago I was watching a PGA tournament and Mickelson hit his drive next to a wrought iron fence.  The ball landed on some sort of burrowing animal hole.  I thought no way is he getting relief, the ball was almost under the fence, however the official gave him relief.  If the the AGC were not there he would have only had a half swing punch shot.....if that....and his club would have probably hit the fence.

The Tour does tend to coddle it's players.  The rules officials on Tour are paid employees of the Tour.  They seem to give more favorable rulings in some cases.  I've seen instances where a situation which would receive relief on a Tour stop was denied relief in a US or British Open.

Also, the situation could be quite different.  It's possible that since Phil had no swing in his intended direction of play, he was forced to look for another way out, and found a reasonable (read believable) shot in a different direction where the fence no longer interfered with his swing.  In that case he would get relief from the burrow, and if that relief resulted in his being able to then play in his original direction, then he gets that benefit.  If there is no reasonable or believable alternative he does not get relief.  That's what I mean by having to consider all of the factors.

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Originally Posted by Dormie1360

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fourputt

This is incorrect.  The exception to Rule 25-1b states:

The player does not get relief without penalty from the gopher hole if it was impractical for him to make a swing because of the Out of

Bounds fence.

I agree, but I have to say in practice I've seen quite a bit of leeway with fence situations similar to the OP's question.  A month or two ago I was watching a PGA tournament and Mickelson hit his drive next to a wrought iron fence.  The ball landed on some sort of burrowing animal hole.  I thought no way is he getting relief, the ball was almost under the fence, however the official gave him relief.  If the the AGC were not there he would have only had a half swing punch shot.....if that....and his club would have probably hit the fence.

Are you sure the fence was a course boundary or OB fence?

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Note: This thread is 2995 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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