# Nearest Point of Relief & OB

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So today one of the guys I was playing with hit his tee shot and it was on the right edge of the cart path, right of the fairway.  The cart path was wide enough that in normal circumstances the nearest point of relief would be to the right of the cart path.  However in this case, about 2 feet to the right of the cart path was out of bounds.  Does that matter in coming up with nearest point of relief?  Obviously he cannot drop out of bounds.  Does that allow him to find his nearest point of relief to the left of the cart path?

In the actual event we weren't sure what to do so the guy just played it as it lied and hit a great recovery shot - good karma.

But I still wonder what, if any, relief options he should have had.  I couldn't find any relevant decisions.  There are decisions saying that if the drop puts the player in an untenable spot it is too bad.  But in those cases they can at least make the drop.  In this case the player can't make the drop.  It CAN'T make sense to drop it out of bounds.  So?

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The definition of Nearest Point of Relief gives the answer.

#### 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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In other words, if he couldn't drop and take his stance without getting full relief from the cart path such that he was in bounds (i.e. on the golf course), then the nearest point is, by definition, to the left of the cart path.

Remember, he has to take relief not just for his golf ball but for his stance and swing as well.

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Originally Posted by Rulesman

The definition of Nearest Point of Relief gives the answer.

Nearest Point Of Relief

The “nearest point of relief” is the reference point for taking relief without penalty from interference by an immovableobstruction (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 thestroke 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 astroke.

Originally Posted by iacas

In other words, if he couldn't drop and take his stance without getting full relief from the cart path such that he was in bounds (i.e. on the golf course), then the nearest point is, by definition, to the left of the cart path.

Remember, he has to take relief not just for his golf ball but for his stance and swing as well.

Thanks to both of you.  That makes it pretty clear.

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Thanks for the above posts.  This has been a hot topic at our club for some time with some members saying the committee decision isn't fully following the rules.  I have even been, mostly in jest - I think, been accused of accepting cheating!!!

A diagram would work better but here goes.  OB markers about 2 - 4 feet on average from left edge of a cart path that runs down the left side of the fairway up to the green.   Along with the OB markers is a thick line of trees/bushes.

So, most RH golfers if landing on the middle to left side of path will look for NPoR on the left side of the path.   However, although the trees themselves aren't an issue (in locating NPoR) more often than not once you find NPoR and then measure out the drop zone, this is usually partly or mostly OB.

I have argued that all of the intended drop zone must be in bounds to allow relief to be taken.  It would seem this is correct from e.g. above.  Could someone clarify?  Thanks - hope that e.g. makes sense.

Another contentious point comes from if having found (unlikely but possible in a few places) NPoR on the left side of the path, a RH golfer could legitimately attempt a left-handed shot as he has no RH swing due to trees.  If this is the case, and their playing partner agrees that the intended shot is legitimate, they would then be stood on the path again.  So relief could be taken again but this time to the right of the path.   The player could then play a right handed shot.

I think this is also correct but one member in particular disagrees with both outcomes above.   His argument being full relief would then mean going backwards if you can't go left?  I would disagree as this wouldn't then be nearest point - it would be to the right instead!  He also said a RH golfer couldn't legitimately play the LH shot as it is basically just to get relief!  (he's a loveable but cantankerous old giffer :)

If someone could clarify that would be great and I will post a link to the discussion on our clubs fb page :)  Thanks!

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I have argued that all of the intended drop zone must be in bounds to allow relief to be taken.

Read 24-2b. Drop within one clublength of the nearest point of relief. There is no mention that a full club length must be available.

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Thanks, Wendy.  This is where I am getting confused though.   Let's say that I measure out the drop zone and half of it is in bounds, half out.  Would I then have to drop and hope it falls in bounds?  Could I drop on the OB half and then be OB so have to re-drop?   Do you see what I mean?

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1 hour ago, MonkeyGolfer99 said:

Another contentious point comes from if having found (unlikely but possible in a few places) NPoR on the left side of the path, a RH golfer could legitimately attempt a left-handed shot as he has no RH swing due to trees.

## 24-2b/17

#### Obstruction Interferes with Abnormal Stroke; Abnormal Stroke Reasonable in Circumstances

Q.A right-handed player's ball is so close to a boundary fence on the left of a hole that the player, in order to play towards the hole, must play left-handed. In making a left-handed stroke, the player's backswing would be interfered with by an immovable obstruction. Is the player entitled to relief from the obstruction?

A.The player is entitled to relief since use of an abnormal (left-handed) stroke is reasonable in the circumstances - see Exception under Rule 24-2b.

The proper procedure is for the player to take relief for a left-handed stroke in accordance with Rule 24-2b(i).

The player may then use a normal right-handed swing for his next stroke. If the obstruction interferes with the swing or stance for the right-handed stroke, the player may take relief for the right-handed stroke in accordance with Rule 24-2b(i).

3 minutes ago, MonkeyGolfer99 said:

Thanks, Wendy.  This is where I am getting confused though.   Let's say that I measure out the drop zone and half of it is in bounds, half out.  Would I then have to drop and hope it falls in bounds?  Could I drop on the OB half and then be OB so have to re-drop?   Do you see what I mean?

Please read 20-2 carefully - " A ball when dropped must first strike a part of the course ".

Also:

#### When to Re-Drop

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

rolls into and comes to rest in a hazard;

rolls out of and comes to rest outside a hazard;

rolls onto and comes to rest on a putting green;

rolls and comes to rest out of bounds;

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);

rolls and comes to rest more than two club-lengths from where it first struck a part of the course; or

rolls and comes to rest nearer the hole than:

(a)

its original position or estimated position (see Rule 20-2b) unless otherwise permitted by the Rules; or

(b)

the nearest point of relief or maximum available relief (Rule 24-2, 25-1 or 25-3); or

(c)

the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard or lateral water hazard(Rule 26-1).

If the ball when re-dropped rolls into any position listed above, it must be placed as near as possible to the spot where it first struck a part of the course when re-dropped.

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I'd like to introduce a similar, but more extreme, situation to see if I understand the rule.  Cart path up the right side, three feet of rough to the right of the path, then out of bounds (staked, no boundary fence). A right-handed golfer's ball lands in the three feet of rough. When he takes his stance, his heals are on the path. The NPoR is literally 2" from the out of bounds line.

The player lifts and drops, but misses the 2" strip. He drops again, hits the 2" strip and the ball bounces out of bounds. He drops again, hits the 2" strip and the ball bounces several inches toward the path to a position where he is no longer taking complete relief. Now he must place the ball in the 2" strip where the ball struck the course and play on.

Do I have that right?

Thanks

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9 minutes ago, Dick Kusleika said:

I'd like to introduce a similar, but more extreme, situation to see if I understand the rule.  Cart path up the right side, three feet of rough to the right of the path, then out of bounds (staked, no boundary fence). A right-handed golfer's ball lands in the three feet of rough. When he takes his stance, his heals are on the path. The NPoR is literally 2" from the out of bounds line.

The player lifts and drops, but misses the 2" strip. He drops again, hits the 2" strip and the ball bounces out of bounds. He drops again, hits the 2" strip and the ball bounces several inches toward the path to a position where he is no longer taking complete relief. Now he must place the ball in the 2" strip where the ball struck the course and play on.

Do I have that right?

Thanks

Correct.

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I will add to this discussion that it's generally recommended in such a situation that the out of bounds margin be the outside edge of the cart path to eliminate these questions.  That way the NPR is always on the side of the obstruction that is away from the OB margin.  It makes the dropping process faster and less confusing.

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5 hours ago, MonkeyGolfer99 said:

Another contentious point comes from if having found (unlikely but possible in a few places) NPoR on the left side of the path, a RH golfer could legitimately attempt a left-handed shot as he has no RH swing due to trees.  If this is the case, and their playing partner agrees that the intended shot is legitimate, they would then be stood on the path again.  So relief could be taken again but this time to the right of the path.   The player could then play a right handed shot.

I think this is also correct but one member in particular disagrees with both outcomes above.   His argument being full relief would then mean going backwards if you can't go left?  I would disagree as this wouldn't then be nearest point - it would be to the right instead!  He also said a RH golfer couldn't legitimately play the LH shot as it is basically just to get relief!  (he's a loveable but cantankerous old giffer :)

If someone could clarify that would be great and I will post a link to the discussion on our clubs fb page :)  Thanks!

I had a thread on a very similar topic a while back and the final answer was basically exactly what you are saying.  It's a several step process, and you have to go through all of the steps, but ultimately, you can end up hitting a normal right handed shot from the right side of the cart path.

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5 hours ago, Martyn W said:

## 24-2b/17

#### Obstruction Interferes with Abnormal Stroke; Abnormal Stroke Reasonable in Circumstances

Q.A right-handed player's ball is so close to a boundary fence on the left of a hole that the player, in order to play towards the hole, must play left-handed. In making a left-handed stroke, the player's backswing would be interfered with by an immovable obstruction. Is the player entitled to relief from the obstruction?

A.The player is entitled to relief since use of an abnormal (left-handed) stroke is reasonable in the circumstances - see Exception under Rule 24-2b.

The proper procedure is for the player to take relief for a left-handed stroke in accordance with Rule 24-2b(i).

The player may then use a normal right-handed swing for his next stroke. If the obstruction interferes with the swing or stance for the right-handed stroke, the player may take relief for the right-handed stroke in accordance with Rule 24-2b(i).

Please read 20-2 carefully - " A ball when dropped must first strike a part of the course ".

Also:

#### When to Re-Drop

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

rolls into and comes to rest in a hazard;

rolls out of and comes to rest outside a hazard;

rolls onto and comes to rest on a putting green;

rolls and comes to rest out of bounds;

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);

rolls and comes to rest more than two club-lengths from where it first struck a part of the course; or

rolls and comes to rest nearer the hole than:

(a)

its original position or estimated position (see Rule 20-2b) unless otherwise permitted by the Rules; or

(b)

the nearest point of relief or maximum available relief (Rule 24-2, 25-1 or 25-3); or

(c)

the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard or lateral water hazard(Rule 26-1).

If the ball when re-dropped rolls into any position listed above, it must be placed as near as possible to the spot where it first struck a part of the course when re-dropped.

Excellent, thank you! :)  I think the vii (b) rule above helps answer my initial question/situation  - 'maximum available relief'

So basically, if I have this right, if there was an area (however small) to drop into when you have found NPoR you would proceed to drop there and then reassess depending on how the ball lies once dropped.  e.g. re-dropping if it rolls out of bounds or back onto path etc as per conditions outlined above.

Edited by MonkeyGolfer99

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I had a thread on a very similar topic a while back and the final answer was basically exactly what you are saying.  It's a several step process, and you have to go through all of the steps, but ultimately, you can end up hitting a normal right handed shot from the right side of the cart path.

Thanks - yes, in practice that is what would ultimately end up happening so I think members generally just drop to the right of the path to speed up play.  As in my example even if I managed to drop to the left I would then have to play left handed but would likely be stood on the path to do so, so would then have to drop to the right.

I think this has become something of an unofficial 'local-rule' but can cause a bit of friction and I am in a medal comp tomorrow so want to be clear :) I did ask our club manager and he basically said what you did - that the posts were put there so that dropping to the right is what should happen . . .

It's good to know the full rulings though!  Thanks again and I am fairly new to this site and searched for such a question, this came up - it's probably been done to death so apologies, but everyday's a school day for me :)

Edited by MonkeyGolfer99

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1 hour ago, Fourputt said:

I will add to this discussion that it's generally recommended in such a situation that the out of bounds margin be the outside edge of the cart path to eliminate these questions.  That way the NPR is always on the side of the obstruction that is away from the OB margin.  It makes the dropping process faster and less confusing.

Yes, I agree - I think this has been suggested but the committee, apparently, have ruled that in these instances players can drop to the right rather than move the OB posts . . .

It would seem though that my old friend was right about dropping on the left side but not about the playing right handed bit.  I will pass this on, many thanks.

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6 hours ago, MonkeyGolfer99 said:

Thanks, Wendy.  This is where I am getting confused though.   Let's say that I measure out the drop zone and half of it is in bounds, half out.  Would I then have to drop and hope it falls in bounds?  Could I drop on the OB half and then be OB so have to re-drop?   Do you see what I mean?

You must drop the ball in bounds. If it rolls out of bounds you must re-drop. If it rolls OB again, you place it where it struck the course(in bounds) on the second drop.

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3 hours ago, MonkeyGolfer99 said:

Yes, I agree - I think this has been suggested but the committee, apparently, have ruled that in these instances players can drop to the right rather than move the OB posts . . .

It would seem though that my old friend was right about dropping on the left side but not about the playing right handed bit.  I will pass this on, many thanks.

Actually, having thought more about this, the path is also used by the groundstaff and their vehicles so I imagine if the posts were put to the right of the path they could obstruct their way.  Could they just put a white line along their instead of posts?  Hey ho!

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1 hour ago, MonkeyGolfer99 said:

Actually, having thought more about this, the path is also used by the groundstaff and their vehicles so I imagine if the posts were put to the right of the path they could obstruct their way.  Could they just put a white line along their instead of posts?  Hey ho!

They could paint a while line on the outside edge of the cart path, or they could just designate it on the card or in a posting in the shop.  Just a statement that on "X" hole, the right edge of the cart path defines out of bounds.

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