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MS256

Can a player ever get relief from the opposite hand than he normally plays with?

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OK. Some of us at the course were discussing this scenario a while back. Complicated so I hope I can make it understandable.

Down the right hand side of two holes on our course there is an OB fence about 3 feet right of the cart path that also runs along the right side.

Anytime a right hander hits a ball in that narrow 3 foot strip of high rough they are eligible for a free drop because their feet are on the cart path. (No dispute there).

The question is when a lefty hits the ball in that strip they get no free drop because their feet are on the fence side of the ball and not on the cart path IF they are going to try to hit the ball left handed. Since there is no chance for them to have stance or a swing left handed because of the fence their only real option is to turn the club upside down and swing right handed, which of course puts their feet on the cart path the same as it would any right handed golfer.

If they take relief under this scenario and drop in the fairway to the left of the cart path (like all right handers do) another question that came up was whether they could then change their minds and go ahead and hit the ball from their normal left hand side.

My opinion was that they could both get relief from the cart path because right handed was their only option at that time and in that situation. Then my opinion was that any of us are free to change our minds after the drop and choose a different club and/or even the opposite side because of the new location where we have to evaluate the best shot to hit from the new location.

That also brings up the question of whether any person is obligated to set up for any shot (obstructed or otherwise) from any particular side...Which could theoretically be used anytime somebody didn't like a lie but had a cart path close by on the other side by claiming "Oh I was going to hit the ball opposite handed" to get a drop even when there would have been no reason to do so.

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Only if the lie of the ball would require an opposite handed shot.  He cannot take an unusual stance in an attempt to get relief.

Co-incidentally, if that is case, and the player takes relief, and if the relief then allows him to play a normal shot, that is okay too.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

Only if the lie of the ball would require an opposite handed shot.  He cannot take an unusual stance in an attempt to get relief.

Co-incidentally, if that is case, and the player takes relief, and if the relief then allows him to play a normal shot, that is okay too.

That's what I figured, and in our scenario with the OB fence in the way relief would be legal.

Still waiting to see that guy that is so good at hitting the ball from the opposite hand that he could legitimately claim that taking a stance from the opposite side is not "an unusual" stance for him when there is no obstruction.

I was watching a high school baseball game one time and the starting pitcher started to struggle a little and the coach called time out. Somebody sitting next to me in the stands said "I guess they're going to go left handed". I just figured they were going with a left handed relief pitcher and I was surprised when the coach walked to the mound with another glove and handed it to the pitcher. He pitched the rest of the game left handed.

P.S. I remember seeing Sergio fudge on the "unusual stance" part one time to try to get relief, and got the rules official to go along with him. I can't remember who he was playing with that day but I remember they were not a happy camper with the ruling.

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Originally Posted by Rulesman

It may well be that it is reasonable in the circumstances to play LH away from the green.

Maybe reasonable...But I doubt if you would have to do it.

I know if I were in that situation (without the cart path there at all) I would always try to hit it toward the green with an opposite handed swing as my "normal" swing on that particular shot.

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This rule has changed over time.  There was a time when the player could elect to play left handed (if he were right handed) and upon deciding his swing was impeded, and a drop was allowed, he could take a drop and then switch back to his normal right handed swing.  At our state amateur I had this come up one year and was advised that the rule for relief was only available if it was your normal swing that was impeded, however, I was free to swing away left-handed, just with no relief.  You always can swing from either side, of course, but you can only take relief from your normal swing impairment.  I started golf playing left-handed and then switched to right handed so when near a fence or a tree, I will often swing left-handed either by hitting the back side of a low iron or by flipping a lofted club upside down.

I think a long time ago it may have been illegal to hit a ball with the back of club rather than the face, but that was so long ago that I forgot if that was true or an old wives tale.  The rule book then was pretty small and you could carry it in your back pocket.  Now my "Decisions on the Rules of Golf" is a pretty big book, and I have given up trying to remember all the rules.  There have been a lot of changes in over 60 years of playing this game, and I no longer claim to know them all.  Also, there were slight differences in PGA rules and USGA rules, a trend that is tending to be more limited now.

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Originally Posted by RC

This rule has changed over time.  There was a time when the player could elect to play left handed (if he were right handed) and upon deciding his swing was impeded, and a drop was allowed, he could take a drop and then switch back to his normal right handed swing.  At our state amateur I had this come up one year and was advised that the rule for relief was only available if it was your normal swing that was impeded, however, I was free to swing away left-handed, just with no relief.  You always can swing from either side, of course, but you can only take relief from your normal swing impairment.  I started golf playing left-handed and then switched to right handed so when near a fence or a tree, I will often swing left-handed either by hitting the back side of a low iron or by flipping a lofted club upside down.

I think a long time ago it may have been illegal to hit a ball with the back of club rather than the face, but that was so long ago that I forgot if that was true or an old wives tale.  The rule book then was pretty small and you could carry it in your back pocket.  Now my "Decisions on the Rules of Golf" is a pretty big book, and I have given up trying to remember all the rules.  There have been a lot of changes in over 60 years of playing this game, and I no longer claim to know them all.  Also, there were slight differences in PGA rules and USGA rules, a trend that is tending to be more limited now.

There is no difference at all between USGA/R&A; and PGA rules, and hasn't been in the 40 years I've played (not since the 1980 rules consolidation between the USGA and the R&A;).  The PGA Tour applies conditions for their competitions, and they always have the local rule active for relief from an embedded ball through the green, but all of those are USGA authorized rules.

Also the rule book fits just fine in my back pocket.  I've never carried the Decisions on the course except when working as rules official, and I don't know anyone who does.  It simply isn't necessary.

To my knowledge there has never been a prohibition against hitting with the back of a club, only that no club except the putter can have 2 striking faces.

I don't know when your amateur incident happened, but in the almost 30 years that I've been involved with the rules, relief would always be allowed if the interference occurred when taking a reasonable stance for the lie and the stroke necessary to play the shot.

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Originally Posted by RC

This rule has changed over time.  There was a time when the player could elect to play left handed (if he were right handed) and upon deciding his swing was impeded, and a drop was allowed, he could take a drop and then switch back to his normal right handed swing.  At our state amateur I had this come up one year and was advised that the rule for relief was only available if it was your normal swing that was impeded, however, I was free to swing away left-handed, just with no relief.  You always can swing from either side, of course, but you can only take relief from your normal swing impairment.  I started golf playing left-handed and then switched to right handed so when near a fence or a tree, I will often swing left-handed either by hitting the back side of a low iron or by flipping a lofted club upside down.

I think a long time ago it may have been illegal to hit a ball with the back of club rather than the face, but that was so long ago that I forgot if that was true or an old wives tale.  The rule book then was pretty small and you could carry it in your back pocket.  Now my "Decisions on the Rules of Golf" is a pretty big book, and I have given up trying to remember all the rules.  There have been a lot of changes in over 60 years of playing this game, and I no longer claim to know them all.  Also, there were slight differences in PGA rules and USGA rules, a trend that is tending to be more limited now.

Hmmm...So now I have to wonder if the state amateur people got it wrong. Most of the time rulings make sense but it wouldn't make much sense to not allow relief if hitting from a certain side was the only option. (Scratch my head).

I'm still trying to figure out why we couldn't get relief from the greens fans at a tournament I was in last year. Since they are right in the way so many times there was a lot of confusion over it and I'm pretty sure some people ended up taking relief and others didn't because they were told they couldn't. (Not good).

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Well after reading some decisions I can say with 100% certainty that I'm still not 100% certain. Ha ha!

I guess since it's never come up for me (but does for the lefties at our course a lot) I wouldn't complain either way.

At it's most extreme it seems you might be able to take full relief and then after the drop get relief yet again because from the new location you decided to hit it lefty. (SMH).

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I wondered the same thing, but when I looked up the Decisions, they were correct (at that time.)  Relief was only for your normal address and swing.

Your fan story is alarming since some did and some did not take relief so one group was obviously in violation of the rules.  Maybe there was a local rule?  I've played a lot of places where circulation fans were near the green and I know one place the understanding was a local rule allowing relief.  But I would not count on that.

There are guys on this forum that are far more qualified to answer rules questions...

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Well after reading some decisions I can say with 100% certainty that I'm still not 100% certain. Ha ha! I guess since it's never come up for me (but does for the lefties at our course a lot) I wouldn't complain either way. At it's most extreme it seems you might be able to take full relief and then after the drop get relief yet again because from the new location you decided to hit it lefty. (SMH).

Ms, I asked a very similar question bit too long ago here ... http://thesandtrap.com/t/68147/relief-near-boundary-fence ... You'll probably find a lot of the same answers tho. :)

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Originally Posted by MS256

Quote:

Originally Posted by RC

This rule has changed over time.  There was a time when the player could elect to play left handed (if he were right handed) and upon deciding his swing was impeded, and a drop was allowed, he could take a drop and then switch back to his normal right handed swing.  At our state amateur I had this come up one year and was advised that the rule for relief was only available if it was your normal swing that was impeded, however, I was free to swing away left-handed, just with no relief.  You always can swing from either side, of course, but you can only take relief from your normal swing impairment.  I started golf playing left-handed and then switched to right handed so when near a fence or a tree, I will often swing left-handed either by hitting the back side of a low iron or by flipping a lofted club upside down.

I think a long time ago it may have been illegal to hit a ball with the back of club rather than the face, but that was so long ago that I forgot if that was true or an old wives tale.  The rule book then was pretty small and you could carry it in your back pocket.  Now my "Decisions on the Rules of Golf" is a pretty big book, and I have given up trying to remember all the rules.  There have been a lot of changes in over 60 years of playing this game, and I no longer claim to know them all.  Also, there were slight differences in PGA rules and USGA rules, a trend that is tending to be more limited now.

Hmmm...So now I have to wonder if the state amateur people got it wrong. Most of the time rulings make sense but it wouldn't make much sense to not allow relief if hitting from a certain side was the only option. (Scratch my head).

I'm still trying to figure out why we couldn't get relief from the greens fans at a tournament I was in last year. Since they are right in the way so many times there was a lot of confusion over it and I'm pretty sure some people ended up taking relief and others didn't because they were told they couldn't. (Not good).

That makes no sense at all.  Fans are obstructions, and I assume they are immovable (Dont know for sure since I've never seen such a thing).  As such they are covered under Rule 24 and the only way that relief would not be allowed is if, for some stupid reason, they were declared as an integral part of the course.  That would make no sense whatsoever to me.  I can't imagine that something near the green would not be allowed relief, not only for stance, lie, and swing, but also as a temporary immovable obstruction you would get line of play relief too, just as the pros do for grandstands and camera towers.  Someone didn't know what they were talking about.  You have to love clueless tournament operators.

Originally Posted by Beachcomber

Find an answer? No one has given the OP a clear answer in my opinion...

Yes I did.  Did you actually read it?

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

Someone didn't know what they were talking about.  You have to love clueless tournament operators.

^^^ That was my opinion on it. Our group followed the instructions (even though we thought they were BS) but by some discussions I heard in the clubhouse after the round it sounded like there were plenty of groups that did the opposite.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

Yes I did.  Did you actually read it?

While, yes.  Yes, I did.

Originally Posted by Fourputt

Only if the lie of the ball would require an opposite handed shot.  He cannot take an unusual stance in an attempt to get relief.

Co-incidentally, if that is case, and the player takes relief, and if the relief then allows him to play a normal shot, that is okay too.

First, you didn't quote what you were responding to.  The OP's original question?  Or his 2nd question?  Perhaps you should spend a little more time formulating your response if you aren't going to quote the question you are answering?  Perhaps then it would be more clear for someone to understand what you are trying to relay?

That coupled with this...

Originally Posted by Rulesman

It may well be that it is reasonable in the circumstances to play LH away from the green.

Is why I state that no one has given a clear answer. Look, I typically avoid this Rules section of the forum for a few reasons....  Mainly b ecause there are a few guys on here, you all know who you are, that answer 95% of the questions within this sub.  And I've found that a lot of you contradict one another... Like above.

Many of you come into these threads and give half ass answers, and then act like everyone should be crystal clear on your response.  The rules of golf are not all that clear to begin with... Then to half ass an answer when someone has a chance to learn, is truly a shame because we should all try and help one another learn the rules to better the game.

Cheers!

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Originally Posted by Beachcomber

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fourputt

Yes I did.  Did you actually read it?

While, yes.  Yes, I did.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fourputt

Only if the lie of the ball would require an opposite handed shot.  He cannot take an unusual stance in an attempt to get relief.

Co-incidentally, if that is case, and the player takes relief, and if the relief then allows him to play a normal shot, that is okay too.

First, you didn't quote what you were responding to.  The OP's original question?  Or his 2nd question?  Perhaps you should spend a little more time formulating your response if you aren't going to quote the question you are answering?  Perhaps then it would be more clear for someone to understand what you are trying to relay?

That coupled with this...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rulesman

It may well be that it is reasonable in the circumstances to play LH away from the green.

Is why I state that no one has given a clear answer.  Look, I typically avoid this Rules section of the forum for a few reasons....  Mainly because there are a few guys on here, you all know who you are, that answer 95% of the questions within this sub.  And I've found that a lot of you contradict one another... Like above.

Many of you come into these threads and give half ass answers, and then act like everyone should be crystal clear on your response.  The rules of golf are not all that clear to begin with... Then to half ass an answer when someone has a chance to learn, is truly a shame because we should all try and help one another learn the rules to better the game.

Cheers!

Since mine was the first reply, quoting would have been redundant and just cluttered the response.

Both Rulesman's reply and mine would result in the same procedure, that the player would be allowed relief as he would be standing on the cart path.  The player playing toward the hole from his opposite hand, or playing away from the hole from his normal side would result in him standing on the same side of the ball, thus interference with his stance would be the same either way.  In neither case was the answer half-assed or unclear.  The answer is precisely what the book says.  It seemed to satisfy the OP, so I don't know why you seem to have an issue with it.

If you still have a question, please ask it.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

Since mine was the first reply, quoting would have been redundant and just cluttered the response.

Both Rulesman's reply and mine would result in the same procedure, that the player would be allowed relief as he would be standing on the cart path.  The player playing toward the hole from his opposite hand, or playing away from the hole from his normal side would result in him standing on the same side of the ball, thus interference with his stance would be the same either way.  In neither case was the answer half-assed or unclear.  The answer is precisely what the book says.  It seemed to satisfy the OP, so I don't know why you seem to have an issue with it.

If you still have a question, please ask it.

Some of the confusion is my fault for throwing in the comment about the fans which was off topic for this thread anyway.

The link Golfingdad posted is basically the same topic with plenty of answers. When I used the search bar before I ever asked the original question I just didn't word it right for that thread to show up.

Normally I wouldn't care very much about making sure I have the correct answer to a problem I may never have but sometimes when I'm a team captain I'm also responsible for making sure my team plays by the rules, and sometimes there's a lefty on the team. I don't like for someone to ask me a question and only have "I'm not sure" for an answer.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

Since mine was the first reply, quoting would have been redundant and just cluttered the response.

No.  Actually quoting the OP's actual question that you were responding to, would make it more clear for folks like myself, that are looking for a clear and concise answer.  This ensures clarity.  Again, the OP asked multiple questions.

Question #1 : Can a player ever get relief from the opposite hand than he normally plays with? (this is the thread title)

Question #2 : If they take relief under this scenario and drop in the fairway to the left of the cart path (like all right handers do) another question that came up was whether they could then change their minds and go ahead and hit the ball from their normal left hand side. (This was the OP's second question)

Fourputt, you provided a response.  But it wasn't clear which question you were answering.  The first (the thread tile), the second, or...?

Then later on, Rulesman pops on and adds...

Originally Posted by Rulesman

It may well be that it is reasonable in the circumstances to play LH away from the green.

Which again, doesn't provide clarity.  Because he just makes a statement, but doesn't take into consideration the scenario outlined by the OP.  So there is confusion on what would be the outcome using the scenario outlined by the OP.

I'm assuming that Rulesman is answering question #2.  And stating that the LH player could play the ball away from the green.  But using the scenario setup by the OP, the LH would be standing on the path - if he was hitting away from the green.  So the LH would get relief from the cart path.  But he didn't add that.  He just made a statement and ran from the thread.

In my opinion, a half-assed response.

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