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RandyBobbitt

two rules questions

5 posts in this topic

The first concerns dropping from a cart path. My understanding has always been that in order to get relief from a cart path, it has to be artificially paved -- gravel and hard ground (that serve the function of cart paths) don't count. At my course all cart paths are indeed paved, so there's no question. But occasionally I will play another course with gravel paths or areas of hard ground around the green, and when I question a player taking relief, they say "local rule." I guess the course owners/managers can make a local rule for just about anything, but does this make sense? I can understand the desire to drop from gravel because of the potential for damaging a club, but hard ground wouldn't pose a problem. If you're that far off the fairway, you deserve the lie you get if it's on hard ground. Your thoughts?

Second question -- I'm playing in a senior tournament a few years ago, and the first tee times are at 7:45 am. Even though the course is technically closed to outside play until the tournament groups are all out of the way, the management makes a last-minute decision to make a few extra bucks and allow a foursome of knuckleheads to go off at 7:30 with the reminder to "repair ball marks and rake the bunkers." Apparently offended by this, the knuckleheads purposely leave huge footprints in the bunkers, creating problems for the tournament groups behind. As soon as management finds out what is going on, they escort the knuckleheads off the course. But in the interim, a guy in my group finds his ball in a 6-inch crater in the bunker. He calls for a ruling, and the rules official allows a drop in a different part of the bunker, no closer to the hole. No problem for me, but the two other guys in the group didn't agree and believed it was just his bad luck. The rules committee called it "abnormal ground conditions," which is a phrase I found in the rule book, but not in connection to a bunker. Agree or disagree with the ruling?

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A path does not have to be paved to qualify as an obstruction, it just needs to be artificially surfaced. Definition: 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. Decision 24/9 Artificially-Surfaced Road or Path Q. An artificially-surfaced road or path is an obstruction. What constitutes artificial surfacing? A. A road or path to which any foreign material, e.g., concrete, tar, gravel, wood chips, etc. has been applied is artificially surfaced and thus an obstruction. As far as your second question, there is relief for an Abnormal Ground Condition in a bunker. See rule 25-1b (ii). As to whether the committee ruled correctly in your case.....wasn't there so hard to say. Normally foot prints are "bad luck".
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The first concerns dropping from a cart path. My understanding has always been that in order to get relief from a cart path, it has to be artificially paved -- gravel and hard ground (that serve the function of cart paths) don't count. At my course all cart paths are indeed paved, so there's no question. But occasionally I will play another course with gravel paths or areas of hard ground around the green, and when I question a player taking relief, they say "local rule." I guess the course owners/managers can make a local rule for just about anything, but does this make sense? I can understand the desire to drop from gravel because of the potential for damaging a club, but hard ground wouldn't pose a problem. If you're that far off the fairway, you deserve the lie you get if it's on hard ground. Your thoughts?

Second question -- I'm playing in a senior tournament a few years ago, and the first tee times are at 7:45 am. Even though the course is technically closed to outside play until the tournament groups are all out of the way, the management makes a last-minute decision to make a few extra bucks and allow a foursome of knuckleheads to go off at 7:30 with the reminder to "repair ball marks and rake the bunkers." Apparently offended by this, the knuckleheads purposely leave huge footprints in the bunkers, creating problems for the tournament groups behind. As soon as management finds out what is going on, they escort the knuckleheads off the course. But in the interim, a guy in my group finds his ball in a 6-inch crater in the bunker. He calls for a ruling, and the rules official allows a drop in a different part of the bunker, no closer to the hole. No problem for me, but the two other guys in the group didn't agree and believed it was just his bad luck. The rules committee called it "abnormal ground conditions," which is a phrase I found in the rule book, but not in connection to a bunker. Agree or disagree with the ruling?

1)  Dormie answered it well.

2)  The committee has the right to ensure that conditions are fair to all players.  They were within their rights to allow the drop from such an extreme lie, as long as no other player had been forced to play in that situation.  Perhaps a better solution might have been to mark and lift the ball, rake out the crater, then replace the ball.  I've never encountered that particular situation when acting as a committeeman or rules official, so I've never had to make the call.  In our tournaments, we mostly had to take what came since we played on a public course.

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1. yes it makes sense that they can make that local rule.

Appendix I – Local Rules; Conditions of the Competition
Part A Local Rules

5. Obstructions

c. Roads and Paths

(i) Declaring artificial surfaces and sides of roads and paths to be integral parts of the course, or

(ii) Providing relief of the type afforded under Rule 24-2b from roads and paths not having artificial surfaces and sides if they could unfairly affect play.

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Just for your information, the course or committee cannot make any local rule they want, at least it will not be a legal or authorized local rule unless it has been approved by the USGA or R&A.;  A local rule cannot waive or suspend a rule of golf, only certain modifications are allowed as necessitated by local conditions.  See Rule 33-8 (and the Decisions associated with this rule) and Appendix I in the Rules of Golf for more information on this.

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