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Ball on bed of pine needs, no way to hit w/o it moving


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Part I: My ball was resting on a bed (6-8 inches deep) of pine needles.  Looked like the groundskeepers just brushed the needles off the cart path so it kind of piled up. My stance would have been on the same bed of pine needles, and there was no way to take a stance without the whole bed of needles moving, including the ball.  I think this just means unplayable, but not sure... whats the ruling?

Part II: I was just playing a solo few holes and not keeping an official score.  So, I just took a stance on the needle nest anyways and the ball did in fact move, and now it was directly over the cart path, albeit about 2 inches off the ground (again, a nest of needles between it and the cart path).  Had my ball originally been there, would I get cart path relief?  I'm good enough where the 2 inches was enough where I had zero concern about my club hitting the concrete path.

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51 minutes ago, bones75 said:

Part I: My ball was resting on a bed (6-8 inches deep) of pine needles.  Looked like the groundskeepers just brushed the needles off the cart path so it kind of piled up. My stance would have been on the same bed of pine needles, and there was no way to take a stance without the whole bed of needles moving, including the ball.  I think this just means unplayable, but not sure... whats the ruling?

Yeah, you could take the unplayable, because otherwise you'd likely get the penalty for causing the ball to move and would have to replace it. And then you'd still be in the same boat, probably.

51 minutes ago, bones75 said:

Part II: I was just playing a solo few holes and not keeping an official score.  So, I just took a stance on the needle nest anyways and the ball did in fact move, and now it was directly over the cart path, albeit about 2 inches off the ground (again, a nest of needles between it and the cart path).  Had my ball originally been there, would I get cart path relief?  I'm good enough where the 2 inches was enough where I had zero concern about my club hitting the concrete path.

Yeah, as you suspect, your ball isn't in or on the obstruction.

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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 you felt that your stance or swing was affected by the cart path, you'd perhaps be entitled to relief (if that belief was reasonable).

But two inches above it, and "zero concern," then no, play it as it lies. Same thing is true if your ball is suspended in a bush above an obstruction, but you're not standing on or going to hit the obstruction with your swing.

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If the grounds crew piled the pine needles up with the intent to remove them later it could also be considered ground under repair.... even if it was not marked.  In that case you would be entitled to a free drop. 

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15 minutes ago, todgot said:

If the grounds crew piled the pine needles up with the intent to remove them later it could also be considered ground under repair.... even if it was not marked.  In that case you would be entitled to a free drop. 

I was kind of thinking the same thing. . .

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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.

But OTOH, if the tree dropped needles as part of the natural process and it somehow piled up like that and natural elements like the wind made it collect, then I would guess either unplayable or play as it lies with some funny and awkward stance. . .

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On ‎9‎/‎7‎/‎2017 at 6:37 PM, bones75 said:

 Looked like the groundskeepers just brushed the needles off the cart path so it kind of piled up.

The key would be if they planned on removing them later... kind of like leaves.  24/9 would not apply to Part one because it doesn't sound like he was on the cart path... unless his feet were on the path.  But then he could take a drop which might get him out of the pile of pine needles. 

Since this is all just an intellectual exercise because he was playing a round by himself and not keeping score... I would just play the second ball I didn't hit on the cart path. 

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There are many places on a course where you can hit the ball to and it becomes unplayable, without being in a hazard.

If these needles were meant to be removed, you got unlucky. Unless the local rules states anything about being allowed a free drop from such piles, you either gotta try to hit it without it moving, or taking a drop and penalty. Since you can drop within two club lengths, you might end up in a better place with the penalty, than trying to shovel it out of the pines.

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Note: This thread is 1217 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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