|There is no relief from an immovable obstruction when the ball|
lies in a water hazard (Rule 24-2).
Golfers are sometimes confused as to whether they may take relief without penalty, or not. Here is my non-exhaustive list as to when you may take relief, when you are not entitled to take relief and when you may only take relief if there is a Local Rule that permits.
May Take Relief without Penalty:
• From immovable obstructions on the course – that is anything artificial that is not easily moved and has not been declared integral to the course, e.g. paths, buildings, drain covers, course signage and wooden steps. However, you may not take relief from an immovable obstruction if your ball lies in a water hazard or lateral water hazard (Rule 24-2)
• From any of the following abnormal ground conditions (Rule 25-1);
o casual water
o ground under repair
o a hole, cast or runway on the course made by a burrowing animal, reptile or bird.
• When your ball is embedded in a closely mown area (Rule 25-2).
• From tee-markers after making your first stroke with a ball on a teeing ground (Definition of Tee Markers).
• From a hole made by a green keeper, which qualifies as ground under repair (Decision 25/14).
• From any material piled for removal by the course staff (Definition of Ground Under Repair).
• From a situation that could be dangerous to the player, such as near a live rattlesnake or a bees' nest (Decision 1-4/10).
May Not Take Relief Without Penalty:
• From immovable obstructions when your ball lies in a water hazard or lateral water hazard (Rule 24-2).
• From objects defining out of bounds, such as walls, fences, stakes and railings (Definition of Out of Bounds).
• From tee-markers before making your first stroke with any ball on a teeing ground (Rule 11-2). (Edit 12th June 2012: In other words, the tee markers are fixed and may not be moved to give you a better swing or stance. It is the ball that must be moved to somewhere else in the teeing ground where the tee markers do not interfere.)
• From soft, mushy earth, which is not casual water, unless water is visible on the surface before or after the player takes his stance (Decision 25/1).
• Cracks in the earth and tyre ruts, which are not ground under repair unless declared as such by the Committee (Decision 25/12).
• From footprints made by a burrowing animal, reptile or bird (Decision 25/19.5).
• From an unpleasant lie, such as when the ball is at rest in poison ivy, cacti or stinging nettles (Decision 1-4/11).
• From grass cuttings and other material left on the course that have been abandoned and are not intended to be removed (Definition of Ground Under Repair).
Local Rule May Permit Relief without Penalty:
• From staked trees (note that even if there is no Local Rule relating to staked trees golfers may take relief from the stake itself, which is an immovable obstruction).
• From immovable obstructions that are close to the putting green, e.g. sprinkler heads.
• From environmentally-sensitive areas.
• When a ball is embedded in its own pitch-mark anywhere through the green.
The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2012 and may not be copied without permission.
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