Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Relief from Greenside Sprinkler Heads

















More and more golf courses install irrigation systems around their greens to keep the turf healthy and ensure that grasses are properly watered, to assist their recovery and provide a better surface for putting. Sprinkler heads around putting greens can sometimes lead to confusion amongst golfers as to whether they get relief from them in a variety of circumstances, which I will try to clarify here.
 
Q. May I take relief if my ball lies on or against a sprinkler head? Photo a) above.
A. Yes, a sprinkler head is an immovable obstruction, from which the player may take relief under Rule 24-2b.

Q. May I take relief if a sprinkler head interferes with my stance? Photo b) above.
A. Yes, as in the first question, a sprinkler head is an immovable obstruction, from which the player may take relief under Rule 24-2b if it interferes with their stance or area of intended swing.

Q. May I take relief if there is mental interference, but not physical interference, for my intended stroke by a sprinkler head? Photo c) above.
A. No, there is no relief for mental interference by an immovable obstruction, Decision 24-2a/1.

Q. May I take relief from a sprinkler head at the side of a putting green that is on my line of play if there is no relevant Local Rule in operation? Photo d) above.
A. No, in the absence of any Local Rule the Rules of Golf do not provide for line of play relief; but see the next question.

Q. May a Committee introduce a Local Rule permitting line of play from a sprinkler head close to a putting green?
A. Yes, Appendix l, Part A permits a Local Rule providing relief from intervention by immovable obstructions on or within two club-lengths of the putting green when the ball lies within two club-lengths of the immovable obstruction.

So, many Committees introduce a Local Rule following this specimen Local Rule in Appendix l, Part B, 6;

If a ball lies through the green and an immovable obstruction on or within two club-lengths of the putting green and within two club-lengths of the ball intervenes on the line of play between the ball and the hole, the player may take relief as follows:

The ball must be lifted and dropped at the nearest point to where the ball lay that (a) is not nearer the hole, (b) avoids intervention and (c) is not in a hazard or on a putting green.

If the player’s ball lies on the putting green and an immovable obstruction within two club-lengths of the putting green intervenes on his line of putt, the player may take relief as follows:

The ball must be lifted and placed at the nearest point to where the ball lay that (a) is not nearer the hole, (b) avoids intervention and (c) is not in a hazard.

The ball may be cleaned when lifted.

Exception: A player may not take relief under this Local Rule if interference by anything other than the immovable obstruction makes the stroke clearly impracticable.
Q. May I take relief from a sprinkler head on the putting green that is on my line of putt? 
A. Yes, you may take line of putt relief from any immovable obstruction on a putting green, (but it would be unusual to have a sprinkler head located on a putting green), Rule 24-2a.

Q. If my ball has been deflected by a sprinkler head may I replay the stroke, without penalty?
A. No. A sprinkler head is an outside agency and the deflection of a ball by it is a rub of the green and the ball must be played as it lies, Rule 19-1.

Good golfing,




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8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi,Mr Barry,iam yasmine.I have a problem about this case .could i operate this case under 25-1b?According to abnormal condition,which i think the hole is an GUR.Alhough i know it's an immovable obstruction.I am looking forward to your reply.Thank you!

Barry Rhodes said...

Yasmine,

You are making a common mistake; relief from ground under repair only applies to those parts of the course so marked by order of the Committee, or so declared by its authorized representative (Definition of Ground Under Repair). There is no relief from any other areas that players consider are abnormal ground conditions that should qualify as ground under repair. Enter 'ground under repair' in the 'Search this Blog' box (top right of this web page) to obtain more information on this subject.

So, there is only relief from the artificial part of the sprinkler, not any of the area surrounding it.

Barry

Anonymous said...

I have often wondered why the recommended wording of the Local Rule states the ball is dropped at the NPR instead of within one club length of the NR as per a normal obstruction relief?

Kevin

Barry Rhodes said...

Kevin,

It's a good question and I have to admit that I can only guess at an answer. I suspect that the Ruling Bodies feel that giving an option of dropping within one club-length of the NPR would offer too much choice for a ball that is lying so close to the putting green. In fact, the same relief is available if the sprinkler is on the putting green and to offer a player the option of placing a ball within one club-length of the NPR on the putting green would be unnecessarily generous.

Barry

Carson Schaake said...

If there is a sprinkler head a few feet off the green, the sprinkler head lies in my intended line and the nearest point to drop is in the direction of the green can I drop from off the putting surface onto the putting surface?

Barry Rhodes said...

Carson,

Did you read this blog before asking your question? If there is a Local Rule permitting relief in the circumstance that you describe, it will depend on its exact wording. If it follows the specimen wording, as copied above, the ball may not be dropped on the putting green.

Barry

Unknown said...

When taking relief from a sprinkler head, are you permitted to clean your bal?

Barry Rhodes said...

Unknown,

Yes. See my blog dated 20 May 2011 - 'When May You Clean Your Golf Ball', for the main three occasions when you are not permitted to clean your ball.

Barry