|A dropped ball that comes to rest outside hazard margin is OK to play.|
I covered the subject of taking complete relief in detail in an earlier blog (see this link). Basically, when a player is taking relief, without penalty, from an immovable obstruction (Rule 24-2), abnormal ground condition (Rule 25-1), or staked tree (Local Rule) they must re-drop their ball if, when having been dropped in compliance with the Rules, it comes to rest in a position where there is still interference from the condition that they were taking relief from. I think that you will agree that this is logical. For example, if a player is permitted to take relief from casual water it does not make sense that they should then be permitted to drop a ball in a favourable place where there is still interference from the same condition.
However, following two questions that I have received on the subject, I want to clarify that taking complete relief does not apply when taking relief under penalty from a water hazard. So, a player who has dropped a ball outside a water hazard may then take a stance, or part of a stance, within that hazard to play their ball, which has come to rest outside of the hazard. There is no Rules reference for this; it is one of those situations where because there is no Rule that prohibits it, it is permitted. Therefore, you will find the references to interference in Rules 24-2a Immovable Obstructions, and 25-1a, Abnormal Ground Conditions, but not in Rule 26-1, Relief for Ball in Water Hazard.
Fellow Competitors Do Not Have to Shout “Fore”
Although not really Rules of Golf related, I am sure that many readers will be interested in following a civil lawsuit in which an Essex County, New Jersey, USA, judge ruled that whilst the person making a stroke that resulted in a serious accident may have had an obligation to yell “fore,” his golfing buddies (fellow competitors?) did not. An interesting article on the ongoing case can be viewed at this link.
We will probably never know whether the stroke that resulted in severely damaging another player’s eye was a ‘mulligan', as reported, or a provisional ball correctly played under the Rules.
Decisions on the Rules of Golf 2014-2015: The latest news is that Amazon has indicated that the R&A’s revised Decisions book will be released on 13th December. There is no new information on the USGA publication. Please click here to order your copy.
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