Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Immovable Obstruction on Putting Green

When putting greens are damaged, greenkeepers often have to protect the repaired area until growth returns and the surface is suitable for putting again. Of course, the protective netting is an immovable obstruction on the putting green, as it is not intended that players should move it to give themselves a clear path to the hole.

In the photo above, I have positioned five balls (A to E) at different positions on and around the putting green. These are the various rulings. under Rule 24-2b(iii) unless otherwise stated:

•    Ball A lies off the putting green and the netting is on the player’s intended line of play to the hole. There is no relief available, as the netting does not interfere with the player’s stance or area of intended swing and intervention on the line of play is not interference under Rule 24-2a. The player must pitch over, or play around the netting.

•    Ball B lies on the netting on the putting green. If the player chooses to take relief, they must lift the ball and place it, without penalty, at the nearest point of relief that is not in a hazard for their intended stroke to the hole. In some circumstances the nearest point of relief may be off the putting green.

•    Ball C lies on the putting green and the netting does not intervene for a left-handed player, so they must play their next stroke from where the ball is at rest. There is no relief for mental interference from the netting. Because the netting does interfere with the stance of a right handed player, they may take relief by lifting the ball and placing it, without penalty, at the nearest point of relief for their intended stroke to the hole that is not in a hazard. Sometimes the nearest point of relief may be off the putting green.

•    Ball D lies on the putting green and the netting does not intervene for a right-handed player. This time a right handed player is not entitled to relief, but a left-handed player may take relief; it is the converse of the situation with ball C.

•    Ball E lies on the putting green and the netting intervenes on the intended line of putt, so the player make take relief, without penalty, by lifting the ball and placing it at the nearest point of relief for their intended stroke to the hole that is not in a hazard. Sometimes the nearest point of relief may be off the putting green.

The above Rules are also relevant to other immovable obstructions on the putting green, such as artificial hole plugs, which I covered in this blog last year.

Top 10 Ridiculous Moments on the PGA Tour in 2016
Still in the festive mood, I found some of these amusing. (Click on this link.)


It was the first item (#10) that interested me most. I am confused by the commentary on the Rules (nothing new there!) It seems to me that the timber wall does not interfere with Phil Mickelson’s area of intended swing, in which case there was no relief from it available to him, despite what the commentator said after the ball came to rest. Not that Phil needed it; was that exquisite skill or good luck? I am also confused about the timber wall, which seems a rather bizarre, man-made obstruction. I have checked out an overhead view of the 6th hole at Sedgefield Country Club, venue of the 2016 Wyndham Championship, and it does not seem to match that shown in the video clip in that there is no wall at the side of the green and the bunkers seem to be differently located. (Edit 12th January 2017: Thanks to MD of www.progolfrefs.com for informing me that this incident occurred during the 2016 BMW Championship on 6th hole at Crooked Stick GC and not as referenced in the video clip.)

Good golfing,


 



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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Barry
Thank you for your excellent blog on immovable obstructions on the green. I have a question related to your picture of matting and the position of ball A. Assuming:
the matting is both on and off the green;
Ball A is within 2 metres of the green and within 2 metres of the matting;
and the specimen local rule 4a from Appendix 1 (p146 of the 2016 rule book) is in place
Q. Would ball A then be entitled to relief if any part of the matting (including the part on and off the green) intervenes on the line of play to the hole?

Barry Rhodes said...

Anonymous,

Yes, the player may take relief in the circumstance that you describe.

I see that you have converted the "two club-lengths" in the specimen Local Rule to "two metres", which would be a more restricted area of relief.

Barry

Anonymous said...

Hi we have 9 hole cards in our club for 9 hole competitions, my question is can they be used for 9 hole qualifying competitions, or do you have to use an 18 hole card, even though the 2nd 9 will not be filled in. I await your reply
Thankyou

Barry Rhodes said...

Anonymous,

You will have to address this question to your national golfing association for an authoritative answer. Unlike the Rules of Golf, which are unified across the world, there are a range of different handicapping systems used by national golfing bodies and I do not have expertise in this area. I can tell you that this is not permitted in UK and Ireland, who use the CONGU handicapping system. My Club had to get the GUI to come and inspect both our proposed 9-hole courses and allocate them a standard scratch rating. 9-hole competitions are run from this 'measured' course and 18 points are added to the Stableford score for handicapping purposes. However, there is almost certainly a different system used in other countries.

Barry