There is no reference to Temporary Immovable Obstructions (TIOs) in the 34 Rules of Golf, but this Definition appears in Appendix L, Part A;
A temporary immovable obstruction (TIO) is a non-permanent artificial object that is often erected in conjunction with a competition and is fixed or not readily movable. Examples of TIOs include, but are not limited to, tents, scoreboards, grandstands, television towers and lavatories.
Supporting guy wires are part of the TIO, unless the Committee declares that they are to be treated as elevated power lines or cables.
So, it was unusual to see a natural obstruction being defined as a TIO during the LPGA’s first major at Mission Hills Country Club, California at the end of March. A large tree on the 9th hole had been uprooted during a vicious wind storm on the first day. It was too large to be quickly removed, but was lying in a position where it was likely to interfere with play. I am sure that the Committee considered declaring the area around the tree as ground under repair, but judged that this would provide insufficient relief from this large obstruction that is obviously not meant to be a feature of the course. By declaring the fallen tree to be a TIO players could take line of play relief from it, which seems equitable in the circumstances, where some players had played this hole before the storm started. On refection, the fallen tree was temporary (it was going to be removed after the round), it was immovable (it would have required several persons to move it out of the way) and it was an obstruction (in the strict, ‘non-Rules' meaning of the word), so in the circumstances I think that the Committee made the right decision.
Moving the Location of a Hole during Masters 2017:
There was an interesting and pretty rare occurrence during the final day of the Masters last week. On the 5th hole Russell Henley hit a stunning second shot that slam-dunked into the hole for eagle, causing material damage to the lip. The damage was so severe that Augusta National’s grounds crew were unable to fix it satisfactorily for the players who were following.
It is this Exception to Rule 33-2b that permits a Committee to cut a new hole for one that has been severely damaged during play of a round;
When it is impossible for a damaged hole to be repaired so that it conforms with the Definition, the Committee may make a new hole in a nearby similar position.
So, the efficient Augusta National greenkeepers re-cut a new hole and filled in the old one in less than 5 minutes after arriving on the putting green, allowing play to continue.
Obviously there are no greenkeepers on hand to repair, or re-locate holes during the large majority of competitive stroke play rounds. In this case Decision 16-1a/6 is relevant;
Q. Prior to putting, a player discovers that the hole has been damaged. What is the proper procedure?
A. If the damage is not clearly identifiable as a ball mark, then:
(a) If the damage is such that the proper dimensions of the hole have not been changed materially, the player should continue play without repairing the hole. If he touches the hole in such circumstances, a breach of Rule 16-1a occurs.
(b) If the proper dimensions of the hole have been changed materially, the player should request the Committee to have the hole repaired. If a member of the Committee is not readily available, the player may repair the damage, without penalty.
If a player repairs a materially damaged hole when a member of the Committee is readily available, he incurs a penalty for a breach of Rule 16-1a.
Name and Date on a Score Card:
Most golfers that have served on a Golf Committee will know that part of Rule 33-5 states that in stroke play competitions, the Committee must provide each competitor with a score card containing the date and the competitor's name(s). However, this does not always happen in smaller Clubs and Societies, where players are expected to complete these details on their score card before commencing their round, and perhaps also record their entry on a competitions book, or computer, designated for that purpose. The question then arises as to whether a player should be disqualified for returning a score card that does not contain their legible name, and/or the date of the competition.
Of course, the players score card must be signed before it is returned. Decision 6-6b/2 clarifies that it may be signed, or initialled, in a place other than the signature box, provided it is clear from all the evidence that the competitor (and the marker) is doing so for the purpose of verifying their scores for all of the holes.
Note that a Committee may not, as a condition of competition, require that competitors enter their scores into a computer and so players cannot be penalised for failing to do so (Decision 6-6b/8). However, a Committee may introduce a ‘club regulation’ to this effect and provide disciplinary sanctions, such as ruling that a player is ineligible to play in the next club competition for failure to enter their scores in a computer provided for this purpose.
Unusual Tee Shot:
Question: Does a ball played from within the teeing ground have to pass between the tee markers.
Answer: No, provided the ball is teed within rectangular area two club-lengths in depth, the front and the sides of which are defined by the outside limits of two tee-markers, it may be played in any direction and does not have to pass between the tee-markers.
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