RULE: Immovable Obstruction

The ruling on immovable obstruction such as the protective screen fence behind the tenth green is often the topic of a vigourous discussion heard in the bar. Do I get just 'stance and swing' relief, or 'line of sight' relief as well?

If you are permitted under the Rule 24 to some relief, where can you play from?

 

First you decide what interference is in this situation: interference occurs when

  • your ball lies in or on the obstruction; or
  • when the screen (obstruction) interferes with your stance or the area of your intended swing.

Interference on your line of play is not of itself interference under Rule 24.

Have a look at this photo and determine which balls suffer interference from the screen (for a right hand player).

Answer: the only balls which are entitled to relief are balls A, C and E. You will not be able to take your stance whichever way you face. Ball A - the screen interferes with your stance; Ball E - the screen interferes with both your stance and your area of intended swing: Ball C the screen interferes with your area of intended swing, but not your stance.

A player may argue a case for relief for Ball B, saying that the screen interferes on his/her line to the flag. Line of sight is NOT interference. The player can still take a stance, and swing at the ball - s/he can still hit the ball, but just not towards the green/flag unless with a lob over the fence.Assuming the path does not interfere with the player's stance, NO RELIEF ALLOWED for Ball B under this rule!

No relief is due for Ball D either, as the player can take a stance and complete a swing at ball D without any interference from the screen. 

O.K. - you have decided which balls (A, C and E) are entitled to relief. Where can you now drop and play your ball?

Firstly, determine the nearest point of relief which avoids interference from the screen.
Secondly
, you must lift and drop the ball, without penalty, within one clublength of and no nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief. The ball must strike a part of the course at a spot which avoids interference from the screen.

Ball A: the nearest point of relief is at X, and the drop zone for relief under the rule is marked as the shaded semicircle. Obviously some of these spots do not give relief from the obstruction.

Ball C: the nearest point of relief is at Y, with the allowed drop area shaded. Again, not all spots within the "one club length" provide relief

Ball E: Maybe you would be better off playing the ball as it lay, and putting under the screen if that is possible! However, you may also determine the nearest point of relief, and drop within one clublenth of that point.

P.S.Questions!

What if the dropped ball rolls onto the path or to a spot where you must stand on the path? If the dropped ball rolls more than the one clublength? Check out Rule 20 for the decision!

Can I use any club to measure the "one club length"? See the Note under "Definitions - Nearest Point of Relief".
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