RULE: Immovable Obstruction 2

Ahhh! My ball from #13 tee has landed behind the netting screen protecting players on #15 green. Now I cannot play at the green as the screen is on my line of play. Can I drop out to the side so I can have a clear shot, or is that against the rules?

There seems to be still some misunderstanding about relief from immovable obstructions, particularly the protective netting behind the 15th green.

 Firstly determine if the wire netting (obstruction) does qualify as an interference. “Interference by an immovable obstruction occurs when … it interferes with your STANCE or the AREA OF YOUR INTENDED SWING. Otherwise intervention on the line of play is not, of itself, interference under this rule.

 So if the protective fence (obstruction) interferes with your stance, or your area of swing, you are entitled to relief. BUT no relief if it only interferes on your line of play, say,  towards the 13th green.

 OK—you are entitled to relief. So where can you drop your ball??

In this case, where the netting does cause interference, you must lift your ball and drop it without penalty within one club length of but not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief.

What is the nearest point of relief? It is a spot on the course nearest to where your ball lays that avoids interference from the obstruction—the nearest point on the course where you can play your ball without the netting interfering with your stance or your area of swing. Once that spot is determined, you can drop anywhere within one club length and your ball is back in play.

If the netting is still on your line of play, you are NOT entitled to further relief!! 

In this diagram above, the netting screen lies between three balls A, B & C and the green.

Ball A and B both have the screen cause interference with your stance and/or your swing. So you are entitled under the Rules to free relief. The nearest point of relief for A is point x, and for B it is y. Now you must drop a ball within ONE club length of this nearest point of relief, no nearer the hole. So x gets you relief for swing and/or stance from the fence, but no relief from line of play. Stiff!

Drop one club length from y to the right is within the rule (small diagram), and you get relief swing, stance & line of play - lucky hey?

 Ball C obtains no free relief as the fence does not interfere with your swing or stance, even though it does interfere with your line of play. You may invoke ‘unplayable lie’ and take some relief at a cost of one stroke!

 

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