RULE: Relief from Cart Path

Can I get relief without penalty from “cart paths”?

This is a common question.  To answer it, we start with the Definitions section of the Rules of Golf (pages 30-45).

Roads or paths with artificial surfaces are “obstructions” (see definition on page 39).  In this case, “immovable obstructions”.  The artificial surface may be concrete, bitumen, quarry gravel or wood chips.  

This means that, under Rule 24Obstructions”, you get relief without penalty from paths or roads which have artificial surfaces (Image at right - path is covered with gravel, entitling you to relief if it creates interference with stance or swing).

Rule 24-2 (a) – covers “interference” by the immovable obstruction with either the area of your intended swing or stance.  (p. 106) 

Rule 24-2(b) – covers how to take “relief” from the immovable obstruction.  Briefly, drop the ball within one club length of the nearest point of relief no nearer the hole.  

At Nambour, quarry gravel has been placed at the ends of many concrete paths.  If your ball lies on an area of quarry gravel, you may take relief without penalty as above. See image at right - gravelled surface at end of the bitumen path on #18.  

You do not get relief without penalty from bare ground unless it is on the closely mown areas – fairways and surrounds of greens.  If a ball lies on other bare areas of the course, the player has had a bad shot or some bad luck, and needs to do his/her best with a recovery shot.
For example, this cart path through the rough on #4 is simply bare dirt, not covered with artificial material - NO RELIEF without penalty.

This is where it gets a little tricky - what do you rule here? This section of path has BOTH artificial surface AND bare ground. The gravel has not stayed where it was initially placed, having been moved around the path by heavy run of rain water. It was intended to cover ALL the path, but nature has interfered! The pathway is through the rough, not on the fairway.

You have to rely on Rule 24-2(a) definition of interference. Does the area of gravel interfere with your area of intended swing or your stance? If the answer is YES, then YES to relief without penalty. If NO, then NO to relief without penalty.

 

 

 

 

 Now for your test - how do you rule in this image at left on this section of path behind #1, the path heading towards #8 green??

 

PS - remember that taking relief from the path WITH A PENALTY is another option.



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