RULE: Taking a Drop to Get Relief!

With any inclement weather we may have, I might need to take a few 'drops' from some pretty nasty lies, from which the rules say I can get relief . But where do I drop? Under what conditions do I legally obtain relief? What is 'nearest point of relief'? What is 'interference'? 

Nearest point of relief – what is it?? With the extremes of weather we occasionally experienece, the need to take relief from abnormal course conditions has certainly highlighted some weird and wonderful (member) definitions of NPOCR!

 Definitions in the Rules Book, tells us that the nearest point of complete relief is "your reference point for taking free relief without penalty from interference by an abnormal course, dangerous animal condition, a wrong putting green, or no play zone."

It is the estimated point where your ball would lie that is: 

  • nearest to your ball's original spot, but not nearer the hole than that spot,
  • in the required area of the course, and
  • where the condition doea not interferre with the stroke you would have made from the original spot if the condition was not there.

NOTE: Estimating this reference point requires you to identify the choice of club, stance, swing and line of play you would have used for that stroke."

But what is “interference” from a condition where relief is allowed? An immovable obstruction or abnormal course condition  eg. GUR or temporary water interferes “when a ball lies in or on the obstruction or abnormal course condition, or when the obstruction abnormal course condition interferes with the player’s stance or the area of his intended swing. Intervention on the line of play is not, of itself, interference under this rule.”  However, if your ball lies on the putting green, interference also occurs if an abnormal course condition on the green intervenes on your line of putt.

So, how should this NPOR be determined?

When your ball is on the fairway or the rough:

· Take your stance as if playing the shot and hold your club that you would use if the problem area was not there.

· Swing that club and determine the nearest point from where you could hit the ball without interference to your swing or stance by the problem area (not nearer hole, in penalty area or on putting green).

· The point where a ball would lie in that swing is the NPOCR. Now the one club length measurement can be measured from that point, with any club (usually your driver).

 For a right hander - no relief for ball A. There is no interference with your stance or your intended area of swing.

However ball B does suffer interference with stance and area of swing. As the 100 metre post is an immovable obstruction, relief is available under this rule. The yellow peg is the point which affords relief from the post, is not nearer the hole than B. The rule then allows you a drop within 1 club length of this spot (red tee). The relief area for a legal drop would be a sector of a circle one club length from the yellow tee (eg. light green area).

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