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 have been having lately, the need to take relief from abnormal ground conditions has certainly highlighted some weird and wonderful (member) definitions of NPOR!

 Definitions in the Rules Book, tells us that it “is the reference point for taking relief without penalty from interference by an immovable obstruction, an abnormal ground condition or a wrong putting green.

It is the point on the course nearest to where the ball lies: 

  • that is not nearer the hole, and
  • where, if the ball were so positioned, no interference by the condition from which relief is sought would exist for the stroke the player would have made from the original position if the condition were not there.

NOTE: In order to determine the nearest point of relief accurately, the player should use the club with which hew would have made the next stroke if the condition were not there to simulate the address position, direction of play and swing for such a stroke.” (p37 of Rules of Golf)

But what is “interference” from a relief condition? An immovable obstruction or abnormal ground condition (agc) eg. GUR or casual water interferes “when a ball lies in or on the obstruction/agc, or when the obstruction/agc 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 ground 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 hazard or on putting green).

· The point where a ball would lie in that swing is the NPOR. 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 area for legal drop would be a sector of a circle one club length from the yellow tee (eg. light green area).

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