Ob­struc­tions

Inside Golf - - Rules - Frank Gal Chair­man of Rules Com­mit­tee Golf NSW

Ob­struc­tions are any­thing ar­ti­fi­cial or man-made ex­cept: 1. Ob­jects defin­ing out of bounds, such as

walls, fences, stakes and rail­ings; 2. Any part of an im­mov­able ar­ti­fi­cial ob­ject

that is out of bounds; and 3. Any con­struc­tion de­clared by the Com­mit­tee

to be an in­te­gral part of the course.

Ob­struc­tions can be ei­ther mov­able or im­mov­able. They are mov­able ob­struc­tions if they can be moved with­out un­rea­son­able ef­fort, un­due de­lay or caus­ing dam­age.

Mov­able Ob­struc­tions

Mov­able ob­struc­tions are cov­ered in Rule 24-1 and can be re­moved from any­where on the course, in­clud­ing bunkers and wa­ter haz­ards.

An ob­struc­tion is a mov­able ob­struc­tion if it may be moved with­out un­rea­son­able ef­fort, with­out un­duly de­lay­ing play and with­out caus­ing dam­age. Oth­er­wise it is an im­mov­able ob­struc­tion.

The fol­low­ing items are also mov­able ob­struc­tions: • An aban­doned ball • A mov­able ar­ti­fi­cial ob­ject ly­ing out of

bounds • A stone bro­ken away from a re­tain­ing wall • A parked car if it can be read­ily moved • Stones in bunkers if de­clared by the

Com­mit­tee to be mov­able ob­struc­tions.

If your ball does not lie in or on a move­able ob­struc­tion, the ob­struc­tion may be moved, If the ball moves as a di­rect re­sult of the move­ment of the mov­able ob­struc­tion there is no penalty and the ball must be re­placed. If you ball hap­pens to come to rest in or on the mov­able ob­struc­tion, you may lift the ball and re­move the ob­struc­tion. You must then dropped the ball (or place it if on the putting green) as near as pos­si­ble to the spot di­rectly un­der where the ball orig­i­nally lay.

Mov­able ob­struc­tions are treated dif­fer­ently un­der the Rules from loose im­ped­i­ments, which are nat­u­ral ob­jects cov­ered by Rule 23-1.

Im­mov­able Ob­struc­tions

Im­mov­able ob­struc­tions typ­i­cally en­coun­tered on a course in­clude ar­ti­fi­cially sur­faced roads and cart paths, sprin­kler heads, build­ings, ir­ri­ga­tion con­trol boxes and stakes, fences and walls which don’t de­fine the course bound­aries. A Com­mit­tee may de­clare a mov­able ob­struc­tion (such as a haz­ard or GUR stake) to be an im­mov­able ob­struc­tion; so al­ways check the Lo­cal Rules be­fore re­mov­ing such a stake.

A road or path to which any for­eign ma­te­rial (in­clud­ing gravel or wood chips) has been ap­plied is ar­ti­fi­cially sur­faced and thus an ob­struc­tion (see De­ci­sion 24/9). How­ever, many Com­mit­tees de­clare such roads and paths to be in­te­gral parts of the course from which free re­lief is not avail­able – see be­low.

Rule 24-2b ad­vises that in­ter­fer­ence from an im­mov­able ob­struc­tion oc­curs when it in­ter­feres with the lie of your ball, your stance or the area of your in­tended swing.

There is no re­lief un­der this Rule if your ball is in a wa­ter haz­ard or if the im­mov­able ob­struc­tion is on your line of play. Apart from when the ball lies on the putting green, line of sight re­lief is re­stricted to the spe­cial cases out­lined in Ap­pen­dix I [ Tem­po­rary Im­mov­able Ob­struc­tions (pages 131-134) and Im­mov­able Ob­struc­tions Close to Putting Green (pages 130-131)]. In both cases, there must be a Lo­cal Rule in ef­fect grant­ing re­lief.

To take re­lief from an im­mov­able ob­struc­tion, you must drop the ball within one club-length of the near­est point of re­lief. This is the near­est place to where the ball orig­i­nally lay, which is not nearer the hole and where in­ter­fer­ence ceases to ex­ist. If your ball is on the putting green, you must place it at the near­est point of re­lief. If it is in a bunker, you must drop it in the bunker or, as an ad­di­tional op­tion, you may take re­lief from the ob­struc­tion be­hind the bunker un­der penalty of one stroke.

Note that it is the near­est point, not the nicest point, which de­ter­mines where you are en­ti­tled to drop the ball. There­fore, de­ter­mine the near­est point of re­lief be­fore you touch your ball in case it would be a bet­ter op­tion to play the ball as it lies.

Tem­po­rary Im­mov­able Ob­struc­tions

Tem­po­rary im­mov­able ob­struc­tions ( TIO’s) are non-per­ma­nent ar­ti­fi­cial ob­jects erected in con­junc­tion with a com­pe­ti­tion; usu­ally a pro­fes­sional tour­na­ment or an elite Na­tional

or State am­a­teur cham­pi­onship. Ex­am­ples of

TIO’s in­clude tents, score­boards, grand­stands, tele­vi­sion tow­ers etc. The TIO Spec­i­men Lo­cal Rule grants “line of sight” re­lief if the TIO in­ter­venes be­tween the ball and the hole in

ad­di­tion to re­lief from phys­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence. This is done be­cause the ob­struc­tion would not nor­mally be on the course if it were not for the tour­na­ment. Note: this form of re­lief is only avail­able if the TIO Lo­cal Rule is in force.

In­te­gral Parts of the Course

A Com­mit­tee may de­clare a con­struc­tion to be an “in­te­gral part of the course” if it feels that free re­lief would re­ward a poor

shot or al­ter the in­tegrity of a hole. If the Com­mit­tee does this, there is no free re­lief and you must ei­ther play the ball as it lies or de­clare it un­playable – un­der penalty of one stroke. The Road Hole at the Old Course

in St. An­drews is the most recog­nis­able con­struc­tion to be de­clared an in­te­gral part of a course. Giv­ing free re­lief for a ball that comes to rest on the road would sig­nif­i­cantly al­ter the char­ac­ter of the hole.

Re­mem­ber that ob­struc­tions are man-made ob­jects ex­cept for im­mov­able ob­struc­tions ly­ing out of bounds or those defin­ing out of bounds or de­clared in­te­gral parts of the course.

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