Inside Golf : Inside Golf Dec 14
rules 60 December 2014 | www.insidegolf.com.au b. c. (ii) c. (i) Frank Gal Chairman of Rules Committee Golf NSW Relief from Water Hazards What’s the Rule? W hy do the Rules prescribe penalties for taking relief from some situations and not others? Basically, the Rules provide free relief when there is interference from objects that are not really part of the course such as buildings, seats, pathways, roads etc. (Rule 24 Obstructions), or from parts of the course not in proper condition, such as casual water, GUR etc. (Rule 25 Abnormal Ground Conditions). Water Hazards, however, are natural and regular playing features of the course. Accordingly, when a ball cannot be played from a water hazard and the player elects to take relief, a penalty of one stroke equivalent to the recovery stroke which the player might otherwise have played, is added to his/her score. The characteristics and relevant features of water hazards can vary greatly, and practical considerations require that Rule 26 provides the player with some degree of choice in the procedures that may be adopted upon electing to take relief. The first major consideration is whether the ball has entered a water hazard defined by yellow stakes or lines or a lateral water hazard defined by red stakes or lines. Water Hazards If the ball has entered a water hazard (yellow stakes or lines), then in addition to playing the ball as it lies without penalty (if possible); the player has two options. Under a penalty of one stroke he or she may: a. Play a ball from where he or she last played, or b. Drop a ball behind the hazard on an extension of the line from the hole to the point at which the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard with no limit to how far behind the hazard the ball may be dropped. The illustration highlights that the reference point in determining where to drop under option b is that point where the ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard. The ball may be dropped behind the hazard along the dotted line up to and beyond point b. Note also that Rule 26 advises that the player may drop “a ball” unlike Rules 24-2b and Rule -25-1b that stipulate the player must lift and play “the ball”. This means that a player is entitled to substitute a ball when taking relief under the water hazard Rule. Lateral Water Hazards The procedure to be followed when the ball lies in or is lost in a lateral water hazard may be identical to that prescribed for Water Hazards shown above, in some circumstances. However, most often this is not practicable and the procedure required is a little more complex. We now turn our attention to Lateral Water Hazards which are defined by red stakes or lines. By and large, lateral water hazards run in the same general direction as the hole and most balls enter a lateral water hazard from the side of the hazard. It is therefore either impracticable or unlikely that the player will be able to drop a ball behind the water hazard keeping the last point of entry between the player and the hole which is the basic requirement of the prescribed procedure when taking relief from ordinary water hazards. Accordingly, whenever the ball lies in or is lost in a Lateral Water Hazard, Rule 26- 1c (p.103) provides the player with two additional options. Once it has been established that the ball has entered a lateral water hazard (red stakes or lines), then in addition to playing the ball as it lies without penalty (if possible); the player has four options. Under a penalty of one stroke he/she may: a. Play a ball from where the ball was last played, or b. Drop a ball behind the hazard on an extension of the line from the hole to the point at which the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard with no limit to how far behind the hazard the ball may be dropped, or c.(i) Drop a ball outside the hazard within two club-lengths of and not nearer the hole than the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard, or c.(ii) Drop a ball outside the hazard within two club-lengths of and not nearer the hole than a point on the opposite side of the hazard equidistant from the hole. Note that options a. and b. are the options available when taking relief from a water hazard (yellow markings). These options are also available when taking relief from a lateral water hazard (red markings). On most occasions, because of the natural features of lateral water hazards and practical considerations the player is limited to options a. and c.(i) or c.(ii) with option c.(i) the most favoured. ASK THE EXPERT When a ball on the green is marked and lifted, then cleaned, and then the ball is replaced, but the marker is left, is the ball in play, or only in play once the marker is removed? Every day on the US Tour we see the marker left, with the player, e.g ., Jim Furyk, then lining up the ball with the marker still in place. What if the ball is accidentally moved? Can you putt with the marker still in place? WHEN IS THE BALL CONSIDERED TO BE IN PLAY? Once the ball is placed on the green, or when the marker is removed. And what if the marker is not removed, can you play a ball that is not in play? Keith Courts Thank you for your question Keith. This area of the rules causes much confusion for players. Rule 20-4 is the applicable Rule and it states that a lifted ball is in play when it is dropped or placed. The ball is back in play the moment it is replaced; the fact that the ball- marker is still in position does not alter this. If the object used to mark the ball is still in position when the ball is replaced, the player is entitled to again lift the ball or to touch and rotate it (Decision 18-2a/33). Rule 20-1 tells us that if the ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved in the process of lifting the ball there is no penalty. This also applies if the accidental movement occurs when the ball is rotated. Of itself, there is no problem if a player leaves a small object, such as a ball-marker or a tee used to mark the position of a ball in place while making a stroke. However if the marker was left in position to assist the player with his or her play (e.g. for alignment) the player would be in breach of the rules. If a player leaves the marker in position on a regular basis, the Committee would be justified in asking the player to cease doing so. I hope this answers your questions. Frank a. b. The illustration clearly illustrates that options a. and b. are also available when taking relief from a lateral water hazard. Option c.(ii) is generally ignored by most because they are either unaware of it or they don’t know how to proceed under this option: The diagram below illustrates the meaning of the “opposite margin” in Rule 26-1c(ii). If a ball last crossed the margin of the hazard at X1, the point on the opposite margin equidistant from the hole is at Y1. Therefore, a ball may be dropped within two club-lengths of X1 or Y1. The same applies to “X3 –Y3” and “X4 – Y4”. However, a straight line from X2 to Y2 crosses land outside the hazard. Therefore, Y2 is not a point on the opposite margin from X2. If a ball last crossed the margin at X2, a ball may be dropped within two club-lengths of X2, but not within two club-lengths of Y2. On occasion, it may be a definite advantage to drop a ball within two club-lengths of the opposite margin. The available dropping area may have shorter grass and provide potentially better lies after a ball is dropped. The line of play may also be significantly better if the hazard does not need to be negotiated again from that side or if trees are no longer interfering with play. Unfortunately, golf isn’t “fair” and the option of dropping on the X1 X2 Y1 Y2 X3 X4 Y4 Y3 DIRECTION OF PLAY LATERAL WATER HAZARD LATERAL WATER HAZARD opposite side of a lateral water hazard is often unavailable, simply because the opposite margin doesn’t exist in all cases. In addition to the case of X2 and Y2 in the diagram, the opposite margin may coincide with the course boundary and playing from an area out of bounds is not permitted under the Rules. However, if an opposite margin does exist, dropping a ball in that area may be the best option. Remember, though, that this option is only available if the ball lies in a lateral water hazard (red stakes or lines). a.
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