Without fail on any given Saturday, sometimes on a Tuesday too, Nick and his fellow Professionals are asked to clarify a Rule. Most of the time we get the Rules of Golf right but now and again we either get it wrong or are not sure we have got it right. We invariably look to Nick for clarification after the round. In this series of posts, Nick explains the correct ruling from one of the more interesting questions he has been asked over the last few weeks. This one concerns
“Not the nicest point of relief but the nearest point of relief !”
Question: “My ball came to rest inches short from the road on the third hole. I was worried that in taking my shot my club would hit the tarmac on the follow through. My partner said I was not entitled to relief as the ball was not actually on the road. I said I was entitled to relief as the road interfered with my swing. In the end I played the ball as it lay but had to take a very shortened swing to avoid injury to my wrists and damage to my club. So who was right?
Answer: The road is an immovable obstruction and Rule 24.2 says - “ Interference by an immovable obstruction occurs when the ball lies in on or on the obstruction or when the obstruction interferes with the players stance or the area of his intended swing”
So you were right you were fully entitled to a free drop at the nearest point of relief. Be careful to fully understand where this might be (it might be on top of the wall !) as it depends on where on the road your ball lies. The Nearest Point of Relief is the point on the course nearest to where the ball lies that is not nearer the hole. You may then drop, without penalty, within one club length of that point as shown below.
Remember too that you must take complete relief ie no one foot on the road and the other on the grass !