Penalty Area Rules Session

SwingsitlikeHogan

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Mentioned elsewhere I attended an on-course rules session primarily focussed on Penalty Relief from a Penalty Area. Thought I’d share a couple of things from it. There were about 20 members attending - of a wide variety of golfing experience…beginners to well-seasoned crumblies like myself. Parts of the following I knew…some of it I didn’t or was unsure about.

1) PA is defined by red stakes of square cross-section. My ball is just touching the ‘outside’ (General Area) facing side of a red stake. Is my ball in the PA or not, and why.

2) Is there any difference between a white boundary stakes and a red PA stake in respect of what you can do with or in the vicinity of it, and whether or not a touching ball GA side of a white boundary stake is inbounds or not?

3) What can you not do in a PA that you can do in the General Area?

4) My ball goes into a temporary ditch running across the fairway…the ditch is identified as GUR. There is flowing water in the ditch the sends my ball a couple of yards along from where it entered the ditch. What are my relief options, and where is my NPR or reference point for taking any such relief?

And one that the majority did not know…and for which our rules guy used exactly the same scenario on our course as I use to illustrate - because I know most golfers don’t know it.

5) What limits or constraints are there to a player invoking ball ‘unplayable’ and taking S&D penalty relief. The clue is in his scenario. My ball is 1ft above the hole and I manage to putt off the green and it heads off down a slope and ends up in the middle of the fairway but 40yds from the hole.

ETA…Obviously I now know all the answers 👍😊
 
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doublebogey7

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Mentioned elsewhere I attended an on-course rules session primarily focussed on Penalty Relief from a Penalty Area. Thought I’d share a couple of things from it. There were about 20 members attending - of a wide variety of golfing experience…beginners to well-seasoned crumblies like myself. Parts of the following I knew…some of it I didn’t or was unsure about.

1) PA is defined by red stakes of square cross-section. My ball is just touching the ‘outside’ (General Area) facing side of a red stake. Is my ball in the PA or not, and why.

2) Is there any difference between a white boundary stakes and a red PA stake in respect of what you can do with or in the vicinity of it, and whether or not a touching ball GA side of a white boundary stake is inbounds or not?

3) What can you not do in a PA that you can do in the General Area?

4) My ball goes into a temporary ditch running across the fairway…the ditch is identified as GUR. There is flowing water in the ditch the sends my ball a couple of yards along from where it entered the ditch. What are my relief options, and where is my NPR or reference point for taking any such relief?

And one that the majority did not know…and for which our rules guy used exactly the same scenario on our course as I use to illustrate - because I know most golfers don’t know it.

5) What limits or constraints are there to a player invoking ball ‘unplayable’ and taking S&D penalty relief. The clue is in his scenario. My ball is 1ft above the hole and I manage to putt off the green and it heads off down a slope and ends up in the middle of the fairway but 40yds from the hole.

ETA…Obviously I now know all the answers 👍😊
Intriqued by five, as far as I know there are no constrants, did your man suggest that the player could not take s&d, if so did he quote a rule reference.
 

IanMcC

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Mentioned elsewhere I attended an on-course rules session primarily focussed on Penalty Relief from a Penalty Area. Thought I’d share a couple of things from it. There were about 20 members attending - of a wide variety of golfing experience…beginners to well-seasoned crumblies like myself. Parts of the following I knew…some of it I didn’t or was unsure about.

1) PA is defined by red stakes of square cross-section. My ball is just touching the ‘outside’ (General Area) facing side of a red stake. Is my ball in the PA or not, and why.

2) Is there any difference between a white boundary stakes and a red PA stake in respect of what you can do with or in the vicinity of it, and whether or not a touching ball GA side of a white boundary stake is inbounds or not?

3) What can you not do in a PA that you can do in the General Area?

4) My ball goes into a temporary ditch running across the fairway…the ditch is identified as GUR. There is flowing water in the ditch the sends my ball a couple of yards along from where it entered the ditch. What are my relief options, and where is my NPR or reference point for taking any such relief?

And one that the majority did not know…and for which our rules guy used exactly the same scenario on our course as I use to illustrate - because I know most golfers don’t know it.

5) What limits or constraints are there to a player invoking ball ‘unplayable’ and taking S&D penalty relief. The clue is in his scenario. My ball is 1ft above the hole and I manage to putt off the green and it heads off down a slope and ends up in the middle of the fairway but 40yds from the hole.

ETA…Obviously I now know all the answers 👍😊
OK, I will have a go.

1. Not in PA. Area is defined by line between outside edge of the stakes, so ball in GA.
2. Cant remove a white boundry stake, but you can remove a red one. Touching ball on white stake is in bounds.
3. Take unplayable ball relief.
4. (Guessing this one, without referring to rule book). Free Relief is NPR not nearer the hole from where the ball comes to rest, outside of the ditch. You can also take S&D for 1 stroke penalty. Or you can play as it lies.
5. You can always take S&D, even on putting green.

How did I do?
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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OK, I will have a go.

1. Not in PA. Area is defined by line between outside edge of the stakes, so ball in GA.
2. Cant remove a white boundry stake, but you can remove a red one. Touching ball on white stake is in bounds.
3. Take unplayable ball relief.
4. (Guessing this one, without referring to rule book). Free Relief is NPR not nearer the hole from where the ball comes to rest, outside of the ditch. You can also take S&D for 1 stroke penalty. Or you can play as it lies.
5. You can always take S&D, even on putting green.

How did I do?
You did not bad…80%…well according to what I learned yesterday…🤔 On 2) there is a very clear differentiator between red and white stakes that I didn’t appreciate, which if I was being picky might change your % correct 🤣 And it’s one that I will remember as it’s key to resolving a lot of on course debate.
 
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SwingsitlikeHogan

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OK, I will have a go.

1. Not in PA. Area is defined by line between outside edge of the stakes, so ball in GA.
2. Cant remove a white boundry stake, but you can remove a red one. Touching ball on white stake is in bounds.
3. Take unplayable ball relief.
4. (Guessing this one, without referring to rule book). Free Relief is NPR not nearer the hole from where the ball comes to rest, outside of the ditch. You can also take S&D for 1 stroke penalty. Or you can play as it lies.
5. You can always take S&D, even on putting green.

How did I do?


WARNING…What follows is what I recall from a on-course rules session at my club yesterday. Please don‘t take it as gospel..we have rules experts for that. Just putting it here to give an idea of what was covered and what can be learned.

1. and 2. What I didn’t appreciate was that the red posts defining a PA are fully within the PA (and are moveable obstructions), and so ball touching the post is deemed to be in the PA. Free relief is given if the ball is not in the PA and a post interferes with stance or swing. White boundary/OOB posts are fully within the bounds of the course (and are immovable obstructions from which no free relief is given).

3. No free relief and ball clean from having an embedded ball, also none as I now further understand from abnormal ground conditions or animal scrape. S&D unplayable penalty relief is as everywhere and anytime.one penalty relief option if you in the PA.

4. Only free relief option is one club length relief not hearer hole with NPR relative to where ball ends up (other than if it ends up in a PA). As you say, S&D and ‘back in line’ are 1 shot penalty, with latter having reference point the balls resting place in the GUR (I think)

5. 100% correct. Not a lot of people seem to know that.
 
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IanMcC

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The one I got wrong was the one I was most sure of. 😄. 'Any part of the ball above the edge of the penalty area' is deemed in PA. I suppose if its touching the line its in, but I bet I'm not the only ref who would say GA, especially if the red post was not there. Excellent posting though.
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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This may be more easily remembered as you can always take S&D from anywhere.
What most folk on the session didn‘t realise was that S&D penalty relief can put your ball back to a position much closer to the hole than where it ended up, and that ‘unplayable’ is in the eyes and mind of the player, and is also not constrained by whether or not a shot is physically possible.
 

Steven Rules

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boundary/OOB posts are fully within the bounds of the course (and are immovable obstructions from which no free relief is given).
Just a nuance here. Boundary objects are not obstructions. They are treated as immovable even if they are movable or any part of them is movable.

Your statement that free relief is not allowed is correct.

(An obstruction is any artificial object except for integral objects and boundary objects.)
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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Just a nuance here. Boundary objects are not obstructions. They are treated as immovable even if they are movable or any part of them is movable.

Your statement that free relief is not allowed is correct.

(An obstruction is any artificial object except for integral objects and boundary objects.)
Your last point is exactly why I pestered the club to declare the astroturf reverting face of a bunker (now all rebuilt) to be an integral object. As I mentioned to someone yesterday, if we hadn’t done that players could claim free relief away from the face of a bunker.
 
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SwingsitlikeHogan

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The one I got wrong was the one I was most sure of. 😄. 'Any part of the ball above the edge of the penalty area' is deemed in PA. I suppose if its touching the line its in, but I bet I'm not the only ref who would say GA, especially if the red post was not there. Excellent posting though.
I got it wrong also when a vote was called. It was split 50/50.

We also covered why Rory got his back-in-line penalty relief wrong (he didn’t drop on the line close to his reference pt, but dropped within 1 club length of the line…tut Rory, and what Tiger did wrong some time ago in the Masters (got his reference point back in line, but after marking it he dropped on the line but more than a club length back from his reference pt). It was good as we could actually set up these scenarios on the course and be asked what was done wrong.
 

IanMcC

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WARNING…What follows is what I recall from a on-course rules session at my club yesterday. Please don‘t take it as gospel..we have rules experts for that. Just putting it here to give an idea of what was covered and what can be learned.

1. and 2. What I didn’t appreciate was that the red posts defining a PA are fully within the PA (and are moveable obstructions), and so ball touching the post is deemed to be in the PA. Free relief is given if the ball is not in the PA and a post interferes with stance or swing. White boundary/OOB posts are fully within the bounds of the course (and are immovable obstructions from which no free relief is given).

3. No free relief and ball clean from having an embedded ball, also none as I now further understand from abnormal ground conditions or animal scrape. S&D unplayable penalty relief is as everywhere and anytime.one penalty relief option if you in the PA.

4. Only free relief option is one club length relief not hearer hole with NPR relative to where ball ends up (other than if it ends up in a PA). As you say, S&D and ‘back in line’ are 1 shot penalty, with latter having reference point the balls resting place in the GUR (I think)

5. 100% correct. Not a lot of people seem to know that.
Playing Devil's advocate, a mathematician would say that a tangent is not inside the circle at any point..........:)
 

rulie

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1. The red stakes are inside the penalty area. If your ball is touching the red stake, the ball is in the penalty area. Normally, penalty area stakes are movable obstructions, and free relief is available by moving the stake out of the way. If the ball moves when doing so, the ball must be replaced at its original spot, no penalty. However, the Committee can deem the penalty area stakes to be immovable obstructions. If that has been done, there is no free relief available - the only options would be to play the ball as it lies or take penalty area relief.
2. There is no free relief from white stakes defining out of bounds. A ball touching on the course side of a white stake and touching that stake is in bounds. A ball is out of bounds only when all of the ball is out of bounds. Just as the penalty area stakes are in the penalty area, the white stakes defining out of bounds are out of bounds. The boundary line is defined by the course side of the white stakes at ground level. There is no free relief from interference by a boundary object (such as a white stake).
3. There is no free relief from abnormal course conditions (ground under repair, animal holes, immovable obstructions, temporary water) when your ball is in a penalty area, even if the abnormal course condition is outside the penalty area. There is no free relief for an embedded ball in a penalty area. Rule 19 (ball unplayable) is not applicable when your ball is in a penalty area. IIRC, the only free relief available when your ball is in a penalty area is for interference by a no play zone, dangerous animal situations, interference by a wrong putting green (your stance could be on a wpg with the ball in a penalty area) and temporary immovable obstructions. In these situations, for free relief, the ball must be dropped in the penalty area.
4. Free relief is available from the ditch defined as GUR. Find the nearest point of complete relief (from where the ball lies in the GUR) and drop within one club-length of that point, no nearer the hole. There is no back-on-the-line penalty relief available unless the abnormal course condition is in a bunker. Of course, the player could take stroke and distance relief from the ditch by replaying from the previous spot. Where the ball entered the abnormal course condition is irrelevant unless the ball is not found in the abnormal course condition and it is known or virtually certain that the ball is in the abnormal course condition. In that case, the reference point for free relief is where the ball last crossed the edge of the abnormal course condition.
5. Rule 18.1 (stroke and distance relief) is clear - it is available at any time, no matter where the player's ball is on the course and even when a Rule requires the player to take relief in a certain way or to play a ball from a certain place.

Probably missed something!!
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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1. The red stakes are inside the penalty area. If your ball is touching the red stake, the ball is in the penalty area. Normally, penalty area stakes are movable obstructions, and free relief is available by moving the stake out of the way. If the ball moves when doing so, the ball must be replaced at its original spot, no penalty. However, the Committee can deem the penalty area stakes to be immovable obstructions. If that has been done, there is no free relief available - the only options would be to play the ball as it lies or take penalty area relief.
2. There is no free relief from white stakes defining out of bounds. A ball touching on the course side of a white stake and touching that stake is in bounds. A ball is out of bounds only when all of the ball is out of bounds. Just as the penalty area stakes are in the penalty area, the white stakes defining out of bounds are out of bounds. The boundary line is defined by the course side of the white stakes at ground level. There is no free relief from interference by a boundary object (such as a white stake).
3. There is no free relief from abnormal course conditions (ground under repair, animal holes, immovable obstructions, temporary water) when your ball is in a penalty area, even if the abnormal course condition is outside the penalty area. There is no free relief for an embedded ball in a penalty area. Rule 19 (ball unplayable) is not applicable when your ball is in a penalty area. IIRC, the only free relief available when your ball is in a penalty area is for interference by a no play zone, dangerous animal situations, interference by a wrong putting green (your stance could be on a wpg with the ball in a penalty area) and temporary immovable obstructions. In these situations, for free relief, the ball must be dropped in the penalty area.
4. Free relief is available from the ditch defined as GUR. Find the nearest point of complete relief (from where the ball lies in the GUR) and drop within one club-length of that point, no nearer the hole. There is no back-on-the-line penalty relief available unless the abnormal course condition is in a bunker. Of course, the player could take stroke and distance relief from the ditch by replaying from the previous spot. Where the ball entered the abnormal course condition is irrelevant unless the ball is not found in the abnormal course condition and it is known or virtually certain that the ball is in the abnormal course condition. In that case, the reference point for free relief is where the ball last crossed the edge of the abnormal course condition.
5. Rule 18.1 (stroke and distance relief) is clear - it is available at any time, no matter where the player's ball is on the course and even when a Rule requires the player to take relief in a certain way or to play a ball from a certain place.

Probably missed something!!
On 2. I’ve checked rule 18.2 and I can see I misunderstood what he said, and see what he said. A ball touching the general area side face of a red stake is in the PA, a ball touching the course side face of a white stake is not out of bounds.

4. I myself added the back in line option but on reflection he did exclude back in line as a relief option from GUR

It was a very useful learning session.
 
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Steven Rules

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Since January 2023 there has been a Model Local Rule (F-24) available to committees to provide free relief within the penalty area from certain specified immovable obstructions when the ball is in a penalty area.

I am not sure how widespread its adoption has been.
 

Bratty

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Re point 5, I learned that after doing some checking post round where I'd putted off the green and finished some 20 yards downhill! Took a 6.
Armed with my new knowledge the following week in a best 3 of 4 scores counting event, same green one of our team did the same thing. I told him to replace the ball and putt again under penalty of a stroke. He then holed it for a 5. For 3!😆
 

salfordlad

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Since January 2023 there has been a Model Local Rule (F-24) available to committees to provide free relief within the penalty area from certain specified immovable obstructions when the ball is in a penalty area.

I am not sure how widespread its adoption has been.
Me neither. But it is a very good option for any course that, for whatever reason, has made penalty area stakes immovable obstructions.
 

backwoodsman

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Re point 5, I learned that after doing some checking post round where I'd putted off the green and finished some 20 yards downhill! Took a 6.
Armed with my new knowledge the following week in a best 3 of 4 scores counting event, same green one of our team did the same thing. I told him to replace the ball and putt again under penalty of a stroke. He then holed it for a 5. For 3!😆
I'd have given him a wigging - for missing the first putt for the three for 5 :)
 
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