Relief

Biggleswade Blue

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Hi

I will try and explain the scenario that occurred, but if I have missed anything important, please ask.

There is a path that run across the fairway, and is flanked on either side by thick gorse. Beyond the path is an immediate steep drop down to fairway and the green beyond. Before the path is fairway and tee. https://www.johnogauntgolfclub.co.uk/carthagena_hole_16

I had taken driver off the tee, and for the first time ever went too far. I found the ball nestled at the bottom of a gorse bush on the immediate far side of this path.

  • To play the ball from where it was in the direction of the green I would have had to stand on the path. Does that mean I get free relief?
  • I think the nearest point of total relief from the path (stance and ball) no nearer the hole is not a matter of choice but of fact, so there are no choices to be made on this - just drop within 1 club length of that point. (Someone mentioned that there may be a rule of not being able to improve your lie, but I can't get my head around how that would make any sense.)
  • The fact is that would have also had me standing in a bush so was not any help. If that had been somewhere I could have manufactured a swing, then could I have taken it?

  • My ball was unplayable (which I think is a decision I get to make - and is completely down to my judgement, though no one would have tried to play it from where it was!).
  • In that case I can take a penalty stroke for an unplayable ball and and go back as far as I wanted on a line between the ball's finishing position and the flag.

  • If there was a free relief option, perhaps I could have done that first even if the new position was unplayable, if it gave me an advantage when taking the unplayable relief.
There were no consequences to the decision made but I am trying to learn.

Have I missed anything or made any error?
 

jim8flog

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Your first bullet point. Answer NO

(3) No Relief When Clearly Unreasonable to Play Ball. There is no relief under Rule 16.1:
• When playing the ball as it lies is clearly unreasonable because of something other than an abnormal course condition (such as when a player is standing in temporary water or on an immovable obstruction but is unable to make a stroke because of where the ball lies in a bush),

Your 4th bullet point

A ball can be declared unplayably by a player and they are the sole judge as to it's playability

5th bullet point - correct
 

Biggleswade Blue

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Your first bullet point. Answer NO

(3) No Relief When Clearly Unreasonable to Play Ball. There is no relief under Rule 16.1:
• When playing the ball as it lies is clearly unreasonable because of something other than an abnormal course condition (such as when a player is standing in temporary water or on an immovable obstruction but is unable to make a stroke because of where the ball lies in a bush),

Your 4th bullet point

A ball can be declared unplayably by a player and they are the sole judge as to it's playability

5th bullet point - correct


Terrific stuff - thanks for a nice clear answer. Much appreciated.
 

backwoodsman

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All I'd add to Jim8flog's post is to think carefully about the 'unplayable' bit. It may have been 'totally unplayable', (which is my phrase and not found in the rules) in which case, fair enough. But if its only 'unplayable' in the desired direction (ie towards the green) then think whether there is reasonable shot in another direction (sideways perhaps). If there is a reasonable, say sideways, shot and you are still standing on the path, then relief is available. And if after having taken relief, you can get a shot towards the green, then that's just good forrune.

It all boils down to what's 'reasonable' - the way you describe things, it sounds like you were well & truly stuffed, and you had no option other than 'unplayable'.
 

Colin L

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In the first place, we have to know the nature of the path. Does it have an artificial surface - tarmac, gravel, wood chips or whatever? If so, it is an immovable obstruction and you may take relief if there is interference. If it is just an earthen path, it isn't an obstruction and you must play your ball as it lies.

As said above, if it is an obstruction, you must be able to have a reasonable stroke in order to get relief. That stroke can be in any direction. That your ball was up against a gorse bush does not in itself mean you don't have a reasonable stroke. You have to assess the particular situation.

The fact that taking relief would result in your standing in a bush does not affect your right to take relief. If it would be advantageous you can take relief and then unplayable ball relief.
 
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