Taking relief from a movable obstruction

chrisd

Major Champion
Joined
Sep 22, 2009
Messages
24,875
Location
Kent
Visit site
I was asked a question in the clubhouse yesterday about taking relief. We have a very narrow, tree lined both sides, par 4 hole where its very easy to hit trees both sides off the tee. Down the right hand side there is a woodchip path from which relief can be taken and its recently been bordered on its outer side, with tree offcuts, largely for cosmetic reasons.

The lady who asked said that they quite often hit the trees on the right and, since the path has been edged with quite large tree offcuts which their ball often end up sitting by and therefore affording no shot , the only relief she said is the back behind the offcuts in an area that is full of nettles. She asked what my view was on taking relief

I said that the could go back and play off the tee under penalty, take free relief for a movable obstruction and drop on the path and then decide whether to play off the path, or take further relief from the path if they so wished, or if they are really strong they could move the tree offcuts and play as it lies.

Was I correct? Are there any other ideas?
 

wjemather

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2020
Messages
3,364
Location
Bristol
Visit site
Assuming the offcuts are defined as movable obstructions (as you describe) the only free relief available would be to physically move them - i.e. no free drop onto the path (the offcuts would have to be immovable obstructions and not part of the path for this to be an option) - and returning to the tee is not the only penalty relief option for an unplayable ball.
 

chrisd

Major Champion
Joined
Sep 22, 2009
Messages
24,875
Location
Kent
Visit site
Assuming the offcuts are defined as movable obstructions (as you describe) the only free relief available would be to physically move them - i.e. no free drop onto the path (the offcuts would have to be immovable obstructions and not part of the path for this to be an option) - and returning to the tee is not the only penalty relief option for an unplayable ball.

They are probably too heavy for a lady (and most men) to move, but are movable by some and possibly immovable to many others, I've not seen any definition given by the club. The path has a choice of whether a player plays off it or not, so if they were designated "immovable" would a free drop on the path be an option? Given the nature of the ground conditions back from where the ball would likely lay I felt that back to tee was pretty much the only real option anyone would take.
 

Colin L

Tour Winner
Joined
May 26, 2012
Messages
5,300
Location
Edinburgh
Visit site
wjemather has pointed out a confusion between movable and immovable obstruction relief in what you told the women. Further to that, you said they could move the tree offcuts if they were "really strong". To the really strong they are movable obstructions but. to any player who isn't really strong or who, like me, has to be careful for the sake of their backs about lifting, they are immovable obstructions.
Ideas?
For fairness, define the offcuts as immovable obstructions. (Chances are you don't want them being moved around.)
Define the path and the offcuts as a single immovable obstruction
Neither of the above necessarily means that the NOCR might be in the nettles and so you might clear the nettles.

Question whether the cosmetic gain is worth the golfing hassle.
 

Steven Rules

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2022
Messages
605
Visit site
It is pretty fundamental to answering the question properly. Assuming from your description that the woodchip path is an immovable obstruction. But the tree offcuts:
*Are they part of the same immovable obstruction?
*Are they a separate immovable obstruction?
*Or are they movable obstructions?
*Or are they possibly just loose impediments?

If the "only relief" (her term/your term) is in nettles then so be it. Nearest point of complete relief. Not nicest point of complete relief.

More info needed please.

You might be better off directing the question to your Committee rather than to this forum.
 

chrisd

Major Champion
Joined
Sep 22, 2009
Messages
24,875
Location
Kent
Visit site
wjemather has pointed out a confusion between movable and immovable obstruction relief in what you told the women. Further to that, you said they could move the tree offcuts if they were "really strong". To the really strong they are movable obstructions but. to any player who isn't really strong or who, like me, has to be careful for the sake of their backs about lifting, they are immovable obstructions.
Ideas?
For fairness, define the offcuts as immovable obstructions. (Chances are you don't want them being moved around.)
Define the path and the offcuts as a single immovable obstruction
Neither of the above necessarily means that the NOCR might be in the nettles and so you might clear the nettles.

Question whether the cosmetic gain is worth the golfing hassle.

Ok, thanks to you both. To help my knowledge though, if they are designated immovable obstructions and the NOCR is the path, is it Not possible to drop on the path and then, take full relief from the path given that relief is allowed from the path?
 

chrisd

Major Champion
Joined
Sep 22, 2009
Messages
24,875
Location
Kent
Visit site
It is pretty fundamental to answering the question properly. Assuming from your description that the woodchip path is an immovable obstruction. But the tree offcuts:
*Are they part of the same immovable obstruction?
*Are they a separate immovable obstruction?
*Or are they movable obstructions?
*Or are they possibly just loose impediments?

If the "only relief" (her term/your term) is in nettles then so be it. Nearest point of complete relief. Not nicest point of complete relief.

More info needed please.

You might be better off directing the question to your Committee rather than to this forum.
Sorry hadn't read your message before post #5

I was asked because the lady hadn't managed to get a satisfactory answer from any committee member I will ask the committee myself and see what is said, but at least now I have some guidance
 

Colin L

Tour Winner
Joined
May 26, 2012
Messages
5,300
Location
Edinburgh
Visit site
Ok, thanks to you both. To help my knowledge though, if they are designated immovable obstructions and the NOCR is the path, is it Not possible to drop on the path and then, take full relief from the path given that relief is allowed from the path?

The NCPR from an immovable obstruction can be in or on another abnormal course condition and so yes, if taking relief from an offcut defined as an immovable obstruction your NPCR could be on the path. But that is a time consuming process which many golfers will get wrong and is, in my opinion, to be avoided. Also, if I am picturing these "offcuts" correctly, they are circular slices of the trunks artistically arranged to please the eye but each will be a separate obstruction, just to complicate matters further. Defining the lot as a single immovable obstruction or GUR seem the most workable solution to me. That still leaves the nettles as a hindrance but a strimmer can deal with that, perhaps.
 

chrisd

Major Champion
Joined
Sep 22, 2009
Messages
24,875
Location
Kent
Visit site
The NCPR from an immovable obstruction can be in or on another abnormal course condition and so yes, if taking relief from an offcut defined as an immovable obstruction your NPCR could be on the path. But that is a time consuming process which many golfers will get wrong and is, in my opinion, to be avoided. Also, if I am picturing these "offcuts" correctly, they are circular slices of the trunks artistically arranged to please the eye but each will be a separate obstruction, just to complicate matters further. Defining the lot as a single immovable obstruction or GUR seem the most workable solution to me. That still leaves the nettles as a hindrance but a strimmer can deal with that, perhaps.

Cheers Colin. You are correct about the circular slices, some bigger than others of course. Had never had a problem in the 3, or so, months they've been stacked so never considered the problem they could cause. Where the nettles are is a real mess, nettles, trees and some dumping of course waste makes it an area that you'd not want to play out of and theres no sensible stroke and distance going back on line. Even playing off the path is not easy as the NPCR from the path can bring into play several trees. Golf was never meant to be simple 😁
 

rulefan

Tour Winner
Joined
Feb 21, 2013
Messages
14,746
Visit site
Cheers Colin. You are correct about the circular slices, some bigger than others of course. Had never had a problem in the 3, or so, months they've been stacked so never considered the problem they could cause. Where the nettles are is a real mess, nettles, trees and some dumping of course waste makes it an area that you'd not want to play out of and theres no sensible stroke and distance going back on line. Even playing off the path is not easy as the NPCR from the path can bring into play several trees. Golf was never meant to be simple 😁
But Colin's advice helps make it simpler in this case
 

backwoodsman

Tour Winner
Joined
Mar 3, 2008
Messages
6,834
Location
sarf Lunnon
Visit site
Am I right in thinking that unless Chrisd's committee have said something specific about these 'tree offcuts', then they won't/can't be obstructions? (ie neither movable nor immovable). As they are natural and don't fit the definition of obstruction, presumably they could only be loose impediments?

My guess is that they have just put them down without thinking it through?
 

rulie

Head Pro
Joined
Sep 2, 2015
Messages
1,937
Visit site
We all know that "free" relief sometimes makes the situation worse, and the Rules recognize this. In order to make things easy for the players to play within the Rules, I'd suggest making the "cutoffs" immovable obstructions and part of the path. If the player does not like the NPCR (in the nettles), they can always take an unplayable and use lateral relief to get them to a point on the immovable obstruction where their NPCR would be on the desirable side of the obstruction. Although I don't know the course layout, another option is to make the undesirable area a red penalty area such that free relief from the immovable obstruction would be on the good side of the obstruction.
 

rulefan

Tour Winner
Joined
Feb 21, 2013
Messages
14,746
Visit site
Am I right in thinking that unless Chrisd's committee have said something specific about these 'tree offcuts', then they won't/can't be obstructions? (ie neither movable nor immovable). As they are natural and don't fit the definition of obstruction, presumably they could only be loose impediments?

My guess is that they have just put them down without thinking it through?
As they have been subject to a manufacturing process (ie sawing) the are now artificial objects.

Further.
Examples of obstructions:
  • Artificially surfaced roads and paths, including their artificial borders.
 

backwoodsman

Tour Winner
Joined
Mar 3, 2008
Messages
6,834
Location
sarf Lunnon
Visit site
As they have been subject to a manufacturing process (ie sawing) the are now artificial objects.

Further.
Examples of obstructions:
  • Artificially surfaced roads and paths, including their artificial borders.
Just putting on my pedantic hat - in this case how would we know that the bits of tree are actually the artificial border of the path (if indeed they are)?

But more generally in terms of the rules, but how do we know (ie whereabouts are we told) that a natural object (ie the tree in this case) that has merely been separated into a few smaller bits, ceases to be a natural object? Is there a rule or clarification that outlines this? The actual definition of obstruction certainly doesn't make this clear
 

Steven Rules

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2022
Messages
605
Visit site
I assume - but could be wrong - that rulefan is thinking of:

Loose Impediment/2 - When Loose Impediment Becomes Obstruction
Loose impediments may be transformed into obstructions through the processes of construction or manufacturing.
For example, a log (loose impediment) that has been split and had legs attached has been changed by construction into a bench (obstruction).

It is not clear to me that the mere act of sawing up a log meets the test of 'construction or manufacturing'. Hence my inclusion in #5 of the possibility that the tree offcuts are loose impediments.

But, as many have said on this thread, the best course of action is to get the Committee to clarify the status of these objects.
 

backwoodsman

Tour Winner
Joined
Mar 3, 2008
Messages
6,834
Location
sarf Lunnon
Visit site
I assume - but could be wrong - that rulefan is thinking of:

Loose Impediment/2 - When Loose Impediment Becomes Obstruction
Loose impediments may be transformed into obstructions through the processes of construction or manufacturing.
For example, a log (loose impediment) that has been split and had legs attached has been changed by construction into a bench (obstruction).

It is not clear to me that the mere act of sawing up a log meets the test of 'construction or manufacturing'. Hence my inclusion in #5 of the possibility that the tree offcuts are loose impediments.

But, as many have said on this thread, the best course of action is to get the Committee to clarify the status of these objects.
Thanks.
 

Colin L

Tour Winner
Joined
May 26, 2012
Messages
5,300
Location
Edinburgh
Visit site
I assume - but could be wrong - that rulefan is thinking of:

Loose Impediment/2 - When Loose Impediment Becomes Obstruction
Loose impediments may be transformed into obstructions through the processes of construction or manufacturing.
For example, a log (loose impediment) that has been split and had legs attached has been changed by construction into a bench (obstruction).

It is not clear to me that the mere act of sawing up a log meets the test of 'construction or manufacturing'. Hence my inclusion in #5 of the possibility that the tree offcuts are loose impediments.

But, as many have said on this thread, the best course of action is to get the Committee to clarify the status of these objects.

I would agree that the act of sawing up a tree, of turning into "separate bits" doesn't make the pieces into obstructions. Their deliberate placement as decorative objects along the side of a path would, I suggest, do so in the same way as, for example, shaping a block of wood to make a tee marker or a peg tee.
 

salfordlad

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 16, 2020
Messages
920
Visit site
I would agree that the act of sawing up a tree, of turning into "separate bits" doesn't make the pieces into obstructions. Their deliberate placement as decorative objects along the side of a path would, I suggest, do so in the same way as, for example, shaping a block of wood to make a tee marker or a peg tee.
This is my view also. Simply cut up wood stays at the LI end of the spectrum. But when it is purposed as a permanent path/road border it has migrated to something artificial and an obstruction, meeting that example in the definition cited in #14 above.

Categorizing mulched wood out on the course, if no local rule explains, is more problematic. You get to an unfamiliar course and find some off fairway area that has some pine mulch around a tree base and things are murky. The individual pieces remain loose impediments but is the collective product an obstruction or just some spread out loose impediments like spread grass clippings? The Committee needs to guide or there is every chance a field of visiting players are going to make varied choices.
 
Top