Wooden surround of a lake

cliveb

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My ball went down a slope towards a lake and was prevented from ending up in the drink by a row of wooden planks that form the edge of the lake. I didn't find anything in local rules about these wooden surrounds. Are they immovable obstructions from which I can take free relief? Almost seems too good to be true from a luck perspective.
 

backwoodsman

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Where are the red stakes (or red line) that define the edge of the penalty area? The answer rather depends on whether the ball was inside the margin of the PA or outside it.
 

cliveb

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Where are the red stakes (or red line) that define the edge of the penalty area? The answer rather depends on whether the ball was inside the margin of the PA or outside it.
I don't recall there being any red stakes or lines, although I wasn't actively looking for them.

For future reference, is it the case that if there are no red stakes/lines, then the wooden surrounds are indeed immovable obstructions? (Presumably there's no such thing as an immovable obstruction inside a penalty area?)

Does this also mean that a lake without red stakes/lines ISN'T a penalty area, in which case presumably a ball going in one has to be treated as lost and the only course of action is stroke & distance?
 

rulefan

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Does this also mean that a lake without red stakes/lines ISN'T a penalty area, in which case presumably a ball going in one has to be treated as lost and the only course of action is stroke & distance?
A penalty area is:
  • Any body of water on the course (whether or not marked by the Committee), including a sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface drainage ditch or other open watercourse (even if not containing water)
The margin will be the general area side of the wooden planks as the planks are not a 'body of water' but hey would be an immovable obstruction.
 

rulie

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A penalty area is:
  • Any body of water on the course (whether or not marked by the Committee), including a sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface drainage ditch or other open watercourse (even if not containing water)
The margin will be the general area side of the wooden planks as the planks are not a 'body of water' but hey would be an immovable obstruction.
If the "body of water" is not marked as a penalty area, according to the definition of penalty area, it is still a penalty area and the edge of the penalty area is defined by its natural boundaries (that is, where the ground slopes down to form the depression that can hold the water).
The original poster said that his ball "went down a slope towards a lake". I would suggest that his ball within the edge of the penalty area and there would be no free relief from the wooden planks.
I have refereed at courses with situations that are similar (except for the slope) and noted on the Rules sheet that the edge of the penalty area is defined as the outer edge of the planks/obstruction - a ball touching the planks would be in the penalty area.
 

cliveb

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If the "body of water" is not marked as a penalty area, according to the definition of penalty area, it is still a penalty area and the edge of the penalty area is defined by its natural boundaries (that is, where the ground slopes down to form the depression that can hold the water).
Ok, but in this case the slope was a gradual increase in gradient from the general area down to the lake. There was no obvious point at which the slope began. Where is the margin in that case? My layman's reading of it is that the margin must be the wooden planks, and you say a ball touching them is in the penalty area. So no free relief, right?
 

jim8flog

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I don't recall there being any red stakes or lines, although I wasn't actively looking for them.

For future reference, is it the case that if there are no red stakes/lines, then the wooden surrounds are indeed immovable obstructions? (Presumably there's no such thing as an immovable obstruction inside a penalty area?)

Does this also mean that a lake without red stakes/lines ISN'T a penalty area, in which case presumably a ball going in one has to be treated as lost and the only course of action is stroke & distance?

As per rulie

In the absence of stakes or lines the margin of the penalty area is defined as the point at which the ground starts to form a natural depression.

The stakes at our course often get stolen or are washed away in the floods so we have it written in the local rule book and on the card.
 

rulefan

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If there is no obvious margin resulting from a change in a gradual slope to a steep slope but the is an obvious demarcation formed by planks or similar. IMO the margin is the water side of the planks. That is the situation I have encountered at many courses at which I have refereed at county and national events.
 

Pants

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Slight diversion but if one's ball lies in a PA and is playable, if a red stake interferes with ones swing or stance, can it be moved without penalty. Came up today and different views were available :unsure:
 

Colin L

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Slight diversion but if one's ball lies in a PA and is playable, if a red stake interferes with ones swing or stance, can it be moved without penalty. Came up today and different views were available :unsure:

Unless defined in a local rule as being immovable, the stake is a movable obstruction and can be removed. There doesn't have to be interference. See Rule 15.2
 

cliveb

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If there is no obvious margin resulting from a change in a gradual slope to a steep slope but the is an obvious demarcation formed by planks or similar. IMO the margin is the water side of the planks. That is the situation I have encountered at many courses at which I have refereed at county and national events.
OK thanks. That appears to be at odds with rulie's suggestion that the margin is the general area side of the planks. Is your belief that the planks are an immovable obstruction and a ball resting against them is not in the PA and free relief is available?
 

Colin L

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My understanding too is that the planks are in the general area unless the edge of the PA is defined as being on the general area side of them.
 

chrisd

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My understanding too is that the planks are in the general area unless the edge of the PA is defined as being on the general area side of them.

We have a similar situation whereby you're only in the PA if inside the sleeper or concrete channel. One of the difficulties it gave in a recent matchplay was that we all saw a players ball go into the hazard area, but, because the bank is not part of the PA, and we couldn't find the ball, we weren't sure whether it had plugged in the bank or gone into the fast flowing stream . Imo a stupid committee decision to do away with red stakes !!
 

rulefan

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We have a similar situation whereby you're only in the PA if inside the sleeper or concrete channel. One of the difficulties it gave in a recent matchplay was that we all saw a players ball go into the hazard area, but, because the bank is not part of the PA, and we couldn't find the ball, we weren't sure whether it had plugged in the bank or gone into the fast flowing stream . Imo a stupid committee decision to do away with red stakes !!
If there is a fixed edge (eg sleepers) it would be sensible to paint them rather than have stakes. There wouldn't be any problem with players moving and not replacing them and red paint on grass washng out.
 

chrisd

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If there is a fixed edge (eg sleepers) it would be sensible to paint them rather than have stakes. There wouldn't be any problem with players moving and not replacing them and red paint on grass washng out.

Please Rulefan try and get out of your head any connection between rules, and sense, at my club ?

We are probably the only club in the country with 3 PA (water hazard) rules where just one would do
 

backwoodsman

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If there is a fixed edge (eg sleepers) it would be sensible to paint them rather than have stakes. There wouldn't be any problem with players moving and not replacing them and red paint on grass washng out.

We have one pond at the side of a green where the sleeper "bank" separates flat, greenside, grass from a vertical drop into the water. There was alway debate as to whether free relief was available for a ball near, or touching, the sleepers. We solved it by fixing the red stakes onto the waterside face of the sleepers - so the sleepers were visibly outside the PA.
 
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