News

05 Nov 2016

Rules intrepretation

Even those of us who have studied up on the rules get – certified can still get it wrong sometimes,

The key to understanding and interpreting the rules is not being able to use the index but to have a solid grounding in terminology and definitions

Hazards: A “hazard” is any bunker or water hazard.

Loose Impediments

Are natural objects, including: Stones, leaves, twigs, branches and the like,

  1. dung, and
  2. worms, insects and the like, and the casts and heaps made by them,

provided they are not:

  1. fixed or growing,
  2. solidly embedded, or
  3. adhering to the ball.

Sand and loose soil are loose impediments on the putting green, but not elsewhere.

Snow and natural ice, other than frost, are either casual water or loose impediments, at the option of the player.

Dew and frost are not loose impediments

Obstructions
An “obstruction’’ is anything artificial, including the artificial surfaces and sides of roads and paths and manufactured ice, except:

a. Objects defining out of bounds, such as walls, fences, stakes and railings;
b. Any part of an immovable artificial object that is out of bounds; and
c. Any construction declared by the Committee to be an integral part of the course.

An obstruction is a movable obstruction if it may be moved without unreasonable effort, without unduly delaying play and without causing damage. Otherwise, it is an immovable obstruction.

Note: The Committee may make a Local Rule declaring a movable obstruction to be an immovable obstruction

Water Hazard

A “water hazard’’ is any sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface drainage ditch or other open water course (whether or not containing water) and anything of a similar nature on the course.
All ground and water within the margin of a water hazard are part of the water hazard.
When the margin of a water hazard is defined by stakes, the stakes are inside the water hazard, and the margin of the hazard is defined by the nearest outside points of the stakes at ground level.

When both stakes and lines are used to indicate a water hazard, the stakes identify the hazard and the lines define the hazard margin.
When the margin of a water hazard is defined by a line on the ground, the line itself is in the water hazard.

The margin of a water hazard extends vertically upwards and downwards.
A ball is in a water hazard when it lies in or any part of it touches the water hazard.
Stakes used to define the margin of or identify a water hazard are obstructions.

Note 1: Stakes or lines used to define the margin of or identify a water hazard must be yellow.

Note 2: The Committee may make a Local Rule prohibiting play from an environmentally-
            sensitive area defined as a water hazard.

RULES RELATING TO (LATERAL) WATER HAZARDS

A ball is in a water hazard when it lies in or any part of it touches the water hazard, including when it touches a stake that defines the margin (Definition of Water Hazard.
Yellow stakes and/or lines designate water hazards, where the player has three options;

  1. Play the ball as it lies.
  2. Play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5).
  3. Drop a ball behind the water hazard, keeping the point at which the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind the water hazard the ball may be dropped (see Rule 26-1b).

A lateral water hazard is a water hazard so situated that it is not possible, or is not practicable, to drop a ball behind the water hazard in accordance with Rule 26-Ib (see above).

Red stakes and/or lines designate lateral water hazards, where the player has five options.

  1. Play the ball as it lies.
  2. Play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5).
  3. Drop a ball behind the water hazard, keeping the point at which the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind the water hazard the ball may be dropped (see Rule 26-1b).
  4. Drop a ball outside the water hazard within two club-lengths of and not nearer the hole than
           (i) the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard or
           (ii) a point on the opposite margin of the water hazard equidistant from the hole (Rule             26-1 c).

If a stake is obviously missing, or improperly installed, the player must estimate the natural boundaries of the water hazard to judge whether their ball lies in the hazard (Decision 26-2).

Yellow and red stakes are movable obstructions (Definition of Water Hazard), i.e. they can be moved if they interfere with the player’s stroke (and replaced after the stroke is made!)
A player may move movable obstructions from a water hazard, i.e. artificial objects such as bottles, cans or paper (Rule 24-1).

A player may not move loose impediments from a water hazard, i.e. natural objects such as stones, twigs or leaves (Rule 23-1).

A player may not take relief from interference by an immovable obstruction that is in a water hazard, e.g. a bridge.

When a player’s ball lies inside a water hazard they may not touch ground or water inside that water hazard with their hand or a club, Rule 13-4b

This even applies on the backswing of their stroke, Rule 13-4c. However, at any time, a player may touch, with a club or otherwise, any obstruction, any construction declared by the Committee to be an integral part of the course, or any grass, bush, tree or other growing thing, Note to Rule 13-4.

A player may stand inside the margin of a water hazard to play their ball that lies outside of the hazard, even after they have dropped the ball. In other words, there is nothing in Rule 26-1 that says a player must take ‘complete’ relief from the hazard, which is different from Rule 24-2, Immovable Obstruction, and Rule 25-1, Abnormal Ground Conditions

So here is why the above is important to understand

We have had a number of questions recently in regards to players ball coming to rest in / on an immovable obstruction in a water hazard. .

What happened: A players ball hand came to rest in a concrete drain located in a hazard – was he entitled to relief.

Determination;

What is it:
1) Loose impediment,
2) obstruction,
3) movable or
4) immovable
Answer: An Obstruction

What kind of obstruction is it:
1) movable or
2) immovable
Answer: An Immovable obstruction

Where is it:
1) Through the Green,
2) Putting Green
3) water hazard (including lateral Water Hazard
4) in Hazard (bunker), or
5) out of bounds –
Answer: Lateral Water Hazard

What Rule Applies
1) Rule 23 Loose Impediments;
2) Rule 24 Obstructions;
3)Rule 25 Abnormal Ground Conditions; Embedded Ball and Wrong Putting Green;
4) Rule 26 Water Hazards (Including Lateral Water Hazards)
5) Rule 28 Ball Unplayable

Both these rules need to be consulted
1) Rule 26 Lateral Water hazards, or
2) Rule 24 Obstructions – because it came to rest in / on an obstruction

So what Rule takes precedence – & how do we apply the ruling.
1) Rule 24-2 which outlines the relief procedures for interference with immovable obstructions on
    all areas of the course

2) However Note 1 states If a ball is in a water hazard (including a lateral water hazard),
    the player may not take relief from interference by an immovable obstruction. The player must
    play the ball as it lies or proceed under Rule 26-1.

In this case Rule 24-2 note directs the referee player to Rule 26-1 and the player is NOT entitled to get relief under the Rules;

BUT……What if it the ball came to rest on a movable obstruction in a Water Hazard?? –
Run through the sequence and see what you come with  

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