The Rules Blog
This week we look at your options when faced with an Immovable Obstruction. Our Local Rules define all fixed signage boards, winter tee boxes (other than when in use), all roads and paths on the course as Immovable Obstructions. (Sprinkler Heads are covered next week)
Rule 16.1 Abnormal Course Conditions (inc. Immovable Obstructions)
Free Relief is normally allowed from an Immovable Obstruction as it is not considered to be part of the challenge of playing the course. However, interference by Abnormal Course Condition only exists when:
- Your ball touches or is in or on an abnormal course condition.
- The Abnormal Course Condition physically interferes with your area of intended stance, or area of swing, or
- Only when on a putting green intervenes with your line of play.
The bottom line being if none of these three conditions exist – then there is No Free Relief. You may still be able to take relief under Rule 19 for an Unplayable – but that’s going to cost you a stroke and we’ll cover that subject in a few weeks.
Relief is allowed anywhere on the course except in a penalty area.
Relief under Rule 16.1 is not allowed when it would be clearly unreasonable to play the ball:
- When playing your ball as it lies is clearly unreasonable e.g. your ball is in a bush adjacent to the immovable obstruction.
- When interference exists only because you have chosen a club, stance or direction of play which is clearly unreasonable in the circumstances.