In this video, I explain a little known golf rule that can save you big time. Due to an obstruction from the tree, I decide to play left-handed. As a result, I am now standing on the cart path (an abnormal course condition) and the golf rules allow me to get free relief. This drastically changes the outcome of the hole!
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⛳️ Movable Obstructions Part 1:
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📖 RULE 16.1b Relief for Ball in General Area
If a player’s ball is in the general area and there is interference by an abnormal course condition on the course, the player may take free relief by dropping the original ball or another ball in this relief area (see Rule 14.3):
Reference Point: The nearest point of complete relief in the general area.
Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: One club-length, but with these limits:
Limits on Location of Relief Area:
— Must be in the general area,
— Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point, and
— There must be complete relief from all interference by the abnormal course condition.
📖 RULE 16.1a(3)/1 Obstruction Interfering with Abnormal Stroke May Not Preclude Player From Taking Relief
In some situations a player may have to adopt an abnormal swing, stance or direction of play in playing his or her ball to accommodate a given situation. If the abnormal stroke is not clearly unreasonable given the circumstances, the player is permitted to take free relief under Rule 16.1.
For example, in the general area, a right-handed player’s ball is so close to a boundary object on the left side of a hole that he or she must make a left-handed swing to play towards the hole. In making the left-handed swing, the player’s stance is interfered with by an immovable obstruction.
The player is allowed relief from the immovable obstruction since use of a left-handed swing is not clearly unreasonable in the circumstances.
After the relief procedure for the left-handed swing is complete, the player may then use a normal right-handed swing for the next stroke. If the obstruction interferes with the right-handed swing, the player may take relief for the right-handed swing under Rule 16.1b or play the ball as it lies.
📖 RULE 16.1a(3)/2 – Player May Not Use Clearly Unreasonable Stroke to Get Relief from Condition
A player may not use a clearly unreasonable stroke to get relief from an abnormal course condition. If the player’s stroke is clearly unreasonable given the circumstances, relief under Rule 16.1 is not allowed, and he or she must either play the ball as it lies or take unplayable ball relief.
For example, in the general area, a right-handed player’s ball is in a bad lie. A nearby immovable obstruction would not interfere with the player’s normal right-handed stroke, but would interfere with a left-handed stroke. The player states that he or she is going to make the next stroke left-handed and believes that, since the obstruction would interfere with such a stroke, Rule 16.1b allows relief.
However, since the only reason for the player to use a left-handed stroke is to escape a bad lie by taking relief, use of the left-handed stroke is clearly unreasonable and the player is not allowed to take relief under Rule 16.1b (Rule 16.1a(3)).
The same principles would apply to the use of a clearly unreasonable stance, direction of play or the choice of a club.
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