No.11 Interference from Sprinklers
 
 

 
Question 1: A player's ball lies on a sprinkler head. May they take relief from it without penalty?

Answer: Yes, The sprinkler head is an immovable obstruction and the player may drop their ball within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, without penalty, Rule 24-2b(i)

Note that the nearest point of relief for a right-handed player in the photo above is a just off the right hand side of the sprinkler head, even though the player's stance would be behind it. In other words, they would be standing over the sprinkler head to make their stroke. Once this nearest point has been decided the player may then drop the ball within one club-length of this point, not nearer the hole. This means that the ball could then be dropped on either side of the sprinkler head. If the ball comes to rest in a position in which there is still interference from the sprinkler head, or nearer the hole, then it must be re-dropped.
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Question 2: A right-handed player's ball lies in a place where they would have to stand on the flat sprinkler head in order to play their stroke. May they take relief from the sprinkler head without penalty?

Answer: Yes, a player may take relief without penalty from an immovable obstruction when it interferes with their stance or area of their intended swing, Rule 24-2a.

Question 3: A left-handed player's ball lies in a place where they say there is mental interference from a flat sprinkler head (as in the second photo above), which is affecting the way that they would like to play their stroke. May they take relief from the sprinkler head without penalty?

Answer: No, there is no relief without penalty for mental interference from an immovable obstruction. Decision 24-2a/1.
 
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Question 4: A player's ball lies on the apron of the putting green and there is a sprinkler head on their intended line of putt. May they take relief from the sprinkler head?

Answer: No, Rule 24-2 states that, except on the putting green, intervention on the line of play is not, of itself, interference under this Rule.

Note however, that it is common for Committees to introduce a Local Rule when there are sprinkler heads close to the putting green. This is the specimen Local Rule provided in Appendix l of the Rules book;

"Relief from interference by an immovable obstruction may be taken under Rule 24-2. In addition, if a ball lies off the putting green but not in a hazard and an immovable obstruction on or within two club-lengths of the putting green and within two club-lengths of the ball intervenes on the line of play between the ball and the hole, the player may take relief as follows:

The ball must be lifted and dropped at the nearest point to where the ball lay that (a) is not nearer the hole, (b) avoids intervention and (c) is not in a hazard or on a putting green. The ball may be cleaned when lifted."

 
Another 'Rhodes Rules School' Q&A will follow next week,
Good golfing,
 
 
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