No.18 Obstruction on Putting Green
 

 
 
Question 1: A player's ball lies just on the putting green but there is wire netting, covering a newly seeded area on their line of putt.
a) May the player take relief, without penalty, from the wire netting?
b) Is the wire netting a loose impediment, ground under repair, or an immovable obstruction?
c) If the nearest point of relief is at point X in the photo does the player drop their ball or place it there?
d) If the nearest point of relief is off the putting green may the player determine the nearest point of relief that is on the putting green and play from there?
e) If the nearest point of relief is off the putting green does the player place or drop their ball?
 
Answers:
a) Yes, players may take relief from an immovable obstruction on the putting green that is on their line of putt.
b) The wire netting is an immovable obstruction
c) The player must place their ball at the nearest point of relief.
d) No. The nearest point of relief may be off the putting green and if it is, that is where the player must play from.
e) The player must place their ball even if the nearest point of relief is off the putting green.
 
When a player's ball lies on the putting green, interference occurs if an immovable obstruction intervenes on their line of putt, Rule 24-2a.  In these circumstances the player may lift their ball and place it, without penalty, at the nearest point of relief that is not in a hazard. The nearest point of relief may be off the putting green, Rule 24-2b(iii).
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Question 2: In the same situation if the player's ball lies just off the putting green;
a) Does the player get the same relief as when their ball lies on the putting green if they choose to putt to the hole?
b) May the player move the wire netting if they choose to putt to the hole?
 
Answers:
a) No, there is no relief from the wire netting when the ball lies off the putting green and it does not interfere with the player's stance or area of intended swing
b) No, the greenkeeper has obviously put the wire netting there to provide protection to the putting green and it must not be moved.
 
When the ball is off the putting green intervention on the line of play is not, of itself, interference under Rule 24-2b, Relief from Immovable Obstruction.
 
 
Another 'Rhodes Rules School' Q&A will follow next week,

 
Good golfing,
 
 
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