RULE of the month…explanation …from John Ward
CAN I TAKE RELIEF AND WHERE DO I DROP THE BALL? IS THERE A PENALTY? HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU BEEN ASKED THE ABOVE QUESTIONS? DO YOU KNOW THE RIGHT ANSWERS? Let’s take the relief situations if relief is requested and allowable from an immovable obstruction or an abnormal ground condition (G.U.R.). The two rules covering these situations are Rules 24 & 25 and are further explained (with diagram) on pages 22 & 23 of the Rule Book and are included in the “Quick Guide to Rules of Golf” in those pages. When taking relief we first need to determine the “nearest point of relief” which is explained very clearly in the definitions (page 30 of the Rule Book). THE NEAREST POINT OF RELIEF IS NOT THE “NICEST POINT” IT IS THE NEAREST POINT AND THERE IS IN MOST CASES ONLY ONE POINT THAT IS THE NEAREST POINT OF RELIEF. Be aware that the ball must be dropped, without penalty, within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief. So if you follow the instructions in the definition you will have no trouble in determining the nearest point of relief in the future. Remember that before you lift your ball you should mark it’s position to ensure you play the ball you have dropped from the right place. If you follow all of the above procedures correctly you will not be subject to any penalty. THE RELIEF RULES ARE THE MOST MISUNDERSTOOD (AND ABUSED) RULES IN THE RULE BOOK BUT ALL GOLFERS SHOULD BE AWARE OF THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES TO ALL THE OTHER COMPETITORS IN TAKING RELIEF,WHEN ALLOWED TO, TO ENSURE THEY DON’T TAKE ANY UNFAIR ADVANTAGE IN THEIR QUEST TO RETURN THEIR BEST SCORE.