Toledo, Ohio – A cart path sits to the right of the
10th green at Inverness Club, site of the 2011 U.S. Senior Open Championship. If
a player’s ball comes to rest on this cart path, he would be wise to consider
where his relief would be before he lifts his ball.
24-2b states that a player who wants relief for interference from an
immovable obstruction, such as a cart path, should determine the nearest point
of relief, not nearer the hole than where the ball lies and drop, within one
club-length of that point, not nearer the hole.
The cart path to the right of the 10th sits alongside a very
steep hillside. The nearest point of relief for a ball on this path would frequently
be up the hill, one to two feet from the path. The entire area within one
club-length of the nearest point of relief is very steep. A player who chose to
take relief would end up with his front foot as much as a foot or two below his
back foot and face a very difficult chip.
Therefore, he might decide that it is better to play the
ball from the path than to take the relief available.
If the player had lifted his ball before making this
determination and then wanted to change his mind, he would have a problem. In
order to lift a ball, the player must be operating under a specific Rule such
as Rule 24 that allows him to lift the ball. When the player changed his mind, Decision
18-2a/12 states that the permission to lift the ball was negated, and if he
was to put the ball back on the path, he would incur a penalty stroke.
18-2a/12.5 says that if he decided, at this point, to deem the ball
unplayable, he would have various options on how to proceed, some of which
would result in a single penalty stroke under Rule
28, while others would also include the penalty under Rule 18-2a.
For this reason, you should always make sure you know where you
are going to take relief before you lift your ball.
Written by John Van
der Borght, manager of Rules Communications for the