Rules FAQ


Rule 24-2

Relief from Immovable Obstructions when Ball in Water Hazard

Q.  Joanne`s ball lies in a water hazard. She also has interference from an immovable obstruction. Is she entitled to relief without penalty from the obstruction?

A.  No. When a ball is in a water hazard, a player is not entitled to relief without penalty from an immovable obstruction that is in or out of the water hazard. The ball must be played as it lies or the player may proceed under Rule 26-1. However, if the ball lies outside the water hazard and the immovable obstruction lies in the water hazard, a player may take relief under Rule 24-2. (See Note 1 under Rule 24-2).


Below you can view videos related to this Rule.

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Immovable Obstructions
The fundamentals of taking relief from an immovable obstruction are explained.
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Movable Obstructions
Dealing with a movable artifical object
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Nearest Point of Relief
How to determine your nearest point of relief
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Immovable obstruction
During a playoff at the 1987 Los Angeles Open, Ben Crenshaw’s ball landed on this artificially-surfaced service road adjacent to the 15th fairway. Classified as an “immovable obstruction,” Crenshaw was entitled to relief without penalty from the road under Rule 24-2.
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Entitled to relief from physical interference
With the 2003 U.S Women’s Open championship on the line, Annika Sorenstam’s disastrous approach shot on the final hole disappeared into the trees and wound up beneath a fence and behind the large scoreboard.
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An unusual lie
At the 1949 British Open, Harry Bradshaw was faced with an unusual lie – his ball came to rest within a glass bottle. Rule 24-1 offered assistance: If a ball lies in or on a “movable obstruction” such as this bottle, the ball may be lifted, without penalty…
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Permanent obstruction
Aree Song’s approach shot on the 18th hole during the first round of the 2003 U.S. Women’s Open came to rest just in front of this drain, which is a permanent obstruction.
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Ball comes to rest in a tricky lie
While in a playoff at the 1988 “Canon Sammy Davis Jr. Greater Hartford Open,” Dave Barr’s ball came to rest in a tricky lie. The ball was within the margin of a lateral water hazard, nestled in the grass beside the wooden pilings – an immovable obstruction. Because his ball was considered to be within the water hazard, Barr was not entitled to relief, under the obstruction Rule.
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Hoping that he would be entitled to relief
On the 2nd hole of the final round at the 1999 British Open, David Frost’s lie was in this thick rough off the fairway. Frost summoned a Rules Official hoping that he would be entitled to relief. He believed that in order to take a proper stance, he would have to stand with one foot on the cart path…which was an immovable obstruction.
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Relief from a cart path
At the 1993 Buick Invitational of California, Payne Stewart took relief from a cart path, which is an immovable obstruction. While Rule 24-2 does state that a player may obtain relief from such interference without penalty, Stewart's right foot was still touching the cart path, which meant he failed to take complete relief from the obstruction.
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Obstructions come in all shapes and sizes
Obstructions come in all shapes and sizes. At the 2000 U.S. Open, Angel Cabrera's tee shot found an unlikely home: in a garbage can.
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