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Club Used in Determining Nearest Point of Relief

Posted: 5/11/2009

If you play golf, you’ve had interference from an obstruction, abnormal ground condition or wrong putting green.

If you play golf, you’ve had interference from an obstruction, abnormal ground condition or wrong putting green. You know that you must find the nearest point of relief, but how does one go about determining it?

First, the nearest point of relief is a spot which is not closer to the hole where, if the ball were on that spot, there would be no interference from the immovable obstruction, abnormal ground condition, or wrong putting green.

You should use the club that would have been used to make the stroke if the obstruction, abnormal ground condition or wrong putting green were not there. Simulate an address position (take your stance and ground the club) away from the condition. The spot where the club is grounded in this simulated address position is a possible point of relief. There may be several possible points of relief. The nearest point of relief is the one closest to where your ball originally lay, and if the ball were on that point, there would be no interference for the lie of the ball, the stance or the area of intended swing.

After you determine the nearest point of relief, drop the ball within one club-length of this point, not nearer the hole, and not in a hazard or on a putting green.

A specific procedure to determine the nearest point of relief is not required by the Rules of Golf. But the Rules do require you to drop the ball within one club-length of the nearest point relief. The best way to ensure you drop in the correct place is to follow the guidance we’ve provided above.

For further information you may want to read Decisions 24-2b/1 and 24-2b/2. And some helpful visual aids available include an animation which explains this as well as this diagram.

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