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8F
Abnormal Course Conditions and Integral Objects
8F
Abnormal Course Conditions and Integral Objects
F-1

Defining Abnormal Course Conditions and Integral Objects

Purpose. There are many ways in which a Committee can define abnormal course conditions and integral objects on the course and so it is not appropriate or possible to provide a complete list of Model Local Rules that can be used for this purpose. The key is to be clear and specific when defining abnormal course conditions and integral objects in the Local Rules. The Committee has the scope to adopt Local Rules for the following purposes without the need for them to fit with the Model Local Rules detailed in Section 2:
  • Clarifying the status of objects that may be obstructions.
  • Declaring any artificial object to be an integral object (and not an obstruction).
  • Declaring artificial surfaces and edges of roads to be integral objects.
  • Declaring roads and paths that don't have artificial surfaces and edges to be obstructions if they could unfairly affect play.
  • Defining temporary obstructions on the course or next to the course as movable, immovable or temporary immovable obstructions.
No specific Model Local Rules are included in this section given the variety of options available, but some examples are provided below:
  • Ground under repair is defined by any area encircled by a white line [or insert other colour or description as appropriate].
  • Ground under repair includes exposed rocks in areas cut to fairway height or less [or within a stated distance of the fairway, such as two club-lengths].
  • Areas in bunkers where sand has been removed by the movement of water resulting in deep furrows through the sand are ground under repair.
  • Mats that are secured and plastic cable ramps that are covering cables are immovable obstructions.
  • Protective fences around greens are immovable obstructions.
  • The rails on split rail fences are [movable or immovable] obstructions.
  • Retaining artificial walls and pilings when located in penalty areas are integral objects.
  • Wires and other objects [closely] attached to trees are integral objects.
  • All gates that are for the purpose of getting through boundary walls and fences [or specify the hole(s) on which this applies] are integral objects.
See Sections 2F and 5B(4) for more information on abnormal course conditions . See Sections 2H and 5B(4) for more information on integral objects.
F-2

Limited Relief for Embedded Ball

Purpose. Rule 16.3 normally allows relief whenever a ball is embedded anywhere in the general area (other than in sand in areas that are not cut to fairway height or less). But a Committee may choose:
  • To allow relief only when a ball is embedded in a part of the general area cut to fairway height or less.
  • Not to allow free relief for a ball embedded in the wall or lip of a bunker (such as a stacked turf or soil face).
Model Local Rule F-2.1 "Rule 16.3 is modified in this way: Free relief is allowed only when a ball is embedded in part of the general area that is cut to fairway height or less. [Stacked turf faces above bunkers are not cut to fairway height or less for the purpose of this Rule.] Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a. " Model Local Rule F-2.2 "Rule 16.3 is modified in this way: Free relief is not allowed when a ball is embedded in [stacked turf faces] [soil faces] above bunkers. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a. "
F-3

Ground Under Repair Treated as Part of Nearby Obstruction

Purpose. Ground under repair may be located right next to an immovable obstruction. For example, when a flower bed that the Committee has declared to be ground under repair is surrounded by an artificially-surfaced cart path or when cart traffic causes damage next to a cart path. This can lead to complicated relief situations. After taking relief from one condition, a player may find that there is now interference by the other condition; and after taking relief from that other condition, the player may find that the first condition once again interferes. To allow the player to take relief in one step, the Committee can choose to treat both conditions as a single abnormal course condition. When this is done, the areas of ground under repair should either be connected to the immovable obstruction by white lines or should be defined in some other clear way. This Model Local Rule gives examples of how to address situations of this type: Model Local Rule F-3.1 When white lines are used to mark the ground under repair: "White-lined areas of ground under repair and the [artificially surfaced road or path or other identified obstruction] they tie into are treated as a single abnormal course condition when taking relief under Rule 16.1."  Model Local Rule F-3.2 When white lines are not used to mark the ground under repair: "Where areas of damaged ground are right next to [artificially surfaced road or path or other identified obstruction] they are treated as a single abnormal course condition when taking relief under Rule 16.1." Model Local Rule F-3.3 For decorative planted areas such as flower beds surrounded by an immovable obstruction such as a cart path: "[Describe area, such as decorative planted areas] that are surrounded by an artificially surfaced road or path (including everything growing within that area) and the road or path are treated as a single abnormal course condition when taking relief under Rule 16.1."
F-4

Extensive Damage Due to Heavy Rain and Traffic

Purpose. When heavy rain has resulted in many areas of unusual damage to the course (such as deep ruts caused by vehicles or deep footprints caused by spectators), and it is not feasible to define them with stakes or lines, the Committee has the authority to declare such unusual damage to be ground under repair. Model Local Rule F-4 "Ground under repair may include areas of unusual damage, including areas where spectators or other traffic have combined with wet conditions to alter the ground surface materially, but only when so declared by an authorized referee or member of the Committee. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a ."
F-5

Immovable Obstructions Close to Putting Greens

Purpose. When a ball lies anywhere other than on the putting green, an immovable obstruction on the player's line of play is not, of itself, interference under Rule 16.1. Free relief is normally not allowed. But if the aprons or fringes of putting greens are cut short enough that putting from off the green is likely to be a common choice of stroke, immovable obstructions that are close to the putting green may interfere with such strokes. In that case, the Committee can choose to give an extra relief option under Rule 16.1 when a player's ball lies in the general area or on the putting green and an immovable obstruction close to the putting green is on the player's line of play. The Committee may limit such relief to certain situations, such as only for particular holes or obstructions, or only when the ball and the obstruction are in part of the general area cut to fairway height or less. [Clarification: Immovable Obstruction Is Not Required to Be in General Area In relation to the location of the immovable obstruction, the term “within two club-lengths of the putting green” includes an immovable obstruction that is on the putting green. (Clarification added 12/2018) ] Model Local Rule F-5 "Relief from interference by an immovable obstruction may be taken under Rule 16.1. The player also has these extra options to take relief when such immovable obstructions are close to the putting green and on the line of play: Ball in General Area: The player may take relief under Rule 16.1b if an immovable obstruction is:
  • On the line of play, and is:
    • Within two club-lengths of the putting green, and
    • Within two club-lengths of the ball.
Exception - No Relief If Line of Play Clearly Unreasonable. There is no relief under this Local Rule if the player chooses a line of play that is clearly unreasonable. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a ."
F-6

Prohibiting Relief from Abnormal Course Condition When Only Stance Interference Exists

Purpose. A Committee may wish to deny relief for interference to the player's stance from some conditions such as animal holes, as interference to the stance does not significantly affect the stroke or if relief for interference to the stance could result in repeatedly taking relief from nearby similar conditions. Model Local Rule F-6 "Rule 16.1 is modified in this way: Interference does not exist if [insert condition from which relief is restricted] only interferes with the player's stance. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a ."
F-7

Relief from Seams of Cut Turf

Purpose. A portion of the course that has been repaired with cut turf is often marked as ground under repair until it is stable enough for play. But when the area of turf itself no longer needs to be marked as ground under repair, the Committee may still choose to allow relief when:
  • A ball lies in one of the cut turf seams (also known as sod seams).
  • A seam interferes with the player's area of intended swing .
When such seams only interfere with the player's stance, there is no need to allow relief. Model Local Rule F-7 "If a player's ball lies in or touches a seam of cut turf or a seam interferes with the player's area of intended swing: (a) Ball in General Area .The player may take relief under Rule 16.1b. (b) Ball on Putting Green .The player may take relief under Rule 16.1d. But interference does not exist if the seam only interferes with the player's stance. All seams within the area of cut turf are treated as the same seam in taking relief. This means that if a player has interference from any seam after dropping the ball, the player must proceed as required under Rule 14.3c(2) even when the ball is still within one club-length of the reference point. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a ."
F-8

Relief from Cracks in Ground

Purpose. In hot and dry conditions, the fairways of a course may suffer due to cracks in the ground. The lie of a ball could be seriously affected if it comes to rest in such a crack, but a player's stance may not be hindered by the condition, in which case a Local Rule that gives relief for the lie of ball and area of intended swing only is recommended. Model Local Rule F-8 "Cracks in the ground in parts of the general area cut to fairway height or less are ground under repair. The player may take relief under Rule 16.1b. [But interference does not exist if the crack only interferes with the player's stance.]" Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a ."
F-9

Relief from Tree Roots in Fairway

Purpose. In the unusual situation where exposed tree roots are found in the fairway, it may be unfair not to allow the player to take relief from the roots. The Committee can choose to treat such tree roots in the fairway as ground under repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1b. In some circumstances where exposed tree roots are also found in short rough close to the fairway, the Committee can also choose to treat such tree roots within a specified distance from the edge of the fairway, (for example four club-lengths or in the first cut of rough) as ground under repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1b. In doing so, the Committee can choose to limit relief to interference with the lie of ball and the area of intended swing. Model Local Rule F-9.1 "If a player's ball is at rest in a portion of the general area cut to fairway height or less and there is interference from exposed tree roots that are in a part of the general area cut to fairway height or less, the tree roots are treated as ground under repair. The player may take free relief under Rule 16.1b. [But interference does not exist if the tree roots only interfere with the player's stance.] Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a ." Model Local Rule F-9.2 "If a player's ball is in the general area and there is interference from exposed tree roots that are in a part of the general area cut to fairway height or less [or in the rough within specify number of club-lengths of the edge of the ground cut to fairway height or less] [or in the first cut of the rough], the tree roots are treated as ground under repair. The player may take free relief under Rule 16.1b. [But interference does not exist if the tree roots only interfere with the player's stance.] Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a ."
F-10

Damage by Animals

Purpose. There may be times when animals cause damage to the course that is so widespread that it is not practical to mark all the damaged areas as ground under repair. Also, some types of animal damage may not be covered by Rule 16.1. These Model Local Rules show how the Committee can choose to address these issues. If animals, including insects, create damage on a course, the Committee can choose to treat such damage as ground under repair from which relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. This is done by defining the areas or the condition rather than attempting to mark all the areas of damage. A Committee can choose to limit relief only for damage that interferes with the lie of the ball or the area of intended swing. Model Local Rule F-10 "In the general area, areas of damage caused by [type of animal] are treated as ground under repair from which relief is allowed under Rule 16.1b. [But interference does not exist if the damage only interferes with the player's stance.] Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a ."
F-11

Ant Hills

Purpose. Ant hills are loose impediments and may be removed under Rule 15.1. They are not animal holes from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. But there are situations when ant hills are difficult or impossible to remove (such as when large, hard or conical in shape). In that case, the Committee can adopt a Local Rule giving the player an option to treat such ant hills as ground under repair. It is not necessary to adopt such a Local Rule for fire ants as fire ants are considered a dangerous animal condition and free relief is available under Rule 16.2. Model Local Rule F-11 "Large or hard ant hills on the course are, at the player's option, loose impediments that may be removed under Rule 15.1 or ground under repair from which relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a ."
F-12

Animal Dung

Purpose. The dung of a bird or other animal is a loose impediment that may be removed under Rule 15.1. But if there is concern with the effect of dung on fair play, the Committee can give players the option of treating dung as ground under repair from which relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. If treating the dung as ground under repair will not necessarily give full relief when a ball is on the putting green, a Committee can also allow players to use a greens switch/whip or similar maintenance equipment to remove the dung from the line of play without penalty, even if doing so improves the line of play or other conditions affecting the stroke. Model Local Rule F-12 "At the player's option, dung from [specify dung from which relief would be given, e.g. goose dung, dog dung] may be treated either as:
  • A loose impediment that may be removed under Rule 15.1, or
  • Ground under repair from which relief is allowed under Rule 16.1.
[If dung is found on the putting green, the player may also use the greens switch/whip located by the putting greens to remove the dung from the line of play. If doing so improves the line of play or other conditions affecting the stroke, there is no penalty under Rule 8.1a.] Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a ."
F-13

Animal Hoof Damage

Purpose. The hoofs of animals such as deer or elk can cause damage on the course. A Committee may wish to allow players to take relief from this damage as ground under repair without having to mark all such areas. Since damage caused by animals may be repaired on the putting green the Committee can declare such damage as ground under repair or allow players to repair it. Model Local Rule F-13 "Damage that is clearly identifiable as having been caused by animal hoofs is ground under repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. [But on the putting green, Rule 16.1 does not apply as such damage may be repaired under Rule 13.1.] Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a. "
F-14

Accumulations of Loose Impediments

Purpose. At certain times of the year, piles of loose impediments such as leaves, seeds or acorns may make it difficult for a player to find or play his or her ball. A Committee can choose to treat such piles of loose impediments in the general area or in a bunker as ground under repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. This Local Rule may not be used for penalty areas as relief is not available for abnormal course conditions in penalty areas. The Local Rule should be limited to the hole(s) where problems are created by such loose impediments and should be withdrawn as soon as conditions allow. Model Local Rule F-14 "During play of the [specify hole number], any ground with temporary accumulations of [identify types of loose impediments] in the general area or in a bunker is treated as ground under repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a. "
F-15

Mushrooms on Putting Green

Purpose. If mushrooms growing on the putting green may interfere with fair play, the Committee can treat them as ground under repair so that a player may take free relief under Rule 16.1d. Model Local Rule F-15 "Mushrooms that are attached on the putting green are ground under repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1d. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a. "
F-16

Bunker Filled with Temporary Water

Purpose. If a bunker is flooded, free relief under Rule 16.1c may not be sufficient to allow for fair play. A Committee can choose to treat that bunker as ground under repair in the general area from which free relief is allowed outside the bunker. The Committee should only use this Local Rule on a case-by-case basis and is not authorized to make a Local Rule providing generally that all flooded bunkers are ground under repair. Model Local Rule F-16 "The flooded bunker on [insert location of bunker; for example, left of 5th green] is ground under repair in the general area. It is not treated as a bunker during the round. If the player's ball lies in or touches this ground under repair or the ground under repair interferes with the player's stance or area of intended swing, the player may take free relief under Rule 16.1b. All other bunkerson the course, whether they contain temporary water or not, are still bunkers for all purposes under the Rules.  Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a. "
F-17

All Roads and Paths Treated as Obstructions

Purpose. Where roads or paths that are not artificially surfaced may interfere with fair play, the Committee can choose to designate such roads as immovable obstructions from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. Model Local Rule F-17 “All roads and paths on the course [or identify particular types or locations], even if not artificially-surfaced, are treated as immovable obstructions from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a. "
F-18

Treating Movable Objects to Be Immovable

Purpose. The Committee can choose to treat certain movable objects on the course, such as all stakes (other than boundary stakes), bins and direction poles, to be immovable so as to discourage players from moving them. The implications of this Local Rule should be fully considered by the Committee in advance as it may result in players breaching Rule 8.1 by moving an obstruction that is treated as immovable. Model Local Rule F-18 "All stakes [or identify the movable obstructions that are to be considered immovable] on the course are treated as immovable obstructions from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. Relief is not allowed to be taken under Rule 15.2. Penalty for Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty. "
F-19

Edging Grooves Near Putting Greens

Purpose. Edging grooves are sometimes cut on the apron or fringe of the putting green to keep grasses from creeping onto the putting green. Because it can be difficult to play a ball from such grooves, a Committee can choose to treat them as ground under repair from which free relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. Relief should be allowed only for interference with the lie of the ball or the area of intended swing. Model Local Rule F-19 "The edging grooves around the aprons or fringes of putting greens are ground under repair. If a player's ball lies in or touches a groove or a groove interferes with the area of intended swing: (a) Ball in General Area .The player may take free relief under Rule 16.1b. (b) Ball on the Putting Green .The player may take free relief under Rule 16.1d. But interference does not exist if the edging groove only interferes with the player's stance. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a. "
F-20

Concrete Drainage Channels

Purpose. Narrow concrete drainage channels are sometimes found on courses where flooding is common. This can create issues for play because:
  • These channels are penalty areas as defined in the Rules.
  • But they often run next to cart paths and are more like immovable obstructions than penalty areas.
The Committee can choose to treat these drainage channels as immovable obstructions in the general area rather than as penalty areas. See Model Local Rule B-4 for when an open water course can be defined to be part of the general area. Model Local Rule F-20 "Drainage channels that are made of artificial materials and run next to cart paths are treated as immovable obstructions in the general area and are part of the cart path. A player may take free relief under Rule 16.1b. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a. "
F-21

Painted Lines or Dots

Purpose. If the Committee puts paint lines or dots down on the putting green or in a part of the general area cut to fairway height or less (for example, for distance markings), it may treat those areas as abnormal course conditions from which free relief is available under Rule 16.1. When such paint lines or dots only interfere with the player's stance, there is no need to allow relief. Alternatively, the Committee can choose to clarify that there is no relief available from such paint lines or dots. Model Local Rule F-21.1 "Painted lines or dots on the putting green or in a part of the general area cut to fairway height or less are to be treated as ground under repair from which relief is allowed under Rule 16.1. But interference does not exist if painted lines or dots only interfere with the player's stance. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a. " Model Local Rule F-21.2 "Relief is not allowed from painted lines or dots [describe area, for example, in areas where the grass is not cut to fairway height or less]. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
F-22

Temporary Lines and Cables

Purpose. Temporary lines and cables are often placed on the course to provide power and communications for a competition. These cables may be on the surface of the ground or above or below the ground. Such lines and cables are not normally there and are not part of the challenge of playing the course, so the Committee may choose to provide extra relief when they interfere with play. Model Local Rule F-22 "Temporary lines and cables for power and communications (and mats covering or poles supporting them) are obstructions: 1. If they are readily movable, they are movable obstructions and a player may remove them without penalty under Rule 15.2. 2. Otherwise they are immovable obstructions from which the player may take relief as follows: (a)Ball in General Area or in Bunker. The player may take relief under Rule 16.1. (b)Ball in Penalty Area. Rule 16.1b is modified to allow the player the extra option to take free relief from interference by these immovable obstructions in a penalty area by dropping a ball and playing it from this relief area:
  • Reference Point: The nearest point of complete relief in the penalty area.
  • Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: One club-length, but with these limits:
  • Limits on Location of Relief Area:
    • Must be in the penalty area in which the ball came to rest,
    • Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point, and
    • There must be complete relief from all interference by the immovable obstruction.
3.If a player's ball hits a temporary elevated line or cable, the stroke does not count. The player must play a ball without penalty from where the previous stroke was made (see Rule 14.6 for what to do). 4.Grass-covered trenches for temporary lines or cables in the general area are ground under repair, even if not marked. The player may take free relief under Rule 16.1. But there are two exceptions:
  • Exception 1 - Ball Strikes Elevated Section: If a ball hits an elevated junction section of cable rising from the ground, the stroke counts, and the ball must be played as it lies.
  • Exception 2 - Ball Strikes Wires Supporting Temporary Immovable Obstruction: Guy wires supporting a temporary immovable obstruction (TIO) are part of the TIO and are not covered by this Local Rule, unless the Committee states that the guy wires are to be treated as temporary elevated lines or cables under this Local Rule.
Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a. "
F-23

Temporary Immovable Obstructions

Purpose. When obstructions are temporarily placed on or next to the course, the Committee should specify whether they are movable obstructions (see Rule 15), immovable obstructions (see Rule 16) or temporary immovable obstructions ("TIOs"). TIOs (such as a grandstand or a tent) are not normally present and are not considered to be part of the challenge of playing the course. Because of their temporary nature, this Local Rule provides an additional relief option that is not allowed from immovable obstructions, although the player can still choose to treat the TIO as if it were an immovable obstruction and use the relief procedures available in Rule 16. The additional relief provided by this Local Rule includes the ability for a player to take relief when the TIO is located on the straight line between his or her ball and the hole (known as "line of sight relief") by moving sideways, keeping the same distance from the hole, so that the TIO is no longer between the player's ball and the hole (also known as moving along the "equidistant arc"). When a player takes relief from a TIO, whether under this Local Rule or the relief procedures in Rule 16, the player is guaranteed complete relief from physical interference. But only when relief is taken using the additional relief option under this Local Rule will the player be guaranteed complete relief from the TIO being on his or her line of sight. Model Local Rule F-23. "Definition of TIO: A temporary immovable obstruction (TIO) is a structure that is temporarily added on or next to the course, usually for a particular competition, and is fixed or not readily movable. Examples of TIOs are temporary tents, scoreboards, grandstands, television towers and toilets. TIOs include any supporting guy wires connected to them, except when the Committee decides the supporting guy wires are to be treated as immovable obstructions. The outermost edge of the TIO is used in determining whether a ball is under the TIO or whether the TIO is on the player's line of sight between the ball and the hole. Lines or stakes may be used to define the edges of a TIO or to connect multiple TIOs into a single, larger TIO. A TIO is different from an immovable obstruction and this Local Rule provides additional relief from interference by a TIO. This means that the player can choose to take relief by using either:
  • The procedure for taking relief from an abnormal course condition in Rule 16 as if the TIO were an immovable obstruction (this relief is also available when the ball lies in a penalty area or when the TIO is out of bounds), or
  • The additional relief option available under this Local Rule.
a. When Relief Is Allowed Relief from a TIO is normally allowed when there is physical interference or line of sight interference from the TIO. Interference under this Local Rule means that the player has:
  • Physical interference,
  • Line of sight interference, or
  • Both physical and line of sight interference.
(1) Meaning of Physical Interference by Temporary Immovable Obstruction. Physical interference exists when:
  • The player's ball touches or lies in or on a TIO, or
  • The TIO interferes with the player's area of intended stance or area of intended swing.
(2) Meaning of Line of Sight Interference by Temporary Immovable Obstruction. Line of sight interference exists when:
  • The player's ball touches or lies in, on or under a TIO, or
  • The TIO is on the player's line of sight to the hole (that is, the TIO is located on the straight line between the ball and the hole), or
  • The ball is within one club-length, measured on an equidistant arc from the hole, of a spot where the TIO would be on the player's direct line of sight to the hole (this one club-length wide area is commonly referred to as the "corridor").
(3) When No Relief Is Available Despite Having Interference. If the ball touches or is in or on the TIO, relief is always available. But when the ball neither touches nor is in or on the TIO, there is no relief under this Local Rule if any of the following applies:
  • From either physical interference or line of sight interference:
    • There is no relief when playing the ball as it lies would clearly be unreasonable because of something other than the TIO (such as when the player is unable to make a stroke because of where the ball lies in a bush outside the TIO), and
    • There is no relief when interference exists only because the player chooses a club, type of stance or swing or direction of play that is clearly unreasonable under the circumstances; and
  • From line of sight interference:
    • There is no relief when it is clearly unreasonable for a player to play the ball far enough that the ball will reach the TIO, and
    • There is no relief when the player cannot show that there is a stroke that he or she could reasonably play that would both (a) have the TIO (including the corridor) on the line of that stroke, and (b) result in the ball finishing on a direct line to the hole.
b. Relief from Interference for Ball in General Area If the player's ball is in the general area and there is interference by a TIO (including a TIO located out of bounds), the player may take free relief by dropping the original ball or another ball in and playing it from this relief area:
  • Reference Point: The nearest point of complete relief where both physical and line of sight interference no longer exist.
  • Size of Relief Area from Reference Point: The entire area within one club-length from the reference point, but with these limits:
  • Limits on Location of Relief Area:
    • Must be in the general area,
    • Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point, and
    • There must be complete relief from both physical and line of sight interference by the TIO.
If the player has physical interference from the TIO, instead of using this relief procedure he or she may choose to take relief using the procedure for taking relief from an abnormal course condition in Rule 16.1b, treating the TIO as if it were an immovable obstruction. The relief procedure under Rule 16.1b is also available when the ball lies in a penalty area or when the TIO is out of bounds. See Clause f of this Local Rule for how to take relief. c. Relief from Interference for Ball in Bunker or Penalty Area. If the player's ball is in a bunker or a penalty area and there is interference by a TIO (including a TIO located out of bounds), the player may take either free relief or penalty relief: (1) Free Relief: Playing from Bunker or Penalty Area. The player may take free relief as provided in Clause b, except that the nearest point of complete relief where interference no longer exists, and the relief area must be in that bunker or penalty area. If there is no such point in that bunker or penalty area where interference no longer exists, the player may still take this relief as provided above by using the point of maximum available relief in the bunker or the penalty area as the reference point. (2) Penalty Relief: Playing from Outside Bunker or Penalty Area. For one penalty stroke, the player may drop the original ball or another ball in and play it from this relief area:
  • Reference Point: The nearest point of complete relief not nearer the hole where both physical and line of sight interference no longer exist that is outside that bunker or penalty area.
  • Size of Relief Area from Reference Point: The entire area one club-length from the reference point, but with these limits:
  • Limits on Location of Relief Area:
    • Any area of the course other than in that bunker or penalty area or on any putting green,
    • Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point, and
    • There must be complete relief from both physical and line of sight interference by the TIO.
If the player has physical interference from the TIO, instead of using this relief procedure he or she may choose to take relief using the procedure for taking relief from an abnormal course condition in Rule 16.1b, treating the TIO as if it were an immovable obstruction. The relief procedure under Rule 16.1b is also available when the ball lies in a penalty area or when the TIO is out of bounds. See Clause f of this Local Rule for how to take relief. d. Relief When Ball in TIO Not Found If the player's ball has not been found but is known or virtually certain to have come to rest in a TIO:
  • The player may take relief under this Local Rule by using the estimated point where the ball last crossed the edge of the TIO on the course as the spot of the ball for purposes of finding the nearest point of complete relief.
  • Once the player puts another ball in play to take relief in this way:
    • The original ball is no longer in play and must not be played.
    • This is true even if it is then found on the course before the end of the three-minute search time (see Rule 6.3b)
But if it is not known or virtually certain that the ball came to rest in the TIO, the player must play under penalty of stroke and distance (see Rule 18.2). e. Committee Authority to Modify TIO Relief Procedures When adopting this Local Rule, the Committee may modify the relief procedures in Clauses b and c in either or both of the following ways:  (1)Optional or Mandatory Use of Dropping Zones. The Committee may permit or require a player to use a dropping zone as the relief area for taking relief under this Local Rule. When doing so, the Committee may add the dropping zone for relief from only physical interference or only line of sight interference or it may be used for relief from both types of interference. (2)"Either Side" Relief Option. The Committee may permit the player the option to take relief on the other side of a TIO in addition to the relief options allowed under Clauses b and c of this Local Rule. But the Committee may provide that either side relief is not allowed if the player is taking relief using the procedures in Rule 16.1. f. Player May Proceed Under Other Relief Rules (1)Taking Relief by Using the Procedures in Rule 16.1 or this Local Rule. If a player has physical interference from the TIO as defined in Clause a, the player may either:
  • Choose to use the relief procedures in Rule 16.1 or
  • Use this Local Rule.
  • But may not take relief under one of these options and then take relief under the other.
If the player chooses to use the procedure for taking relief from an abnormal course condition in Rule 16.1, he or she must treat the TIO as if it is an immovable obstruction and take relief based on where the ball lies:
  • In the general areausing the procedures in Rule 16.1b.
  • In a bunkerusing the procedures in Rule 16.1c.
  • In a penalty areausing the procedures in Rule 16.1c as if the ball lies in a bunker.
  • On the putting greenusing the procedures in Rule 16.1d.
(2)Taking Relief under Rule 17, 18 or 19. This Local Rule does not prevent the player from taking relief under Rule 17, 18 or 19 rather than taking TIO relief under this Local Rule. Penalty for Playing Ball from a Wrong Place in Breach of Local Rule: General Penalty Under Rule 14.7a."
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Section 1The Role of the Committee
The Rules of Golf define the Committee as the person or group in charge of a competition or the course. The Committee is essential to the proper playing of the game. Committees have the responsibility of running the course on a day-to-day basis or for a specific competition and they should always act in ways that support the Rules of Golf. This part of the Official Guide to the Rules of Golf provides guidance to Committees in fulfilling this role. While many of the duties of a Committee are specific to running organized competitions, an important part of the Committee's duties relates to its responsibility for the course during general or every day play.
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