Ball in a drain: free drop, unplayable, or something else?

 No_Catchy_Nickname ·  
No_Catchy_NicknameNo_Catchy_Nickname Kyushu,_Japan 5980WRX Points: 1,155Handicap: meMembers Posts: 5,980 Titanium Tees
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In a recent round, a playing partner's ball rolled via a concrete drainage ditch into a covered drainage hole. I think I am right in saying that if the ball was lying near the cover so as to affect his stance he would be provided free relief (right?), but what about when the ball is actually in the hole? Incidentally, the ball itself was pretty much irretrievable, though if we had a short net we would have been OK. Unplayable? Declare a lost ball? What would be the correct procedure in this case?

Posted:
Driver: Ping G400 Tour 65S
4w: TaylorMade R9 stock Fujikura Motore X flex
7w TaylorMade V-steel, Quadra Fire Express RB 6SX
Hybrid: RomaRo iBrid 23* Attas EZ 85S
Irons (4i-PW): Mizuno MP4 Attas 115X 4-PW (+0.5")
Wedges: Cleveland RTX4 Forged 52* and 58*, DGS400 (both at 35.5")
Putter: Mac Jack Nicklaus Muirfield/Taylormade TPA XVIII/Wilson 8802

Old stuff: Tons of persimmon and older irons. 
1

Answers

  • antipantip  1043WRX Points: 333Members Posts: 1,043 Platinum Tees
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    In a recent round, a playing partner's ball rolled via a concrete drainage ditch into a covered drainage hole. I think I am right in saying that if the ball was lying near the cover so as to affect his stance he would be provided free relief (right?), but what about when the ball is actually in the hole? Incidentally, the ball itself was pretty much irretrievable, though if we had a short net we would have been OK. Unplayable? Declare a lost ball? What would be the correct procedure in this case?

    Yes, free relief is available for interference from an immovable obstruction (covered drainage hole) - assuming it is not inside a Penalty Area. If the ball is found in the drainage hole, and the hole is in the General Area, R16.1b applies, free relief using the Relief Area described in that rule. If the ball is lost in the drainage hole (knowledge or virtual certainty) then free relief is available under R16.1e. The key difference is the relief areas are defined slightly differently.

    Posted:
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  • SawgrassSawgrass  15765WRX Points: 1,072Members Posts: 15,765 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @antip said:


    In a recent round, a playing partner's ball rolled via a concrete drainage ditch into a covered drainage hole. I think I am right in saying that if the ball was lying near the cover so as to affect his stance he would be provided free relief (right?), but what about when the ball is actually in the hole? Incidentally, the ball itself was pretty much irretrievable, though if we had a short net we would have been OK. Unplayable? Declare a lost ball? What would be the correct procedure in this case?

    Yes, free relief is available for interference from an immovable obstruction (covered drainage hole) - assuming it is not inside a Penalty Area. If the ball is found in the drainage hole, and the hole is in the General Area, R16.1b applies, free relief using the Relief Area described in that rule. If the ball is lost in the drainage hole (knowledge or virtual certainty) then free relief is available under R16.1e. The key difference is the relief areas are defined slightly differently.

    Perhaps we don't have a clear picture of the situation. I'll point out that a Penalty Area includes surface drainage ditches even if not containing water. This sounds like one to me, and if it is no free relief from an immovable obstruction is afforded. Is the "covered drainage hole" within the ditch?

    Posted:
  • AugsterAugster  4590WRX Points: 527Members Posts: 4,590 Titanium Tees
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    It certainly reads like it is a penalty area, formerly a water hazard. It doesn’t have to be marked to be a penalty area. From the definition:

    “Any body of water on the course (whether or not marked by the Committee), including a sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface drainage ditch or other open watercourse (even if not containing water),”

    The OP uses “drainage ditch” and “drainage hole” in his post. This is very likely a penalty area. No free relief.

    Posted:
  • No_Catchy_NicknameNo_Catchy_Nickname Kyushu,_Japan 5980WRX Points: 1,155Handicap: meMembers Posts: 5,980 Titanium Tees
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    Hmmm. The covered drainage hole was not marked as a penalty area, it was in the General Area. Also, the cover was a lattice grate, so the ball was visible, if that makes a difference. At this course, if the ball goes such a ditch (more like gutters than ditches, if it helps. Made of concrete) free relief is allowed, which is why I thought it would also be allowed from the drainage hole.

    Posted:
    Driver: Ping G400 Tour 65S
    4w: TaylorMade R9 stock Fujikura Motore X flex
    7w TaylorMade V-steel, Quadra Fire Express RB 6SX
    Hybrid: RomaRo iBrid 23* Attas EZ 85S
    Irons (4i-PW): Mizuno MP4 Attas 115X 4-PW (+0.5")
    Wedges: Cleveland RTX4 Forged 52* and 58*, DGS400 (both at 35.5")
    Putter: Mac Jack Nicklaus Muirfield/Taylormade TPA XVIII/Wilson 8802

    Old stuff: Tons of persimmon and older irons. 
  • No_Catchy_NicknameNo_Catchy_Nickname Kyushu,_Japan 5980WRX Points: 1,155Handicap: meMembers Posts: 5,980 Titanium Tees
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    Also, thank you for the answers. I will check with the course the next time I go. Most of these concrete gutters run along the cart paths, and are treated as part of the cart path. This particular one, however, actually ran away the cart path at 90 degrees, and ended in the drainage hole a few yards away from the cart path.
    Playing as a junior in the UK, I remember drainage ditches were usually treated as lateral water hazards, but they were staked red. The drainage hole at this course had no marking, so my guess was free relief.

    Posted:
    Driver: Ping G400 Tour 65S
    4w: TaylorMade R9 stock Fujikura Motore X flex
    7w TaylorMade V-steel, Quadra Fire Express RB 6SX
    Hybrid: RomaRo iBrid 23* Attas EZ 85S
    Irons (4i-PW): Mizuno MP4 Attas 115X 4-PW (+0.5")
    Wedges: Cleveland RTX4 Forged 52* and 58*, DGS400 (both at 35.5")
    Putter: Mac Jack Nicklaus Muirfield/Taylormade TPA XVIII/Wilson 8802

    Old stuff: Tons of persimmon and older irons. 
  • NewbyNewby  7639WRX Points: 596Members Posts: 7,639 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  edited Apr 23, 2019 #7


    Playing as a junior in the UK, I remember drainage ditches were usually treated as lateral water hazards, but they were staked red. The drainage hole at this course had no marking, so my guess was free relief.

    The significant words in the definition in that case are "surface drainage ditch or other open watercourse (even if not containing water),...."
    Is the 'drainage run' an open concrete channel along the ground, leading to the vertical(?) hole with the lattice cover?
    Unless it has been 'tied' to the associated path by a Local Rule (as I guess are the other drains), it should be treated as a Penalty Area and I would suggest so should the drain hole at the end.
    But IMO the course should really tie it to the path as one Immovable Obstruction.

    Posted:
    Post edited by Newby on
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  • Stuart_GStuart_G New Hampshire 24610WRX Points: 1,363Members Posts: 24,610 Titanium Tees
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    Completely depends on whether it's a surface drainage ditch or an underground drainage ditch. I wouldn't presume one or the other w/o additional clarification.

    Posted:
  • No_Catchy_NicknameNo_Catchy_Nickname Kyushu,_Japan 5980WRX Points: 1,155Handicap: meMembers Posts: 5,980 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @Newby said:


    Playing as a junior in the UK, I remember drainage ditches were usually treated as lateral water hazards, but they were staked red. The drainage hole at this course had no marking, so my guess was free relief.

    The significant words in the definition in that case are "surface drainage ditch or other open watercourse (even if not containing water),...."
    Is the 'drainage run' an open concrete channel along the ground, leading to the vertical(?) hole with the lattice cover?
    Unless it has been 'tied' to the associated path by a Local Rule (as I guess are the other drains), it should be treated as a Penalty Area and I would suggest so should the drain hole at the end.
    But IMO the course should really tie it to the path as one Immovable Obstruction.

    The drainage run was indeed an open concrete channel along the ground, connecting to the vertical hole with the lattice cover.
    So without a local rule, it would be treated as a penalty area?

    Posted:
    Driver: Ping G400 Tour 65S
    4w: TaylorMade R9 stock Fujikura Motore X flex
    7w TaylorMade V-steel, Quadra Fire Express RB 6SX
    Hybrid: RomaRo iBrid 23* Attas EZ 85S
    Irons (4i-PW): Mizuno MP4 Attas 115X 4-PW (+0.5")
    Wedges: Cleveland RTX4 Forged 52* and 58*, DGS400 (both at 35.5")
    Putter: Mac Jack Nicklaus Muirfield/Taylormade TPA XVIII/Wilson 8802

    Old stuff: Tons of persimmon and older irons. 
  • SawgrassSawgrass  15765WRX Points: 1,072Members Posts: 15,765 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @Newby said:


    Playing as a junior in the UK, I remember drainage ditches were usually treated as lateral water hazards, but they were staked red. The drainage hole at this course had no marking, so my guess was free relief.

    The significant words in the definition in that case are "surface drainage ditch or other open watercourse (even if not containing water),...."
    Is the 'drainage run' an open concrete channel along the ground, leading to the vertical(?) hole with the lattice cover?
    Unless it has been 'tied' to the associated path by a Local Rule (as I guess are the other drains), it should be treated as a Penalty Area and I would suggest so should the drain hole at the end.
    But IMO the course should really tie it to the path as one Immovable Obstruction.

    The drainage run was indeed an open concrete channel along the ground, connecting to the vertical hole with the lattice cover.
    So without a local rule, it would be treated as a penalty area?

    IMO it would be treated as a penalty area with our without a local rule. (I doubt that it would be permissible to have a course feature which is a penalty area by definition turned into a segment of general area by local rule -- but these issues are dealt with case by case so, who knows!)

    Posted:
  • antipantip  1043WRX Points: 333Members Posts: 1,043 Platinum Tees
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    On -, @Newby said:


    Playing as a junior in the UK, I remember drainage ditches were usually treated as lateral water hazards, but they were staked red. The drainage hole at this course had no marking, so my guess was free relief.

    The significant words in the definition in that case are "surface drainage ditch or other open watercourse (even if not containing water),...."
    Is the 'drainage run' an open concrete channel along the ground, leading to the vertical(?) hole with the lattice cover?
    Unless it has been 'tied' to the associated path by a Local Rule (as I guess are the other drains), it should be treated as a Penalty Area and I would suggest so should the drain hole at the end.
    But IMO the course should really tie it to the path as one Immovable Obstruction.

    The drainage run was indeed an open concrete channel along the ground, connecting to the vertical hole with the lattice cover.
    So without a local rule, it would be treated as a penalty area?

    In my part of the world, most concrete drains on the course are Immovable Obstructions, not penalty areas. And even concrete water channels that run directly across fairways can be treated as IOs in situations where they are only there to channel irregular rainfall - that is, they are not 'normally' channeling water - so it is a Committee discretion in such circumstances. This interpretation has previously been tested with the Ruling Bodies.

    Posted:
  • QEightQEight Finland 3521WRX Points: 189Handicap: 11,0Members Posts: 3,521 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @antip said:

    On -, @Newby said:


    Playing as a junior in the UK, I remember drainage ditches were usually treated as lateral water hazards, but they were staked red. The drainage hole at this course had no marking, so my guess was free relief.

    The significant words in the definition in that case are "surface drainage ditch or other open watercourse (even if not containing water),...."
    Is the 'drainage run' an open concrete channel along the ground, leading to the vertical(?) hole with the lattice cover?
    Unless it has been 'tied' to the associated path by a Local Rule (as I guess are the other drains), it should be treated as a Penalty Area and I would suggest so should the drain hole at the end.
    But IMO the course should really tie it to the path as one Immovable Obstruction.

    The drainage run was indeed an open concrete channel along the ground, connecting to the vertical hole with the lattice cover.
    So without a local rule, it would be treated as a penalty area?

    In my part of the world, most concrete drains on the course are Immovable Obstructions, not penalty areas. And even concrete water channels that run directly across fairways can be treated as IOs in situations where they are only there to channel irregular rainfall - that is, they are not 'normally' channeling water - so it is a Committee discretion in such circumstances. This interpretation has previously been tested with the Ruling Bodies.

    I would thought so too. In the old days also French drains gave you free relief. Soon someone will say a grate on top of well is penalty area...

    Posted:
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  • No_Catchy_NicknameNo_Catchy_Nickname Kyushu,_Japan 5980WRX Points: 1,155Handicap: meMembers Posts: 5,980 Titanium Tees
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    I just checked the back of the scorecard, and it says that man-made features like drainage ditches are immovable objects (along with wire fences, cart paths, and supporting poles for trees).
    Thank you to everyone for your help.

    Posted:
    Driver: Ping G400 Tour 65S
    4w: TaylorMade R9 stock Fujikura Motore X flex
    7w TaylorMade V-steel, Quadra Fire Express RB 6SX
    Hybrid: RomaRo iBrid 23* Attas EZ 85S
    Irons (4i-PW): Mizuno MP4 Attas 115X 4-PW (+0.5")
    Wedges: Cleveland RTX4 Forged 52* and 58*, DGS400 (both at 35.5")
    Putter: Mac Jack Nicklaus Muirfield/Taylormade TPA XVIII/Wilson 8802

    Old stuff: Tons of persimmon and older irons. 
  • NewbyNewby  7639WRX Points: 596Members Posts: 7,639 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  edited Apr 24, 2019 #14

    On -, @antip said:

    This interpretation has previously been tested with the Ruling Bodies.
    >
    Agreed

    Posted:
  • NewbyNewby  7639WRX Points: 596Members Posts: 7,639 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @QEight said:

    On -, @antip said:

    On -, @Newby said:


    Playing as a junior in the UK, I remember drainage ditches were usually treated as lateral water hazards, but they were staked red. The drainage hole at this course had no marking, so my guess was free relief.

    The significant words in the definition in that case are "surface drainage ditch or other open watercourse (even if not containing water),...."
    Is the 'drainage run' an open concrete channel along the ground, leading to the vertical(?) hole with the lattice cover?
    Unless it has been 'tied' to the associated path by a Local Rule (as I guess are the other drains), it should be treated as a Penalty Area and I would suggest so should the drain hole at the end.
    But IMO the course should really tie it to the path as one Immovable Obstruction.

    The drainage run was indeed an open concrete channel along the ground, connecting to the vertical hole with the lattice cover.
    So without a local rule, it would be treated as a penalty area?

    In my part of the world, most concrete drains on the course are Immovable Obstructions, not penalty areas. And even concrete water channels that run directly across fairways can be treated as IOs in situations where they are only there to channel irregular rainfall - that is, they are not 'normally' channeling water - so it is a Committee discretion in such circumstances. This interpretation has previously been tested with the Ruling Bodies.

    I would thought so too. In the old days also French drains gave you free relief. Soon someone will say a grate on top of well is penalty area...

    French Drains were/are Immovable Obstructions by definition. For some reason the USGA (but not the R&A) recommended that they should be marked and deemed as GUR. The R&A thought it unnecessary. I was involved in the debate at the time.

    Posted:
  • HaleboppHalebopp  3064WRX Points: 316Members Posts: 3,064 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @Sawgrass said:

    On -, @Newby said:


    Playing as a junior in the UK, I remember drainage ditches were usually treated as lateral water hazards, but they were staked red. The drainage hole at this course had no marking, so my guess was free relief.

    The significant words in the definition in that case are "surface drainage ditch or other open watercourse (even if not containing water),...."
    Is the 'drainage run' an open concrete channel along the ground, leading to the vertical(?) hole with the lattice cover?
    Unless it has been 'tied' to the associated path by a Local Rule (as I guess are the other drains), it should be treated as a Penalty Area and I would suggest so should the drain hole at the end.
    But IMO the course should really tie it to the path as one Immovable Obstruction.

    The drainage run was indeed an open concrete channel along the ground, connecting to the vertical hole with the lattice cover.
    So without a local rule, it would be treated as a penalty area?

    IMO it would be treated as a penalty area with our without a local rule. (I doubt that it would be permissible to have a course feature which is a penalty area by definition turned into a segment of general area by local rule -- but these issues are dealt with case by case so, who knows!)

    Like the model local rule B-4? :)

    Posted:
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  • SawgrassSawgrass  15765WRX Points: 1,072Members Posts: 15,765 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @Halebopp said:

    On -, @Sawgrass said:

    On -, @Newby said:


    Playing as a junior in the UK, I remember drainage ditches were usually treated as lateral water hazards, but they were staked red. The drainage hole at this course had no marking, so my guess was free relief.

    The significant words in the definition in that case are "surface drainage ditch or other open watercourse (even if not containing water),...."
    Is the 'drainage run' an open concrete channel along the ground, leading to the vertical(?) hole with the lattice cover?
    Unless it has been 'tied' to the associated path by a Local Rule (as I guess are the other drains), it should be treated as a Penalty Area and I would suggest so should the drain hole at the end.
    But IMO the course should really tie it to the path as one Immovable Obstruction.

    The drainage run was indeed an open concrete channel along the ground, connecting to the vertical hole with the lattice cover.
    So without a local rule, it would be treated as a penalty area?

    IMO it would be treated as a penalty area with our without a local rule. (I doubt that it would be permissible to have a course feature which is a penalty area by definition turned into a segment of general area by local rule -- but these issues are dealt with case by case so, who knows!)

    Like the model local rule B-4? :)

    Thank you! (Apparently, some do know!)

    Posted:
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  • QEightQEight Finland 3521WRX Points: 189Handicap: 11,0Members Posts: 3,521 Titanium Tees
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    So the 3 meter long run of 20cm wide U-shaped concrete blocks from the corner of the club house are penalty area and not immovable obstruction, without the LR?

    Posted:
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  • Mr. BeanMr. Bean  4766WRX Points: 451Handicap: 3,8Members Posts: 4,766 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @QEight said:

    So the 3 meter long run of 20cm wide U-shaped concrete blocks from the corner of the club house are penalty area and not immovable obstruction, without the LR?

    Welcome to the Rules 2019! :D

    Posted:
  • rogolfrogolf  4264WRX Points: 529Members Posts: 4,264 Titanium Tees
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    My experience in refereeing where these concrete U-channels are present (in Japan) is that those adjoining paved cart paths are deemed to be part of the cart path. Those that are not adjoining a cart path, ie, in the general area, are normally covered with a grill (probably for safety reasons) and were also deemed to be immovable obstructions. The Committee has authority to do both.

    Posted:
  • No_Catchy_NicknameNo_Catchy_Nickname Kyushu,_Japan 5980WRX Points: 1,155Handicap: meMembers Posts: 5,980 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @rogolf said:

    My experience in refereeing where these concrete U-channels are present (in Japan) is that those adjoining paved cart paths are deemed to be part of the cart path. Those that are not adjoining a cart path, ie, in the general area, are normally covered with a grill (probably for safety reasons) and were also deemed to be immovable obstructions. The Committee has authority to do both.

    That's the case here, as it happened on a Japanese course. However, not all the drain/gutter is covered by a grill, only the vertical drain the gutter runs into. I think what happened is that the ball went into the gutter/drain (U-shaped concrete blocks), and rolled down into the vertical drain.

    Posted:
    Driver: Ping G400 Tour 65S
    4w: TaylorMade R9 stock Fujikura Motore X flex
    7w TaylorMade V-steel, Quadra Fire Express RB 6SX
    Hybrid: RomaRo iBrid 23* Attas EZ 85S
    Irons (4i-PW): Mizuno MP4 Attas 115X 4-PW (+0.5")
    Wedges: Cleveland RTX4 Forged 52* and 58*, DGS400 (both at 35.5")
    Putter: Mac Jack Nicklaus Muirfield/Taylormade TPA XVIII/Wilson 8802

    Old stuff: Tons of persimmon and older irons. 
  • antipantip  1043WRX Points: 333Members Posts: 1,043 Platinum Tees
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    On -, @Mr. Bean said:

    On -, @QEight said:

    So the 3 meter long run of 20cm wide U-shaped concrete blocks from the corner of the club house are penalty area and not immovable obstruction, without the LR?

    Welcome to the Rules 2019! :D

    I don't think the new interpretation actually changed anything in 2019, I think it was bringing a previous ruling into the interpretations.

    Posted:
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  • QEightQEight Finland 3521WRX Points: 189Handicap: 11,0Members Posts: 3,521 Titanium Tees
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    What about drainage hole in middle of the rough, covered with a lattice/grill? No ditch or anything, just a low point of terrain? IO or PA?

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  • antipantip  1043WRX Points: 333Members Posts: 1,043 Platinum Tees
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    On -, @QEight said:

    What about drainage hole in middle of the rough, covered with a lattice/grill? No ditch or anything, just a low point of terrain? IO or PA?

    On -, @QEight said:

    What about drainage hole in middle of the rough, covered with a lattice/grill? No ditch or anything, just a low point of terrain? IO or PA?

    We have a number of drainage holes and they have nothing to do with water runways/ditches. They include in bunkers and areas that simply hold some surface water (temporary water) when it is wet. No local rule, none required, simply IOs.

    Posted:
  • rogolfrogolf  4264WRX Points: 529Members Posts: 4,264 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @rogolf said:

    My experience in refereeing where these concrete U-channels are present (in Japan) is that those adjoining paved cart paths are deemed to be part of the cart path. Those that are not adjoining a cart path, ie, in the general area, are normally covered with a grill (probably for safety reasons) and were also deemed to be immovable obstructions. The Committee has authority to do both.

    That's the case here, as it happened on a Japanese course. However, not all the drain/gutter is covered by a grill, only the vertical drain the gutter runs into. I think what happened is that the ball went into the gutter/drain (U-shaped concrete blocks), and rolled down into the vertical drain.

    Given what you've posted, I would rule that the ball is in an immovable obstruction and free relief is available. In this instance imo, discussions about a penalty area are off base.

    Posted:
  • No_Catchy_NicknameNo_Catchy_Nickname Kyushu,_Japan 5980WRX Points: 1,155Handicap: meMembers Posts: 5,980 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @rogolf said:

    On -, @rogolf said:

    My experience in refereeing where these concrete U-channels are present (in Japan) is that those adjoining paved cart paths are deemed to be part of the cart path. Those that are not adjoining a cart path, ie, in the general area, are normally covered with a grill (probably for safety reasons) and were also deemed to be immovable obstructions. The Committee has authority to do both.

    That's the case here, as it happened on a Japanese course. However, not all the drain/gutter is covered by a grill, only the vertical drain the gutter runs into. I think what happened is that the ball went into the gutter/drain (U-shaped concrete blocks), and rolled down into the vertical drain.

    Given what you've posted, I would rule that the ball is in an immovable obstruction and free relief is available. In this instance imo, discussions about a penalty area are off base.

    That's how we played it, which is a relief, if you'll pardon the pun.

    Posted:
    Driver: Ping G400 Tour 65S
    4w: TaylorMade R9 stock Fujikura Motore X flex
    7w TaylorMade V-steel, Quadra Fire Express RB 6SX
    Hybrid: RomaRo iBrid 23* Attas EZ 85S
    Irons (4i-PW): Mizuno MP4 Attas 115X 4-PW (+0.5")
    Wedges: Cleveland RTX4 Forged 52* and 58*, DGS400 (both at 35.5")
    Putter: Mac Jack Nicklaus Muirfield/Taylormade TPA XVIII/Wilson 8802

    Old stuff: Tons of persimmon and older irons. 

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