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Here's a situation I ran into yesterday and was curious to know how the official rules would apply.

 

I hit a drive that rolled off the fairway, over the cart path, and came to rest on some nice grass about 6 inches to the left of the cart path.  The lie was great but there was also a large bush behind the ball that was going to inhibit my swing.  So to visualize, the ball is lying on grass between the bush and the cart path.

 

Now for a left handed player, this is not really a question.  The bush doesn't interfere with the swing and the player can take a free drop because he has to stand on the cart path to hit the ball.

 

But for a right handed player, he can hit the ball without standing on the cart path but the issue is the bush.

 

Now I am a right handed player but I am also known for hitting left handed trick shots at times.  So can I say I want to hit this shot left handed and then take a free drop because I have to stand on the cart path to take the swing I want to take?

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4 minutes ago, b.helts said:

Yes. You absolutely can. Has to be a reasonable way to play the shot, IE you can’t play it right handed.

 

Nearest point of relief may be right in the bush though. NPR is nearest point of complete relief, in this case, from the path. It does not, in any way, guarantee a free swing at the ball or an open shot. 

 

In this case you are correct that NPR for a lefty was in the bush.  Thus, I ended up taking the shot left handed while standing on the cart path.

 

But really my question is this.  If one takes a drop based upon wanting to take the shot a certain way, what prohibits them from changing their mind after the drop and attempting a different shot than originally intended?  I don't see that prohibition in the rules anywhere.

 

Now of course in this example what I'm trying to do is get a free drop that a right handed player normally isn't entitled to.  But apply this logic to a different scenario.  Let's say there is no bush but instead there NPR is a tall first cut.  I might originally intent to hit a 3 wood but after seeing the drop I might want to hit a 7 iron if the ball ends up buried and in a bad lie.

 

Or take a greenside example.  You're taking a drop and originally plan to bump and run onto the green.  But you drop the ball at the NPR and it winds up in a hole or a divot, so now you want to pull out your lob wedge and blast under it.

 

Do the rules say you can't change clubs after the drop?

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It is within the rules to change clubs/shots after taking relief. So if you would legitimately hit the shot left handed and that gets you relief and then once you take relief a right handed shot would made more sense, you can do that. 

 

 

Edited by 2bGood
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In that situation, I would legitimately take the shot left handed.  And I did.

 

For me, any time I can't take a decent right handed swing because of a tree, bush, etc. then I'm taking the shot left handed.

 

But I don't see in the rules anywhere that says you can (or cannot) change clubs, shots, etc.

 

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All of the answers are correct.  What you need to ask yourself in the situation you noted is this…..if the cart path was not there what would you do? If the legitimate answer is you would play it left handed you can take the drop. 

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Posted (edited)

Funny follow up story to this.  I played the same course today.  Hit an identical drive on the same hole and my ball came to rest literally within a foot of my ball earlier this week that prompted me to create this thread.

 

I took a picture to give you all a visual of the situation.

 

And just like the other day, I elected to hit the ball left handed while standing on the cart path, because as far as I can tell the nearest point of relief is a worse option.

 

 

20210723_162918.jpg

Edited by abenjami
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27 minutes ago, abenjami said:

Funny follow up story to this.  I played the same course today.  Hit an identical drive on the same hole and my ball came to rest literally within a foot of my ball earlier this week that prompted me to create this thread.

 

I took a picture to give you all a visual of the situation.

 

And just like the other day, I elected to hit the ball left handed while standing on the cart path, because as far as I can tell the nearest point of relief is a worse option.

 

 

20210723_162918.jpg

Agree.  Presuming that the picture is taken in the direction of play, the nearest point of complete relief for the left-handed stroke would be further to the left of the original spot.  Further, since, imo, the right-handed stroke is not unreasonable, there would be no free relief for the left-handed stroke.

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5 minutes ago, rogolf said:

Agree.  Presuming that the picture is taken in the direction of play, the nearest point of complete relief for the left-handed stroke would be further to the left of the original spot.  Further, since, imo, the right-handed stroke is not unreasonable, there would be no free relief for the left-handed stroke.


I think relief was available.  The test is not whether the right handed stroke is unreasonable, it’s whether the left handed stroke is unreasonable.  He actually ended up hitting the left handed stroke which is pretty compelling evidence it’s not unreasonable?  

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9 minutes ago, rogolf said:

Agree.  Presuming that the picture is taken in the direction of play, the nearest point of complete relief for the left-handed stroke would be further to the left of the original spot.  Further, since, imo, the right-handed stroke is not unreasonable, there would be no free relief for the left-handed stroke.

 

1 minute ago, jimbo123 said:


I think relief was available.  The test is not whether the right handed stroke is unreasonable, it’s whether the left handed stroke is unreasonable.  He actually ended up hitting the left handed stroke which is pretty compelling evidence it’s not unreasonable?  

 

Correct that the picture is taken in the direction of play and the NPR for the left handed stroke would be further to the left of the original spot.

 

But incorrect that the right handed stroke is not unreasonable.  The picture from that angle doesn't illustrate it very well but a right handed swing from that spot means you are somewhat crouching under that bush and you have a maximum 25-30% backswing before your club hits a branch.

 

I agree with @jimbo123 though with the analysis with a minor tweak.  The test is whether the left handed stroke requires standing on the cart path (not whether it's unreasonable).

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Here's something else to consider too.  When looking at the NPR for a left handed swing, there really isn't one.  If you actually dropped a ball to the left of where my ball is lying, it will roll down that hill into the lateral hazard.  Doesn't really show up in the picture but to the left of my ball it's downhill into a ravine and the red stakes are lined up just to the left of where the grass ends.

 

Practically, the nearest point of actually playable relief where you aren't forced to hit from a lateral or cart path might be 15 yards backwards.

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1 minute ago, abenjami said:

 

 

Correct that the picture is taken in the direction of play and the NPR for the left handed stroke would be further to the left of the original spot.

 

But incorrect that the right handed stroke is not unreasonable.  The picture from that angle doesn't illustrate it very well but a right handed swing from that spot means you are somewhat crouching under that bush and you have a maximum 25-30% backswing before your club hits a branch.

 

I agree with @jimbo123 though with the analysis with a minor tweak.  The test is whether the left handed stroke requires standing on the cart path (not whether it's unreasonable).


I think both those things need to be true to get relief - the left handed stroke can’t be clearly unreasonable (see the interpretation from earlier), and the path needs to interfere with the left handed stroke.  
 

I basically think your handling was 100% correct. 

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3 minutes ago, jimbo123 said:


I think both those things need to be true to get relief - the left handed stroke can’t be clearly unreasonable (see the interpretation from earlier), and the path needs to interfere with the left handed stroke.  
 

I basically think your handling was 100% correct. 

 

I see what you are saying now and I agree.  I misinterpreted what you said earlier.

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5 minutes ago, abenjami said:

Here's something else to consider too.  When looking at the NPR for a left handed swing, there really isn't one.  If you actually dropped a ball to the left of where my ball is lying, it will roll down that hill into the lateral hazard.  Doesn't really show up in the picture but to the left of my ball it's downhill into a ravine and the red stakes are lined up just to the left of where the grass ends.

 

Practically, the nearest point of actually playable relief where you aren't forced to hit from a lateral or cart path might be 15 yards backwards.


If it rolls into a penalty area then it is outside the relief area and you redrop, and if it happens again and you place it.  As long as there is a point to the left of your ball which allows you to stand off the path and that point isn’t itself in the penalty area, then that’s where NPCR is, not 15 yards back.  As you already concluded, it’s probably not a good NPCR. 

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4 minutes ago, jimbo123 said:


If it rolls into a penalty area then it is outside the relief area and you redrop, and if it happens again and you place it.  As long as there is a point to the left of your ball which allows you to stand off the path and that point isn’t itself in the penalty area, then that’s where NPCR is, not 15 yards back.  As you already concluded, it’s probably not a good NPCR. 

 

I will have to look at the stakes again next time but in this example it literally may not be possible to place the ball far enough left of the path without being in the penalty area.

 

 

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Just now, abenjami said:

 

I will have to look at the stakes again next time but in this example it literally may not be possible to place the ball far enough left of the path without being in the penalty area.

 

 


Definitely take a close look in that case.  The NPCR must be in the general area, not a penalty area.  If the penalty area is close enough to the path, then it’s possible your NPCR was to the right of the path.  (I kind of doubt this looking at the photos, but it’s possible). 

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21 minutes ago, jimbo123 said:


Definitely take a close look in that case.  The NPCR must be in the general area, not a penalty area.  If the penalty area is close enough to the path, then it’s possible your NPCR was to the right of the path.  (I kind of doubt this looking at the photos, but it’s possible). 

 

In which case I would then end up taking the shot right handed while standing on the cart path.  Oh, the irony!

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1 hour ago, jimbo123 said:


If it rolls into a penalty area then it is outside the relief area and you redrop, and if it happens again and you place it.  As long as there is a point to the left of your ball which allows you to stand off the path and that point isn’t itself in the penalty area, then that’s where NPCR is, not 15 yards back.  As you already concluded, it’s probably not a good NPCR. 

The nearest point of complete relief provides the required relief and that point may be entire relief area.  Obviously that would be a very rare occurrence.  The one club-length from the nearest point of complete relief is not guaranteed to be available.

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2 minutes ago, rogolf said:

The nearest point of complete relief provides the required relief and that point may be entire relief area.  Obviously that would be a very rare occurrence.  The one club-length from the nearest point of complete relief is not guaranteed to be available.

 

The layout of this hole is definitely a rare one.  It's a par 5 with a split fairway that has a ravine running down the middle of the two fairways and the ravine is marked as a lateral.

 

Thinking back to my golf life thus far, I can't recall another cart path I've ever seen that close to a lateral.

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1 hour ago, jimbo123 said:


I think relief was available.  The test is not whether the right handed stroke is unreasonable, it’s whether the left handed stroke is unreasonable.  He actually ended up hitting the left handed stroke which is pretty compelling evidence it’s not unreasonable?  

The question is whether the choice of a left-handed shot was reasonable and that relates to the circumstances concerning a right handed one.  The  success of a left handed shot says nothing about that.   The rule is designed to ensure that a player cannot manufacture  a situation whereby he can take relief, for example by adopting an unusually and improbably wide stance so that his little toe just touches an obstruction.  In the OP's situation, you would have to consider whether the player was justified in claiming he had to play a left handed shot.

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1 minute ago, Colin L said:

The question is whether the choice of a left-handed shot was reasonable and that relates to the circumstances concerning a right handed one.  The  success of a left handed shot says nothing about that.   The rule is designed to ensure that a player cannot manufacture  a situation whereby he can take relief, for example by adopting an unusually and improbably wide stance so that his little toe just touches an obstruction.  In the OP's situation, you would have to consider whether the player was justified in claiming he had to play a left handed shot.


I’m sure I’m wrong as it appears I always am.  But my wording (was the players choice of intended swing clearly unreasonable) comes directly from the interpretation.  Your framing of whether it is necessary is different and does not accord with the interpretation, as far as I read it. 

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6 minutes ago, Colin L said:

The question is whether the choice of a left-handed shot was reasonable and that relates to the circumstances concerning a right handed one.  The  success of a left handed shot says nothing about that.   The rule is designed to ensure that a player cannot manufacture  a situation whereby he can take relief, for example by adopting an unusually and improbably wide stance so that his little toe just touches an obstruction.  In the OP's situation, you would have to consider whether the player was justified in claiming he had to play a left handed shot.

 

Why would the player have to be "justified" in playing a left handed shot?

 

Am I not free to play either a left handed or right handed shot from the middle of the fairway without any obstructions present any time I feel like it?

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