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Immovable Obstruction - Immersed Sprinkler Head


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This is at least the third time I have experienced this, and am still unclear on the correct ruling.  

At my club, lots of the sprinklers are sunken down a decent amount.  If the ball comes to rest on the edge of the sprinkler hole, do you get relief?

I had this one the other day.  I did not take relief, because I just couldnt justify the sprinkler being in my swing.  The cutout for the sprinkler likely was, but even that I wouldnt for sure justify.  

This was was actually a decent distance away, what if it is on the edge? Is the cutout for the sprinkler considered part of the immovable obstruction?

 

 

68AA4CCF-6748-45A0-A009-AF7FE1252E7A_4_5005_c.jpeg

DAF183CD-5692-42E5-AE7E-8E48F3ED12AB_1_105_c.jpeg

5E0D5BAB-A1F6-482A-ADEF-DE1BDD98AE40_4_5005_c.jpeg

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R16.1 tells us, in part:

 

When Relief Is Allowed
(1) Meaning of Interference by Abnormal Course Condition. Interference exists when any one of these is true:


The player’s ball touches or is in or on an abnormal course condition,

 

An abnormal course condition physically interferes with the player’s area of intended stance or area of intended swing, or

 

Only when the ball is on the putting green, an abnormal course condition on or off the putting green intervenes on the line of play.

 

If the abnormal course condition is close enough to distract the player but does not meet any of these requirements, there is no interference under this Rule.

 

https://www.usga.org/rules/rules-and-clarifications/rules-and-clarifications.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=16&subrulenum=1

 

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I would probably give free relief if the stroke was in the direction of play indicated by the red arrow, but not if the direction of play was at right angles to that indicated direction of play.  Circumstances alter cases.

The hole that the sprinkler head is sitting in could be considered a hole made by a greenskeeper.

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18 minutes ago, rzitup said:

This is at least the third time I have experienced this, and am still unclear on the correct ruling.  

At my club, lots of the sprinklers are sunken down a decent amount.  If the ball comes to rest on the edge of the sprinkler hole, do you get relief?

I had this one the other day.  I did not take relief, because I just couldnt justify the sprinkler being in my swing.  The cutout for the sprinkler likely was, but even that I wouldnt for sure justify.  

This was was actually a decent distance away, what if it is on the edge? Is the cutout for the sprinkler considered part of the immovable obstruction?

 

 

68AA4CCF-6748-45A0-A009-AF7FE1252E7A_4_5005_c.jpeg

DAF183CD-5692-42E5-AE7E-8E48F3ED12AB_1_105_c.jpeg

5E0D5BAB-A1F6-482A-ADEF-DE1BDD98AE40_4_5005_c.jpeg

 

Personally I wouldn't take relief from any of those if for no other reason than not wanting to waste time getting an official over & slowing up play or, after the fact, the committee deciding "Sorry, penalty".

 

I assume in the 2nd pic the line of flight is the same as the others - i.e. my feet would be on the left of the sprinkler while the ball is on the other side of it.

 

However, if the player has a rather steep angle of attack, in the last pic, I'd likely consider his judgment of the IO interfering with his stroke "reasonable". :classic_wink:

 

 

 

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In order for that sprinkler head to be in the area of intended swing, the player would have to hit the ball about 4 inches behind the ball, and at least 2 inches below the surface. 
 

I’m not buying it. There’s no way a competent player, that is not a complete beginner, would ever strike the sprinkler head. 
 

If the line of play was the opposite direction, I would certainly consider giving relief if the player took deep divots. I, myself, certainly wouldn’t take relief as I’ve never taken a 2” deep divot. That sprinkler head would never be contacted by my club on a “normal” swing. 

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48 minutes ago, rzitup said:

 

I had this one the other day.  I did not take relief, because I just couldnt justify the sprinkler being in my swingThe cutout for the sprinkler likely was, but even that I wouldnt for sure justify.  

 

 

29 minutes ago, rogolf said:

 

The hole that the sprinkler head is sitting in could be considered a hole made by a greenskeeper.

 

As mentioned by rogolf, this would be IMHO a hole made by a greenskeeper. So the relevant question is whether the cutout/hole affected your swing. 

 

To a degree there is a judgment call here, but I think you answered it yourself. Based on line of play and the fact that you plan to hit ball before ground, the hole should NOT affect your stance or swing. The only way it would, would be is if you have a regular tendency to chunk a ball so bad that you're hitting 2.5+" behind the ball. 

 

But you as a player IMHO seemed to realize that you'd have to stretch it quite a bit to justify it affecting your swing, so I'd say in this case not taking relief is correct. 

 

Move the ball back 1" (closer to the cutout/hole), however, and I think you'd be plenty justified to take relief. So it's a bit of an edge case. 

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I can’t find anything in the Rules that say that hole was made by maintenance staff. Someone would have to show me that.
 

The closest thing would be “laying pipelines” but that implies WHILE they are “laying” the pipeline it’d be GUR. 
 

In fact, in the clarifications, number 1, an old hole plug that is sunk under the surface of the green ISN’T GUR. And that was certainly a hole, at one time, made by the maintenance staff. I think this situation would be closer to that as the maintenance staff didn’t actively cut the hole the sprinkler is in. It is simply sunken. Just like the clarification. 

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15 minutes ago, Augster said:

I can’t find anything in the Rules that say that hole was made by maintenance staff. Someone would have to show me that.
 

The closest thing would be “laying pipelines” but that implies WHILE they are “laying” the pipeline it’d be GUR. 
 

In fact, in the clarifications, number 1, an old hole plug that is sunk under the surface of the green ISN’T GUR. And that was certainly a hole, at one time, made by the maintenance staff. I think this situation would be closer to that as the maintenance staff didn’t actively cut the hole the sprinkler is in. It is simply sunken. Just like the clarification. 

 

This referee agrees with the real expert, rogolf, that it meets the Definition of Ground Under Repair. https://www.usga.org/rules/rules-and-clarifications/rules-and-clarifications.html#!ruletype=fr&section=definitions&subrulenum=23 😉

Knowledge of the Rules is part of the applied skill set which a player must use to play competitive golf.

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2 hours ago, Augster said:

In order for that sprinkler head to be in the area of intended swing, the player would have to hit the ball about 4 inches behind the ball, and at least 2 inches below the surface. 
 

I’m not buying it. There’s no way a competent player, that is not a complete beginner, would ever strike the sprinkler head. 
 

If the line of play was the opposite direction, I would certainly consider giving relief if the player took deep divots. I, myself, certainly wouldn’t take relief as I’ve never taken a 2” deep divot. That sprinkler head would never be contacted by my club on a “normal” swing. 

 

That would be my view as well.

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2 hours ago, rogolf said:

I would probably give free relief if the stroke was in the direction of play indicated by the red arrow, but not if the direction of play was at right angles to that indicated direction of play.  Circumstances alter cases.

The hole that the sprinkler head is sitting in could be considered a hole made by a greenskeeper.

 

Knowing it is a photograph we are relying our thoughts on, would you still care to reason your ruling?

 

The way I see it there is nothing hindering a club to have a pure contact at the ball nor any obstacle hindering the follow through.

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2 hours ago, sui generis said:

R16.1 tells us, in part:

 

When Relief Is Allowed
(1) Meaning of Interference by Abnormal Course Condition. Interference exists when any one of these is true:


The player’s ball touches or is in or on an abnormal course condition,

 

An abnormal course condition physically interferes with the player’s area of intended stance or area of intended swing, or

 

Only when the ball is on the putting green, an abnormal course condition on or off the putting green intervenes on the line of play.

 

If the abnormal course condition is close enough to distract the player but does not meet any of these requirements, there is no interference under this Rule.

 

https://www.usga.org/rules/rules-and-clarifications/rules-and-clarifications.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=16&subrulenum=1

 

 

I believe the OP asked for a ruling and not what the Rules say.

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1 hour ago, sui generis said:

 

This referee agrees with the real expert, rogolf, that it meets the Definition of Ground Under Repair. https://www.usga.org/rules/rules-and-clarifications/rules-and-clarifications.html#!ruletype=fr&section=definitions&subrulenum=23 😉

 

I am sure the hole meets the Definition, but again, what would be your ruling? You always seem to dig up the correct Rule for any question posed but you do not answer the question presented.

 

Edited by Mr. Bean
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2 hours ago, Augster said:

The question is, does it interfere with the lie, stance, or area of intended swing?

 

Certainly not the lie. 
 

I’d guess not the stance and also not the area of intended swing. 
 

So no relief. 
 

If one of those conditions do exist, then you’d get relief. 

The lie is not mentioned in the Rule, but it doesn't have to be as where the ball lies is rather obviously in the area of your intended swing.  If you are certain that there is not interference to the lie, then you can be  certain there isn't to the area of intended swing,.

 

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9 minutes ago, Mr. Bean said:

 

Knowing it is a photograph we are relying our thoughts on, would you still care to reason your ruling?

 

The way I see it there is nothing hindering a club to have a pure contact at the ball nor any obstacle hindering the follow through.

My reasoning is that the vertical part of the "hole" behind the ball could interfere with the intended stroke and result in player injury.

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2 minutes ago, rogolf said:

My reasoning is that the vertical part of the "hole" behind the ball could interfere with the intended stroke and result in player injury.

 

Fair enough. Sure would depend on skill level of the player as well as the club to be used. Could be either way.

 

The edge of the "hole" is ground, though, and that is what us golfers tend to whach most of the time when making a stroke.

 

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20 minutes ago, Colin L said:

The lie is not mentioned in the Rule, but it doesn't have to be as where the ball lies is rather obviously in the area of your intended swing.  If you are certain that there is not interference to the lie, then you can be  certain there isn't to the area of intended swing,.

 

 

I read the first sentence text seven times and still failed to understand it...

 

The 2nd sentence is a bit strange as the area of intended swing can be interfered regardless of the lie, but I guess it was directly linked only to the lie. Which brings us to the 1st sentence, which I did not understand...

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39 minutes ago, Mr. Bean said:

 

I believe the OP asked for a ruling and not what the Rules say.

 

His question is a good one. of course, but the thread drifted into what constitutes an abnormal course condition. Eligibility for relief based on lie, stance and swing had been answered (twice) already.

 

I wouldn't offer a ruling based on an everchanging narative and a photo. 😉

Knowledge of the Rules is part of the applied skill set which a player must use to play competitive golf.

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43 minutes ago, Mr. Bean said:

 

Fair enough. Sure would depend on skill level of the player as well as the club to be used. Could be either way.

 

The edge of the "hole" is ground, though, and that is what us golfers tend to whach most of the time when making a stroke.

 

 

10.3 index

200 yards to pin

7 wood

 

I was in between "no way I could hit the end of the indentation" and "in my mind I just might and break my wrist".

Which of course led to me not attacking the swing properly and shoving the ball 170 right of the fairway into the death bunker.

 

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4 minutes ago, rzitup said:

 

10.3 index

200 yards to pin

7 wood

 

I was in between "no way I could hit the end of the indentation" and "in my mind I just might and break my wrist".

Which of course led to me not attacking the swing properly and shoving the ball 170 right of the fairway into the death bunker.

 

 

The Rules appreciate your dilemma;

 

R20.1c(3) Playing Two Balls When Uncertain What to Do. A player who is uncertain about the right procedure while playing a hole may complete the hole with two balls without penalty . . . .

 

https://www.usga.org/rules/rules-and-clarifications/rules-and-clarifications.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=20&subrulenum=1

 

 

Knowledge of the Rules is part of the applied skill set which a player must use to play competitive golf.

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3 minutes ago, sui generis said:

 

The Rules appreciate your dilemma;

 

R20.1c(3) Playing Two Balls When Uncertain What to Do. A player who is uncertain about the right procedure while playing a hole may complete the hole with two balls without penalty . . . .

 

https://www.usga.org/rules/rules-and-clarifications/rules-and-clarifications.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=20&subrulenum=1

 

 

 

Who is going to make the call if I play two balls?  Isn't this simply a judgement call on my part?

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12 minutes ago, rzitup said:

 

Who is going to make the call if I play two balls?  Isn't this simply a judgement call on my part?

 

The Committee and for many players just having fun out on the course that might well be the youth at the cash register since the boss is out giving lessons. He'll be your friend.

Knowledge of the Rules is part of the applied skill set which a player must use to play competitive golf.

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1 minute ago, sui generis said:

 

The Committee and for many players just having fun out on the course that might well be the youth at the cash register since the boss is out giving lessons. He'll be your friend.

 

Yes, I have experienced the asking of the propshop about a ruling many times!

 

I still dont understand the thought of playing two balls...

Play two balls, then go to the committee and tell them I played two balls because it was close, and maybe I should have taken a drop and maybe I shouldnt have?  How will they decide without having been there, see the actual lie, and then asking me what I thought?

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1 minute ago, rzitup said:

 

Yes, I have experienced the asking of the propshop about a ruling many times!

 

I still dont understand the thought of playing two balls...

Play two balls, then go to the committee and tell them I played two balls because it was close, and maybe I should have taken a drop and maybe I shouldnt have?  How will they decide without having been there, see the actual lie, and then asking me what I thought?

 

Chances are they'll look at that photo on your phone and if you followed the procedure correctly, say that score with the ball with which to took relief counts. 

 

As a referee this happens once or twice each season. A player comes to the scoring table and tells us that he played two balls on a hole because he was unsure of the correct procedure. Usually we sort it out there, but sometimes we take a cart out to the scene of the crime to make the best ruling. It's a good Rule.

Knowledge of the Rules is part of the applied skill set which a player must use to play competitive golf.

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It's a judgment issue, influenced by the player's intended stroke. If it was me facing this stroke, my answers in order would be 1) maybe 2) no (assuming LOP is upward or downward) 3) yes. And the Rules don't require me to seek anyone else's opinion - but anyone else can take my action to the Committee if they think I'm breaching a rule. 

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44 minutes ago, antip said:

It's a judgment issue, influenced by the player's intended stroke. If it was me facing this stroke, my answers in order would be 1) maybe 2) no (assuming LOP is upward or downward) 3) yes. And the Rules don't require me to seek anyone else's opinion - but anyone else can take my action to the Committee if they think I'm breaching a rule. 

 

This makes sense to me.  I couldnt really solve why I would play two balls if I determined one way or another whether I could get relief.  

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57 minutes ago, rzitup said:

 

This makes sense to me.  I couldnt really solve why I would play two balls if I determined one way or another whether I could get relief.  

 

Again, here's why a player might play two balls, from the Rule:

 

A player who is uncertain about the right procedure while playing a hole may complete the hole with two balls without penalty . . . .

 

https://www.usga.org/rules/rules-and-clarifications/rules-and-clarifications.html#!ruletype=fr&section=rule&rulenum=20&subrulenum=1

Knowledge of the Rules is part of the applied skill set which a player must use to play competitive golf.

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