A player’s ball lies on the apron of the putting green and there is a sprinkler head on their intended line of putt. May they take relief from the sprinkler head?
It is common for Committees and golf courses to introduce a Local Rule when there are sprinkler heads close to the putting green. This is the specimen Local Rule provided in Appendix l of the Rules book;
“Relief from interference by an immovable obstruction may be taken under Rule 24-2. In addition, if a ball lies off the putting green but not in a hazard and an immovable obstruction on or within two club-lengths of the putting green and within two club-lengths of the ball intervenes on the line of play between the ball and the hole; the player may take relief as follows:
The ball must be lifted and dropped at the nearest point to where the ball lay that (a) is not nearer the hole, (b) avoids intervention and (c) is not in a hazard or on a putting green. The ball may be cleaned when lifted.”
So ladies now we have seen the picture, read the local Rule what does this means to us and what do we do?
1. We see from the picture that the sprinkler head is directly on our line of putt and the ball is within two club lengths of the sprinkler head. This means that we can, if we want, use the local Rule that Discovery Bay is putting on our score card.
2. You may drop your ball within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, not nearer the hole, the ball may be cleaned when lifted under this Rule but how do we do this?
3. a) First do not pick up your ball until you are SURE you want to take relief. Once you have pick it up you cannot change your mind.
b) Determining the nearest point of relief will depend on whether you are right or left-handed
c) You should take your putter; take an address position where there is no interference from the sprinkler head. The nearest point of relief is where the club head is grounded and is the closest spot in play, no nearer the hole, free from the obstruction. At this point, the specific spot on the course has been determined.
d) You should mark this spot with a tee and you may now get the longest club out of your bag to measure the one club length. Mark the club length with a second tee.
e) If you are sure you want to proceed pick up your ball, and drop it within that club length you have marked Once you drop the ball and the ball hits the course within the measured one club length and does not move closer to the hole, or does not roll more than two club lengths your ball is in play.
f) If the ball rolls closer to the hole, more than two club lengths or there is still interference you have to do it all over again. After two attempts you may place the ball where it first hit the course as long as it is within the club length you measured and not closer to the hole.
You may not choose the nicest point of relief; you may only drop within a club-length of the nearest point of relief, not nearer the hole. For this reason you should always determine where the nearest point is before you lift your ball, in case it happens to be in a position that is even more unfavorable than your current lie.
I hope this helps you putt happy