What happens in this waste bunker, hosepipe golf ruling?

Golf Rules - the importance of reading a rule in its entirety...

Andy Roberts's picture
Mon, 24 Feb 2020
What happens in this waste bunker, hosepipe golf ruling?

In this article, rather than focusing on a specific Rule, I thought I would highlight the importance of ensuring you read the relevant Rule in its entirety before deciding the appropriate course of action, writes PGA Fellow Professional Ashley Weller.

To highlight the importance of this let me take you through a recent ruling I was involved in...

The player’s ball was in a sandy waste area (general area) some 50 yards left of the fairway and lying just outside a bush.

The player claimed that in taking his stance for his next shot that he would be standing on a semi-buried hosepipe and was asking for a free drop.

So, dive into the book and we find under Rule 16.1a(1) where relief is allowed from an Abnormal Course Condition (Including Immovable Obstruction) that interference exists if (in part) "an abnormal course condition physically interferes with the player’s area of intended stance or area of intended swing."

Therefore the player is entitled to relief without penalty, right? Wrong!

Keep reading, because Rule 16.1(3) states that there is no relief when it is clearly unreasonable to play the ball because "…interference exists only because a player chooses a club, type of stance or swing or direction of play that is clearly unreasonable under the circumstances."

As a referee, it was my duty to ask the player what shot he was contemplating that necessitated him standing on the immovable obstruction (hose).

The shot described to me was an 80-yard power hook round a tree off a sandy, downhill lie, and the direction of this shot would entail tangling with a thin branch of the bush that lay a couple of inches in front of the ball.

This is a difficult situation for a referee because it does involve a judgement call on the player’s intent. Is he seriously considering this shot or is he manufacturing a scenario to take advantage of a potential free drop?

My job is to ask myself that if the hose had not been there would the player actually take this shot on? In this case my decision is that it was a totally unreasonable shot as it had a very small chance of being pulled off and had the pipe not been there he would have pitched back to the fairway (therefore not being stood on the pipe) or taken an unplayable lie.

I therefore denied relief and was vindicated when the player decided to ‘show me’ by taking the shot on and promptly duffed it 50 yards into the adjacent penalty area.

Moral of the story – read the entire Rule!

Join the Champions of the Mena Tour at The Troon International Pro-Am from 22 to 28 March, 2020 at Al Hamra & Al Zorah Golf Clubs.

https://menatour.golf/tournamentsCLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION