Determining Nearest Point of Relief

Playing By The Rules

In Rule 24-2b, Immovable Obstruction Relief, we see that relief through the green is granted from the interference.  The player must lift the ball and drop it, without penalty, within one club-length of and not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief.  What is “nearest point of relief” and how is it determined?  May the player use any club, address position, direction of play or swing in determining the nearest point of relief?

In determining the nearest point of relief in an accurate manner it is recommended that the player use the club, address position, direction of play and swing (right or left-handed) that he or she would have used had the obstruction or condition not been there.  For example, the player has interference from an immovable obstruction and, were it not for the obstruction, the player would have used a right-handed swing with a 5-iron to play the ball from its original position towards the green.  To determine the nearest point of relief accurately, he should use a right-handed swing with a 5-iron and the direction of play should be towards the green.

The nearest point of relief is defined as the reference point for taking relief without penalty from interference by an immovable obstruction (Rule 24-2), an abnormal ground condition (Rule 25-1) or a wrong putting green (Rule 25-3).  It is the point on the course nearest where the ball lies: (i) that is not nearer the hole, and (ii) where, if the ball was so positioned, no interference by the condition from which relief is sought would exist for the stroke the player would have made from the original position if the condition were not there.

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Frank Guastella, PGA Rules Official Michigan Section PGA
Staff Writer, Mike Fay Golf
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