My ball is against an out of bounds stake, is it in bounds or out of bounds?

A ball is out of bounds when ALL of it is out of bounds (OB).   If any part of the ball touches the course the ball is in bounds.   When OB is defined by white stakes the out of bounds line is determined by the nearest inside points of the stakes at ground level.   When a line is used to define OB the line itself is out of bounds.   So if your ball is touching the OB stake but a part of it is on the course side of the inside point of the stake then the ball is in bounds.   However if all of the ball is outside this imaginary line then the ball is out of bounds.    The stakes along the left hand side of our 7th hole and to the right of the 18th are good examples.   Make an honest call by drawing an imaginary line between the stakes to see if your ball is in or out of bounds!   OB is often defined by walls, fences and railings which are permanent, fixed structures    For this reason stakes defining OB have the same fixed status and they cannot be removed by a player if they interfere with the lie of the ball or next shot.    It is a good idea to have a white line drawn between stakes to avoid any disagreement and we usually do this at the 18th hole once inter-club matches get underway.   There is no free relief for a ball up against a boundary wall or boundary stake though you may stand out of bounds to play a ball in bounds.   If you need to take relief from interference by a boundary wall or stake you must proceed under the unplayable ball rule.

A ball is in a water hazard or bunker if any part of it touches the hazard – see the Definitions at the beginning of the Rule Book – but that will be a topic for another blog!

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