When your ball is interfered with by immovable course ‘furniture’ like distance markers, signs and wooden fixtures

Anytime your ball comes to rest beside a sign, a bench or any kind of immovable obstruction you are entitled to free relief unless your ball is in a water hazard.   Generally distance markers, seats and other course furniture are immovable and if the lie of the ball or the area of your intended stance or swing are interfered with by the obstruction you may drop the ball within one club length of the nearest point of relief from the obstruction.   Let’s say your ball has come to rest beside one of the wooden distance markers that are all over our course.   Leave the ball where it is while you find your nearest point of relief.   Assume a normal stance in the direction of play with the club you are likely to use then move away from the distance marker no nearer the hole until you have no interference from it for your swing or stance.   The point on the ground where you rest your club with a normal stance with no interference is the nearest point of relief.   Mark it with a tee then measure one club length from it.   You may use your driver to measure the club length then drop the ball within this club length.   Once the ball is at rest it is in play as long as it is no nearer the hole than where it was originally and it can roll up to two club lengths from where it hits the ground when you drop it.   Did you see Peter Uihlein play a shot with one foot on a bunker step when his ball was in heavy rough above a bunker in Carton House?   His stance was interfered with by the steps and he was entitled to free relief from them.   However it did not seem to occur to him that he had this option and he played a very poor shot resulting in a bogey at the hole.   Howard Clark in commentary wondered if he was aware that he could take relief.    You are entitled to relief from an immovable obstruction when it interferes with your line of play on the putting green only for example when there are sprinklers on a green and if this happens place your ball at the nearest point of relief.   There is no relief from an immovable obstruction like a concrete pipe if your ball is in a water hazard.   Rule 24 covers relief from obstructions and always check local rules on a card as some may be declared integral parts of the course.

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