No.12 Nearest Point of Relief

Question 1:A player's ball lies in casual water, as above. Where is the nearest point of relief from which they may drop their ball within one club-length; A, B, C or D;
a) if they are right-handed?
b) if they are left-handed?

Answer: a) Point A, b) Point C.

Points B and D are nearer the hole then where the ball is at rest. Point C cannot be the nearest point of relief for a right-handed player, as they would still have to take their stance in casual water. Similarly, point A for a left-handed player.
The player may drop their 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. If a ball to be dropped or placed under this Rule is not immediately recoverable, another ball may be substituted.

Question 2: Where is the nearest point of relief from the ground under repair area for a right-handed player?
a) Point A, in the middle of the trunk of the tree.
b) Point B, immediately behind the tree.
c) Point C, just clear of the tree.
Answer: a) Point A, in the middle of the trunk of the tree.
In order to find the nearest point of relief from ground under repair (an abnormal ground condition) the player must take their stance at the nearest point to where their ball lies that avoids the interference from the area of ground under repair. The nearest point of relief is where their ball would be positioned with this stance. Note that the player should use the club with which they would have made their next stroke if the condition were not there to simulate the address position, direction of play and swing for such a stroke.
Remember, that Rule 25-1b says that a player may take relief from an abnormal ground condition. It does not say that they must take relief. So, in the photo above the player would probably be better off taking their next stroke from where their ball was at rest in the ground under repair, rather than taking the available relief. However, there may be a Local Rule making it mandatory to take relief. If you don't already know whether there is such a Local Rule you should always check before lifting your ball.
Another 'Rhodes Rules School' Q&A will follow next week.
Good golfing,
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