No.58 Interference from Ropes
 

 
During a period of wet weather a Committee roped off approaches to putting greens to guide players to the sides with their trolleys.

Question 1:

A player struck their ball from the rough, 120 yards from the putting green. Their ball, which was heading for the green, hit a rope and fell to the ground. How must the player proceed?
a) They must cancel the stroke, drop a ball at the point where they made the stroke from and play again.
b) They must cancel the stroke, place a ball at the point where they made the stroke from and play again.
c) They must play their ball as it lies.

Question 2:

Could the player have gone forward and lowered the poles and the ropes to the ground to avoid hitting them?

Answer 1:
c) They must play their ball as it lies.

Rule 19-1:

If a player's ball in motion is accidentally deflected or stopped by any outside agency, it is a rub of the green, there is no penalty and the ball must be played as it lies (there are exceptions, but they do not apply here).
Answer 2:
Yes, but the player should ensure that they do not unduly delay play.

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A young tree had recently been transplanted and was supported by a triangle of stakes with supporting ropes. The ropes were secured to both the stakes and the tree and were not easily movable.

Question 3:

May the player take relief from the rope, which is clearly in their intended line of play?

Answer 3:
No. The rope is an immovable obstruction on the line of play, for which there is no relief.

Note: Rule 24-2a confirms that intervention on the line of play is not, of itself, interference from an immovable obstruction.