I Play Left-Handed to get FREE RELIEF from Cart Path and Tree | Golf Rules Explained

In this video, I explain a little known golf rule that can save you big time. Due to an obstruction from the tree, I decide to play left-handed. As a result, I am now standing on the cart path (an abnormal course condition) and the golf rules allow me to get free relief. This drastically changes the outcome of the hole!

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⛳️ Movable Obstructions Part 1: https://youtu.be/MNTLzvgogOw
⛳️ Movable Obstructions Part 2: https://youtu.be/3RmC6Fcgw20
⛳️ I Marked the Wrong Ball on the Putting Green: https://youtu.be/9GCnhVFqOZk
⛳️ I Missed a Putt that was Conceded. Does it count?: https://youtu.be/Yb1cjNaX_TU
⛳️ How to Properly Mark a Ball Before Lifting It: https://youtu.be/UahDK2BVpzo
⛳️ Can you fix/repair a pitch mark on the fringe/off the green?: https://youtu.be/Zkxx8C_pcpY
⛳️ I Accidentally Move my Ball on the Putting Green: https://youtu.be/Xj_QIj1vZPM

📖 RULE 16.1b Relief for Ball in General Area
If a player’s ball is in the general area and there is interference by an abnormal course condition on the course, the player may take free relief by dropping the original ball or another ball in this relief area (see Rule 14.3):

Reference Point: The nearest point of complete relief in the general area.

Size of Relief Area Measured from Reference Point: One club-length, but with these limits:

Limits on Location of Relief Area:
— Must be in the general area,
— Must not be nearer the hole than the reference point, and
— There must be complete relief from all interference by the abnormal course condition.

📖 RULE 16.1a(3)/1 Obstruction Interfering with Abnormal Stroke May Not Preclude Player From Taking Relief

In some situations a player may have to adopt an abnormal swing, stance or direction of play in playing his or her ball to accommodate a given situation. If the abnormal stroke is not clearly unreasonable given the circumstances, the player is permitted to take free relief under Rule 16.1.

For example, in the general area, a right-handed player’s ball is so close to a boundary object on the left side of a hole that he or she must make a left-handed swing to play towards the hole. In making the left-handed swing, the player’s stance is interfered with by an immovable obstruction.

The player is allowed relief from the immovable obstruction since use of a left-handed swing is not clearly unreasonable in the circumstances.

After the relief procedure for the left-handed swing is complete, the player may then use a normal right-handed swing for the next stroke. If the obstruction interferes with the right-handed swing, the player may take relief for the right-handed swing under Rule 16.1b or play the ball as it lies.

📖 RULE 16.1a(3)/2 – Player May Not Use Clearly Unreasonable Stroke to Get Relief from Condition

A player may not use a clearly unreasonable stroke to get relief from an abnormal course condition. If the player’s stroke is clearly unreasonable given the circumstances, relief under Rule 16.1 is not allowed, and he or she must either play the ball as it lies or take unplayable ball relief.

For example, in the general area, a right-handed player’s ball is in a bad lie. A nearby immovable obstruction would not interfere with the player’s normal right-handed stroke, but would interfere with a left-handed stroke. The player states that he or she is going to make the next stroke left-handed and believes that, since the obstruction would interfere with such a stroke, Rule 16.1b allows relief.

However, since the only reason for the player to use a left-handed stroke is to escape a bad lie by taking relief, use of the left-handed stroke is clearly unreasonable and the player is not allowed to take relief under Rule 16.1b (Rule 16.1a(3)).

The same principles would apply to the use of a clearly unreasonable stance, direction of play or the choice of a club.

#golf #golfrules #golfrulesexplained #cartpath #freerelief


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    36 Replies to “I Play Left-Handed to get FREE RELIEF from Cart Path and Tree | Golf Rules Explained”

    1. Similar scenarios happened to me a few times while playing on Tour, but this exact scenario arose for me while I was playing in the China Open back in 03, my playing partners didnt agree with me asking for relief so we called for a rules official who promptly agreed and gave me relief under the rules. I could break 80 left handed, so yes, hitting it left handed is reasonable considering the position of the ball, thus the drop is reasonable. I knocked it on the green and made par, then birdied the next hole (72nd) to finish T10.
      Knowing the rules well isn't just a good idea, its necessary if you're a serious golfer.

    2. Adam Thor says:

      Question for you. There was a case during a tournament where a guys nearest point of relief was inside a bush. Even with a club length he was still inside the bush. He stated he didn’t have to drop inside the bush and should get relief from the bush when determine his drop.

      How do the rules apply to this scenario?

    3. Dallas1234 says:

      This one is a funny one, because for us regular golfers, or I'd argue a large majority, striking it left handed would be an unreasonable stroke, but how would you decide it? In a tournament, I guess the benefit of doubt is in favor of the player, but if you're playing with your regular golfing partners, who knows you can't pull off that shot, it would be a no go I'm guessing 😀

    4. Paris says:

      I only hit fairways and greens so I’ll never need this rule.

    5. nice tip! would have thought you had to take the stroke as a lefty too even after moving

    6. UnknownMoses says:

      3:45 but you hit the ball right handed when taking left handed relief thought you had to hit left handed since you committed to left handed when taking relief from the cart path. Also since the cart path is your relief object shouldn’t it be 1club Len from cart part not the tree??

    7. I think that my playing partners would consider hitting the ball left handed from that position, with the back of a right-handed club, to be unreasonable. It would be likely to bury itself in the pine needles. Carrying a left-handed club in your bag is not a bad idea for a right-hander (and vice versa): it would make such a proposed shot more reasonable, and could be used in other situations where no free relief would be available from a difficult position.

    8. RiverRuns NC says:

      Another great one Jay!

      I swear when you said “I must take relief as a left-handed player..”. I would have thought you must then play that shot as a left-hander. 😂😂

    9. 76MUTiger says:

      This is an awesome example of knowing the rules and using them properly to your benefit. Thanks for an excellent instructional video. You have inspired me to spend more time learning the rules of the game we love.

    10. John Chang says:

      Can you really get a left handed releave and play right handed?

    11. SANJAY SONI says:

      Dear Jay. I have a query. In the video above suppose the ball was in a position where a straight line from the ball to the flag would be such that it might be through the tree and other things are the same. Also I, by playing left handed may not be able to attack the flag but the straight line is to the right edge of the green/ green side bunker. Can I seek relief under this rule as you showed above? Please do reply. I had a big argument yesterday.

    12. Little John says:

      Huge help Jay thank you!!

    13. IE C says:

      Jay, you should make an app. On the course if something comes into question pull out your phone and search…..might piss off the group behind you, but F them 🙂

    14. Technically u are cheating because you were NOT going to hit that ball left handed at any time. So you are tricking yourself into thinking that u are not CHEATING! dont cheat unless u are a friggen cheater. ESPECIALLY when u decided not to hit left handed after all. CHEATER 100%

    15. Great video thank you

    16. Man Bearpig says:

      Really think they should adjust this rule to read that your next shot after taking relief must be played in the same way as you nominated to get relief in the first place.
      Ie if you are claiming relief because you want to play left hand then after you have take that relief your next shot must be played left hand. That would put a stop to this nonsense.

    17. I would have thought that once you took relief as a left hand you would need to swing in like-manner (lefty) once you dropped. I'm surprised they don't make a differentiation on that.

    18. LeeseMedia says:

      Wtf.. I thought you'd have to play it as a lefty ?
      Is that for real !?

    19. Andy Clark says:

      Great video Jay. I knew there was something in the rules to that effect, with conditions that stopped the rule being abused, but you’ve explained it and shown it so well, there’s no way I’ll forget it now. Thank you so much. I wish you the very best of luck with your excellent channel.

    20. DNA39 says:

      I'm surprised your not made to hit the ball with the hand you us to get relief. Definitely a good loophole to know. I just see a bunch of drunk hoosiers at my course getting into it over this rule. Lol. So many fights I've stopped over the years as a superintendent, because of controversial rules like this. A lot of folks might have a hard time believing this, but when a lot of money is riding on the hole, it can get intense. I don't mean a few hundred bucks, I mean wad's of hundreds get thrown around,10's of thousands of dollars. It's insane!

    21. So you get relief based on your need to play the ball left-handed but once relief is attained, one is not required to actually play the ball left-handed from the new position
      Good to know.

    22. Dave John says:

      I can hear my playing partners rolling their eyes when I try explaining this one…I think I'll save 5 minutes and hit it best I can. Was a good explanation for competition play.

    23. I love this rule, just i think for the most clubmembers i will play my rounds with in a competition, this would lead to a lot of discussion on the course why i am doing the things as you just explained

    24. Love that magic trick when you changed the iron into a driver 🙂

    25. Matt Taylor says:

      Hi. If a short cart path runs perpendicular to direction of play and the ball comes to rest on it. Is the NPCR still able to be taken laterally or would that be back behind the path now in this instance? Cheers

    26. Jean Dupont says:

      Because your feet are on a cart path, you can drop ? Rules are strange.

    27. So you take relief s a left handed and play the shot right handed. Pretty close to cheating.

    28. JJ says:

      But then you hit it as a right hander? Is that okay?

    29. Gregory V says:

      Imagine someone trying this crap when you're playing for money

    30. You just said only thing is you have to play left handed then you choose to play it right handed

    31. What if you carried 13 RH clubs and 1 LH club. (I used to do this in case I landed under trees and needed a left handed shot). In your last senario where there was no interference from the path if you played it right handed but would be if you played it left handed, couldn't you say I wanted to use my LH club for the shot and then be entitled to relief.

    32. Bryan Huus says:

      With todays golf shoes relief from standing on a path should be eliminated from the rules. It was meant to stop slipping while wearing nails.

    33. This rule is B.S…. if you take relief as a left hander you should have to play the shot left handed.. i call BS on this one

    34. You need to swing left-handed after dropping the ball if you use the lefthanded stance to get the relief, right?! (If you played with me in that situation I would have argued that the last rule you highlighted was in effect otherwise.) Might not be a rule but morally that's the way I would have played it. (According to my opinion the rule actually says that you need to make the shot to get relief – At least between the lines.) You still need to "fairly strike the ball" according to 10:1a, right?! While not violating the 161a(3)/2 unreasonable strokes to get relief (If you have chosen to do it lefthanded to get the relief. I really can't see how you can switch back before you make the shot after that.) Se below if you don't get my reasoning. (You have better options.)

      However, if you would have said that you wanted to play it righthanded and wanted to go towards the tee; Might be the best option, right?! Then you would have gotten free relief from the cart path anyway.

      In other words, you don't need to pretend to play lefthanded if you want to get that particular relief.

    35. That is a great description.

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