Immovable Obstruction Golf Rule falls under rule 16 relief from abnormal course conditions. This is a good rule for a golf rules quiz because not every situation is black and white. Your golf stance or golf swing have to be interfered with. It’s not enough that it’s only a distraction.
I’ve seen Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka both get no relief in situations just like the one in this golf rules video.
The USGA rules official said the object did not interfere with their swing and made them play the ball as it lies.
In a friendly match I’d be inclined to give relief. In a golf tournament I’m not so sure.
Rule 16 – Relief from Abnormal Course Conditions (Including Immovable Obstructions), Dangerous Animal Condition, Embedded Ball
Purpose of Rule: Rule 16 covers when and how the player may take free relief by playing a ball from a different place, such as when there is interference by an abnormal course condition or a dangerous animal condition.
These conditions are not treated as part of the challenge of playing the course, and free relief is generally allowed except in a penalty area.
The player normally takes relief by dropping a ball in a relief area based on the nearest point of complete relief.
This Rule also covers free relief when a player’s ball is embedded in its own pitch mark in the general area.
16.1 Abnormal Course Conditions (Including Immovable Obstructions)
This Rule covers free relief that is allowed from interference by animal holes, ground under repair, immovable obstructions or temporary water:
These are collectively called abnormal course conditions, but each has a separate Definition.
This Rule does not give relief from movable obstructions (a different type of free relief is allowed under Rule 15.2a) or boundary objects or integral objects (no free relief is allowed).
a. When Relief Is Allowed
(1) Meaning of Interference by Abnormal Course Condition. Interference exists when any one of these is true:
The player’s ball touches or is in or on an abnormal course condition,
An abnormal course condition physically interferes with the player’s area of intended stance or area of intended swing, or
Only when the ball is on the putting green, an abnormal course condition on or off the putting green intervenes on the line of play.
If the abnormal course condition is close enough to distract the player but does not meet any of these requirements, there is no interference under this Rule.
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