On a golf course, we find many types of cart paths. Some are in asphalt, cement, shells or wood chips. Others are only defined by dirt or bare earth.
RELIEF FOR A BALL LYING ON A CART PATH
It is possible to have a free relief for a ball on a cart path (immovable obstruction) if the path is covered by artificial or man-made objects.
What about shells, sand or bare earth?
In Florida, we often see cart paths is bunkers or sandy areas. Because those paths are not covered with artificial material, we don’t have a free relief.
Some golf course in Quebec have a few cart paths made only with bare earth or sand. Without a local rule, we don’t have free relief. We very often see those paths in wooden areas, and they are used for the maintenance vehicles.
The referee in charge must always make sure the players know what is considered an immovable obstruction.
Relief for a cart path in the trees
When we take relief from a cart path, we must find the nearest point of relief and this could be in a middle of a tree. We don’t have the choice of the side. It must be the CLOSEST.
Cart Path bordering a penalty area (lake, river, etc)
When one side of the cart path borders a penalty area, the nearest point of relief is on the other side. We may not drop a ball in the penalty area when taking relief.
Cart path is a penalty area
When a ball is on an immovable obstruction in a penalty are, no free relief is available.
Cart path in a bunker
We may obtain a free relief from a cart path in a bunker, but the nearest point of relief must be in the bunker. But if it is only a waste bunker, the nearest point of relief can be anywhere in the general area, it does not have to be in sand.
We will see, next week, the problems when a penalty area is adjacent to an Out of Bounds and also what to do when we are not sure if our ball is in the penalty area or not.