A common situation players find themselves in involves a cart path effecting a players stance, lie, or area of swing. A cart path is considered an abnormal course condition, and the players can proceed with the use of Rule 16. A ball is considered affected by an abnormal course condition if the ball is in the general area (not in a penalty are) and it is not unreasonable for the player to make a swing at the ball (an unreasonable situation such as the ball being under a tree does not grant the player free relief under Rule 16). When taking relief, the steps are as follows:
- Determine the nearest point of relief that is no closer to hole. It is important to understand that nearest point is not the same as “best point”. The nearest point of relief is defined as the spot the shortest distance away from where your ball lies that is not closer to the hole and where if your ball was there, you could make a stroke at it without any interference from what you are taking relief from.
- After determining the nearest point of relief, the player is given a one club length area in which they can drop the ball from knee height.
- After the ball has been successfully dropped, the ball is in play and the player may proceed to play with no penalty from the drop.
- Note: when dropping the ball, the player has two drops to get the ball to stop in the relief area. If the ball bounces outside of the relief area twice, the ball is then placed as close to where the second drop hit the ground as possible.
Click here to watch the SOPGA Rules School video to see cart path relief.