Written by Joyce McCann, 18ers Rules Chair.
First published in 2017. Edited to conform to 2019 Rules.
A Little-Known Rossmoor Local Rule: Sprinkler head on the apron of the green
Recently, during the 18ers 4th of July Shotgun, a player found herself on the apron of the 17th green with her line of play blocked by a sprinkler head. Does she get relief, and if so how does she take relief? If she was strictly applying the Rules of Golf, she would not be able to take relief. This is because the sprinkler head is an immovable obstruction and the apron is part of the general area; in which case, relief can only be taken if the sprinkler head interferes with her stance or stroke, but not if it just interferes with her line of play (Rule 16). However, players often wish to putt from the apron, and Model Local Rule F-5 gives clubs the option of allowing the player to take relief if an immovable obstruction on the apron interferes with the line of play. Rossmoor has adopted this Local Rule (see the back of the Dollar scorecard). So, the answer to the first question is: Yes, she can take relief. What about the second question – how does she take relief? Under the old Rules, the player could drop the ball as close as possible to the nearest point of relief from interference of the sprinkler head with her line of play. However, under the new Rules, since the player’s ball is in the general area, the player should follow standard relief procedures for interference by an immovable obstruction (Rule 16.1b).