Under the new 2019 Rules of Golf relief for an embedded ball is available in the general area, regardless of the height of the cut of the grass, whereas previously it was closely mown areas unless a local rule was adopted. Under the embedded ball Rule (16.3b), the player finds their reference point which is the spot directly behind the ball. The one club length relief area is created and the ball dropped from knee height must stay within this area. DARREN CLARKE BIRD- FEEDER PENALTY The 2011 Open Champion, Darren Clarke, made his debut in the United States Senior Open Championship, but unfortunately did so with a rules incident. Clarke made the turn in the first round at one under par, but drove it left on the par-4 10th hole. On his line of play, some 20 metres away, was a permanent structure designed to feed birds. On a long pole with a small cage at the top, it was directly on his escape path and while discussing the obstruction with a rules official, his caddie was aggressively attempting to remove it. The action is a breach of Rule 16.1 which covers relief from abnormal course conditions. A permanent obstruction such as the bird feeder is similar to a concrete path, shed, electrical maintenance box, or power pole that might be a permanent structure on your course. The only relief you will receive from each of these examples is if: ∙ Your ball touches or is in the abnormal course condition ∙ You are physically interfered with the area of intended stance or area of intended swing ∙ Or, when your ball is on a putting green and an abnormal course condition, on or off the green, intervenes on your line of play The actions of a caddie can penalise a player as covered in Rule 10.3 therefore Clarke was penalised two strokes. Needless to say he was not a happy golfer. CAREFUL MOVING LOOSE IMPEDIMENTS WITH A CLUB Earlier in the year Australia’s Lucas Herbert’s was playing in the Dubai Desert Classic. His ball lay in a waste area and he removed some leaves from behind the ball using his golf club, which he was entitled to do. But in the action he also scraped away sand in the process, which improving his lie in breach of Rule 8.1a as a result. It is important to note that sand is a loose impediment on the putting green only, so cannot be removed or pressed down around the ball if it leads to an improvement in the conditions affecting a stroke from off the green. Herbert could have carefully hand- picked the leaves away from around the ball, and if some sand had moved in the process then actions such as that would be considered reasonable. However, by using his club to remove the leaves it resulted in much more sand than would be considered reasonable being removed from around his ball, meaning that the conditions affecting the stroke had been improved. The result being the general penalty of two strokes. Occasionally the ball won’t stay in the relief area, so after the second drop you place the ball where it landed. This too can create a challenge if on a bunker surround or steep bank as the ball may not stay at rest. The procedure is to find the nearest point no nearer the hole where it will stay at rest, which may be in a flatter area providing an easier shot to play and could be outside the original relief area measured. WORDSPHILAICKIN A embedded golf ball at the feet of Rickie Fowler. Newembeddedballrule AT THIS TIME OF THE YEAR MANY PLAYERS EXPERIENCE BALLS EMBEDDING, ESPECIALLY IN THE ROUGH AREAS. Improveyourgame! RULES NZ Golf Magazine | July 2019 | 55