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Rules of Golf

The USGA, in conjunction with The R&A in St. Andrews, Scotland, writes, interprets and maintains the Rules of Golf to guard the tradition and integrity of the game.The two organizations are joint authors and owners of The Rules of Golf and Decisions on the Rules of Golf.Through an agreement with The R&A, the Rules jurisdiction of the USGA includes only the United States, its possessions and Mexico.The latest version went into effect Jan. 1, 2012, with the next revision taking effect Jan. 1, 2016.

Golf Rule 24 - Obstructions

OBSTRUCTIONS: there are two types of obstructions, movable and immovable. An obstruction is anything that's artificial that includes cart paths and manufactured ice.
An artificial object that can be moved without unreasonable effort, without unduly delay, and without damaging the course is considered a movable obstruction. Artificial objects that cannot be moved without unreasonable effort, without unduly delay, and without damaging the course are considered immovable obstructions.
The following are not considered obstructions:
(i) Walls, fences, stakes, and other objects that define out of bounds.
(ii) An immovable obstruction or part of the immovable obstruction that is out of bounds.
(iii) Any object or construction deemed by the Committee to ba an integral part of the golf course.

(i)a player may move a movable obstruction, if the ball moves in the process, it must be replaced without penalty.
(ii)if the player's ball comes to rest in or on a movable obstruction, without penalty the ball may be lifted, the obstruction removed, and the ball dropped (placed on the putting green) as near as possible to the spot directly underneath the place where the ball lay in or on the movable obstruction but no nearer the hole.
NOTE--if the ball to be placed or dropped is not immediately recoverable, the player can substitute another ball.
NOTE--other than equipment of the players and an attended flagstick, no other obstruction may be removed that might influence the movement of the ball while it's in motion.

First of all interference from an immovable obstruction occurs if a ball lies in or on an immovable obstruction. Interference also exists if the obstruction is so close to the ball it interferes with the player's stance or area of intended swing.
NOTE--interference exists of the putting green if the obstruction intervenes on the player's line of putt. Intervention of line of play through the green does not constitute interference.
(i) Through The Green--without penalty, the player must find the spot on the course nearest to where the ball lies, it's determined by (a) no nearer the hole, (b) avoids the interference for which relief is being taken, (c) the spot is not in a hazard or on the putting green. The player must lift the ball and drop within one club-length of the spot determined by the criteria defined above in a,b,c. Also, the spot or point of nearest relief must be determined without crossing over, under, or through the immovable obstruction. The exception where crossing over, through, or under does not apply is to cart paths or artificial surfaces.
(ii) Immovable Obstruction In a Bunker: The same procedure is followed as described above except the ball must be dropped in the bunker.
(iii) Immovable Obstruction On the Putting Green: the player must lift the ball and place it in the nearest point of relief to where it lay where there is no interference from the immovable obstruction in relief is being taken.
NOTE--this position could possibly be off the green.
NOTE--if the player has interference from anything other than the immovable obstruction in which it's clearly unreasonable for the player to make a stroke, the player is not entitled to relief. The player is also not entitled to relief from an immovable obstruction if interference only occurs through an abnormal swing, stance or direction of play.
NOTE--if a player's ball is in a water hazard the player is not entitled to relief for interference from an immovable obstruction.
NOTE--another ball may be substituted if the player's ball to be placed or dropped is not immediately recoverable.

BALL LOST IN AN IMMOVABLE OBSTRUCTION: Other than in a water or lateral water hazard, if reasonable evidence exists, the player without penalty can substitute another ball and take relief from the spot it entered the immovable obstruction.