Golf Course Management

AUG 2014

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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84 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 08.14 Golfers frequently encounter moveable ob- structions. So does my oldest daughter. I'm honestly not sure how she makes it from her bed to the door each morning with so many moveable obstructions on the foor. After years of fghting battle after battle to get her to clean her room, my wife and I lost the war. A parent can only fght for so long; after all, there are more signifcant concerns to worry about when it comes to raising a teenage daughter. Moveable obstructions are simply defned in the Rules as anything artifcial on the golf course that can be moved. This might include a piece of trash, an aluminum can or a golf glove. Rule 24-1 indicates that a player may take relief from a moveable obstruction without penalty. The player can move the obstruction regard - less of where the ball lies on the golf course, including in a bunker or water hazard. If the ball moves when the obstruction is moved, it must be replaced where it was and there is no penalty, provided that the movement of the ball was directly attributable to the removal of the obstruction. During junior golf, my son hit a ball that ended up resting on the seat of a golf cart. In this case, the cart was a moveable obstruction, and the ball was lifted and the obstruction re - moved. The ball was then dropped as near as possible to the spot directly under the place where the ball lay on the cart. At the Open Championship at Royal St. George's in 1949, when the Rules did not so clearly defne what could be done when the ball comes to rest on a moveable obstruction, Harry Bradshaw, an Irishman, took a swing at a ball that was sit - ting in the bottom half of a broken beer bot- tle. Don't try that at home. We may complain about the lengthiness of the Rules, but thank goodness they have been expanded to defne the player's options in circumstances such as these. The superintendent manages moveable ob - structions that often come into play. Stakes used for water hazards and lateral water haz - ards are moveable obstructions; so are bunker rakes. Hazard stakes and bunker rakes can be maintenance headaches for the superintendent, but they're necessary evils. Some superinten - dents prefer to just use paint to mark hazards at the exclusion of stakes to avoid having to move them when mowing. This, however, does not allow a golfer to determine what type of hazard lies at a distance. Rakes left inside bunkers will interfere when the crew is raking, and those left outside bunkers usually interfere with mowing. That said, it's up to the "committee" to decide where rakes are placed, but the USGA recom - mends that they rest outside the bunker, on the away side, parallel to the line of play. Several weeks ago, I was looking for my daughter — I knew she was in the house some - where. After calling her name, I heard a faint, muffed cry for help coming from her bed - room. After moving several moveable obstruc- tions, including towels, blankets and shoes, I was able to locate her. After the rescue, I saw a beautiful light green carpet that I forgot was there. It reminded me of a well-groomed fair - way and would have provided an excellent lie. If I'd found a golf ball, and not my daughter, I would have pulled out a 4-iron and punched a low, joyful, glad-those-obstructions-were- moveable shot out the window. But there was no need — it was my daughter under those ob - structions, and I wasn't playing golf. Jack Fry, Ph.D., is a professor of turfgrass science and the director of the Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Center at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan. He is a 17-year educator member of GCSAA. Jack Fry, Ph.D. Moveable obstructions Moveable obstructions are simply defned in the Rules as anything artifcial on the golf course that can be moved. (through the green)

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