What do you do if your ball embeds in an OB net but is in-bounds?

2023-02-22 04:53:01 By : Ms. Tinky Chou

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What do you do if your ball embeds in an OB net but is in-bounds?

The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.

To protect an adjacent bike/walking path, our course has a boundary with 15-foot-tall poles, staggered at angles, that hold up plastic netting with squares just smaller than a golf ball.  The bottom of each pole is painted white to represent out of bounds. Problem: The nets tend to sag over time, so they’re not in a straight line with the poles. Some bend out, some bend in. My partner bladed a greenside bunker shot, and it lodged in a net. Upon close examination, that portion of the net was leaning toward the green, inside the two poles that define OB. Since it was a friendly match, we all decided to treat the ball as in bounds…but was it really? — Brad Bartlett, Boise, Idaho

What a coincidence — this exact incident happened to Rules Guy last week… Kidding!

It sounds like quite the setup you have there in Boise. You’ll forgive us, but we’re not going to go down the rabbit hole of whether the net is or isn’t part of the boundary object and whether free relief would be involved.

Instead, we will stick to the firm terrain of Definition of Out of Bounds. The boundary extends vertically upward and downward. Thus, if a ball is at rest in the air, whether in a branch or in netting, and is not all off the course beyond the edge of the boundary, then it is in bounds and on the course.

As for what to do with the ball and how to play it, again, not to punt, but you’d have to get a ruling. Rules Guy will now crawl back under his covers and likely dream of being chased with a butterfly net.

For more net and gate relief-related guidance from our guru, read on …

A wire mesh fence separates my home course from the adjacent property, with no OB stakes. A local rule says you aren’t entitled to relief if your ball is in bounds against or near the fence. Because of the fence’s construction, you could swing the club from the non-golf course side — essentially, through the fence — and hit the ball back toward the fairway. Is this permitted? — Jim Gallo, New Albany, Ohio

If the ball is indeed in bounds, you can play it from either side of the fence.

The Rules — in this case, Rule 18.2a(2) — care only where the ball lies, not where you stand to play it.

Caveat: If there are signs posted such as “No Trespassing. Or Else!” take a penalty drop.

Need help unriddling the greens at your home course? Pick up a custom Green Book from 8 AM Golf affiliate Golf Logix.

Got a question about the Rules? Ask the Rules Guy! Send your queries, confusions and comments to rulesguy@golf.com. We promise he won’t throw the book at you.

What do you do if your ball embeds in an OB net but is in-bounds?

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