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Golf in a “Dangerous Situation” — You Make the Call

(Written by Steve Ashe, NexStar Training System Inventor)

During a recent round of golf with my wife at Pelican Sound in Florida, we encountered an unusual situation on the ninth hole. Her second shot came to rest next to the green in a most peculiar spot, to say the least. We christened our new friend Al as we pondered what to do next. This fella was not all that interested in allowing her to play through and we were also not interested in inviting him to join the foursome. Unfortunately, I did not have my tablet or my NexStar Training System to record a video of the scene, although it’s doubtful I would have taken time to set up an iPad tripod anyway. Mostly to prove our fish tale was true, I snapped this photo with my iPhone.

We played on and left Al for his afternoon snack. In need of a ruling before posting her score we solicited the help of the pro shop for advice. What would your ruling be in this scenario?

Strangely enough, the situation is covered in “Decisions on the Rules of Golf” published by R&A and the United States Golf Association, under section 1-4/10: “A player’s ball comes to rest in a situation dangerous to the player (in this case, next to an alligator). It is unreasonable to expect the player to play from such a dangerous situation and unfair to require the player to incur a penalty under Rule 26 (Water Hazards) or Rule 28 (Ball Unplayable).” Since the ball was in a hazard, she was able to drop without penalty within one club-length, no nearer the hole, to the nearest spot that is not dangerous.

So now you know. Just in case you ever encounter an alligator while on the golf course.

What is the most dangerous or unusual situation you’ve ever encountered while golfing?

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