Golf Rules: Nearest Point of Relief

I cannot count the number of times I am asked about the rules of golf. What is really surprising is that most of those times, the requests happen during a tournament. Normally, I am not fussed about citing the rules, but when it comes to the “nearest point of relief”, I generally have to referee as well.

Most players do not mind taking relief, but they generally try to interpret the rule to gain an unfair advantage. I will always assume they are honestly misinterpreting the rule, but sometimes I am just not sure. So for those who are unsure, I thought it would be great to review this rule.

The “nearest point of relief” is the reference point for taking relief without penalty from interference by an immovable obstruction (Rule 24-2), an abnormal ground condition (Rule 25-1) or a wrong putting green (Rule 25-3).(Golf Canada)

It is the point on the course nearest to where the ball lies:

(i) that is not nearer the hole, and
(ii) where, if the ball were so positioned, no interference by the condition from which relief is sought would exist for the stroke the player would have made from the original position if the condition were not there.

Note: In order to determine the nearest point of relief accurately, the player should use the club with which he would have made his next stroke if the condition were not there to simulate the address position, direction of play and swing for such a stroke.

If you are still not sure, here is that diagram that might help.

Nearest Point of Relief

At last, I found a video that perfectly explains how to take relief:

The “nearest point of relief” is the most misunderstood rule in golf. This and all rules of golf can help or hurt your game. Understanding how to interpret rules properly will help your game and lower your scores!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

8 thoughts on “Golf Rules: Nearest Point of Relief

  1. Pingback: Sharing Golf’s Ultimate Secret | The Grateful Golfer

  2. Pingback: Golf Infographic: Nearest Point of Relief – The Grateful Golfer

  3. The video is key Jim. Thanks for putting that up there, certainly a rule that needs a “visual” and the diagram is just WAY too confusing for an interpretation!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Had this problem the other day, the guys did not like my interpretation, it meant dropping in the rough. So they used there own version, getting a drop on the short grass. The difference from the the diagram to your blog was the direction of play, in this case it was to the left of the path, green to the left and rough to the right. It was the method of measuring the nearest point of relief that they used which was wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jim,

    I think it is important, especially for avid amateurs who play the odd competitive event, to understand rules like this, so thanks for putting it out there. It’s amazing that once people (and I’ve been there, too) are in a competitive situation, they realize how little they know about the rules or how to take a proper drop. Knowing these rules can help alleviate a source of anxiety for many players entering a competition. Maybe I can request to see a post with a summary of the most common/likely rulings someone may come across in competition. Hazards, provisionals, unplayable lies, relief…a bible to review before heading to competition to help put someone’s mind at ease. Just an idea, no pressure 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

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