It is not uncommon for golf courses to have permanent obstructions on a golf course, like a fence. There are many reasons to have these obstructions especially when holes run parrallel to each other. At Osprey Links, there are two fences that come into play quite often. One is on the 3rd/6th hole and 18/1st hole. I have found myself having to take relief from these permanent obstructions more than I care to talk about. 😉 After finding myself close to these obstructions, I followed a process to take relief, but if you do not know the process, then you might inadvertently incur penalty strokes you do not need.
The important point to remember about being able to take relief is that your swing must be inhibited by the obstruction. If you can take a full swing without contact, no relief is granted.
One of the common mistakes is that players take relief from the obstruction completely. They interpret the rule as full relief and move their ball so the obstruction is not in the way of their ball flight. This is a wrong interpretation and will cost more strokes for taking improper relief.
During a tournament a few years ago, this exact situation about line of sight obstruction relief happened during the second round of the three day event. The player in my group tried to take full relief and another member in our group challenged their decision. I was called in and agreed with the second player. The golfer hitting the ball was adamant we were wrong and so he played two balls. One from his interpretation and one from ours.
He shot the same score on both balls, but by stopping him from taking the improper relief, we saved him extra strokes from taking improper relief. Additionally, if he could have been disqualified (at that time) for submitting an improper scorecard.
Understanding all the rules is important. I have found the line of sight relief is an important (and often overlooked) for players to know. Know when and where free relief is possible will save us strokes in the long run.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!