Rules Guy: How do you take relief from a tee box safety net?

tee box safety net

What do you do when a tee box safety net obstructs your swing? Do you have to take a penalty?

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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.

My home course has a safety net that lines the left side of a tee box. A playing partner hit the furthest pole holding up the net, and the ball flew back behind the tee box, though it was still in play. But are the pole and netting treated the same way as overhanging wires? Which reminds me … how are overhanging wires treated again?
—Thomas Gilmore, via email

If nothing else, your playing partner’s foozle certainly seems to underscore the wisdom of the safety net!

This is simply a case of a ball in motion accidentally deflected by an outside influence, as covered in Rule 11.1.

golfer behind tree
Rules Guy: Are you entitled to free relief from an immovable obstruction in your line of sight?
By: Rules Guy

The choices are to play the ball as it now lies or take stroke-and-distance relief under Rule 18.1, which in this case would allow for a re-tee, now playing 3.

Not to leave you with a, er, cliffhanger, but overhanging wires would be handled by local rule; this might entail a cancel-and-replay requirement should a ball strike a wire or line of play relief for the wires of temporary immovable obstructions.

For more obstruction guidance from our guru, read on …

My ball lies in a red penalty area. It’s playable, but there’s a fence between the ball and the green. The fence is out of bounds, my ball is not. Do I get relief from an immovable obstruction? If so, must I drop within the penalty area, or just within two club-lengths of the closest point of relief? —Gary Ahlstrom, Charlotte, NC

First things first, Gary: No, you do not get free relief from an immovable obstruction if your ball is in a penalty area, per Rule 17.3.

Further, since the fence is out of bounds, even if the ball wasn’t in a penalty area, you still wouldn’t get free relief from it. Alas, this renders your follow-up question moot, although it never hurts to ask!

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

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

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