Rules Guy: When taking relief, can the fringe be used as the nearest fairway reference point?
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Can the fringe be used as the nearest fairway reference point, not nearer the hole, where the ball was lost or crossed an out-of-bounds line? —Bret Skinner, via email
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It sounds like you’re referring to the new Model Local Rule E-5, where for two penalty strokes you can take relief near where the ball was.
When that Rule applies, the nearest fairway reference point can be any part of the general area that’s cut to fairway height or less. That could indeed be the fringe (assuming it’s cut to fairway height or less), depending on where the ball went out of bounds or was lost as well as the geography of the hole.
But, yes, it’s certainly possible that the fringe can be used in this way, as can a more forward teeing ground or even a dew strip.
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