It’s not uncommon in country areas for a snake to slide out of the rough onto the fairway or even onto the green. Special rules govern dangerous situations
Issue date: 6 February 2009

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Question: Hunting for my ball in the short rough next to the fairway, I came across a small snake close to the ball. Is a snake an outside agency?
Answer: You don’t mention whether the snake was alive or not, nor whether it moved your ball. A live snake would be an outside agency and a dead one would be a loose impediment.

Question: My ball came to rest near a live snake. I regarded the situation as dangerous. What were my options?
Answer: It would’ve been unreasonable to expect you to play the ball or to move it and incur a penalty. Your best option would’ve been to wait till the snake was out of sight, then drop the ball without penalty at the nearest safe spot, as long as it wasn’t nearer the hole.
Question: My ball lodged against a dead land crab in a bunker. Was I allowed to move the crab without penalty?
Answer: No, a dead land crab is a natural object and thus a loose impediment and not an obstruction. Had you moved it, in stroke play you would’ve incurred a penalty of two strokes, and in match play you would’ve lost the hole.

Question: My ball played from off the green was about half a metre from the hole and still in motion when it was moved by a dog to a spot about 3m from the hole. The dog had picked it up, had run with it and dropped it. What is the ruling?
Answer: You were allowed to replace the ball without penalty as near as possible to the spot where it had originally been when the dog picked it up. – George Nicholas
E-mail your inquiry to [email protected] or post to Box 12444, Clubview, 0014.     |fw

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