Rule 16 - Taking Relief
RULE 16.1 Abnormal Course Condition (Immovable Obstructions)
Certain conditions are not treated as part of the challenge of playing the course, so free relief is provided as an option. This includes interference from temporary water, ground under repair, animal holes, and immovable obstructions (such as cart paths and sprinkler heads). All of these are collectively known as abnormal course conditions. You can get free relief when the condition interferes with your lie, stance, or area of intended swing. When an abnormal course condition only interferes with your line of play, free relief is NOT provided (such as a water control box).
To take free relief, you first have to find the nearest point of COMPLETE relief, which is the spot on the course nearest to where your ball lies, but not nearer to the hole. After you have taken COMPLETE relief, your reference point is where your club head touches the ground when taking your stance, you will get one club length from that point.
RULE 16.2 Dangerous Animal Conditions
A “dangerous animal condition” exists when a dangerous animal (such as venomous snakes, stinging bees, alligators (not likely), fire ants or bears (not likely) is near a ball that could cause serious physical injury to the player if they had to play the ball as lies. This rule does not apply to other situations on the course that could cause physical harm (such as a cactus).
RULE 16.3 Embedded Ball
Ball must be embedded in General Area. The General Area is the area of the course that covers all of the course EXCEPT for the other four defined areas: 1. Teeing ground, 2. All penalty areas, 3. All bunkers and 4. The putting green of the hole the player is playing. The reference point is the spot in the general area right behind where the ball is embedded. The size of the Relief Area Measured from reference point is one club length to the right and left in a semicircle of the reference point. A ball must be dropped in and come to rest in the relief area.
I hope this will clarify how to take relief from these areas. If anyone has any rule issues please let us know so we can resolve the issue.