You probably know that the parking lot on the left side of #9 is Out of Bounds. But do you know what to do if a car parked there interferes with your swing when your ball lies just in bounds?
The answer is, “It depends.”
1) First, if the car’s owner is right there and the car can be easily moved, the car is therefore a Movable Obstruction and you should ask the owner to move it.
2) If the owner isn’t there, and no part of the car is intruding over the edge of the course (no part of the car overhangs the berm at the edge of the macadam — no part breaks the imaginary plane extending up from the macadam’s edge) the car is completely out of bounds and therefore not defined by the Rules of Golf as being an Obstruction. The car is therefore just an “immovable artificial object” from which no free relief is granted. Play it as it lies.
3) If part of the car overhangs the berm (for instance if the front bumper overhangs the berm as the car’s front wheel rests against it), that part of the car (and only that part of the car) is an Immovable Obstruction. If that Immovable Obstruction interferes with your stance or the area of your intended swing, you are granted free relief — you may drop within one club length of the Nearest Point of Relief and no closer to the hole as stated in Rule 24-2.
Relief from flower bed and plantings.
One other thing folks. It’s spring, and flowers are coming up. Our course defines all “flower beds” as Ground Under Repair from which you are granted free relief. Please note that actual flower plants have to be in the prepared area for it to qualify for free relief. The wood chips or mulch you might find at the base of trees don’t count, nor do bushes in a prepared area without flowers count (such as those against the stone wall over the 18th green). As a point of interest, next time you’re standing on the 7th tee, note that there’s a prepared area between the side of the tee and the 6th green that has bushes but no flowers (so no free relief from the bed), but turning further left you’ll the prepared area between the 6th green and the 1st green that does have flowers (free relief from the bed).
The Men’s Club website has an extensive collection of comments and descriptions of Rules issues encountered at Sterling Farms in the sites “Local Rules” section. If anyone has any questions about the above topics or any other Rules questions feel free to email me at Howard.Meditz@gmail.com
Play well, save the flowers, and save the parked cars!