Rules Corner: How to deal with sprinkler heads in your line of play

January 9, 2020

Sprinkler heads are a common golf course obstruction, but what do you do when one happens to inhibit your stance or line of play?

According to USGA Senior Managing Director of Governance Thomas Pagel, sprinkler heads are classified as obstructions because they are man-made objects. Under the current Rules of Golf, you can get relief from an immovable obstruction when it interferes with your stance, live ball or area of intended swing.

However, if you happen to be playing a course with closely mown areas around the green and elect to putt, the rules also allow for the implementation of a local rule which entitles you to free relief if a sprinkler head is located within two club-lengths of the edge of the putting green, within two club-lengths of your ball and in your line of play.

So, how do you take that relief properly?

First, find a spot that is within one club-length of your ball’s original spot, and no closer to the hole, where the sprinkler head is no longer in your line of play. Then, drop your ball (remember: from knee-height!), and play on. Check out the video above for a complete demonstration.

Looking for more information on the Rules of Golf? Visit usga.org/rules, or, if you have a question of your own, you can submit it to Rules Guy, our resident expert, at [email protected] The answer may be featured in an upcoming issue of GOLF Magazine.