Are golfers allowed to hit a golf ball off the cart path?
Golf Culture

Are golfers allowed to hit a golf ball off the cart path?


At most golf courses, cath paths are part of the experience. Golfers often like to play golf while riding around the course in a cart, and most golf courses accommodate golf carts with paths specifically for them.

However, cart paths on the golf course are often in play for golfers. Golfers frequently hit their balls in the wrong direction of the target, and that means their ball can hit the golf path or come to a stop on a cart path.

When a golfer's ball lands on a cart path, they have a choice.

Are golfers allowed to hit a golf ball off the cart path?

The golfer has two options when their ball lands and stops on the cart path. A golfer is allowed to take free relief from the cart path, or they can hit the ball off the cart path.

Of course, most golfers aren't going to hit the golf ball off the cart path. Cart paths are made of gravel, asphalt or concrete. They're hard surfaces, and most golfers don't hit the ball cleanly enough to even consider hitting a golf ball off of a path without injuring themselves. However, clipping a golf ball off the cart path is sometimes the better -- if not only -- option for a golfer.

If you're going to hit the ball from the cart path, then you should be quite sure of your capability and the importance of the situation. Don't hit the ball from a lie on the cart path for any other reason than you're in a competition that can change your life for the better and the alternative to relief -- that is, dropping for free from off the path -- is not good at all.

Otherwise, just take the free drop and move on with life.

How to take relief from a golf ball on the cart path

Taking relief from a ball on the cart path is easy. First, find the nearest point of relief, no nearer the hole, where your ball and your stance are not impacted by the cart path. Then, drop the ball within a club length of that spot. If the nearest point of relief is in deep rough, mulch or another bad lie, a golfer may think it's a better option to try to hit the ball off the cart path.

The Rules of Golf are there to help golfers and provide them with the options they need to play their best golf. And sometimes that means hitting the ball off the path.

About the author

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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