What is a Tio in Golf

Golf courses present unique challenges that can sometimes include temporary immovable obstructions (TIOs). Understanding the rules and procedures associated with TIOs is crucial for players to navigate the course effectively and maintain fair play. In this article, we will discuss what a TIO is in golf, its significance, and the rules that apply to dealing with these obstructions.

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What is a TIO in Golf?

A Temporary Immovable Obstruction (TIO) is an artificial object on a golf course that is not intended to be a permanent fixture and cannot be readily moved. These obstructions are typically in place for a short period, often due to ongoing maintenance, construction work, or special events. Examples of TIOs include tents, temporary fences, grandstands, or signage.

Significance of TIOs:

TIOs are important to understand because they can impact a player’s strategy, shot selection, and overall performance on the course. The presence of a TIO might require a golfer to adjust their play or consider alternative routes to avoid potential interference.

Rules and Procedures for Dealing with TIOs:

The Rules of Golf, as governed by the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the R&A, provide guidance on how to deal with TIOs. According to Rule 16.1, a player is entitled to free relief if their ball lies in or on the TIO, or the TIO interferes with the player’s stance, area of intended swing, or intended line of play.

To take relief from a TIO, follow these steps:

  1. Determine the nearest point of complete relief: Find the nearest spot where the TIO no longer interferes with the stance, swing, or line of play. This point should not be closer to the hole.
  2. Measure a one club-length relief area: Using any club, measure a relief area that is no closer to the hole than the nearest point of complete relief.
  3. Drop the ball within the relief area: The ball must be dropped within the relief area and come to rest within this area.

It is essential to note that if the ball is in a penalty area, the player may not take free relief from a TIO . In this case, the player must proceed under the appropriate penalty area Rule (Rule 17) or play the ball as it lies.

Common Types of Temporary Immovable Obstructions (TIOs)

TentingTents or canopies placed around the courseSpectator tents, refreshment tents
FencingTemporary fences installed for an eventCrowd control barriers
SignageTemporary signs or billboardsSponsor signs, event banners
EquipmentTemporary equipment on the courseTV camera platforms, cranes
StagingStructures set up for the eventLeaderboard towers, grandstands

Rules Pertaining to TIOs

Rule NumberRule DescriptionNotes
16.1Relief from abnormal course conditions (including TIOs)Free relief, no penalty
22.2Procedure for taking relief from a TIONearest point of relief
23Moving or altering the position of a TIO is not allowedMay lead to a penalty

TIO Scenarios

ScenarioCourse SectionTIO TypeSituation
1Tee boxSignageSponsor sign is within the golfer’s intended swing
2FairwayEquipmentTV camera platform interferes with golfer’s stance
3GreenTentingA refreshment tent is obstructing the putting line
4BunkerFencingTemporary fence is inside a bunker, affecting play
5RoughStagingA leaderboard tower is impeding a golfer’s shot

Relief Procedures for TIOs

1Determine if a TIO interferes with stance or swing
2Locate the nearest point of complete relief
3Drop the ball within one club length of that point
4Ensure the dropped ball is not nearer to the hole
5Play the shot from the new position without penalty

TIO Examples from Famous Golf Courses

Course NameTournamentTIO Example
Augusta NationalThe MastersTV camera towers around Amen Corner
St. AndrewsThe Open ChampionshipGrandstands surrounding the 18th green
Pebble BeachUS OpenSpectator tents along the coastal holes
TPC SawgrassThe Players ChampionshipLeaderboard towers near the 17th hole
OakmontUS OpenTemporary fencing for crowd control



Temporary Immovable Obstructions (TIOs) are artificial objects on a golf course that can impact players’ strategy and performance. Familiarizing oneself with the rules and procedures associated with TIOs is essential for fair play and successful navigation of the course. By understanding the concept of TIOs and the relief options available, golfers can adapt to changing course conditions and maintain their competitive edge.


  • Ray Barnes

    Ray Barnes, our Senior Staff Writer and a Golf Analyst with a PhD in Sports Analytics, is a beacon of insight in the golfing world. With a deep understanding of the sport's nuances, statistical analysis, and a talent for demystifying complexities, he provides in-depth analysis and captivating narratives that engage golf enthusiasts worldwide.

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