28 September 2016
Impediments & Obstructions
When you’re out playing on the course you might encounter some loose impediment or an obstruction. Sometimes these two things can hinder your movement, your ball position, or your line of swing, preventing you from making a clear shot.
The Rules of Golf cover how to face these two things. Under the topic of “Loose Impediments and Movable Obstructions” you can learn how to deal with these problems without getting a penalty.
According to the definition in the Rules of Golf loose impediments are natural objects. Stones, leaves, twigs, branches, pinecones, worms, insects, and casts and heaps made by insects, are all loose impediments.
You may move a loose impediment. But, you may not move it if the loose impediment and your ball are in the same hazard (i.e. bunker or water hazard).
If you remove a loose impediment and this causes your ball to move, the ball must be replaced and you incur a one-stroke penalty.
However, if you remove a loose impediment and this causes your ball which was on the putting green to move, the ball must be replaced and no penalty (Note: the movement of the ball or ball-marker is directly attributable to the removal of the loose impediment. Otherwise, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke).
An obstruction is defined by the Rules of Golf as anything artificial, including the artificial surfaces and sides of roads and paths and manufactured ice. Movable obstructions (i.e. artificial movable objects such as rakes, bottles, etc.) are obstructions that can be moved without unduly delaying play, causing any damage, or requiring unreasonable effort.
It may be moved without penalty if a movable obstruction affects stance or swing. If your ball moves as a result, it should be replaced without penalty. If your ball is in or on a movable obstruction, the ball may be lifted and the obstruction removed, then the ball should be dropped on the spot directly under where the ball lay on the obstruction (Note: not nearer the hole). While on the putting green, the ball is placed on that spot.