Monday, October 14, 2013

Ask Linda #733-Twig behind ball

Hi Linda,

I was on my local Temple Newsam course in Leeds practicing alone and came upon the following situation:
I was attempting a wedge shot onto an elevated green. I came up a little short and hit the top of the upslope. The ball rolled back about 4 feet and came to rest against a twig that had presumably fallen from a nearby tree. This twig was now obstructing my next shot. What are my options? I did carefully move it, but it rolled back another 4 feet. If this had been in competition, would I have incurred a penalty? What would have been my options: Play the twig onto the ball? Deem the ball unplayable and take a penalty? Or mark the position, move the twig and replace the ball?

Thank you for the great service you provide.
Lou from England

Dear Lou,

A twig is a loose impediment. If you are not in a hazard, you are permitted to move a loose impediment. However, if the ball moves when you remove the loose impediment, you incur a one-stroke penalty and must replace your ball [Rules 23-1 and 18-2a]. The only exception is on the putting green, where you would have to replace your ball but you would not incur a penalty.

When you moved the twig and the ball rolled four feet you were required to replace the ball and add a one-stroke penalty to your score. If you were to hit your ball from its new location four feet away, your penalty would be two strokes.

Your only options are to play the ball as it lies or add a penalty stroke and choose one of the options for an unplayable ball  [Rule 28]. If the twig is small enough, I would suggest you try the shot. That way you’ll know if you can do it when the stakes are higher.

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