Thursday, August 13, 2015

Ask Linda #1126-Remove sand from fringe

From everything I have read it seems that sand, soil and dirt are ONLY considered to be loose impediments when they appear on the green

I know the rules regarding brushing loose impediments on the putting surface changed in 2012/13 (I use my hat) but what about the fringe? In local play I see others do it and I do it all the time when putting from the fringe (except in tournaments when I don't do anything I am not 100% certain of).

I guess my main question is: When I putt from the fringe or apron, what am I allowed to do with the area between my ball and the intended line of my putt? While I am asking, does anything change if I decide to chip the ball, and if I can make changes for chipping, can I then change my mind and putt?

Lou from Collierville, Tennessee

Dear Lou,

Sand and loose soil are defined as loose impediments only on the putting green [Definition of “Loose Impediments”]. If you brush them away elsewhere, you will incur a two-stroke penalty under Rule 13-2 for improving your lie, area of intended stance or swing, or line of play.

You may not brush loose sand from the fringe, regardless of whether you putt or chip your ball. The fringe is not the green. The exception would be if your ball were lying on the fringe and another player subsequently played out of a bunker and deposited sand around your ball. Since you are always entitled to the lie your shot gave you, you would be permitted to brush away sand around your ball that arrived after your ball was at rest.

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