Thursday, December 17, 2015

Ask Linda #1214-Leaning against tree to hit shot

Linda…in a recent round I hit a ball that came to rest very close to the base of a tree. I could have turned the club around and swung left-handed, but given that my skills in this area are limited I opted not to try that. However, I also found that if I leaned the right side of my body against the tree I could reach back just enough to swing right-handed and at least bump the ball back into the fairway. Would this be considered using the tree to improve my stance or was this a legal shot?
Lou from Texas

Dear Lou,

Leaning against a tree to hit your shot is perfectly legal. The Rules prohibit “building a stance” [Rule 13-3], which means putting something on the ground to stand on (e.g., a towel) or altering the ground in some way to give you a better stance. You are entitled to lean against anything that was already there when your ball came to rest, which would include a tree, fence, building, bench, etc.

You might enjoy this USGA article about building a stance in a tree:

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