Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ask Linda #1331-Hit branches during swing

If a ball is lying just under a tree and you hit the ball where it lies, is there a penalty if your club hits the branches either in the back swing or the follow through?
Lulu from Victoria, British Columbia

Dear Lulu,

There is no penalty for hitting branches during your swing, even if you break a branch or knock down leaves.

A problem arises if you take your backswing, knock something down, and stop. If you improve the area of your intended swing by breaking a branch or knocking down leaves you are subject to penalty (two strokes/loss of hole) under Rule 13-2. Whether you incur a penalty depends on the circumstances. For example, if you knock down a few leaves but your club will hit 20 more when you take your swing, there would be no penalty. However, if there is only one leaf and you knock it down, you would be penalized. The bottom line is whether you have removed an obstacle from the path of your swing.

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