Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Ask Linda #1591-Pull out a dandelion

One of our league members told us about her bunker situation: during a friendly game of golf, her ball landed in a deep bunker on the upslope. Just above where her ball laid, there was a dandelion hanging over and down the lip. More than likely the weed would have interfered with her shot out of the bunker. She pulled the weed. She wanted to know if that was against any rule. Many of us told her that she should not have pulled the weed and because she did, she should have incurred a one-stroke penalty.

What is the ruling on a situation like this? Thanks for your time.
Lulu from New Prague, Minnesota

Dear Lulu,

The player is not allowed to improve her lie, the area of her stance or swing, or her line of play by moving, bending, or breaking anything that is growing. The player incurs a two-stroke penalty (loss of hole in match play) under Rule 13-2. This penalty applies everywhere on the golf course except the teeing ground.

The player is permitted to create or eliminate irregularities on the surface of the teeing ground. This means she is permitted, for example, to pull out grass or weeds lying behind or near her ball [Decision 13-2/3]. However, she may not break branches off a tree that overhangs the teeing ground; branches attached to a tree are not an irregularity of the ground surface [Decision 13-2/14].

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