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Loose Impediments and Improving Your Lie

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Playing in the desert in Arizona many courses have areas off the closely mowed grass (fairway and rough) that are commonly referred to as waste areas. These areas can be natural or landscaped desert. They are not hazard areas but part of the course. Many times in these areas are lots of small pebbles/stones that are loose upon the ground and not embedded in the soil. Typically I have seen other players and I have myself brushed aside these pebbles/stones directly behind the ball. Essentially considering these loose impediments. However I have given some thought as to whether or not this might be considered improving your lie and actually be a violation of the rules. I think we have all brushed away leaves or small twigs from behind the ball but without indivually picking up each individual pebble/stone (almost impossible) you are actually moving very fine desert sand also.

What do you think? Are we desert players removing loose impediments or improving our lie?

P.S. I can only speak for myself and say that the intent of doing so is more out of concern for protecting my clubs as hitting off this surface can mark the heck out of the club soles.
post #2 of 5

They're loose impediments. Brush them away. Just don't make your ball move.

 

Your "lie" might improve, but that's fine. You can move a stick if it's unattached, or a rock, or a candy bar wrapper (though now we're no longer talking about "loose impediments" - see the postscript), even if the stick or rock or candy wrapper are immediately behind or in front of your ball.

 

It's not "improving your lie" in the illegal (against the Rules of Golf) sense.

 

P.S. 

Loose Impediments

Loose impediments’’ are natural objects, including:

  • stones, leaves, twigs, branches and the like,
  • dung, and
  • worms, insects and the like, and the casts and heaps made by them,

provided they are not:

  • fixed or growing,
  • solidly embedded, or
  • adhering to the ball.

Sand and loose soil are loose impediments on the putting green, but not elsewhere.

Snow and natural ice, other than frost, are either casual water or loose impediments, at the option of the player.

Dew and frost are not loose impediments.

post #3 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by mwheelerk View Post

Playing in the desert in Arizona many courses have areas off the closely mowed grass (fairway and rough) that are commonly referred to as waste areas. These areas can be natural or landscaped desert. They are not hazard areas but part of the course. Many times in these areas are lots of small pebbles/stones that are loose upon the ground and not embedded in the soil. Typically I have seen other players and I have myself brushed aside these pebbles/stones directly behind the ball. Essentially considering these loose impediments. However I have given some thought as to whether or not this might be considered improving your lie and actually be a violation of the rules. I think we have all brushed away leaves or small twigs from behind the ball but without indivually picking up each individual pebble/stone (almost impossible) you are actually moving very fine desert sand also.

What do you think? Are we desert players removing loose impediments or improving our lie?

P.S. I can only speak for myself and say that the intent of doing so is more out of concern for protecting my clubs as hitting off this surface can mark the heck out of the club soles.

 

 

Sand is not a loose impediment unless it's on the green.  If you are going to remove small stones or pebbles that's fine, but pick them up with your fingers.  If you brush them away, and in doing so remove sand, you are improving your lie in breach of rule 13-2. 

 

There was a playoff for one of the PGA tournaments a couple of years ago.  Player hits his ball in the waste area.  He asks the rules official if he can remove the small stones.  The official said yes, so the player picked away behind his ball with his fingers....for quite some time.  He did not "brush".  The opponent looked a little peeved, because the player made himself a great lie, but he did so under the rules.

post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dormie1360 View Post


If you are going to remove small stones or pebbles that's fine, but pick them up with your fingers.  If you brush them away, and in doing so remove sand, you are improving your lie in breach of rule 13-2. 

Echo that
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
After the opinions posted here and elsewhere and communicating with the Arizona Golf Association it is pretty clear that the sweeping method by any means is indeed an infraction of the rules. From now on it will strictly be picking up those little intrusive suckers and I hope I don't have many chances soon as I play a course with some of the worst waste areas in about three hours.
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