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Ball resting on a fallen branch

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I played in my first state amateur qualifier last week, and I had a good run of even par through 8 holes and than this happened: I hit my approach shot to the right of the green that had a steep slope that my ball should have rolled down into a flat area of short rough. My ball ended up being stopped by a stick lying on the side of the slope in such a way where I would have to hit the stick in order to hit the ball. If I removed the stick, the ball would have rolled down into that flat area. My competitor looked at it, and said "that sucks" so I played it as it was and ended up making a triple. I can't stop thinking about this because the stick lying there didn't really make sense. There was not a tree within 100 yards of the green. I should have asked for a ruling, but I didn't. I ended up missing the cut by 2 because I played some bad golf after that. Did I have any options?
post #2 of 27

The stick is a loose impediment (see Rule 23).  As I see it, you had three options:

1.  play the ball as it lies.

2.  remove the loose impediment.  If the ball moves as a result, it's a one stroke penalty and the ball must be replaced.

3.  deem your ball unplayable and proceed under one of the options of Rule 28, with a one stroke penalty.

post #3 of 27

Definitions

All defined terms are in italics and are listed alphabetically in the Definitions section.

23-1. Relief

Except when both the loose impediment and the ball lie in or touch the samehazard, any loose impediment may be removed without penalty.

If the ball lies anywhere other than on the putting green and the removal of a loose impediment by the player causes the ball to move, Rule 18-2a applies.

On the putting green, if the ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved in the process of the player removing a loose impediment, the ball or ball-marker must be replaced. There is no penalty, provided the movement of the ball or ball-marker is directly attributable to the removal of the loose impediment. Otherwise, if the player causes the ball to movehe incurs a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a.

When a ball is in motion, a loose impediment that might influence the movement of the ball must not be removed.

Note: If the ball lies in a hazard, the player must not touch or move any loose impediment lying in or touching the same hazard – see Rule 13-4c.

PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE:

Match play – Loss of hole; Stroke play – Two strokes.

(Searching for ball in hazard – see Rule 12-1)

(Touching line of putt – see Rule 16-1a)

post #4 of 27

As stated by the others above, unless the loose impediment could be removed without moving the ball, there is no relief without penalty.

post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys. Terrible break I guess. I assume the branch fell out of a maintenance cart.
post #6 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bird E3 View Post

I played in my first state amateur qualifier last week, and I had a good run of even par through 8 holes and than this happened: I hit my approach shot to the right of the green that had a steep slope that my ball should have rolled down into a flat area of short rough. My ball ended up being stopped by a stick lying on the side of the slope in such a way where I would have to hit the stick in order to hit the ball. If I removed the stick, the ball would have rolled down into that flat area. My competitor looked at it, and said "that sucks" so I played it as it was and ended up making a triple. I can't stop thinking about this because the stick lying there didn't really make sense. There was not a tree within 100 yards of the green. I should have asked for a ruling, but I didn't. I ended up missing the cut by 2 because I played some bad golf after that. Did I have any options?

Your fellow competitor was correct.  It sucked.

post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bird E3 View Post

Thanks guys. Terrible break I guess. I assume the branch fell out of a maintenance cart.


It doesn't matter how it got there, its status is the same.

post #8 of 27

@BirdE3.  Given the answers to the situation you faced, if you had the stick/slope/shot next year, what would you do? 

post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by joekelly View Post
 

@BirdE3.  Given the answers to the situation you faced, if you had the stick/slope/shot next year, what would you do? 

 

You have a point.  Sometimes it's cheaper to take the penalty stroke and give yourself a shot.

post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joekelly View Post

@BirdE3.  Given the answers to the situation you faced, if you had the stick/slope/shot next year, what would you do? 
I would have chipped it down the hill, and tried to make an up and down for bogey from the flat area. I ended up hitting over the green on the other side, leaving me a short sided flop to a green that ran away from me. I'm not even sure I hit the ball with my club, I opened the face and hit the stick like I was playing a bunker shot and it came off hot and went over the green.
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bird E3 View Post


I would have chipped it down the hill, and tried to make an up and down for bogey from the flat area. I ended up hitting over the green on the other side, leaving me a short sided flop to a green that ran away from me. I'm not even sure I hit the ball with my club, I opened the face and hit the stick like I was playing a bunker shot and it came off hot and went over the green.

 

I am curious as to why you would do that rather than take an unplayable?  Either way it costs a shot but with your chip of a ball which has a branch right behind it doesn't seem as reliable as simple dropping in the same area and taking the stroke penalty.

post #12 of 27

If Bird had chosen the 'unplayable' option he would be dropping on a slope away from the evil stick. And the ball will run down to the flat. Nice. Or even dropping on the flat if that area is 2 driver lengths from stick. 

 

Or he can carry to  ball back up the slope an unlimited distance keeping the stick between his drop and the cup.  And this place may be nice and flat too. 

 

At least that's the way i read Rule 28.  And he gets to clean the ball !

post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by joekelly View Post

If Bird had chosen the 'unplayable' option he would be dropping on a slope away from the evil stick. And the ball will run down to the flat. Nice. Or even dropping on the flat if that area is 2 driver lengths from stick. 

Or he can carry to  ball back up the slope an unlimited distance keeping the stick between his drop and the cup.  And this place may be nice and flat too. 

At least that's the way i read Rule 28.  And he gets to clean the ball !

Not quite. In this scenario, he could have continued down the slope, keeping his original lie between him and the hole. You travel away from the hole, not back towards it.

But you're right, that would be a better option than trying to play an iffy shot to accomplish virtually the same thing. c2_beer.gif

Having said that, I would have likely attempted the same shot the OP did.
post #14 of 27

If he really, really liked the lie absent the loose impediment he could have removed the loose impediment and if the ball moved, he then adds one penalty stroke and replaces the ball.

 

From 23-1: If the ball lies anywhere other than on the putting green and the removal of a loose impediment by the player causes the ball to move, Rule 18-2a applies.

 

18-2a, tells him: .... the player incurs a penalty of one stroke and If the ball is moved, it must be replaced ....

post #15 of 27

Do you have to replace the loose impediment?

 

One option is to take a drop.

post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeph View Post
 

Do you have to replace the loose impediment?

 

One option is to take a drop.

 

The loose impediment is history ... hurled into the spinach.

 

If the player really, really liked his original lie he is able to replace the ball rather than accept to less certain result of a drop. 

post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asheville View Post
 

If he really, really liked the lie absent the loose impediment he could have removed the loose impediment and if the ball moved, he then adds one penalty stroke and replaces the ball.

 

From 23-1: If the ball lies anywhere other than on the putting green and the removal of a loose impediment by the player causes the ball to move, Rule 18-2a applies.

 

18-2a, tells him: .... the player incurs a penalty of one stroke and If the ball is moved, it must be replaced ....

 

This is probably what I'd have done if I thought that the branch was large enough to prevent a decent shot.  If I've been seeing the scenario correctly, this would leave an uphill lie on short grass, which if not too severe is an easy lie to chip from.  I still stand a chance at salvaging a bogey from a bad break.

post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asheville View Post
 

 

The loose impediment is history ... hurled into the spinach.

 

If the player really, really liked his original lie he is able to replace the ball rather than accept to less certain result of a drop. 

 

Yes, and since I looked it up, if the ball won't stay there when placed, and rolls down the hill, you attempt one more time to place it, and if it moves again, then "it must be placed at the nearest spot where it can be placed at rest that is not nearer the hole and not in a hazard" (rule 20-3(d)(i)). 

 

So placing might be the better option, a little more certain than dropping. Unless there's an area behind where dropping will give you flatter ground that will make the shot easier.  But it sounds to me like the flatter ground here was in rough. And even if the nearest spot it will rest is down the hill in the rough, I'd rather place it there than drop it (might get a better lie).

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