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Sang Buaya

Leaf on my ball

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Can I remove a leaf which is on top of my ball before hitting it without penalty? My ball is in the fairway. Thanks.

If a leaf is not attached to a tree then it is a Loose Impediment.

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.

So as long as the leaf is not stuck to the ball it may be removed under Rule 23

See this link

http://www.usga.org/Rule-Books/Rules-of-Golf/Rule-23/

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What constitutes "adhering" to the ball? In a friendly round today, with the leaves starting to fall from the trees and the ground wet from overnight rain, my opponent's ball came to rest on the fairway with a small leaf stuck on it, ie water surface tension was holding the leaf on the ball. It was easy to peel the leaf off without moving the ball, but the leaf would (probably) not have fallen off if the ball had been lifted and gently turned (or even shaken). So could he remove the leaf without penalty? Or should he have played it as it lay? (We allowed him to remove it without penalty. But I am thinking that may have been incorrect. It didn't affect the match anyway.) If there is an issue with removing a wet leaf, how "firmly" attached does it have to be before it cannot be removed? For example, a dry leaf sitting on top can presumably be removed without penalty as a loose impediment. Today's example is probably at the other extreme of "adherence". What about a leaf that is loosely stuck on by water surface tension but would probably fall off if you lifted the ball? Is that in fact the test, ie do you think it would or would not fall off when lifted? Thanks! Matt

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Hi Matt,

Don't overcomplicate this too much.  Adhering means what you think it does.  It's stuck to the ball and would not fall off on it's own.

If you think it might be adhering to the ball, it probably is......leave it alone.

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