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Backing into the bush.


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Bobby was off 12 yards off the green, under a bush.  He backed into the bush, pushed it back far enough to give him some club clearance and made the shot onto the green.  The bush was supple and gave way easily.

He did not break any branch nor remove any twig or leaf, that i saw.

Did Bobby violate any rule?

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Bobby was off 12 yards off the green, under a bush.  He backed into the bush, pushed it back far enough to give him some club clearance and made the shot onto the green.  The bush was supple and gave way easily.   He did not break any branch nor remove any twig or leaf, that i saw.  Did Bobby violate any rule?

Also what if he broke a branch? I would like to know the answe to that too. Thanks

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He did, as you can't create a stance for yourself by bending trees and bushes out of your way. Somebody will come along and cite the specific rule, I'm sure.

Not necessarily true. You can 'fairly take a stance'.

http://www.barryrhodes.com/2012/03/fairly-taking-stance-rule-13-2.html

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As mentioned, 13-2 is the applicable rule, and the associated decisions give guidance and examples of what may or may not be considered to be "fairly taking your stance". Without seeing the actual situation, it's tough to know or sure, but given your explanation, it sounds as if the golfer in question intentionally moved the bush out of the way by "backing into it" and thus violated 13-2. Again, impossible to say for sure without more detail.
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As mentioned, 13-2 is the applicable rule, and the associated decisions give guidance and examples of what may or may not be considered to be "fairly taking your stance". Without seeing the actual situation, it's tough to know or sure, but given your explanation, it sounds as if the golfer in question intentionally moved the bush out of the way by "backing into it" and thus violated 13-2. Again, impossible to say for sure without more detail.

But I just read this in the link posted above "Examples of actions which do constitute fairly taking a stance are: • backing into a branch or young sapling if that is the only way to take a stance for the selected stroke, even if this causes the branch to move out of the way or the sapling to bend or break. • bending a branch of a tree with the hands in order to get under the tree to play a ball." I understood it is not an issue to back into a branch or tree or whatever even if it breaks.. What's not allowed is moving the branch or fixing the situation up to be able to give your club a clean path for example. Am I understanding the above incorrectly? Sounds like you are saying he can't back into the branch.

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The OP references backing into and pushing an entire bush out of the way. Different than a single branch. That's why we need to see the situation to be able to evaluate what he did.
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I took some excerpts from the applicable decision. If he complies with the items in red he would be ok.

13-2/1

Explanation of "Fairly Taking His Stance"

Thus, in taking his stance for the selected stroke, the player should select the least intrusive course of action which results in the minimum improvement in the position or lie of the ball, area of intended stance or swing or line of play. The player is not entitled to a normal stance or swing. He must accommodate the situation in which the ball is found and take a stance as normal as the circumstances permit.

Penalty:

  • bending an interfering branch with the hands, a leg or the body in taking a stance when the stance could have been taken without bending the branch .
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The full explanation:

13-2/1

Explanation of "Fairly Taking His Stance"

Q.Rule 13-2 states that a player must not improve the position or lie of his ball, the area of his intended stance or swing or his line of play or a reasonable extension of that line beyond the hole by moving, bending or breaking anything growing or fixed (including immovable obstructions and objects defining out of bounds). An exception permits a player to do so in "fairly taking his stance." What is the significance of "fairly"?

A.Without "fairly," the exception would permit improvement of position or lie, area of intended stance or swing or line of play by anything that could be said to be taking a stance. The use of "fairly" is intended to limit the player to what is reasonably necessary to take a stance for the selected stroke without unduly improving the position of the ball, his lie, area of intended stance or swing or line of play. Thus, in taking his stance for the selected stroke, the player should select the least intrusive course of action which results in the minimum improvement in the position or lie of the ball, area of intended stance or swing or line of play. The player is not entitled to a normal stance or swing. He must accommodate the situation in which the ball is found and take a stance as normal as the circumstances permit. What is fair must be determined in the light of all the circumstances.

Examples of actions which do constitute fairly taking a stance are:

backing into a branch or young sapling if that is the only way to take a stance for the selected stroke, even if this causes the branch to move out of the way or the sapling to bend or break.

bending a branch of a tree with the hands in order to get under the tree to play a ball.

Examples of actions which do not constitute fairly taking a stance are:

deliberately moving, bending or breaking branches with the hands, a leg or the body to get them out of the way of the backswing or stroke.

standing on a branch to prevent it interfering with the backswing or stroke.

hooking one branch on another or braiding two weeds for the same purpose.

bending with a hand a branch obscuring the ball after the stance has been taken.

bending an interfering branch with the hands, a leg or the body in taking a stance when the stance could have been taken without bending the branch.

Note that it says backing in is allowed "if that is the only way to take a stance for the selected stroke".  If the stance can be taken without moving as many branches, or if the area can be improved less by approaching the stance from a different direction, then the player is required to take the minimalist approach.  Also note that the player is not entitled to a normal stance if that would require excessive bending or breaking.    If it's reasonably possible to get into the same position while one of those branches is still interfering with the player's swing or vision, then that is how it should be done.  He can't select a route that is more favorable if it is also more intrusive.  That would be no different than pressing down grass or dirt behind the ball to create a more favorable lie.

I've watched guys bend a branch round behind then so that it's held back by their legs or body, or step on a branch to keep it out of the way.  This is not allowed by the rules.  It's one of those things I don't call them out for in casual play, but I would explain the rule to them if it was in a competition.

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Bobby was off 12 yards off the green, under a bush.  He backed into the bush, pushed it back far enough to give him some club clearance and made the shot onto the green.  The bush was supple and gave way easily.

He did not break any branch nor remove any twig or leaf, that i saw.

Did Bobby violate any rule?


Joe,

The backing into the bush might have been ok as has been explained - we can't really tell - but the bit I've put in red sounds certainly a breach.  You are not entitled to "club clearance" and to take some sort of action like pushing a bush back in order to get it is not permitted.

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So, if my ball goes under say a juniper or young cedar like something this size near the green for example:

You know it's there, you can see it and the only way you can make a stroke at the ball because you're right handed is to back into the tree and chip it out. You can do so without breaking anything. All you're doing is pushing the branches aside with your body as you're backing in to pop your ball out. It's even a blind shot. Is it a penalty?

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Someone referenced it earlier - the stance must be taken in the least intrusive manner.  "Backing in" usually does not meet that standard.  You could place one foot in place for the stance and then place the other foot by stepping around and above many of the branches.  Sometimes an unplayable is a far more certain way of getting out without risk, including risk of penalty.

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