One of the best golf tips I can give a golfer is to understand the rules of golf.
This is because the rules not only punish you, but also help you when unfair situations arise. If you know the rules of golf, you can usually use them to your advantage.
In this golf tip I focus on how the golf rules can help you when the ball is on or near a “loose obstacle”. So let’s start with the definition:
What is a “loose barrier”?
By definition, “loose barriers” are things that hold you back, and they are loose! The last word (loose) is the most important. It should not grow as a loose barrier.
Here are some examples of barriers that are not isolated:
1. Grass. If your ball is on a tuft of grass, or if there is a tuft on the putting line, you cannot touch it. This also applies to fairways …
2. Branches that are still attached to living trees. Of course, the latter part of this can cause confusion – I’m not an tree expert!
3. Flowers. Assuming they are growing again, it can be tricky at times
4. Rocks that belong to the golf course. I.E. They are not “loose”
5. Nozzles. These aren’t loose, of course, but I think I’ll mention them. Regarding sprinklers, there are very different rules, and I urge you to check them!
Instead, here are some examples of loose barriers:
1. Crispy buns
2. Pine cones
6. branches – again assuming they are not attached to living trees
So let’s assume your ball has hit the movable obstacle, or even above it. In these situations, what the rules of golf allow us to do. Perhaps more importantly, what do the golf rules not allow us to do?
We’ll start with the simplest case …
If there is a movable obstacle that your golf ball will not hit, simply remove the movable obstacle.
The situation is now a bit more complicated. If your ball hits or leans on a movable obstacle, you must be careful. This is why:
If you remove the movable obstacle and your ball moves away from its original position, you will be penalized with golf, which means you will be fined.
If your ball moves but returns to its original position, it is not against the rules of golf. But this is very risky and if this happens you will be fined.
So, what can you do to avoid this risk? this is very simple. First, mark your ball on the green as usual. Then remove the loose obstacles and finally place the ball on the marker again.
Now the situation is more complicated …
Your ball has stopped on a plastic bag. This is tricky because you cannot mark the ball when you put it on the plastic bag!
You should address this situation as follows:
1. Pick up your ball.
2. Take out the bag.
3. Return the ball as close to its original position as possible. Check that the other players in the group are happy with the substitute position.
There are some final but important things to remember about loose barriers:
1. The rules regarding loose hazards apply everywhere on the golf course, not just the greens. Remember, you can even mark your ball when it is on the fairway.
2. Sand is also a loose obstacle, but when you are on the green you have to be very careful when removing the sand. Under golf rules, you should never test or influence the surface of the putter. To make sure you don’t break this rule, just wipe the sand off with your backhand. Not the front (palm), do not use the putter.
I can continue to write many different examples, but I hope you now have a good understanding of the rules of golf in terms of loose obstacles and why understanding the rules of golf is a good golf technique!