USGA Rule 15 addresses dealing with “loose impediments” and is one of the most frequently used rules in our rural game.
And it is one of the rules that has undergone a substantial change with the revision of the rules, which came into force in 2019. But let’s take things one at a time.
Dealing with Loose Impediments
Firstly, it is important to have a clear definition of the term “loose impediments.”
They include natural objects such as leaves, twigs, stones, grass cuttings, and a whole lot more.
However, they have to be loose, i.e., not growing or fixed, not adhering to the ball, nor embedded. A dead twig that is still attached to the tree is not loose. Creepers are also not loose – they are growing and are not to be removed. Stones that are not lying loosely on the ground but are embedded in it must not be dug out.
If you come across objects that meet the above-mentioned criteria of being both natural and loose, you are permitted to remove them without penalty.
This applies irrespective of whether the loose impediment actually interferes with your game (e.g., because it is next to your ball or on your line of putt) or whether simply seeing it could distract you (e.g., a colored leaf in your field of view).
However, you have to bear two restrictions in mind.
1. When you remove the impediment, the ball is not to move; otherwise, you will incur a penalty stroke, and the ball has to be put back (an exception to this is on the green, where this is without penalty).
2. Sand and loose soil can be removed from the green, but not from anywhere else. In particular, sand and loose soil must not be removed from the fringe.
Under the USGA old rules, you were not permitted to remove loose impediments from bunkers and water hazards. With the new rules, which came into effect on January 1, 2019, this exception has been abolished, and you are now permitted to remove loose impediments everywhere.
Why subscribe to GolfersRx?
Here is another video from Yves C. Ton-That, a brief summary of the New Golf Rules 2019. Just one of the many golf instruction videos we have at GolfersRx.com.
GolfersRx.com is a team of golf experts who share your love and passion for the game of golf. We share in your enthusiasm to play better, similarly your frustrations when things aren’t going as planned.
The site brings together some of the best and brightest minds in all facets of the game of golf. GolfersRx will help you master your swing, your putting stroke, your fitness, your short game, your mental focus and attitude, your health, and every other challenge you face on the course. Above all, we are here to help with golf tips and golf drills to lower your golf score.
Our experts have affected the lives of tens of thousands of golfers over the years, and they are now achieving lower scores, out-driving their peers, playing injury-free, and enjoying the game more than they ever thought they could.
Here they are and along with their focus.
Quite the Chap (Colby Johannson) Golf Instruction videos and lessons to think smarter about golf.
Golf Labs (Gene Parente) master your golf swing sequence, mechanics, and technique.
Mr. Short Game (Matt Fisher) Chipping, Pitching and Putting tips and drills around the green.
Golf Yogi (Mark Williamson) Stretches for flexibility and overall golf fitness.
You must realize there is some work involved. GolfersRx.com may teach you a new thought process or a new swing technique. In addition, you will need to practice it.
You MUST be okay with trying some fresh, new techniques or embracing a new way of looking at some age-old problems. If so, GolfersRx.com is most likely for you.
In conclusion, check out our (other) social media pages.