Playing Golf When Obstructions Are On The Course

There are two types of obstructions on the golf course that every golfer must be aware of: movable and immovable. Movable is just like what it says, objects that you can move. This would be things like rakes, cans, other players clubs or balls, or anything that is artificial and easily moved out of the way. Natural objects such as stones, branches, or animal dung are considered loose impediments. Immovable objects, of course, are things like buildings or park benches; they’re not going anywhere.

Movable Obstructions

Because movable obstructions can be easily removed from the playing field, you are allowed to remove them without any penalty. If your ball winds up moving by accident, you must replace it in the same spot that it was in previously. If the ball somehow lands on top of, or within, a movable obstruction, you need to mark the spot and remove the obstruction. Afterward, you simply drop the ball onto the spot without penalty. If you are on a putting green, you need to manually place the ball onto the spot.

Immovable Obstructions

Since you obviously can’t move an immovable obstruction, you must move your ball. This is accomplished without penalty as long as your ball is not within a water hazard, and as long as the immovable obstruction materially interferes with your stance, swing, or the lie of the ball. If these conditions are met you may move your ball to the nearest point of relief, (see this definition), and drop your ball within one club length of that point. As a side note, if you are in a bunker, you can drop the ball outside as long as you take the penalty of one stroke.

Have fun out on the course and watch out for those obstacles!


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