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Your golf ball and Spanish moss

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POSTED: April 13, 2011 9:56 a.m.
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Graham Lewis

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Golf is fun, whether playing solo or with others. Having a basic understanding of the game’s rules makes it easier to enjoy the experience and improve your skills. In this periodic column, I provide brief explanations of golf rules and answer commonly asked questions.
Question: Brad and Hank are playing a practice round in preparation for their annual club championship. On the 10th hole, Brad’s ball comes to rest under a large live oak tree that is full of Spanish moss. The moss, hanging from a low branch, interferes with Brad’s swing. He proceeds to remove the moss from the branch and then hits his next shot. Hank informs Brad that he has violated Rule 13-2 and is subject to a two shot penalty. Is Hank correct?
Answer: Yes, Hank is correct. A player may not move, bend or break anything growing or fixed. See Rule 13-2 for exceptions. Since the moss was attached to the tree, it is considered to be growing there and may not be removed.
What if: On the next hole, Hank finds his ball laying on Spanish moss that has fallen on the fairway.
Hank knows he can remove the moss since it is not attached. However, if the ball moves in the process, he knows that he will incur a penalty of one stroke and must replace the ball. If the ball and moss are on the putting green, Hank would be allowed to remove the moss and replace his ball without penalty.
As always, have fun playing and practicing golf. Email me at grahamgolf@darientel.net if you have any questions or suggestions.

Lewis is a golf pro at Sapelo Hammock Golf Course in McIntosh County.

 

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