My posture was severely constrained since the ball had fallen near a water penalty area. I was able to get one foot on a big tree stump near the water’s edge. Is it allowable to move the stump so that I can have both feet on the stump, or is that building a stance? — St. Augustine, Florida native Randy Lavery.
We are a little, well, stumped: “Stump” doesn’t seem like the right word for something so easily moved.
Whatever the case may be, you are not permitted to place movable obstructions in the area to strengthen your posture. You’re correct in identifying this as “building a stance,” which is a violation of Rule 8.1a(2) and carries a two-stroke penalty in stroke play and a loss of hole in match play.
If you had discovered your mistake before completing the stroke, you could have remedied the situation by reversing your action and moving the “large piece of wood” back out of place.
Is there a limit to how much debris may be moved out of the way of a danger under the new regulations?
—Doug Walker, via email
In a word, no… However, you don’t come to us expecting concise explanations, so allow me to elaborate a little.
You are free to relocate any obstructions that are in your way, but if you mistakenly move your ball, you will be assessed a one-stroke penalty (unless on the putting green), and you will have to put it back where it was.
Please don’t take so long that you have to start clocking in.
Original article posted on Golf.com
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