Rule of the Month

Rule of the Month for August is all about LOOSE IMPEDIMENTS



“Loose impediments” are natural objects, including:

  • stones, leaves, twigs, branches and the like,
  • dung, and
  • worms, insects and the like, and the casts and heaps made by them,

provided they are not:

  • fixed or growing,
  • solidly embedded, or
  • adhering to the ball.


Sand and loose soil are loose impediments on the putting green, but not elsewhere.

Snow and natural ice, other than frost, are either casual water or loose impediments at the option of the player.

Dew and frost are not loose impediments.


Rule 23.1

Except when both the loose impediment  and the ball lie in or touch the same hazard, any loose impediment may be removed without penalty.


If the ball lies anywhere other than on the putting green and the removal of a loose impediment by the player causes the ball to moveRule 18-2 applies.


On the putting green, if the ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved in the process of the player removing a loose impediment, the ball or ball-marker must be replaced. There is no penalty, provided the movement of the ball or ball-marker is directly attributable to the removal of the loose impediment. Otherwise, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2.


When a ball is in motion, a loose impediment that might influence the movement of the ball must not be removed.


Note: If the ball lies in a hazard, the player must not touch or move any loose impediment  lying in or touching the same hazard – see Rule 13-4c.

Match play – Loss of hole; Stroke play – Two strokes.


Rules Geek