Loose Impediment

Any unattached natural object such as:

  • Stones, loose grass, leaves, branches and sticks,
  • Dead animals and animal waste,
  • Worms, insects and similar animals that can be removed easily, and the mounds or webs they build (such as worm casts and ant hills), and
  • Clumps of compacted soil (including aeration plugs).

Such natural objects are NOT loose if they are:

  • Attached or growing,
  • Solidly embedded in the ground (that is, cannot be picked out easily), or
  • Sticking to the ball.

If a player’s removal of a loose impediment causes his or her ball to move:

The ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated) (see Rule 14.2).

If the moved ball had been at rest anywhere except on the putting green (see Rule 13.1d) or in the teeing area (see Rule 6.2b(6)), the player gets one penalty stroke under Rule 9.4b, except when Rule 7.4 applies (no penalty for ball moved during search) or when another exception to Rule 9.4b applies.

How to Complete a Hole after Playing from Wrong Place in Stroke Play

If you have played from a wrong place but it is not a serious breach, you get the general penalty under Rule 14.7a and must continue play of the hole with the ball played from the wrong place.

If you have played from a wrong place and it is a serious breach, you must correct the mistake by playing out the hole from the right place. If you don’t correct the mistake, you are disqualified.