Hi and welcome, my name is Yves and I’m with Expert Golf. Today I am going to show you how to take advantage of the rules by taking free relief from loose impediments. Now, some of you may say “ah, we don’t want to hear about the rules” but I really would like to speak up for the rules as they don’t just consist of do’s and don’ts and penalties but also contain a lot of free relief procedures that allow you to get into a better position without paying any penalty strokes. So please bear with me and let me show you how to use the rules to your advantage. One of the most common situations involving the rules of golf refers to so called loose impediments. These include all movable or – so to speak – unattached natural objects. Except for in bunkers and water hazards you are allowed to remove them without penalty. The term loose impediments includes leaves, twigs and stones, but also pine cones, fruit. as well as grass cuttings for example. The main criteria is that this natural object is loose which means not attached or growing nor solidly embedded and is also not stuck to the ball. Please note that sand and loose soil are considered loose impediments on the green only. In other parts of the course they cannot be removed. When removing the loose impediment, you must make sure that your ball does not move. Otherwise you have to put your ball back and you will get one penalty stroke because you moved your ball which was at rest. So in tricky unstable situations such as on forest ground with lots of pine needles you’re better off playing the ball as it lies instead of taking the unnecessary risk of moving the ball and incurring a penalty shot. Now there is one exception to this rule in favor of the player and that is on the green where you don’t get a penalty stroke. So if your ball is on the green and you move it while removing a loose impediment, you still have to put the ball back but it remains without penalty. Again, please note one important restriction to this rule on loose impediments – in bunkers and water hazards they cannot be removed. So the ball has to be played as it lies even if there are leaves or twigs close to it. But make sure to check the local rules as they often stipulate that stones may be removed in bunkers by way of exception. That’s it for today, I hope that my explanations will help your game and save you a few strokes here and there. If you want to know more about the rules and how to use them to your advantage please check out my “Golf Rules Quick Reference” book or download my “iGolfrules” app. Both answer practically every question that might arise during a round of golf and they can be found on my website expertgolf.com. Thanks for watching, enjoy your golf and see you soon.

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Dennis Veasley

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