Fairly taking a stance

BrianM

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I’m going to ask a stupid question here, so apologies in advance 😂
If the only way you can get a swing is by standing on branches, ie squashing them down by your weight, is that a penalty stroke?
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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I’m going to ask a stupid question here, so apologies in advance 😂
If the only way you can get a swing is by standing on branches, ie squashing them down by your weight, is that a penalty stroke?
Feels awfully like stance building (literally), but what would I know…🙄
 

rulefan

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I’m going to ask a stupid question here, so apologies in advance 😂
If the only way you can get a swing is by standing on branches, ie squashing them down by your weight, is that a penalty stroke?

8.1a Actions That Are Not Allowed
Except in the limited ways allowed in Rules 8.1b, c and d, a player must not take any of these actions if they improve the conditions affecting the stroke:
(1) Move, bend or break any:
Growing or attached natural object,
 
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salfordlad

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I’m going to ask a stupid question here, so apologies in advance 😂
If the only way you can get a swing is by standing on branches, ie squashing them down by your weight, is that a penalty stroke?
8.1b(5) permits firmly placing feet; 8.1b(6) permits fairly taking a stance. Doing those things does not get a penalty, even if conditions are improved.
 

rulie

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There are two Clarifications on this topic:
8.1b/2 – Examples of “Fairly Taking a Stance”
Although a player is allowed to play in any direction, they are not entitled to a normal stance or swing and must adapt to the situation and use the least intrusive course of action.

Examples of actions that are considered fairly taking a stance and are allowed under Rule 8.1b even if the action results in an improvement include:
  • Backing into a branch or a boundary object when that is the only way to take a stance for the selected stroke, even if this moves the branch or boundary object out of the way or causes it to bend or break.
  • Bending a branch with their hands to get under a tree to play a ball when that is the only way to get under the tree to take a stance.
    See8.1b/3 for when a player gets a penalty for doing more than is necessary to take a stance.
8.1b/3 – Examples of Not “Fairly Taking a Stance”
Examples of actions that are not considered fairly taking a stance and will result in a penalty under Rule 8.1a if they improve the conditions affecting the stroke include:
  • Deliberately moving, bending or breaking branches with a hand, a leg or the body to get them out of the way of the backswing or stroke.
  • Standing on tall grass or weeds in a way that pushes them down and to the side so that they are out of the way of the area of intended stance or swing, when a stance could have been taken without doing so.
  • Hooking one branch on another or braiding two weeds to keep them away from the stance or swing.
  • Using a hand to bend a branch that obscures the view of the ball after taking the stance.
  • Bending an interfering branch in taking a stance when a stance could have been taken without doing so.
 

backwoodsman

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I’m going to ask a stupid question here, so apologies in advance 😂
If the only way you can get a swing is by standing on branches, ie squashing them down by your weight, is that a penalty stroke?
I'd put it in terms of if it's the only way you can get a stance of some kind then you're likely to be ok. But if its the only way to get a swing then you're most likely to be breaking the rule. Effectively you are entitled to a stance, although not necessarily a normal one, but you're not entitled to the swing. But in the way you put it, I can't really envisage a situation where standing on the branch would be the only way?
 

BrianM

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I'd put it in terms of if it's the only way you can get a stance of some kind then you're likely to be ok. But if its the only way to get a swing then you're most likely to be breaking the rule. Effectively you are entitled to a stance, although not necessarily a normal one, but you're not entitled to the swing. But in the way you put it, I can't really envisage a situation where standing on the branch would be the only way?

Almost like your bum is sticking right into a bush (soft, so not like spikes etc), could you do that, I'll try and find an image to explain.
 

Steven Rules

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So its ok to back into it to get yourself in a position to hit the ball?
Looks ok to me. In fact, it looks like a textbook illustration of one of the examples of fairly taking a stance that Rulie quoted above:

Backing into a branch or a boundary object when that is the only way to take a stance for the selected stroke, even if this moves the branch or boundary object out of the way or causes it to bend or break.
 

Swango1980

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Looks ok to me. In fact, it looks like a textbook illustration of one of the examples of fairly taking a stance that Rulie quoted above:

Backing into a branch or a boundary object when that is the only way to take a stance for the selected stroke, even if this moves the branch or boundary object out of the way or causes it to bend or break.
Indeed. Maybe worth highlighting to some though, fairly taking that stance would not involve taking a big run up and then smashing your backside into the bush. Or stepping about 4 ft deeper into the bush, and then walking back out to ball with much of the bush now bent and out of your way :)
 

mikejohnchapman

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This debate reminds me of my first time as a referee at a county event. A ball had been hit into the rough and had stopped at the back of a large patch of nettles. They were tall so easy to identify the ball from the edge of the patch. The player elected to play the ball having donned his waterproof trousers and I said to him that he shouldn't walk into the patch on the line he intended to hit the ball back towards the fairway. He begrudgingly obliged and proceeded to get it back into play.

My fellow referee, who was acting as my mentor, told me I was wrong to advise him as I did because he was allowed to take a fair stance and this included walking to his ball. I argued he could do this without improving the line he was going to take but we agreed to differ.

I never did get clarification and always wondered if I was wrong to advise the player as I did.

One for the GM Rules section of the magazine!
 

rulie

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The "leaves" examples were part of an old decision pre-2019 (excerpt below), the principles of which are unchanged, as Rulie notes.

Rule 13-2 prohibits a player from improving certain areas. What does
“improve” mean?
A. In the context of Rule 13-2, “improve” means to change for the better
so that the player creates a potential advantage with respect to the position
or lie of his ball, the area of his intended stance or swing, his line of play or
a reasonable extension of that line beyond the hole, or the area in which he
is to drop or place a ball. Therefore, merely changing an area protected by
Rule 13-2 will not be a breach of Rule 13-2 unless it creates such a potential
advantage for the player in his play.
Examples of changes that are unlikely to create such a potential advantage
are if a player:...........

• accidentally knocks down several leaves from a tree in his area of
intended swing with a practice swing, but there are still so many leaves
or branches remaining that the area of intended swing has not been
materially affected; ........

Examples of changes that are likely to create such a potential advantage
are if a player: ......

• accidentally knocks down a single leaf from a tree in his area of intended
swing with a practice swing, but, as this was one of very few leaves that
might either interfere with his swing or fall and thereby distract him, the
area of intended swing has been materially affected;
Here's a couple pictures of different leaves. where one leaf can result in a different ruling.
1677626784515.png1677626812773.png
 

salfordlad

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This debate reminds me of my first time as a referee at a county event. A ball had been hit into the rough and had stopped at the back of a large patch of nettles. They were tall so easy to identify the ball from the edge of the patch. The player elected to play the ball having donned his waterproof trousers and I said to him that he shouldn't walk into the patch on the line he intended to hit the ball back towards the fairway. He begrudgingly obliged and proceeded to get it back into play.

My fellow referee, who was acting as my mentor, told me I was wrong to advise him as I did because he was allowed to take a fair stance and this included walking to his ball. I argued he could do this without improving the line he was going to take but we agreed to differ.

I never did get clarification and always wondered if I was wrong to advise the player as I did.

One for the GM Rules section of the magazine!
You were absolutely right. If that person improved their line of play when it was not necessary, general penalty ensues. The student was already surpassing the mentor here.
 
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