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Mel Sole on the Rules of Golf: Loose Impediments


Good afternoon everybody. Mel Sole  here at beautiful Pawley's Plantation Golf and Country Club. And this rules tip is brought to you by the Mel Sole Golf School. The Mel Sole Golf School is located at Pawley's Plantation Golf and Country Club and Sea Trail up in North Carolina. We're also at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. So there are great locations, great golf courses all, so come and see us and improve your golf game. If you look us up on TripAdvisor, you will see that we have over 200 five star reviews, we have no three star, two star, one star, I think we've got one or two four stars. But of the 230, I think, 228, are five stars. So you're guaranteed a five star experience at our school.

So this tip is about loose impediments on the green. I've got some sand in my way here, I have a pitch mark from a previous player, and then I have a spike mark over there. So I am perfectly allowed to try and brush some of this sand away, it's regarded as a loose impediment. So I'm quite legal. If there was a leaf or something like this as part of the golf course, I can move that as well. I can come here and repair the pitch mark, but the spike mark, is not a loose impediment. A spike mark is part of the course. Tough luck, if the spike mark's in your line, you have to putt through it. Hopefully you'll create enough speed that the ball might keep its line off this despite the spike mark

You definitely have to take that into account when you're hitting your putt and try and make sure that you hit it a little bit beyond so that you have a, some speed and b, when it hits the spike mark, it's going to slow it down as well. So it'll hit the spot a little further.

Now, the ball that's short of the green, one of my students recently, when I was telling them this rule, said to me, "Well, Rory McIlroy got penalized for brushing the sand." But in Rory's case, his ball was off the green and the sand was off the green, so you cannot come here and brush this sand away. That is not a loose impediment, that's part of the golf course. So on our putting surface, sand is regarding as a loose impediment, off the putting surface, it's not.

So, in that case, I would have to put through that sand. In this case that's quite a lot of sand there and so what I would most probably do is chip it. I would most probably take a seven iron or an eight iron and play a little chip onto the green and just let it run down and feed to the hole. So the rules are there to help you. You can lower your scores by understanding the rules and putting the rules into play when they can help you and when they cannot.

So, get yourself a Rules and Decisions book from the RNA. It's a very, very interesting book, you're not reading a rule book, you're reading situations that have happened on the golf course, people have written in to the RNA or the USGA and said, "I was playing with my friend Bob on the course, this is what happened. I said this, Bob said that, who's correct?" So you learn the rules much better that way than just trying to read a rule book. And you need to know these rules. So lower your scores by understanding the rules.

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