No.49 Grass and Mud on Ball

Question 1:
In the photo there is a blade of grass adhering to a player's ball on the fairway. May they peel away the grass before making their stroke?

Answer 1:
No, Decision 21-2. Anything adhering to a ball is not a loose impediment and may not be removed.

Question 2:
If a player does remove a blade of grass from their ball lying through the green what is the penalty?

Answer 2:
They incur a one stroke penalty, Rule 21-1.

Part of Rule 21-1 states;
If a player cleans his ball during play of a hole except as provided in this Rule, he incurs a penalty of one stroke and the ball, if lifted, must be replaced.

Question 3:
In the photo there is mud adhering to a player's ball on the fairway.  May the player mark, lift and clean this ball, without penalty, because it is unfit for play?

Answer 3:
No, unless a Local Rule is in operation that permits lifting, cleaning and placing due to temporary abnormal course conditions, the ball must be played as it lies.

Question 4:
A player correctly marks and lifts their ball that has mud adhering to it, under a Rule that does not permit cleaning it (e.g. because it was interfering with the stroke of a fellow competitor).
a) May they place their ball facing another direction, where the mud will not interfere between their clubface and the ball?
b) May they place it in such a way so as to 'tee' the ball on the mud?

Answer 4:
a) Yes. Decision 21/5.
b) No, this would be in breach of Rule 20-3a, because the ball would not be replaced on the spot from which it was lifted (the mud would be between the spot and the ball).

Another 'Rhodes Rules School' Q&A will follow next week,
Good golfing,
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