Can you clean the ice away if doing so creates a path for your ball to follow?

What do the rules say about creating a path for your ball to the hole by removing snow or dew?

Getty Images

Tough golf rules! Fortunately, we have a teacher. our Rules A man knows the book from front to back. Got a question? He has all the answers.

My question about the rules goes back 30 years, but it’s never satisfied – seeing if it’s solved correctly is on my to-do list. One morning at a league game, I drove the equivalent of 4 to 20 feet from the cup. Leaving the tee box, it began to fall off; By the time we got to the green, it was covered in ice. I obviously wanted a reasonable chance of hitting an eagle, but I knew there was no realistic way to keep the ball on the line over a layer of ice grains. Play wasn’t suspended – it was a quick and weird storm – so waiting for the snow to thaw wasn’t an option. I proceeded like this: Without creating a small tub, I used my hands to clean up as much frost as possible along my line. I stopped the eagle’s shot a short distance with my foot, and I applied pressure. Once I picked up the ball from the cup, one of the playing partners said my brushing action was a violation of the rules, and I was awarded a penalty. Should I be punished or should the bird stand up? —Steve Jones, Springfield, Illinois.

Steve, 30 is a long time to cook

Natural ice has been and remains a loose impediment for some time – roughly since the Ice Age – and loose obstructions have always been allowed to clear without moving the ball.

The facts may have shifted in your favor since the original event, but it certainly seems to us like neither punishment nor bird.

For more guidance on bulk snags from our expert, read on…


golfer putting ball

Rules guy: When playing by the winter rules, can you lift the ball with a loose handicap?

by:

Guy rules



On a windy day, the wind blew a branch right behind the hole on the low side of the sloping green. The first player was in the shooting position long over the hole and wanted to leave the branch in place as a kickstand. We agreed, believing he was not obligated to remove a loose handicap. The next player to go down the hole was blocked by the branch that removed him. You guessed it: The third player was over the hole, and he wanted the branch back to where it was to get the same advantage as the first player. We were at a loss. Jimmy Jackson, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Jimmy, please allow me to confuse you: The third player can actually bring back the branch.

Under Interpretation 8.1(d) 1/2 (yes, seriously – the rules are nothing if not exhaustive), a player is generally entitled to the terms that were in place when the ball rested. Since the conditions that affected his stroke have worsened, the wand can be reattached.

Need help removing greens in your home cycle? Choose custom green book Starting at 8 am Golf Affiliate Golf Logix.

Do you have a question about the rules? Ask the guy the rules! Send your queries, confusions, and comments to [email protected] We promise he won’t throw the book at you.

public profile picture