Rules Guy: Is there a limit to how much loose impediment you can remove in a hazard?

bunker debris

Do you have to play your ball as it lies in a bunker like this?

Getty Images

The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.

Under the new rules, are there any restrictions on how much loose impediment you can remove in a hazard? —Doug Walker, via email

The short answer is no … That said, you don’t come to Rules Guy for short answers, so let me expand a skosh. (Not that Rules Guy is paid by the word or anything!)

players in golf cart
Rules Guy: Is it legal to accept a cart ride to a tee during a tournament?
By: Rules Guy

There are no restrictions on removing loose impediments, but be careful not to accidentally move your ball, which would result in a one-stroke penalty (except when the ball is on the putting green) and require you to return the ball to its original position.

Also, don’t take so long that you’re put on the clock, please.

Got a question about the Rules? Ask the Rules Guy! Send your queries, confusions and comments to We promise he won’t throw the book at you.

generic profile image