2005 #5 Can You Move an OB stake?

On Sunday morning from my deck on hole #4 I watched a ball land beside an out of bounds stake. The ball was in bounds. The player arrived, walked around the stake and realized it would interfere with his stance. So he pulled the stake out of the ground and tossed it aside. He hit the ball and then replaced the stake. If your ball landed there

What would you do?
The same as the player above? Remove the stake and play your ball?
Take free relief from an immoveable obstruction?
Take an awkward stance and hit the ball?

C is correct.
Look in your Rules of Golf book under Rule #13. You will see:

13-2. Improving Lie, Area of Intended Stance or Swing, or Line of Play

A player must not improve or allow to be improved:
• 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,
by any of the following actions:
• .moving, bending or breaking anything growing or fixed (including immovable obstructions and objects defining out of bounds),

In other words you are not allowed to move a stake defining out of bounds because it is deemed to be fixed. If you do, there is a 2-stroke penalty! The player I watched on hole #4 should have been penalized 2 strokes.

Also these stakes are not obstructions. Most stakes are. Stakes defining water hazards and ground under repair are obstructions. You can move them. But look under Definitions in your Rules book and find Out of Bounds. You will see the following:

Objects defining out of bounds such as walls, fences, stakes and railings, are not obstructions and are deemed to be fixed. Stakes identifying out of bounds are not obstructions and are deemed to be fixed.

REMEMBER: Don’t ever touch an out of bounds stake and you will be ok.

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