From the inception of golf and from the very first rules of which there were not many ( meagre 13) in 1758 the concept was for players to "Play the ball as it lies. Play the course as you find it. And if you can't do either, do what is fair."
We have probably all seen players do this at some stage; Putting their foot directly behind there ball in long grass (sometimes on fairway/closely mown areas/divots etc). (see photo below)
This is contrary to the above and the way golf should be played so as it is fair for everyone competing
Indeed Rule 13 is devoted to "Playing the Ball as it Lies" previously we concentrated on Water Hazards - however, it must be applied throughout the entire course.
- Play the ball as it lies (note ball at rest moved Rule 18)
A player cannot
- improve their lie, intended stance and or swing, including line of play by pressing the club on the ground, moving, bending or breaking anything growing or fixed (including immovable obstructions and objects defining out of bounds,
- creating or eliminating irregularities of the surface, removing or pressing down sand. loose soil, replaced divots or other turf placed in position or
- removing dew, frost, water
However, no penalty is incurred if the action is done when;
- grounding club lightly when addressing the ball
- fairly taking their stance
- making a stroke or the backward movement of their club and the stroke is made
- creating or eliminating irregularities within the Teeing Ground
- on the putting green by removing sand & loose soil or in repairing damage (not spike marks) (Rule 16-1)
A player is entitled to place his feet firmly in taking his stance, but he must not build a stance. It is common on a number of our bunkers at New Kuta for the ball to remain high up on the slope - as such it is important for players to understand what is considered as building a stance.
A good example as to what is fair and what is not fair is shown in this video (Fairly taking a Stance as opposed to Building a Stance)